There are many benefits we can get from consuming medical marijuana, including chronic pain relief, better sleep, mental relaxation and appetite stimulation. Marijuana is safer than opioids and you cannot overdose on it, meaning those who suffer from chronic pain should consider cannabis for their symptoms.

Although the most popular method of marijuana consumption is smoking or vaping it, there are a growing number of people who prefer to partake exclusively via digestion of THC-infused food or drink products.

Edibles give a different high than smoking marijuana. Generally speaking, it takes a longer time to feel the effects of the high, but overall longer lasting than if you smoked or vaped the same amount.

Cannabis edibles come in many forms, including sprays, tinctures, teas, candies (gummies and mints) and solid edibles (cookies and brownies, among others). If you’re interested in trying cannabis-infused edibles, it is wise to do your due diligence in researching all the different kinds and dosages available. Everyone’s tolerance to THC is different. There is also a great difference between smoking and eating, so when it comes to edibles it’s wise to be careful your first time around.

Oral vs Gastro-Intestinal Absorption

Mouth sprays, tinctures and lozenge type candies are absorbed in the mouth and provide almost immediate relief. However it also wears off faster – usually within two to three hours. These are considered oral uptake (through saliva) edibles.

Cookies, brownies and other snack type items are gastro-intestinal uptake (in other words, through the stomach) edibles. Tie amount of time it takes to feel the effects of the high is much slower and can take from thirty minutes up to two hours, but the relief can last almost eight hours.

Teas and other infused drinks, as well as chocolate bars are considered hybrid uptake edibles. Their relief comes usually within about thirty minutes and can last to four hours.

Indica vs Sativa

Typically, indica strains are generally used for deep body and mind relaxation, while sativa strains are considered more energizing. Strains of indica are known to decrease nausea and acute pain, increase dopamine (a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers) and appetite, and are commonly used to enhance the likelihood of a better night’s sleep.

On the other hand, sativa is commonly used as an anti-anxiety, anti-depressant and for chronic pain management. It increases focus and creativity, as well as serotonin levels (a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of learning, mood, sleep, anxiety and appetite) and is usually for daytime use.

Knowing that, make sure of which infused edible you take and at what time, considering your own natural tendencies towards each type of medical cannabis.

Reading Labels & Things to Remember

Find a reputable dispensary, one that sells lab-tested edibles with a label stating how much THC is in it. As with any food shopping, reading labels is very important when buying any medical marijuana edible. First of all, decide which experience you are going for: whether relaxing and pain relieving (indica) or uplifting and stimulating (sativa).

Then, decide which type of edible you want to try. You may want to try several types, however, please, not at the same time!

Look for how much THC is in the edible: a single adult serving of THC is usually 10mg. It is a very good idea to start out with a bit less. Many experts recommend 2.5 or 5mg to start out with, when it is your first foray into edibles.

Like getting ready for a night consuming alcohol, eat a good meal and drink fluids beforehand. And please remember: the effect may take up to two hours to be felt. Eating as opposed to smoking will give a more intense high, since the liver converts the THC into a different kind of molecule than what’s absorbed through the lungs.

If you don’t feel anything, wait at least that long before eating more. Better yet, wait a day or two to try again with a slightly larger dose. You might also want to have an experienced or sober friend nearby, to keep you from eating the whole thing.

If you did eat too much, don’t panic. Drink plenty of fluids and distract yourself or have your friend help you until the feeling passes, usually within a few hours. You may want to have some CBD oil available to balance out the THC in your system.

Homemade Edibles

Making a batch of homemade cannabis infused brownies sounds really easy: just substitute the 1/3 cup of oil with cannabis oil, right? Sure, if you want to have overmedicated brownies on your hands!

The best, and possibly the only, way to avoid this, is to be precise with your measurements and make your own cannabis butter first. Using a THC Dosage Calculator will help you figure out how much cannabis to use as well as be able to calculate the serving sizes in regards to THC content. By using a cannabutter dosage calculator while baking or cooking your own homemade edibles, you will have precise control over how much THC goes in each serving, as long as you follow the directions exactly.

To create your own cannabutter, simply decarboxylate the cannabis flower in a 245 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, turning every ten minutes, before infusing into the butter (or oil, if you prefer). Grind the flowers and add to a slow cooker set at 200 degrees for 3 hours. Let cool, then strain through a cheesecloth, but do not squeeze, as it may push bad tasting plant material through. When baking your brownies or cookies, do not bake above 340 degrees. Otherwise, you will lose some of the potency of the cannabinoids.

Conclusion

Just like finding the right medical marijuana to smoke, finding the right edible (especially for your first time) is a matter of doing your homework. There is a lot to consider. The time for relief release and duration, deciding whether to do a sativa or indica, which type of edible to try and finding the right space and person to help you are all important. As a general rule, remember to err on the side of caution when partaking in medicinal marijuana. Stay safe and have fun!

Kind Meds is a medicinal marijuana dispensary in Mesa, AZ that understands the importance of a holistic approach to healing and pain relief. They believe in providing high-quality medicinal cannabis products to their patients, as well as providing online resources for individuals to learn about quality cannabis medicine.