If you are a medical cannabis newbie, choosing the right strain and delivery method can seem very overwhelming these days due to the extensive selection of products offering by dispensaries. While I encourage all beginning patients to try different delivery methods to determine which is best for you, I am going to talk about edibles in this post.
There is a dizzying array of selection of edible products available today. Not only food but drink products contain medical cannabis. Such products include infused pizza sauce, jams, teas, coffee, hot chocolate, ice cream, macaroons, energy bars, honey, BBQ sauce, salad dressing, chips, dried fruit, nuts, and pop tarts, just to name a few.
Here are the 3 top advantages and the 3 top disadvantages of using edibles as a delivery method for medical cannabis.
#1 Fewer Health Risks
For those who have lung conditions or disorders, smoking and even vaping medical cannabis can irritate the throat and lungs. Also, a lot of the medicinal benefits of all the cannabinoids literally “go up in smoke” and you lose a lot of its bioavailability. For those who do not recognize that word…and I will be the first to admit that I had to look up the definition… here is the definition.
The proportion of a drug or other substance that enters the circulation when introduced into the body and so is able to have an active effect.
#2 Stronger Full-Body Effects
Edibles provide the longest lasting relief than any other delivery system. Depending on your metabolism, the effects can last from 6-10 hours. With smoking and vaporizing, the effects last for 2 hours. With tinctures and sublinguals, they last for 4-6 hours. If you have widespread chronic pain, insomnia or nausea, you will want the effects to last as long as possible.
#3 Ease of Use
Not only are edibles easy to transport, but they are altogether easier to use. No decarboxylating, grinding or preparation needed. If you need to be discreet, edibles are DEFINITELY the way to go. No one need know, if that is an issue for you!
#1 Consistency Issues
Because there is no federal regulations for cannabis edibles, only state by state, it is currently quite difficult to figure out the right dosage. It is entirely trial and error, since there is no consistency between companies when it comes to potency. Even more troubling is that there is often inconsistency between one batch and another within the same company. In addition, the cannabis may not be evenly distributed within each product, which makes dosing even more undependable.
#2 Over Consuming by Accident
It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 60 minutes for a patient to feel the effects of the medicine, depending on your metabolism. This makes it much more difficult to control the dosing until it is too late. While cannabis over consumption is never fatal, it can cause unpleasant side effects such as paranoia, anxiety, nausea, dizziness, among other symptoms, especially for new consumers. With several other delivery systems like the patches, smoking or vaping, and tinctures, where you experience an immediate effect, dosing is much easier and more dependable.
#3 No Strain Specification
Currently, edibles are made with more than one strain of cannabis. As a result, most products do not contain the strains on the label. It is recommended that you only use edibles with the THC content labeled. Sampling the product is the only way to know if it will work for your condition.
The take-away from this post should be the following rule of thumb when you first start using edibles. Start with a very small amount; 10mg. If your edible weighs 40mg, break off a quarter. Wait at least an entire hour and assess the effects. If you don’t feel anything, wait an additional 30 minutes and try another 5mg which is another quarter, cut in half. Wait another 90 minutes to assess and increase the same amount, if necessary. Be aware that the way the effects of THC accumulates in your body is analogous to boiling water. It takes a lot of initial energy to get it to the boiling point, but once there it takes very little to sustain it. THC in edibles acts in a similar way.