As a sufferer of asthma, I am constantly reminded of the struggles that smoking can bring. Standing in a cloud of smoke, coughing up a storm, throat dry, eyes watering, me questioning whether any of this is worth it…
While smoking is one of the easiest and quickest forms of consumption, it is not the only way to consume cannabis. From capsules to massage creams, teas to bubble bath, cannabis can be consumed in many different ways depending on what you want to get out of it.
If like me, you are not a fan of smoking, whether it is because you cough too much, it’s too indiscreet or maybe you can just never find a lighter when you need one, then perhaps edibles are the way for you.
Edibles aren’t just pot brownies and space cakes. They are so much more, expanding over a wide range of sources. Whether you want the medical benefits or just a recreational high, there’s a whole world of edibles there for you to choose from, from drinks to desserts, oils to capsules.
The Difference between Smoking and Edibles
Edibles are far more potent than smoking. That is because when you ingest weed, half of the THC gets converted into 11-hydroxy-THC. This form of THC reaches the brain faster than other forms, making it feel like a stronger high.
It is safe to say that it is far easier to find whole raw weed than high-quality edibles on the market. This is because of the effort surrounding the extraction processes of the cannabinoids. As legalisation continues to spread across the world, more and more edibles are becoming freely available. Who knows, in a few years, edibles may just become as easy to obtain as raw cannabis itself.
One of the major benefits to edibles is that they are usually synthetically made to extract the highest possible amount of cannabinoids as possible. This means that the ratios of these compounds can be altered to suit your needs. For example, you can buy edibles with its psychoactive properties removed and concentrated CBD. These edibles boost health without giving you the high, making them safe for children and elders.
Taste & Smell
There is no denying that a chocolate truffle in the park tastes better than blazing up in your basement. Yes, one can argue that some weed does taste amazing but those tend to be rather high quality, which means you will have to pay top dollar for it. Edibles offer a wide range of options with no limits to the flavours you can create.
While cannabis has been legalised in many parts of the world, there are still those who look upon it with disdain. Thus blazing up on the beach, around young children, or at the office, may not be advised. This is where edibles have the upper hand. They are discreet and unassuming.
Edible highs last longer because the cannabinoids wholly absorb into your system. Methods like smoking or vaping can be highly inefficient because it relies on the user to know how to smoke it properly. The act of smoking itself is also inefficient as a lot of the cannabinoids are wasted in the exhaled smoke.
Smoking offers the benefit of the user being able to feel the high immediately. This allows them to stop whenever they feel an adequate level has been reached. With edibles, digestion means that that it will take 2-3 hours to affect you. And it will hit you all at once. This makes people skeptical and cautious about edibles
The good news is that those mysterious brownies you find at a party are not the only kind of edible you get.
One of the first recorded uses of cannabis was through a drink called bhang. Originating in India, this drink has been enjoyed as an edible for centuries. Cannabis was steeped in milk, left to infuse with spices, then strained out and served over ice as a sort of cold chai latte. It is still drunk in many parts of India today. You can find a recipe here.
Cannabis tea is another drink that has swept through the market recently. Used more for its healing benefits, cannabis teas do not often give you a psychoactive high.
Baked goods are the most commonly known type of edible, with products ranging from brownies to cupcakes. I frequently make – what my sister likes to call – space scones that go really well with some strawberry jam and Chantilly cream at Sunday morning brunch.
Whether you make your own or buy these goods from a supplier, make sure you know what’s in them and what the recommended portion size is. As yummy as these edibles are, don’t go eating a whole tray of brownies by yourself – you will regret it.
Capsules are a highly controlled and regulated form of edible. They often come with detailed instructions, cannabinoid percentage breakdowns and recommended uses. This makes them the safest and most reliable form of edible. While it does take longer to kick in than other edibles, it is guaranteed to give you exactly the kind of high you are looking for.
Capsules are also great if you are seeking out the health benefits of cannabis more than the high. These medical grade capsules often contain custom cannabinoid compositions. This means that you can get a high dose of CBD without too much CBN, the compound responsible for that groggy feeling.
The wonderful thing about cannabis ingredients is that you can practically use them as a substitute in any recipe you want! Just be careful about the cannabinoid levels in the products you are using.
Canna-butter is a tried and trusted favourite for baking. Used in place of regular butter, canna-butter can turn any baked good into an edible fiesta. It’s even great just spread on toast! But make sure you do the math when it comes to portion sizing. As I’ve said previously, you don’t want to go from sober to tripping balls too suddenly. It can be extremely jarring.
If you are planning on making canna-butter yourself, be prepared for the long haul. High quality canna-butter requires long steeping over a very low heat and proper straining. But the good news is that canna-butter can be made in large batches and well in advance. I like to make a whole kilogram at once because it’s easier to manage a large pot on the stove as there is less chance of burning. After that, I just store it in the fridge like regular butter, and whip it out the next time I need to use it.
Cannabis oils have been around for centuries but the recent legalisations of cannabis has led to rise in its use in recent years. Cannabis oil is a highly concentrated substance distilled from cannabis. Like capsules, cannabis oils have the added benefit of coming in a range of cannabinoid makeups. This means that it is highly beneficial for those who want the healing benefits of cannabis, rather than the high.
Due to its high concentrations, only a drop or two on the tongue is needed to get you equally as high as smoking a full joint. Thus, because of its potency, you have to be extremely careful when using it to cook. A little goes a long way here.
Add a few drops to pasta you’re cooking. Maybe use it as replacement to coconut oil in chocolate making. Really, due to its versatility, the sky is the limit with this ingredient.
You can also make your own with this recipe I found at Munchies.Vice.com. Experiment with different types of oils and emulsions. From personal experience, I’ve found avocado and coconut oil work really well.
Your First Time
Whether it’s your first time using cannabis ever, or just your first edible, there are a few rules you need to follow to ensure you do not have a negative experience.
1. Know what you are eating
Oftentimes while attending a party and you may come across a plate of space brownies. Unless you know the baker, or what is in it exactly, my advice would be to stay away from them. Whenever you consume edibles, you need to ensure that what you are putting into your body comes from a reliable source. Otherwise, you might end up in a ditch hugging an empty bucket of KFC…
Most places that sell cannabis infused edibles will give you an indication of its cannabinoid levels, the compounds in cannabis that cause you to feel high; and of how long it will take to kick in. With some research, you can also calculate the THC content in your own baking.
Remember: Safety first!
2. Portion control is important
Depending on the potency of the edible, you may require different portion sizes to obtain the result you desire. Portion control is important as it ensures that you do not overdose on cannabis. While you cannot die from a cannabis overdose, it is safe to say that the effects are seriously undesirable. Overdosing can cause major paranoia, nausea and panic attacks.
Please take edibles as instructed. If you are making your own, make sure you do the math to ensure safe consumption. Sweet Stone Candy has a good built-in calculator that I use to determine how much weed to put into my recipes. I then use that to determine what size a portion should be.
3. Patience is key
Edibles need to be digested. Thus they will take time to kick in. Depending on what you are consuming and how empty your stomach is, it can take anywhere from a few minutes up to 4 hours for you to feel anything. The label of the edible will usually have an indication of the average time to effect.
The time is also affected by one’s own metabolism and rate of digestion. People with a higher metabolisms will feel the effects faster than someone with a slower one.
I made this mistake the first time I took edibles. My friends and I all ate two brownies each. They were runners, hockey players and dancers. At the time, the only exercise I got was walking from the couch to the fridge. My friends started feeling the effects just past the one-hour mark. Feeling absolutely nothing at all, I ate three more brownies, thinking that maybe I had some sort of tolerance to the weed. An hour later I was crying on the floor trying to call an ambulance because I was convinced my shoes were eating my feet off. Safe to say, it was a downer on everyone’s night.
So, to end, my advice to you is to be patient and understand that, when it comes to edibles, it is not an exact science. Like always, you need to experiment to find what works best for you and how your body personally reacts to different things. Start slow. You have years of experimentation ahead and a wide, wide world of edibles for you to try.
May all your days be high ones!