Marijuana`s popularity is spreading further, and it is no more limited to smoking. Cooking with cannabis is a new fascinating opportunity for those who is tired of traditional ways of consumption.
Marijuana edibles: definition
Edible is a form of marijuana that can be consumed orally. Edibles can be either homemade or prepared in a commercial way and sold in dispensaries. The main characteristic for any type of edible is that it always contains cannabinoids, either psychoactive or not. THC-induced edibles are frequently used for recreational needs, while CBD-containing ones are mostly for medical users.
What you should know about edibles
If you have recently bought a cannabis edible or are just thinking about trying to cook it yourself, consider few important rules that will help you understand how to use them properly:
Start from the minimal dose.
This rule is extremely important! When it comes to edibles, you cannot just trust your body. The secret is that in oral form cannabis does not get absorbed as quickly as with smoking, vaping or dabbing. Getting through stomach and liver takes certain time, and you might get to the peak only after 1-3 hours after consumption. The problem with most users is that they take minimal dose first, and then assume that if they do not feel anything, the dose must be increased. This common mistake lets to getting an overdose and feeling much intoxicated.
Eat before you try.
Do not consume marijuana edibles on a hungry stomach. Consider cannabis-induced food a pill that should be taken with your meal. Otherwise, you have a chance to experience a pain in your stomach or even nausea.
Do not mix with alcohol.
While the combination of smoking and drinking alcohol is quite common, consuming cannabis edibles is different. If you have prepared a cannabis meal, it will be reasonable to replace alcoholic drink with simple water or juice.
Keep calm and don`t panic.
Did you know that consuming edibles is the main reason of «unexpected high» among newcomers? They often do not know that the effect of eating or drinking cannabis-based goods comes only after a number of hours, so overdosage is the likely outcome. If this happened to you, best thing you can do is to stop panicking and just wait until it ends. Marijuana overdose with edibles is something you just need to live through.
Benefits of consuming edibles
There are a number of reasons people enjoy consuming marijuana in its edible form:
You already know that the final high will reach you in a minimum of one hour after the consumption. However, the effect you feel will be longer-lasting: up to 6 hours. This is the main reason people choose edibles instead of smoking or dabbing marijuana.
To create goods infused with cannabis, you oughtn`t be proficient in cooking. Most marijuana recipes are very simple and require minimal knowledge and preparation.
Control over the ingredients.
When you make edibles at home, you know exactly how they were cooked and whether the ingredients were high quality ones.
Cannabis edibles are widely used for medical purposes like fighting cancer, reducing pain or blocking inflammation.
Greater variability of products.
When you dab or smoke, your choice is limited by a number of ready-made products designed specifically for this purpose. With edibles, the sky is the limit. You can add them everywhere where there is butter or oil in the recipe.
In some regions where smoking weed is still prohibited, edibles are a legal choice.
This is true if you buy the commercial cannabis products. Modern technologies of production allow to calculate the exact amount of cannabinoids within a product. With homemade cookies, a dosage is not so exact.
Marijuana edibles: history and development
Consuming marijuana edibles has long historical roots. First traces of it date back to India, 1000 B.C. Since that time, cannabis-induced goods have become more and more common. The first edibles in the history were:
An ancient dish with grinded cannabis used as treatment from anxiety, fever and problems with digestion and libido.
Hashish-based paste popular in Morocco. It is the first edible used for its psychoactive properties, not as medication.
The French author of this recipe, Alice B. Toklas, has become truly popular, since her publication has made a breakthrough in the culinary world. It appeared that cannabis edibles might be consumed without being cooked. This way, the intoxicating effects will be diminished. Since that 1954 volume, marijuana brownies have not missed a single point in its popularity and are still on shelves of all dispensaries.
Tainted Inc. has produced the first branded marijuana products and thus distinguished itself from all other marijuana cookers. The company created candy bars, which look similar to the market popular sweets — the difference was only in cannabis as a main ingredient.
The whole development of marijuana edibles can be nominally divided into three main stages.
The first stage covers the period when cannabis edibles were created for personal consumption and available only on the black market. The interest to such goods at this stage was minimal.
The second stage starts with the legalization of medical marijuana in California. The official permission to use marijuana for recreational needs has initiated the appearance of a number of homemade sweets and other cannabis edibles. They had the appropriate labelling and included either THC concentrate or the herbal marijuana as a main ingredient.
The third and the last stage of edibles development is the beginning of large-scale manufacturing. Cannabis edibles now vary in potency, flavor, and quantities. Most of them are using BHO extracts or other liquid concentrates as the THC source.
Why decarboxylate weed edibles?
The term that is closely connected with edible consumption is decarboxylation. Raw cannabis material does not provide any high effects on the user. It is because it contains THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) instead of THC. These cannabinoids are closely connected with each other: THCA transforms into THC either when the plant grows old or if it is decarboxylated. Decarboxylation is the process of releasing CO2 by means of heating.
Decarboxylation of cannabis products is not always necessary, because THCA also has a strong medical potential. However, if the aim is getting a psychoactive product, decarboxylation is obligatory.
Edibles are available in two modifications: THCA- and THC-based. THCA edibles have certain therapeutic value and are not intoxicating, so the high effect is absent. THC edibles are intoxicating, psychoactive, and more potent. To convert THCA into THC in home conditions, it is necessary to apply heat to your weed for some time using low temperatures. The most popular methods of fulfilling this aim are baking, slow cooking and boiling.
Baking. Place your weed in a thin layer on the parchment paper and cover it with an aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for half an hour, then let cool.
Slow cooking. Use olive or coconut oil as a complementary ingredient. For one pint of oil, you need to take 64 ounces of dry cannabis. Cook in a slow cooker for three hours, reducing the temperature every hour to get to minimal. Cool the substance and let it through the cheesecloth.
Boiling. Put cannabis in the tea bag and let it into the hot water with a bit of butter. You might also enjoy cannabis tea made this way.
How to dose properly?
Choosing a proper dose for a first try, it is necessary to remember that edibles are absorbed through stomach and liver and the effects are longer to come. Depending on the age, gender, weight and individual endurability, the intoxication might happen in 1 to 3 hours after consumption.
The potency of the cannabis-induced products is measured by milligrams that indicate the amount of cannabinoids (THCA, THC or CBD) present in the product. It does not mean that each piece contains the given cannabinoid amount; the number relates to the potency of the whole product. For instance, if the whole cannabis chocolate has 100 mg and consists of 10 pieces, it means that each piece will have 10 mg of clear cannabinoid inside.
Dosage that is recommended for the first try is 2-5 mg. Remember to evaluate the effect only after few hours. Increase the dose according to your reaction and personal preference. Experienced cannabis users might consume 20 and more mg at a time.
3 types of cannabis ingredients for edibles
Cannabis edibles cannot be made from weed only. The production might involve using product on marijuana basis. Check three main types of cannabis ingredients you might need to produce edibles:
Plant cannabis. It includes trim, buds, flowers or even leaves. Do not forget to decarboxylate your weed if you are aimed to get a psychoactive effect.
Concentrates and extracts. They are used for products that require a uniform oily condition, e.g. for chocolates.
Tinctures. Plant material is infused into alcohol or glycerin to create a water soluble product aimed for marshmallows or lollipops.
Kinds of edibles
Though the market currently presents a huge variety of marijuana edibles, all of them might be sorted into three main categories :
It is the most popular type of edible, where everyone can find its favorite. Food products on cannabis basis might take any shape, taste, and size: salads, brownies, sauces, candies, etc.
In spite of popular misconception, drinks are no less potent that food. THC-infused drinks are mainly presented by soda, tea and coffee.
They are the extracts on the alcohol basis, which are consumed by placing a number of drops under the tongue. Tinctures are mostly used for medical purposes because they let user control the exact amount of active ingredients.
Dissolvable powders are the cannabinoid distillates that have been forced into a liquid and dehydrated. They are frequently added to tea, coffee, smoothies or protein shakes.
The last two types are considered edibles because they are consumed in an oral way.
Making basic cannabutter at home
The most basic components for any recipe with marijuana is the cannabis oil and cannabutter. Making a basic cannabutter is not a complicated process so it can be performed in home conditions.
1 oz. of high quality weed;
1 cup of still clear water (or less);
1 lb. of butter.
Decarboxylate your weed using one of the methods indicated earlier.
Put all ingredients in a pot, placing cannabis on top of the butter. Use enough water necessary for the butter not to burn. Stir carefully and low-heat for 3-6 hours. The longer heating time is, the more cannabinoids there will be in the final product.
Cool the substance and put it to the fridge for a night to harden.
Remove the butter from residual liquid.
Is eating cannabis more dangerous than smoking?
Edibles are considered to be healthy alternative to smoking. However, frequent cases of overdose due to unclear dosage or unexpected delayed effect have negative consequences on health. Among the main effects of marijuana overdose with edibles, there are psychosis, panic attacks, paranoia and hallucinations.
Researches prove that many users are careless about consuming marijuana edibles. To prevent the mentioned problems, it is recommended to educate users so they know main consumption rules and are able to read labels and determine the clear dosage.
Top mistakes with cannabis edibles
Cooking with cannabis is easy if you know what to do. There are some most popular mistakes that new users make when they try to cook edibles for the first time. Check them all to avoid problems:
( - ) using raw cannabis;
( + ) using a decarboxylated weed.
( - ) using high temperatures for «faster» decarboxylation;
( + ) using low temperatures to save the cannabinoids.
( - ) deep grinding lets to a notable grassy smell;
( + ) grinding buds to the table salt consistency is most recommended.
( - ) using expensive top quality buds for edibles;
( + ) using low grade buds that are also good for cooking.
Stirring the substance:
( - ) lack of stirring results in the uneven consistency where one piece is no-cannabinoid and another one is too high on THC;
( + ) stir again and again to be sure of even distribution.
Cooking with concentrates:
( - ) all types of concentrates are cooked the same way;
( + ) each concentrate type requires individual approach to cooking.