I've been prescribed medical cannabis, but I also have asthma and I really don't want to smoke anything. I've heard a lot about edible forms but am at a loss as to where to start. What do you suggest?
Edibles are a great way to get all of the benefits of cannabis while avoiding any irritants that smoking may cause. They're also a much more discreet form of medicating. Plus, they're delicious!
The legalization of medical marijuana in many states has made it easier to access a wide variety of edibles in almost every format you can imagine, from candy to baked goods, savory ones, drinks, and more!
Many people choose edibles because they give you more of a "body" high than a "head" high, making it a great choice for folks who are trying to combat body pain or insomnia.
I have a buddy who can't smoke because of lung issues, so he bought a cannabis lozenge from the local dispensary. Not having any idea about it and neglecting to ask anyone first, he consumed the entire thing and his high lasted for over a day. While some folks might be into that, not everyone is, so it's a good idea to find out a bit more about what you're consuming!
The one big thing you should know about edibles is that they take longer to kick in and they can be more intense and last longer than if you smoked. It can take up to an hour or more for the THC to enter your system and for you to feel the effect, because it is absorbed through your gastrointestinal tract, rather than your lungs (which has a more immediate effect). And different edibles can take longer than others to take effect. For instance, a drink or tincture will be absorbed faster than a heavy baked good like a dense chocolate brownie.
And because the way it's absorbed, edibles will also last a lot longer in your body. While an inhaled high usually lasts an hour or two, a high from an edible can last anywhere from 4-12 hours, or longer depending on the dose. It is because of this long lasting high that you need to really understand how much you are ingesting.
Edibles can contain anywhere from 5 milligrams of THC to 100 milligrams, so please, please, please check the dose of whatever you purchase so you can control your dose. The biggest rule, especially if you are just trying edibles for the first time, is: Start small and slow. Start with 5 milligrams and then experiment up from there.
This might mean that you need to test out doses a couple of different times before you find your sweet spot. For some folks, that might be a quarter of a brownie square, for others it could be a handful of THC gummy candies. Regardless of the edible you chose, consume a 5 milligram dose, wait an hour, and check in to see how you feel. Then, the next time you decide to medicate, stick with that dose or go up to 10 milligrams if you decide you need more of an effect.
Do not try to eat more while waiting for the edible to take effect because you're impatient about feeling a high. Eating a larger dose does NOT mean it will take effect any faster. It does mean that it might last longer than you wanted and give you a much more intense high than anticipated.
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Know that if you do end up eating too much, the effects might be unpleasant, but they will not be harmful. You cannot die or overdose from consuming marijuana in any form. Too much of an edible, however, can make you feel paranoid or anxious, perhaps have you seeing hallucinations, or increase your heartrate. If this happens to you, make sure you remain hydrated and find a quiet, calm place to lay down and remind yourself that this will end. Try to sleep it off if possible.
All that said, edibles can be a fabulous choice once you've figured out the dose and timing that works for you. So grab a gummy, down a drink, lick a lollipop, nibble on a nugget of caramel, or chow down on a cookie and reap the benefits of this fabulous plant!