What are marijuana edibles?

Marijuana edibles are food and drink products that have been infused with marijuana or marijuana products. These products typically contain a high level of fat, which activates the THC in the product allowing it to get people “high”. Alternatively, the THC is typically pre-activated by cooking it into oil or butter, and then using that oil or butter in products the same as you would with their non-marijuana counterparts.

CBD gummies plate

Why are edibles becoming so popular?

Edibles have rapidly grown in popularity in recent years (though to be fair, they’ve been a mainstay for decades). So much so, that in some legal marijuana states the amount of edibles purchased makes up almost half of all marijuana sales. But why are edibles becoming so popular?

There are several reasons for this:

  • Just over the past eight years almost a dozen states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana. Over 30 have legalized medical marijuana. The increase in legal access has led to a massive increase in the amount, variety and quality of edibles available. The reason for this is pretty simple: Many people don’t take the time, or find it too complicated, to make marijuana edibles at home, whereas they are perfectly happy purchasing them from marijuana outlets who typically have a wide range of products ranging from gummy candies to savory items like popcorn.
  • More than any other age group in recent years there has been a large increase in the number of seniors using cannabis (whether recreationally or medicinally), and seniors overwhelmingly choose edibles over smokables at a higher rate than those who are younger.
  • Edibles have a much longer lasting effect, so for those who don’t want to smoke every hour or two and wants a sustained 4-6 hour high, edibles are the way to go.
  • Edibles, especially modern edibles, don’t tend to have a strong marijuana smell like smoke does, so it’s easier to consume marijuana stealthily through edibles (which is still a concern for some, even in legal marijuana states, given they may have friends, family or colleagues who disprove of it).

THC content of edibles versus smoking

There are two primary differences when it comes to the effects of smoking marijuana compared to consuming marijuana edibles.

  • When smoking marijuana, the initial effects are typically felt within a matter of second, and the full effects within a matter of 5 to 15 minutes. However, for marijuana edibles, typically the initial effects aren’t felt for 30 to 45 minutes, and the full effects within 90 to 120 minutes. However, these numbers can vary significantly from person to person (weight and metabolism, for example, can have an effect).
  • The effects of smoking marijuana typically last around 90 to 120 minutes. Edibles, on the other hand, have an effect that typically lasts around 4 hours, and sometimes as long as 6 hours.

The effects of marijuana edibles tend to be stronger than that of smoking, and there is often much more of a “body high” that goes along with edible consumption.

Fear of over-consumption

Many people are concerned about using marijuana edibles because they are afraid they may consume too much and thus become sick or fearful. Given the massive range of THC content in edibles on the market today, this fear is relatively reasonable, but there are ways to make sure you avoid any bad times with edibles.

  • Read the labels and start slow. Some products in legal markets contain up to 100 mg of THC: In legal medical marijuana markets with less strict regulations some products may even have up to 500 mg. However, most products at legal marijuana stores contain somewhere between 5 – 50 mg. We suggest starting off as low as possible – say 5 mg, or even a 5mg item cut in half to make it 2.5mg – and see how it effects you. You may find that 2.5 to 5 mg is perfect for you. Or, you may find that it has little to no effect: In this case the next time increase the amount to 10 mg, then 15 mg, and so on until you reach the amount that’s perfect for you. Take into consideration that edibles made from sativa or indica strains may have different effects.

If you do end up taking too much, and start feeling sick, simply:

  • Stay calm and find a place to sit back or lie down
  • Close your eyes and breath in through your nose and out through your mouth
  • Drink plenty of water

Typically any sickness felt from consuming too much goes away quickly – within 5 to 20 minutes. If it doesn’t, then just keep your eyes closed and try and fall asleep (which often isn’t hard after a high-concentrated edible): You’ll almost always wake up completely fine, if not a little parched.

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