Edibles can be unpredictable, but with the right knowledge and preparation, first-time users can consume with peace of mind. To help with just that, Lift & Co. has compiled the must-knows on edibles -- what they are, what effects they cause, and how to use them responsibly.
The term “edible” broadly refers to any kind of digestible product infused with cannabis, including baked goods, candies, and beverages. You’ll be able to find them at authorized cannabis retailers or on the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) website.
While there are plenty of precautions you can take to avoid having a bad experience with edibles, consuming them does come with risks.
In the short term, it’s easy to consume too much too quickly, as it takes between 30 minutes to four hours to feel the effects of a cannabis edible. Consuming too much, too soon may lead to cannabis poisoning, or what’s colloquially called a “green out.” Symptoms of cannabis poisoning can include increased heart rate and blood pressure, anxiety, paranoia, drowsiness, confusion, concentration issues, and vomiting. These symptoms can be avoided by understanding the risks and avoiding overconsumption.
Because the effects of cannabis take longer to kick in when it’s digested, it’s important to start low and go slow. Experts recommend starting with a dose of THC of 2.5 mg or less.
In the long term, consuming cannabis can include risk of addiction, trouble concentrating, memory loss, and impaired decision-making abilities. There is also evidence that frequent cannabis use can increase your risk of chronic psychosis disorders, including schizophrenia. People who are genetically predisposed to schizophrenia may show symptoms sooner when consuming cannabis.
The best way to avoid any of these long-term effects is to consume edibles responsibly. If you’re a frequent consumer, keep a close eye on how you feel when you’re not consuming them — if you have trouble with cognitive functioning when you’re not high, it might be worth paring back your habits a bit. You may want to keep a cannabis diary to track your consumption habits and take note of how various products and dosages make you feel.
Because of the way your body processes cannabis when consumed, the effects of edibles can feel different than those felt when you smoke or inhale cannabis. While edibles can be safer for your lungs, they can still be unpredictable.
When you smoke or vape, cannabis compounds enter your bloodstream through your lungs, but when you ingest cannabis products, the compounds are processed by your stomach, liver, and the rest of your digestive system. In the latter scenario, THC and CBD take longer to kick in (30 minutes to four hours compared to minutes when smoking).
As a general rule, you should start with a low amount of THC (2.5 mg or less) and take it slow. Wait to feel the effects before consuming more.
If it’s your first time consuming edibles, regardless of how much experience you have smoking cannabis, you should start with a beginner dose (see above).
Every consumer is different, and a multitude of factors can affect one’s tolerance levels.
You should begin feeling the effects of edibles anywhere between half an hour and four hours, and they could last for up to 12 hours. If you take your first dose and don’t feel any effects within that time frame, it’s probably worth waiting before taking any more. If you hastily take too much early on, it could lead to unpleasant and potentially dangerous symptoms.