The cannabis plant, also known as weed or marijuana, is one of the most popular plants today because of its pleasurable high and many medicinal benefits. Its flowers contain a high concentration of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
Over 100 cannabinoids in weed, but THC and CBD are the most prominent and researched. THC products deliver a euphoric experience of marijuana. CBD products provide relaxing effects and deliver many therapeutic benefits. If you want a balance between experiencing the euphoric high and the medicinal benefits of cannabis, consume products that contain both CBD and THC.
The most popular methods of consuming weed include smoking/vaping and eating (edibles). We have heard of smoking and vaping, but can you eat weed? That is what we will discuss in this article. Bear in mind that this article is for informational purposes only and does not serve as medical or legal advice.
What are Cannabis Edibles?
Cannabis or marijuana edibles are foods that are infused with THC, CBD, or both. They may also contain other substances, such as terpenes and flavonoids. It may surprise you, but consuming cannabis-infused foods and beverages dates back at least 3,000 years.
Cannabis was used in Chinese and Indian medicine for thousands of years and was introduced to Western medicine sometime around the 19th century. The Chinese prescribed edible applications to treat digestive disorders and relieve chronic pain. During specific festivals, the Hindus consume a Bhang beverage, a mixture of cannabis leaves and flowers.
The recreational use of cannabis-infused edibles became a popular trend in the United States in the 1960s. With the legalization of marijuana in Canada and the United States, weed edibles are now available in the form of gummies, candies, brownies, tea, coffee, chocolates, capsules, oils, and tinctures.
You can buy these edibles from authorized stores as long as you live in an area where marijuana is legal. There are also shady dealers from the illicit market that sell ingestible weed, but we recommend not to buy from them to ensure safety.
If you have a passion for making food products, you can also make your edibles using cannabis-infused cooking oil or activated cannabis flower.
Can You Eat Cannabis Raw?
Yes, you can eat it raw, but it will not produce the desired effects you may expect from your usual weed. Raw cannabis does not have THC and CBD, but acidic forms of the cannabinoids called THCA and CBDA. These compounds undergo decarboxylation to transform into potent cannabinoid forms known as THC and CBD.
Decarboxylation is the process of applying heat to cannabis flowers to activate tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). You can do this by smoking dried cannabis flower or baking it in an oven.
Eating raw cannabis still provides you with some therapeutic benefits because THCA and CBDA have medicinal uses. Although the research is still in its early stages, cannabinoid acids may provide potential health benefits to the body.
Nonetheless, acids are not as potent as activated cannabinoids. If you want to have an excellent edible experience, it is best to consume candies, oils, tinctures, baked products, and beverages that contain THC, CBD, or both.
Health Benefits of Marijuana Edibles
When you consume cannabis edible products, you get to enjoy the plant’s many health benefits. Cannabis has been used to treat many ailments in the past. Many health professionals encourage some patients to use cannabis for specific conditions. If you plan to use cannabis for health purposes, be sure to talk to your doctor first.
Many people turn to cannabis to alleviate pain. THC, CBD, and other cannabis compounds interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the body to influence our sensitivity and perception of pain. Most medical cannabis users consume marijuana to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
Although the scientific literature cannot provide conclusive evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for anxiety, animal studies show promise. Also, many first-hand users report a feeling of euphoria and calm due to using cannabis in moderate amounts.
Make sure to determine how much THC is in the edibles, though. If you have a low THC tolerance, 5-10 mg of THC may already be strong enough to give you a high. Consuming more than that can intoxicate you and make you even more anxious.
Moderate consumption of marijuana can help with depression. Cannabinoids and terpenes can enhance the production of serotonin and affect your mood. Again, be careful with dosing. Too much cannabis can backfire and may worsen your depressive state.
The best way to negate the adverse effects of THC is to consume edibles that contain both THC and CBD or choose edibles that contain full-spectrum CBD.
Medical Cannabis Products
Medical cannabis products are legal in Canada, the United States, and other countries worldwide. These products are prescribed by licensed physicians in legalized areas or territories. In Canada, the production and sale of cannabis products are regulated by Health Canada. In the United States, medical cannabis products are not under FDA regulations but are subject to federal law and state laws.
THC is a psychoactive substance that causes the psychoactive effects of cannabis. It delivers a feeling of euphoria and is often believed to be responsible for the analgesic effects of cannabis. However, most people may not want to take it because it causes mind-altering effects.
Fortunately, there is another potent cannabinoid called CBD that can mitigate the intoxicating effects of THC and provide anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties.
The cannabis industry is full of consumable cannabis products that can deliver potent medical benefits. You can enjoy the benefits of THC, CBD, and other cannabis compounds in edible cannabis products such as gummies, oils, tinctures, and pills. If you do not want to vaporize cannabis, you can eat it directly.
These products can reduce muscle spasms, relieve nausea and vomiting, alleviate stress and anxiety, ease pain, and even get rid of symptoms of depression. Although some health care practitioners recommend using cannabis for digestive and neurological disorders, we still have to wait for further research into the effects of cannabis on these ailments.
Potential Side Effects of Eating Cannabis
Preliminary research and a ton of anecdotal evidence show that cannabis can provide many health benefits. Nonetheless, there are potential side effects that may occur, especially to users who have a low tolerance to THC.
Each person has a different tolerance level to cannabis compounds. That said, it is difficult to determine the actual dose you should consume in a day to get the potential benefits while experiencing the recreational effects of THC.
The issue with edibles is the longer time it takes to take effect. When you smoke or vape cannabis, it takes around 15 to 30 minutes to reach peak levels and approximately 2-3 hours for the effects to wear off.
For edibles, it may take around 30-90minutes for the effects to start manifesting and about 2-4 hours to reach peak levels. The onset and duration depend on various factors such as age, gender, body weight, metabolism level, amount of food eaten before ingesting the edibles, and many others.
The variable concentration of THC in edibles and the long onset period make it easy to over-consume THC edibles. Overconsumption can lead to unwanted side effects, such as anxiety and paranoia. Intoxication may also lead to impairment of cognition and motor ability. You become sluggish, lose control over your fine motor skills, and have slurred speech.
Although it is pretty rare, some users have experienced psychosis with symptoms such as paranoid delusions, hallucinations, confusion, and sedation. Physical side effects may include dry mouth, dry eyes, drowsiness, and altered visual perception.
Edibles can interact with certain medications, such as antidepressants and blood thinners. Therefore, you must talk to your medical practitioner before consuming cannabis edibles, especially prescription medications.
Lastly, handle edibles with care and keep them out of reach of children. Edibles look delectable and may be mistaken for an innocent snack. Baked goods, gummies, candies, and chocolates can attract the attention of children and pets. Cannabinoids may interfere with the growth and development of minors. Be responsible and keep your edibles away from them as possible.
Is Eating Weed Better Than Smoking It?
There are advantages to smoking cannabis. First, it delivers the active compounds directly to the bloodstream. As soon as you inhale the smoke or vapour through the lungs, the THC or CBD goes directly to the bloodstream and delivers effects in a few minutes. It bypasses the digestive system and the first-pass effect in the liver.
On the flip side, smoking can be harmful to the body. Inhaling smoke through the lungs can affect health in the same way as smoking a cigarette does. Cannabis smoke contains toxic chemicals, such as hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, and other harmful substances. Hence, prolonged smoking may be bad for your health.
Edible products, on the contrary, have no negative impact on the lungs or cancer risk. Therefore, consuming edibles can be a better alternative to smoking. If you are concerned about the harmful health risks of smoking weed, ingesting cannabis is your best option.
How to Consume and Enjoy Cannabis Safely
Choose your edibles carefully and buy them from a trusted source. If you only want to enjoy the health benefits of cannabis without experiencing the high, choose CBD-only edibles. If you desire to experience the high but do not want to get too anxious, consume edibles with a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD. If you can tolerate a larger dose of THC, go for THC-only edibles.
The wise thing to do is to start with a low dose. Low-tolerance edibles come in 1-2 mg of THC. Determine how many milligrams of cannabinoids are in an edible before consuming it. Always buy products that are appropriately packaged. Clearly-labelled packaging allows you to determine the proper dosage.
If you want to get edibles to treat a medical condition, talk to your doctor and learn if marijuana is a safe option. Depending on where you live, you may be required to get a medical prescription to purchase medical marijuana from a licensed dispensary.
Certain conditions require the recommendation of a physician. These conditions include:
- chronic pain
- inflammatory bowel disease
- multiple sclerosis
- terminal illness
If you want to eat edibles for recreational use, check the legality in your location. Also, eat edibles only during your leisure. The effects peak after an hour, two hours, or several hours. Other food items in your stomach may delay the onset. If you consume edibles on an empty stomach, the effects may manifest quicker.
Purchasing Safe and Quality Edibles
Legal and safe products come in quality packaging. They provide you with the correct information about the product, including the THC and CBD content. You can quickly determine if it contains a small or high dose.
When you consume your first dose of edibles, be sure to start with a low dose for safety purposes. Whether you take it for medical or recreational purposes, start consuming edibles with a relatively lower dose and gradually increase your consumption when you have appropriately determined your tolerance level.
If your doctor prescribes a specific dose, stick to the recommendation to avoid the risk of potential adverse consequences. Overconsumption can lead to anxiety, paranoia, possible psychosis, and other nasty side effects.
Why Purchase from A Licensed Store or Dispensary
If you buy from the illicit market, you risk buying low-quality and unsafe products. You never know what is contained in the product because it has probably never undergone lab testing.
Licensed stores and dispensaries test their products for safety and potency. Independent third-party lab tests determine the potency of the cannabinoids in the product and check for harmful substances, such as pesticides, heavy metals, solvent residue, molds, fungi, and the like.
Edibles provide you with a safer alternative to consuming weed. Instead of smoking, you can eat cannabis products and use them for medical or recreational use. Be sure to get them from a licensed cannabis store like us to ensure potent and safe.