Many Medical Marijuana patients are looking for alternatives to smoking their medicine. The biggest advantage of smoking or vaporizing is how quickly you feel the effects and can adjust your desired effect by continuing to smoke or vaporize or stopping. Another alternative is edibles (medibles), marijuana infused foods. There has been an explosion of bakeries and kitchens around Colorado offering a host of sweet and savory foods with the medicine “baked in”.
To create edibles you must extract the THC from the raw plant flower (bud). This can be done by soaking the bud in alcohol or fat. In most cases the cooking is done with fat such as oil, butter, or a vegetable fat called glycerin. Glycerin has the consistency and sweetness of honey.
THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, must be heated to be activated. Eating raw marijuana will not have an effect. The effects of eating marijuana infused foods take longer to feel than those from smoking. The food must go through the digestive process and then hit the blood stream. The effects will be felt within 30-60 minutes on an empty stomach, or up to two hours after a meal. The duration is usually 4-8 hours (with smoking the effects generally last 1 to 3 hours).
Eating cannabis gives more of a “body high” relieving aches and pains, increasing appetite, and can induce drowsiness and deep sleep.
The biggest concern with edibles is finding the correct dose for you. It is important to start slow. Try ¼ to ½ of the recommended serving. It is extremely important that you WAIT to feel the full effects. It is okay to consume more after 2 hours if you have not gotten your desired effect.
It is possible to consume too much cannabis. This generally gives an uneasy, anxious feeling and possibly even slight hallucinations. Don’t worry! No one has ever died from marijuana. Relax! Eventually the effects will wear off. If the feeling you are experiencing is too uncomfortable you can take activated charcoal. Activated charcoal can be found in pill form in health food stores. It will help absorb the THC to minimize the negative effects you feel.
THC is stored and absorbed in body fat, an important point to remember when calculating how edibles will affect you. People with a high BMI (body mass index) may feel the effects more, needing to consume less. For people with less body fat, adding fat with your consumption of cannabis will give a better effect. For example, eating nuts or avocados with your edible will help improve your absorption of THC.
Some people never “feel” edibles. Research suggests this is due to a difference in genetics. If you find that edible cannabis doesn’t work for you after a reasonable dose, you may be genetically unable to medicate in that manner.
Some infused foods that are available include baked goods: brownies, cookies, cheesecakes. Hard candy, suckers, gum, ice cream, drinks, chocolates, coffee, tea, tinctures, popcorn and snack mixes to name a few.