You may remember edibles from such episodes as “it’s not hitting me, I’m gonna take more,” followed by “the world is melting and I can’t separate my perceived anxiety from my tangible existence.”
Edibles are becoming an increasingly popular choice for cannabis consumers, and have come a long way from DIY brownies that were basically a shot in the dark for potency.
Daily Hive spoke with Brandon Wright, CEO of Baked Edibles Inc. in Victoria, BC, to learn everything you need to know about edibles and how to safely consume.
- Oh Henry! announces new '4:25' bar will be available across Canada this summer
- Molson Coors reportedly considering expansion into marijuana industry
- Study shows need for patient access to cannabis as medicine
Interview has been edited for length and clarity.
My first question, very simple – what are edibles?
Edibles are a special cannabis product that has been infused with cannabis oils and are typically a fairly stable form of cannabis consumption.
What about weed butter?
There’s a number of different ways to make cannabis edibles, but by far and away the most effective and most consistent way to do so is with oils that have been tested and with a known dose.
It’s possible for many people to make oils using butters and soaking the cannabis in their favourite cooking oils. But obviously for us, for a commercial setting what we’re looking to do is take an extracted oil product that’s a high potency and standardizing that and using that in all of our recipes.
It’s also a good idea at home if somebody’s looking to make their own edibles, to purchase a cannabis oil product that they know what the potency is already and maybe cook with that to make sure they have their potencies relatively where they like them.
I think a lot of people have had the experience of making edibles at home – myself included with hash, which was ridiculous – they end up with some kind of insane dose. Why does that happen?
I can definitely see a bit of a crap shoot for people who aren’t using tested products or aren’t using tested oils to cook with, because the truth is that potency really affects people in many different ways.
I’m personally a very low-dose person, and anything from 5mg to 15mg is enough for me. For some people it’s even less, and for some people it’s a lot more.
So there are a lot of edibles that get produced in someone’s home kitchen, and can vary anywhere from 5 to 50 to 100mg, and it’s possible to not have any idea what’s in them or just be completely approximating the whole time unless you’re starting with a known dose oil, and splitting that into a number of known edibles to at least get close.
The way we do it is we use standardized batches as much as possible, so we’re doing extremely large batch sizes, known weights, and known potencies that we’re adding to each weight, so that every product that’s coming out is as accurately close as possible.
What would you say are the most popular kinds of edibles?
Ah, it really depends on the situation!
Everyone is partial to their own, but something that’s been more popular in the past is a lot of the novel products, like cookies and brownies.
But these days we’re seeing much more of a transition between low-dose and consumer-friendly products, things like single gummies, and we’re coming out with our own line of mints.
We’re also seeing a lot of things like chocolate bars that can be broken into known squares, but at this point the things that are available typically follow the trend of what customers are asking for, and every customer I’ve ever known has asked me to have a consistent product that they know what’s in it.
Being able to break off that known dosage is also really important to most consumers, especially those who don’t have a tremendous experience with edibles.
Do different types of edibles produce different effects, or hit people differently – like eating a gummy versus eating a brownie?
Absolutely! We don’t know a tremendous amount about the entourage effect when it comes to ingesting edibles. We can assume that indica and sativa-like properties still do have effects, so the difference between edibles is the bio-availability of the cannabis in the edible itself.
Cannabis is a fat-soluble molecule, which is why we usually recommend taking cannabis edibles with at least a little bit of something to eat, typically fatty foods are good, and we mix the cannabis oil that we make with MCT oil and a binding agent called lecithin that will emulsify it and help it bind to the fat molecules better, so that it’s much more ready for your body to absorb.
Absorption of cannabis really depends on the strength of someone’s own GI tract, too.
It’s definitely dependent on the person and dependent on the way the oil is mixed and also the edibles that they’re consuming it in.
Fattier products containing fattier molecules like butter will have stronger effects than those that don’t have any of that.
Oh, that makes a lot of sense. Probably why people who try and cook it at home, make their own weed butter and stuff probably end up you know.. dosing a little high.
Exactly, and weed butter can be quite strong. Often at home when someone’s making their own butter, if they’re putting in several tablespoons in brownies… I mean, that’s a 40 to 100mg brownie.
Typically, with very average cannabis and very average butter, if you’re doing an overnight infusion you’re looking at somewhere between 5 and 10mg per gram as the strength of that butter.
I guess this depends on the individual too, but how long typically would edibles last?
It definitely would depend on the individual, but for most people it’s not as much as how long it’s going last, as how long it actually takes to kick in.
I think a lot of people don’t realize how long it truly takes for the full effect to kick in.
The effects could start kicking in around half an hour, but for some it could take as long as an hour to and hour and a half, especially if they ate them on top of a full stomach.
So that’s kind of where we start to hear that story like “oh yeah, I had an edible and I waited an hour and nothing happened.” It’s still in you, it’s going to go through you, so have patience.
The highs can last three to six hours, just depending on how much they’ve taken and how their GI tract is processing, and could be longer or shorter depending on the fat storage in their own body.
Typically, heavier people tend to store more of the fats that they eat in general, so they absorb cannabis more slowly and over a longer period of time, than someone who would absorb less fat as they eat each meal.
So eating it lasts longer than smoking it?
By far, yeah! Eating it is also much more stable. The high for smoking it looks like a sharp peak followed by a long low valley over the course of an hour, hour-and-a-half to 2 hours.
For edibles it really is a slow, gradual climb that starts kicking in anywhere between half and hour to an hour-and-a-half, and it keeps kicking in over the next hour to an hour-and-a-half.
Generally, the period where edibles get stronger, and the experience get stronger, lasts quite a long time in comparison to smoking.
Make sure to wait at least an hour after you’ve started to feel it before they deciding to take any more because it’s going to only get stronger for a sustained period of time.
What would be a good dose for somebody to start with, who’s a beginner and who’s never taken edibles before?
I would absolutely start with no more than five mg, especially if the person isn’t an above-average size.
Five mg is generally enough for someone to understand what feeling it is like, it’s a good dose for anyone who hasn’t tried cannabis before.
For most people, unless they’re hyper-sensitive to THC, five mg will give them that tingly, body feeling, the lights are a little bit brighter, but they’re not completely overwhelmed, whereas anything even higher than that for some people can be a very strong experience.
It’s akin to the first time you ever had a drink out of your parents’ liquor cabinet, if you were smart and you only had one shot or two shots then you probably felt pretty tipsy as a teenager, but if you’re dumb you drank an entire two-six, then you’re going to have a really bad time on your first experience.
After you’ve had that first experience, if you were smart about it, you’ll be able to relate your first experience to your second experience, so if you didn’t think you took enough the first time, you can always add to it.
But if you scare yourself off on the first time, it’s going be a long time before you want to enjoy it again.
For anyone who’s looking at it from a starting perspective, without a doubt the common expression as everyone knows is “go low and start slow.”
Same question for both intermediate users and advanced users in terms of dosage…
It really depends again on the person, but more advanced users are probably taking just a little bit higher, but again it really is person-by-person.
I consider myself an advanced user and I only consume 5 to 15mg each time, that’s where I like to enjoy my experience – although I do know people who consume anywhere from 200 to 400mg at a time and have a similar experience to what I do.
What’s the highest amount of THC you can get in edibles?
Right now, the highest dose product we carry is a 400mg brownie, although people who are consuming that are very experienced cannabis users and have been doing it for quite a long time, and they may not be fully absorbing the maximum effect of the dose.
Can you overdose on edibles?
If you want to define “overdose” then I’m happy to say yes or no, but in the general sense that everybody understands an overdose I would say no – there really is no dangerous overdose on edibles other than if someone is able to simply recognize the mental effects of what an overdose is about.
With an edibles “overdose,” the most common advice you’re going to get is “go sleep it off.”
I can’t say this with 100% certainty, but there are no proven cases of cannabis overdoses that have been proven to be fatal, and I think that holds true for edibles as well.
If somebody took a little too much – what might that feel like?
It might feel a little bit panicky. Often the symptoms of taking a little bit too much are more than you can handle, a little bit of paranoia, any of the feelings you’d see in a typical movie when the cops are around.
Those feelings are quite normal. It’s normal to feel, if you’ve taken too much, that everyone’s looking at you. It’s just one of those things that you just have to understand is that you’re really in your own space when you’ve taken cannabis and your thoughts are your own. So as long as you’re able to manage yourself and manage your emotions and manage your mind, you’re not going have too much of a trouble, and if you’ve taken to much, just go sleep it off.