Cannabis-Infused Edibles 101: What to Know About Dosing, Potency, and LabelingAnna WilcoxDecember 5, 2013
Many of us new to cannabis-infused foods (also known as “edibles”) fall victim to the same mistake: we eat too much. Edibles are a great choice when consumed responsibly; they’re potent and body-focused, meaning they’re perfect for people who suffer from pain, nausea, or lack of appetite.
Unfortunately, they can easily lead to disaster if you’re not careful. You eat a whole brownie and feel normal for an hour, then all of a sudden you startle at a police siren and think everyone in the room is secretly laughing at you. In order to better understand what to expect from cannabis-infused foods, we reached out to Lindsay from Dixie Elixirs. Dixie is a Denver-based infused beverage and edible company that has become one of Colorado’s premier makers of edible products since they began in 2009. They were gracious enough to help weigh in on some handy tips on how to consume edibles responsibly.
How Long Do Cannabis Edibles Take to Kick In?
When you smoke or vaporize cannabis, you feel the effects of the herb almost instantly. You’re also able to tell how much cannabis you have consumed and can easily decide when you’ve had too much. When you eat (or drink) activated cannabis, these signals go away. As Lindsay explains, “Different delivery systems are absorbed into the body at different rates. Dixie Med-a-Mints, for example, are absorbed in the mouth and get into the blood much quicker than edibles you digest.”
After eating an edible, your body needs to digest and metabolize the food before you feel the effects. Something like a truffle needs to be processed by the liver before it affects the consumer,” says Lindsay. “That means slower absorption time and more of the THC will be filtered out of your system.”
The amount of time it takes for the effects to kick in also depends on your metabolism. People with faster metabolisms may feel medicated after an hour, yet people with slower metabolisms may not feel the effects for two hours or more.
How Long Does the Effects of an Edible Last?
Metabolizing cannabis makes the effects much stronger. Edibles are typically made with highly concentrated cannabis, be it in actual concentrate form (hash oil), cannabis-infused butter, or infused oil. This means that it’s incredibly easy to overdo it. Between the time it takes for the cannabis to kick in and the highly concentrated levels of THC found in many edibles, finding the correct dose can be quite the chore.
Lindsay says, “In most places, 10mg is a ‘dose.’ Consider this like one beer; this amount will affect some people a lot, and others not at all. Take your time and learn what is right for you.”
While no one has ever reportedly died from cannabis overconsumption, ingesting too much cannabis can mean that what was once a pleasant evening can turn into a pretty bad time. Eating the entire cannabis-infused cookie may seem like a good idea, but many times a single product may actually be considered two or more doses. When it comes to edibles, it’s best to taste and wait for a while before gorging yourself on potent and delicious treats.
Another important factor is whether you consumed the edible on an empty stomach or after you’ve already eaten. An empty stomach will feel the effects much more quickly, while a full stomach won’t hit you as hard. In order to avoid feeling uncomfortable when eating an infused product, you may want to take Lindsay’s advice: “Eat a meal, and then try an edible. Not vice versa. Food doesn’t have the same effect for edibles as it does for alcohol. If you feel like you have taken too much, eating a meal can actually push more into your system rather than dilute what’s already there.”
What Should You Look for on Edible Labels?
The cannabis industry is in its infancy. Due to the plant’s federal illegality, cannabis products are not subjected to FDA regulations, so a lack of standard rules could result in a lack of consistency in dosage from one product to another. This can make finding the correct dose for you even more difficult.
“At Dixie,” Lindsay said, “we want our customers to know what they will get from us each and every time so that they can have a predicative experience. Many edibles’ potency varies from unit to unit. We run excessive lab tests to ensure the consistency and quality of our products.”
In actuality, finding brands that provide consistent results each time can be quite challenging. Remember to read the label to figure out the correct portion size for the dose that works best for you. Finding products with clearly labeled packaging can also be a bit of a challenge, especially in regions where the industry has only just started.
When trying to find the best edible for you, look for products that have a clear label and are properly packaged. Support companies that have taken the initiative to create clearly labeled, quality packaging for their products, as they’re taking extra steps to ensure their products are consistent, safe, and honest.