Everything You Need To Know About Cannabis Edibles

by Gr0
Emjay's Edibles Guide. Photo by Elsa Olofsson

Everything You Need To Know About Cannabis Edibles: What Are Edibles and How to Make Them

Smoking cannabis is en vogue. While many people are getting into smoking weed now that it’s legal in nearly one-third of the U.S., there’s another way to enjoy cannabis you may not have tried: eating it.

People have been eating cannabis for centuries. Today, edibles are often spoken of as a mainstay in college experiences. But lots of folks still haven’t given their first cannabis edible a try. Whether it’s because of trepidation or they simply don’t know where to start.

If you’re a newcomer who’s edible-curious, you’ve come to the right place. Our comprehensive guide below will explain everything you need to know about edibles, including what they are, how you should consume them, and even how you can make your own.

Let’s get started!

What is an edible? 

In a nutshell, an edible is any food or drink that includes cannabis. Technically all food is “edible”, but most people will understand that you mean cannabis when you talk about edibles: whether it be tinctures, gummies, brownies, and other baked goods.

Turns out, that’s because cannabis is a versatile plant! There are multiple parts of the plant that contain THC, which is the main psychoactive component of weed, most notably the flowers. THC and a wide range of cannabinoids will also be found in cannabis seeds, stems, and even its leaves.

While many folks like to enjoy weed by smoking or vaping it, other people enjoy eating snacks that are infused with cannabis. Edible’s popularity is growing. In 2020, edibles accounted for 11% of the legal cannabis market share. When you eat weed instead of smoking it, you’ll actually have a slightly different experience because the cannabis is metabolized through your liver as opposed to directly into your bloodstream.

But it’s important to note, in spite of some fear-based hype: it’s not dangerous to eat weed. In truth, people have been eating cannabis-infused foods and drinking infused beverages as far back as 1000 BCE. This all ties back to the fact that cannabis was a revered medicine in ancient India and China.

Edible cannabis products are great for relieving stress, reducing pain, promoting sleep, and helping you to relax. In the U.S., recreational consumption of cannabis products only became really popular in the 1960s, but the art of edible creation is becoming more elevated each year. The edible market is booming, so the options for tasty cannabis-infused snacks today are endless.  

Kiva Terra Cannabis Edibles

Are edibles stronger than smoking weed?

There are some core differences between how your body absorbs cannabis when you smoke weed and when you eat cannabis-infused food.

When you smoke weed, the THC enters your lungs and is very quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. That freshly oxygenated blood enters your system in just seconds, bringing THC and other cannabinoids along with it. Therefore, it’s no surprise that smoking weed results in a really fast, intense high. You’ll feel the effects of smoking any type of weed almost instantaneously, with an onset time of around 30 to 60 seconds.

In contrast, when you eat weed or cannabis-infused products, your body has to digest that food before you can feel any effects. The THC is metabolized through the liver, and its onset time depends on many factors: how much you ate, how much you weigh, and your tolerance. Depending on the size of the edible THC dose, the onset time is around 1 hour to 2 hours. As a result, the THC and other components also stay in your body for longer, producing a slightly longer-lasting effect.

Edibles aren’t necessarily stronger than smoking because it depends on how many milligrams of THC you are consuming. It’s all about dosage. For example, if you were to smoke for an hour and take a lot of tokes in the process, you could end up with a higher dose of THC  compared to if you ate a low-dose, weed-infused cookie.

But it’s common for newcomers to cannabis edibles to accidentally eat more than they intend. For this reason, they could experience a more intense high than they expected, leading them to believe that edibles are “stronger” than smoking.

How do edibles work? 

Edibles come in a wide range of types, made with countless delicious recipes. There are drinks, gummies, pot brownies, pot cookies, peanut butter cups, and even cannabis cornbread. In most cases, people decide to make edible baked goods at home since it’s easy to infuse cannabis into their favorite dish.

You can technically put weed in just about any food or beverage if you have the right recipe. Even better, you can now find a vast edible selection from companies like Emjay, so you don’t even have to spend any time in the kitchen.

When you eat an edible, the food passes through your body’s digestive tract, starting with the stomach. After it passes the stomach, your liver will metabolize the active components in cannabis. During this process, THC will be converted into 11-hydroxy-THC. This is important since 11-hydroxy-THC is more potent and longer-lasting compared to regular THC.

There’s no way to change this process since it’s a natural result of your body digestion. As your body absorbs the new version of THC, it’ll both take longer to hit your brain and last for longer within your body. As a result, eating edibles gives you a longer and more intense high, which is why you have to be so careful with dosage and preparation. Age, weight, and genetics are factors that will make edible effects slightly vary from person to person.

How long do edibles stay in your system?

It all depends on how many edibles you eat, the dosage, and a variety of other factors.

The first thing to remember is that the half-life of cannabis will vary based on the strain and other physical aspects of the plant before it was added to your edible. Most cannabis strains have a half-life of about 30 days, but some studies show an average half-life of about 5 to 13 days while others show a half-life of up to 67 days, but this length will be determined by whether you are a casual or habitual user.

If you eat edibles often, your body will build up a tolerance. Since edibles take longer to metabolize, they’ll also stick around for longer in your body compared to inhaled weed smoke.

When people smoke weed, the THC levels in their blood start to go down pretty quickly after the high wears off. When you consume an edible, it might take over a day before you start to see a reduction in blood THC levels. In both cases, cannabis is stored in the body’s fat cells for close to 30 days after consumption.

This is super important to remember if you have a job interview coming up. You might not feel the effects of an edible after a couple of hours, but THC will still show up in your blood and be noticeable on a drug test for several days up to a month later after eating an edible.

How long does it take to feel the effects of edibles? 

When you eat an edible, expect to wait between 30 and 60 minutes before you feel its effects. You might experience a longer or shorter wait time depending on a bunch of factors, most commonly, your weight, age, and tolerance.

Remember, the effects of an edible will take longer to kick in since cannabis has to be digested and metabolized by your body before any of those compounds reach your body’s endocannabinoid system. It’s nowhere near as fast as the instantaneous effects you’ll feel from smoking or vaping cannabis.

The active ingredients in certain edibles can also change how long you have to wait before effects. If your edible product is water-soluble or contains a higher concentration of THC, you might feel the effects sooner.

How much food you have in your stomach will also affect how quickly you feel the effects of a cannabis edible. If you have an empty stomach, your body will quickly digest the snack and you’ll feel the effects of the THC much sooner. The reverse is true if you eat an edible after also eating a big meal. It will take longer to digest and won’t hit quite as hard. If you want to accelerate the clock a little bit, you can eat edibles on an empty stomach. There won’t be anything blocking the THC from reaching your liver and quickly reaching your bloodstream. When you do have more food in your stomach, studies have found the effects of the edible also last longer.

Emjay's Edibles 101 Guide. Photo by CRYSTALWEED cannabis

What is the right dosage for an edible?

Most legal cannabis market regulations have labeled one dose as 10 milligrams of THC. The “right” dosage for an edible depends on your goals and whether you have any experience with cannabis already. Generally, it’s a good idea to start with a low THC dosage and work your way up.

Smaller dosages are better for helping you sleep or inducing mild relaxation. Bigger doses are better for more pain relief experiences and are generally only recommended for those who have experienced smoking weed or consuming edibles frequently. Doctors may prescribe high THC content edibles to medical marijuana patients, as higher doses have been found to help with cancer, pain relief, epilepsy, and inflammatory disorders.

Here’s a breakdown you can follow if you are deciding how much THC to consume in a dose:

  • 1-2.5 mg of THC – This is ideal for first-time users or for a cannabis “microdose”. Even this small dose can help reduce anxiety and boost your focus or creativity.
  • 2.5-15 mg of THC – Of course, you’ll start to feel much stronger symptom relief and other effects once you move above 10 mg of THC or so. 10 mg is the standard dose that most edible servings come in in regulated markets, like California.
  • 15-30 mg – This amount of THC will induce pain relief, euphoria and is perfect for well-seasoned consumers. 
  • 30-50 mg – This amount of THC will help with pain relief and can lead to a euphoric feeling. This dosage may be a good choice if you have a high tolerance to THC after consuming edibles for many years, or for sleep. 
  • 50-100 mg – This concentration of THC will offer intense pain relief, anxiety relief, and relaxation.  This dose is not recommended if you’re new to edibles, but it’s a great choice if you already know what you’re doing and want an intense experience or want to relax for a while.
  • 100 mg and up – Doses above 100 mgs are often used in medical marijuana prescriptions, particularly for epilepsy, chronic pain, Crohn’s Disease, and many other ailments.

But you should also remember that the above are simply guidelines. Your body’s physiology is totally unique and you shouldn’t expect the exact same experience when consuming THC as your friends. One person’s metabolism could break down the cannabis at a slower rate than others. Our genetics, fat percentage, tolerance, and age are all factors.

For these reasons, you should start off eating low-dosage edibles and work your way up to more intense experiences over time.

What do you do if you take too many edibles?

It happens. Sometimes you’re at a party and partake in highly concentrated homemade edibles, or maybe you misread the label of some THC-infused candy and accidentally popped a few too many. In either case, it’s helpful to know what you should do if you ever eat too many edibles.

Be prepared for these potential side effects:

  • Sensitivity the light and noise
  • Disorientation or dizziness
  • Mild anxiety or paranoia
  • Nausea

Eating too many edibles shouldn’t be all that much worse than a mild hangover. The experience will definitely be uncomfortable, but remember that you’ll be okay in a little while and you’ll start feeling normal shortly. 

Cannabis can’t produce a lethal response because of toxicity. Most experts say it is impossible to overdose on cannabis.

So, when you eat too many edibles, don’t panic! Instead, lie down and try to eat a light snack, like crackers or chips. That will help your body absorb the THC more evenly and prevent you from feeling too many intense effects at once. It is also recommended that you take some CBD-only tincture or sublingual. The CBD helps to counteract the strong effect of the THC and may mellow out the high if you add it in addition.

Hydrate and sleep it off, if possible. It’s recommended that you drink a lot of water so your body will pass the THC and other compounds more quickly. Give yourself a temperature appropriate shower and adjust the light and noise levels so you’ll be comfortable while your body burns through the extra THC.

Give your system a few hours to digest and metabolize the edibles. Treating a large dose of cannabis edibles is a lot like treating a hangover from drinking too much alcohol. It’s a temporary issue and will go away on its own sooner rather than later.

Emjay Edibles Guide. Photo by Kym MacKinnon.

How are edibles made?

Edibles can be made either at home or in a professional setting, such as with chefs or at a factory. It all depends on the kinds of edibles you want to make or eat. While at home, most people stick to baked goods like brownies and cupcakes. It’s pretty easy to extract cannabis oil from flowers or other parts of the cannabis plant, which you can then mix into other baking ingredients. Cannabis binds to fat, so it is most commonly infused into a fat substitute: oil, butter, coconut oil. Best of all, cannabis oil doesn’t really change the baking process for pancakes, cookies, homemade chips, and more, so you can follow your existing recipe in most cases.

Many edible recipes call for some form of cannabis-infused butter, a perfect fat substitute. Cannabis-infused butter can be made at home or purchased from specific companies, just like cannabis oil can be purchased if you don’t feel like buying flowers and making the oil yourself. New technology, like Magic Butter or the L’Evo Oil diffuser, make creating homemade cannabis oil and butter simple.

There are several shortcuts you can take if you want to make your own cannabis edibles but don’t want to spend hours on preparation. Companies like Emjay and other cannabis brands create candies and snacking edibles through highly specialized and technical processes. We also make a variety of cannabis-infused gummies. These are perfect social snacks that you can share with your friends while on the road. They’re highly concentrated with 100 mg of THC and are ideal for experienced snackers who want something to help them sleep or enjoy some time with their friends in a controlled environment.

How to get started using edibles

At this point, we wouldn’t blame you if you are interested in using edibles in your daily life. But it’s important to get started the right way so you don’t have an initial bad experience.

What is the correct edible dosage?

Finding the right cannabis edible dosage for your first experience is crucial. You can use the above rules of thumb if you like, or just remember that you should err on the side of caution and stick to dosages of around 10-20 milligrams of THC at maximum.

By only eating edibles with low dosages, you’ll prevent yourself from having any major negative side effects and still get some positive benefits, like increased relaxation and a boost to your creativity.

Edible dosage is different from smoking or topicals 

What if you’re an experienced smoker and have a slightly higher-than-average tolerance to THC? If that’s the case, you can increase the dosage to around 30 mg if you feel confident. But remember – the experience of eating cannabis-infused edibles compared to smoking is going to feel different. 

Topicals are often found in higher milligrams, ranging anywhere from 100 mg to 1000 mg, and are absorbed through the skin transdermally. Topicals do not give you a psychoactive high like edibles, but aid in pain relief. 

Edible effects vary from person to person

Another big thing to remember is that your experience may not be the same as the experiences of your friends. The effects of eaten cannabis will vary dramatically from person to person. It’s all based on your unique physiological makeup.

In general, men can ingest slightly higher doses of THC. This is because of a few reasons. Men are larger than women on average, so their bodies require higher doses of things to feel similar levels of effects. Furthermore, men have a slightly faster metabolism than women, so their bodies will burn through the THC a little more rapidly.

Your genetics also play a role in how you experience edibles. Some people are just uniquely affected by THC and may have an intense experience even with a really small dosage. Other people are inherently resistant to THC and might have to take a lot to feel even minor effects.

Bottom line: be sure to start off slow and experiment with consuming edibles. You’ll eventually be able to increase your dosage levels and find the perfect concentration for your ideal experience.

Emjay's Edibles 101 Guide. Photo by Jeff W on Unsplash.

When it comes to edible doses, start small

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: start small! Although it may be tempting, don’t consume an entire packet of cannabis candies in one sitting. The vast majority of cannabis edibles purchased from Emjay and other producers are designed to be piecemeal, meaning one serving size is one ideal dose

Most edible candy bars are made so that you either share the candy bar with a party house full of people or so that you only need a single bite or two at a time. Remember, check the label of any new cannabis edible to see the total concentration of THC in the product, the size of each recommended serving, and the dosage of milligrams per serving.

That’ll give you a good idea of how much you’re supposed to eat at a single time. Take one and see how it affects you before eating more.

When it comes to making your own cannabis edibles, follow the same advice. Eat a single weed brownie, or even a bite of a brownie, and see how it affects your system. This will prevent you from accidentally eating too much and getting the hangover effects mentioned earlier.

How many milligrams should you take?

Not many. We’re cannabis connoisseurs here at Emjay, but we also know that it’s important that everyone have a great first experience when trying edibles.

We’d recommend sticking to around 10 mg of THC. That’s the best way to make sure you still get some great effects from your first experience but you aren’t also saddled with too strong of a dose your first go-around. Start low and build from there.

How long does an edible high last?

It depends on the concentration of THC and your own biochemistry. But in general, the high you get from an edible will last for way longer than if you smoke or vape cannabis. Expect to feel high for between six and eight hours on average.

The peak will come at around the middle of this time. For example, if you eat enough edibles to get a six-hour high, your high will “peak” at around the three-hour mark. If you have a faster metabolism or drink a lot of water, your high will be a little shorter since your body will process the THC and pass it more readily. 

Interestingly, you can extend the duration of your edible high by using the eating trick mentioned earlier. Have a snack before eating your edible and the THC will be released in your blood at a slower rate. This can extend your high and make your edible supply stretch for a little longer!

What kind of edible should I try first?

That depends on what type of high you’re going for. Depending on the market, many edibles are designed for experienced users, so they may have THC concentrations of 30 mg or even higher. California’s regulated market limits each edible serving size to 10 mgs, but the entire package can be 100 to 200 mgs in total.

We’d recommend starting with an edible that has a concentration of 10 mg. These can include certain THC-infused candies or gummies. Try one and wait to see how it makes you feel, then build on that dosage.

You can also make cannabis edibles at home and eat one of those. People prefer at-home recipes because you are able to control your dose, strain, and ingredients. Otherwise, there are many great places like dispensaries and websites where you can buy edibles.

Another alternative is trying a cannabis-infused drink. Some cannabis beverages have low concentrations of THC, 1 mgs or 5 mgs, making them great options for quenching your thirst and experiencing a mild high.

How to make your own edibles

Want to make your own edibles? You’ll need a handful of solid recipes to get started. Here are some easy ones to work with as you learn how to bake tasty cannabis treats for you and your friends.

Cannabutter recipe

  • Melt some butter in a saucepan and add a little water to prevent it from burning.
  • Add ground, decarboxylated weed.
  • Let it simmer for between two and three hours on 200-degree heat. Don’t exceed heat of 248 degrees.
  • Strain the butter into a jar. We’d recommend using a cheesecloth to catch any ground-up weed pieces.
  • Refrigerate your cannabis-infused butter and use it in any recipe.

Cannaoil recipe

  • Combine a single ounce of the ground and decarboxylated bud with 2 cups of any oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil.
  • Heat the mixture at 200 degrees for six hours or more without bringing it to a boil. Don’t exceed 248 degrees. 
  • Carefully add some water if necessary to cool the mixture. You’ll need to separate the water when straining the mixture, but it’s helpful if you need to quickly reduce heat.
  • Strain the oil into a jar or canister to use as a cooking ingredient.
  • Store cannaoil in a cool, dry place, or in the fridge. 

Cannabis brownies

You can use the above two ingredients to make delicious weed-infused brownies.

  • Add eggs, water, and the cannaoil or cannabutter together and whisk.
  • Mix the wet ingredients together with your dry favorite brownie mix.
  • Line the finished brownie mixture on a cookie sheet and stick it in your oven at about 330°F.
  • Let it cook for half an hour or recommended cook time, then remove the brownies and let them cool.

That basic recipe can be altered however you like. For example, you can add chocolate chips, add a certain kind of milk if you’re a vegan, peanut butter, and whatever your heart desires. The sky’s the limit!

The best edibles brands to try

Just like Emjay offers top-tier cannabis for home delivery, we also offer fantastic edibles choices. There are cannabis-infused tonics that are perfect for enjoying a cool drink after a long day and getting a good hit of THC at the same time. We also offer beloved cannabis-infused gummies in plenty of flavors, including wild cherry and wild berry. Emjay’s Milk Chocolate Bar offers consumers something more classic and traditional with a comfortable, smooth high. These choices are just the tip of the iceberg. 

Popular edible brands in California:

You can’t go wrong when choosing from Emjay’s entire selection of delicious cannabis edibles.

Buy edibles online with Emjay Delivery

Cannabis edibles are a great way to enjoy weed. Edibles offer you a way to enjoy weed and relax at the end of a long workday or socialize with your friends at a party, all without having to inhale smoke. Even better, many of the best edibles will give you a long-lasting high: perfect for enjoying yourself for an entire afternoon or evening.

You can find some of the best edibles on the market by using weed delivery services like Emjay. Since we hire our own drivers and own all of our own infrastructures, we’re perfectly positioned to offer you fantastic prices for top-tier cannabis edibles. Sign up if you live in the LA or San Diego areas and peruse our selection. 

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