5 Things to Know about Cannabis Edibles
New Regulations in Colorado
Colorado has recently tightened regulation of marijuana edibles, which makes up around 45% of the state’s legal cannabis market. The move was prompted in part by concerns about the safety of edible pot, particularly in the wake of two widely-publicized deaths and increased calls to medical facilities following state legalization of cannabis for anyone over 21. The new rules, which require that edibles be portioned into clearly identifiable servings containing no more than 10 mg of TCH apiece, make it easier for consumers of Colorado edible marijuana products to moderate their dosage and limit undesirable side effects. Additional packaging requirements also more clearly differentiate these products from ordinary snacks and makes them less accessible to children.
The Allure of Edibles
Edibles are attractive to many new and experienced marijuana users for a variety of reasons. Some wish to avoid smoking and the risks that accompany it. Although vaporizers also allow users to avoid the risks of smoking, not everyone who would like to consume cannabis, either recreationally or medicinally, wants to purchase a vaporizer, take the time to learn how to use it, or inhale their cannabis at all. Edibles, on the other hand, are easy and generally pleasant to consume, and they don’t require any equipment. Some medical users also prefer edibles because the effects last longer, allowing them to manage their symptoms with less frequent consumption.
The problem that many novice users (and some experienced ones) have with edibles is that not only do the effects last longer, but they also come on much more slowly than with inhaled cannabis. While most users feel the effects of smoked or vaporized pot within 3-10 minutes, it can take 1-3 hours after eating marijuana products to feel their full effects. As a result, many make the mistake of eating more before their edibles have fully kicked in and, consequently, end up becoming much more stoned than they would like. Maureen Dowd brought national attention to this phenomenon in her June 2014 New York Times piece, in which she describes spending eight hours in a hallucinatory state, unable to move and wondering whether she had died. To help users avoid this uncomfortable experience, the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute advises starting with a dose of 10 mg or less of THC and not consuming more until a full two hours have passed.
Smoking Tolerance ≠ Edibles Tolerance
Be aware that even if you have a high tolerance for inhaled marijuana, this does not necessarily translate to a tolerance for edibles. In fact, THC has a different chemistry in the body after it is eaten than after it is inhaled. When eaten, THC passes through the liver before reaching the brain. In the liver, delta-9 THC is transformed into 11-hydroxy THC, which has a more psychedelic effect than delta-9 THC. Even the most experienced and heavy ganja smoker should take care when consuming edibles, starting small and increasing very gradually until finding the dose that provides optimal effects.
Although overconsuming edibles can result in a very unpleasant experience, it does not carry a risk of toxicity like that of alcohol and many other drugs. THC can produce profound feelings of anxiety and paranoia by overloading the cannabinoid receptors in the amygdala, which is associated with the “fight or flight” response. However, while 10 servings of alcohol can be lethal, it would take thousands of times the amount of THC contained in a joint to pose a risk of death. If you happen to get higher than you’d like on edible pot, being somewhere private and safe (like your own bed or couch) and having a friend nearby can help to calm feelings of panic and paranoia. One edibles producer suggests that putting on a Pixar movie and taking a nap can help you ride out the high. If kids or pets get into your edibles, however, they may need medical attention. Make sure to always keep edible pot away from unsuspecting adults, kids, and animals to prevent accidental ingestion.
Want to make your own edibles at home? Click below to download our free eBook, with valuable information about decarboxylation and dosing along with tasty recipes!
Nature's Gift Shop in Pueblo West offers a wide variety of edibles, buds, concentrates, and marijuana accessories. Stop by to check out our full selection and chat with our friendly, welcoming staff. We can help you find cannabis products to suit your personal needs and preferences.
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The Nature’s Gift Shop blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice or a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice a qualified health care provider if you have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of anything you read on this website.
Photo credit: By nickolette from Bulgaria (the ganja cult) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons