September 8, 2016 | by Staff
The image of the stereotypical stoner smoker puffing away on a marijuana joint has been ingrained into the minds of the general public and for this reason, many people will not consider consuming cannabis. They don't want to be labeled as a ‘lazy stoner’ - even if they are actually consuming cannabis for health reasons. Introducing them to other ways in which they can consume cannabis without smoking it can potentially break the negative stereotypes and the cannabis stigma that is currently preventing so many people from experiencing the benefits that cannabis can give. Edibles and infusions are excellent alternatives for persons who want the benefits of cannabis without the negative side effects of smoking.
The term edibles can loosely be defined as any food that has cannabis as an ingredient in some form. Cannabis infused edibles have gained more exposure and popularity with the recent trend of states legalizing marijuana. In the states where the plant is legal more and more marijuana dispensaries are popping up. These dispensaries stay competitive by offering large selections of cannabis strains, accessories, and increasingly more infusions and edibles.
People who are turned off by the act of smoking cannabis will be more inclined to try it for the first time if it is in another form that is more relatable, for example in food form. Cannabis-infused butter or oil can be substituted in any virtually any recipe that uses these ingredients. High-fat ingredients like oil and butter are really good at extracting the therapeutic properties of the marijuana plant. There are a wide variety of ways to use cannabis in cooking but the baked goods like the banana bread made with cannabutter and hash brownies are popular favorites.
Edibles that are primarily absorbed under the tongue like candy or tinctures are referred to as sublingual edibles. A person who is trying cannabis for the first time may prefer to start with one of these edibles as unlike traditional gastrointestinal edibles (savory snacks, desserts, juices etc.) they are absorbed much faster via the tissues located inside the mouth and then directly into the bloodstream. Gastrointestinal edibles will take much longer to be absorbed as they have to be broken down by the body’s digestive system and so the consumer will have to wait to feel any effects.
Candy that is made with cannabis tinctures are also very popular as edibles because of their small size and sweet taste. Most of the time you will not be able to identify edibles that are well made by their taste or appearance - they will look and taste like ordinary sweets and the effects of the cannabis infused ingredients can take as much as two hours before they are felt, although an hour is more typical. For this reason, it is important that cannabis edibles be properly labeled so that everyone who is consuming them is aware of the ingredients, recommended dosage and possible effects.
Apart from social perception, one of the other major differences between consuming cannabis edibles and smoking is how they affect your body. Smoking and vaporizing allows the THC in cannabis to virtually be immediately absorbed into the bloodstream. The average time for the effects of cannabis to be felt when smoking or vaping is about 5 - 10 mins. This lets the person smoking / vaping experience the pain relief and euphoric feelings normally associated with cannabis right away. The effects of smoking are felt primarily in the head or on a mental level and this is sometimes referred to as a ‘head high’.
When cannabis edibles are consumed, the onset of the desired effects will take a longer time to manifest as the food is broken down by the body as it is digested. Although it takes longer for the effects to be felt, when they are felt they will typically be significantly more powerful than smoking and they are also felt more strongly as a full body experience rather than just a mental high. This full body effect makes edibles more suitable for persons who want to take cannabis for pain relief.
When using infusions and edibles to introduce cannabis to new consumers it is recommended that you prepare them for the experience as much as possible. Give them as much information about what they can expect so that they are not surprised by the intense feelings they may experience. Persons trying edibles for the first time should start with very small amounts.
As a rule of thumb cannabis edible newbies should ‘start low and go slow’ - this means that they should start with edibles that have lower concentrations of THC (cannabis’ psychoactive ingredient) and consume only a small portion until they know how their body will react. A dose of about 10mg is a good starting point and while it may seem like a rather small about to seasoned cannabis enthusiasts, it is better to start small and gradually increase the dosage as everyone will have different tolerance levels.
With edibles, the task of starting slow can be particularly difficult because many of them will taste very good and leave the person wanting more, but it is vital that beginners stick to only consuming a small portion when having edibles for the first time. If too much is eaten the resulting effect an hour or so later can be very intense and overwhelming.
The environment in which someone partakes in cannabis edibles is also an important factor that can make the first impression either very good or very bad. Cannabis is a mood enhancer and it tends to magnify whatever mood you are already in. It is best to enjoy cannabis edibles when you are already in a good mood. Ideally, you should also be in a comfortable environment and around people who are positive and supportive.
Edibles and infusions are a great way to introduce cannabis to new consumers. For the best results they should be attractively packaged (with clear labeling), they should be delicious, and they should be effective. As cannabis continues to gain legal status in more and more states we can expect to see more edibles and infusions available on the market and with good reason. They do not have the negative stigma that smoking cannabis has and they are in most cases much more effective.
Categories: Cannabis Edibles
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