With all the options available to medical marijuana patients today, many are choosing to explore methods of medicating beyond the traditional pipe or paper smoking and vaporizing. Marijuana infused products, commonly referred to as ‘edibles’, provide another option to patients who cannot, or choose not to smoke medical marijuana. Edibles come in many different varieties, including tinctures, cooking oils, desserts, drinks, snack foods, and even chewing gum.
Edibles Provide Safe Alternative
Many patients believe that ingesting marijuana is a healthier alternative to inhaling, because there is no exposure to carbon-rich smoke. This is not the case with vaporizing marijuana, as no smoke is produced. Some patients, such as those on supplemental oxygen, turn to edibles when other forms of ingestion are no longer a viable option. For patients with eating and digestive disorders, edibles are a great source of nutrients and calories. The same goes for cancer patients suffering from nausea caused by their treatments, and expecting mothers dealing with morning sickness. Patients choose edibles because of their discreet way of medicating. While others simply prefer the effects of ingesting cannabis to the effects of smoking.
When to Choose Edibles
Because most edibles are exposed to some kind of heat during the cooking process, many of the inactive cannabinoids such as THC-a and CBD-a, are converted to THC, CBD and CBN. The cooking process, as well as the high levels of THC found in edibles, work together to create the perfect treatment for many disorders, including chronic pain, muscle inflammation and spasms, autoimmune disorders, nervous system disorders, insomnia, and nausea. While anyone can enjoy the benefits of edibles, patients suffering from crohn’s disease, find this method of medicating extremely beneficial. Because Crohn’s Disease occurs in the GI tract, edibles distribute useful cannabinoids at the root of the problem, instead of having to rely on the bloodstream to carry them from the lungs.
Is The Edibles Effect Different?
Yes, it certainly is different. However, exactly what effect edibles will have on you depends on several factors: the type and potency of the edible, your tolerance, your body chemistry, and how much you’ve eaten. Because the effects differ from smoking, many are caught off guard by the strength and long-lasting effects.
Many people experience a heightened sense of anxiety and paranoia when they ingest an edible. Becoming familiar with it fades away those effects. When smoking marijuana, you instantly receive a small amount of cannabinoids within each hit. Where as edibles tend to hit you much more slowly. This allows the cannabinoids to be released in waves, as they are digested in the stomach.
Correct Classification of Marijuana Edibles
Though there are untold varieties of marijuana edibles available on the market today, they can all be split into three basic categories: those geared towards gastrointestinal uptake, those geared towards oral uptake, and a few that fit into a hybrid category that targets both. The most common edibles are geared towards gastrointestinal absorption. Edibles like brownies or cookies fall into this category. These edibles tend to take longer to activate, but produce a longer-lasting effect.
On the flip side, medical marijuana edibles geared towards oral uptake can affect a patient almost immediately, but tend to wear off faster, within two to three hours. Edibles like suckers and tinctures, that are held in the mouth, fall into this category. Drinks and chocolates fall into a hybrid category, because they are absorbed in the mouth and stomach. These cannabis edibles are a middle ground between oral and intestinal absorption, offering fast-acting relief that can last for four hours or more.
Choosing the Right Edible
When selecting an edible, it is very important to pay attention to the potency of the product. This will help you determine how much to eat. The exact potency of an edible can be tough for a patient to determine because the strength of an edible depends on the potency of the plant used. Some manufacturers just list the strength, while others label the amount of cannabis that is used. The problem with this, is that unless you know how potent that gram of marijuana is, there is no way for you to tell how potent the edible will be. The same goes for manufacturers who test their products for total cannabinoid content and list the number in milligrams. These numbers can be misleading because they completely disregard the individual bioactive compounds in the plant (THC-a, THC-V, CBD, CBN, CBG, etc).
Most patients considered 30-100mg to be a daily dose. 10-30mg is a good place to start if you are brand new to ingesting cannabis. However, only you can determine what dosage works best for you. This requires experimenting with different potencies and types of edibles.
Health Risks Consuming Edibles
Unfortunately, patients must exercise caution when purchasing edibles. Most states require nothing more than a commercial cooking license to sell to a dispensary or medical marijuana delivery service. Cannabis quality is nearly impossible to determine. Some companies use edibles as a way to dispose of marijuana that otherwise couldn’t be sold. Because of this, it is very important to get your edibles from a trusted source. Patients with severe allergies should use extreme caution when selecting edibles. Trace amounts of nuts, gluten, lactose, or even pet dander may be found in edibles.
Edibles Help Patients With Illnesses
Edibles are still a wonderful way to medicate. They can be extremely beneficial to cancer patients undergoing radiation, as well as those suffering from debilitating illnesses. Edibles are not only great tasting, but are also a great way for patients to introduce high levels of cannabinoids to their system. Marijuana edibles are allowing patients to treat their illnesses with more efficiency and flexibility than ever before.