While edibles are thriving in the legacy market and in the U.S., Canadians won't be able to legally purchase edible cannabis products until at least December 2019.
Canadians will just have to be a bit more patient until when they can take advantage of the convenience of pre-dosed, packaged edibles at legal cannabis stores, but this doesn’t mean that one can’t experiment with making edibles at home.
The Tricky Business of Edibles
Edibles are a tricky method of consumption for a few reasons.
One of the big rationales for Canada being in a holding pattern with edibles is due to the questions around dosing. Questions around potency, limits of THC in products, consistent dosing across products, and ensuring that Canadians understand how edibles differ from other methods of consumption are some of the issues that keep edibles out of the market, for now.
Indeed, edibles are a very different means to consume your cannabis than more traditional ways to consume cannabis like smoking or vaping.
When you consume cannabis, it’s taken to your liver via your stomach’s lining, where the THC is transformed into 11-Hydroxy-THC, which is like “super-THC”, which is why edibles tend to carry a more potent psychoactive effect or “high”.
Through the liver, the THC can cross the blood/brain barrier much more effectively, which is another reason edibles tend to have a stronger potency.
Cannabis edibles take a lot longer to take effect than more traditional methods like smoking or vaping because of the body’s process of breaking down the fats and cannabinoids via the stomach and liver. For this reason, people always say to wait 30 minutes to an hour to feel the full effects of an edible before consuming any more.
Edibles can be a pleasurable experience if your dose is right and you’ve timed your dosing to your desired effect, but they’re always something that should be used with caution due to the heavy potency and its delayed effect.
DIY Edibles Dosing
For edibles at home, the art and science of dosing can be mastered to ensure that the edibles you’re making are giving you the desired effect, and not sending you into outer space.
If you’re making cannabis butter or cannabis coconut oil, or if you’re using decarboxylated (heated) flower, there is a simple way you can figure out how much cannabis to put in your edible:
Understand the percentage of THC in your flower. This will be on the label of your legal cannabis. For the purposes of this equation, let’s use 20% THC as a guide;
Multiply .2 by 1000 to get the per-gram milligram amount: For 20% THC, you’ll have 200mg in a gram of cannabis;
If you’re making 24 edibles, adding in 3.5 grams of cannabis (an eighth) will yield edibles of 29mg per edible (200mg x 3.5g = 700mg / 24 edibles = 29 mg per edible). For a stronger dose edible, either double the amount of cannabis or make 12 edibles of 58mg.
What’s the Best Dose?
Everyone is different with how cannabis affects them, but as a general rule of thumb, 2mg-5mg of cannabis represents a microdose, while for newbies to cannabis, 5mg would be a good starting dose. 10mg is usually suitable for those who consume cannabis regularly and have a higher tolerance.
Another rule of thumb: you can always add with edibles, but you can never take them away! This is why starting slow is so important, adding in increments as you are able to feel the full effects of the edible.
A Note on Microdosing
Edibles are fantastic for those who want to embrace the growing practice of microdosing: taking smaller doses of THC (2mg-5mg) at more regular increments, rather than taking large doses in fewer sessions.
Microdosing allows people to feel the medicinal benefits of THC, of which there are many, while many reporting microdosing THC as a way to bring more mental clarity and focus.
Microdosing is also very common within the fitness community, who recognize the elevating benefits of low-doses of THC as a support to the health regimen. Creating low dose edibles are an excellent way to embrace Microdosing into your lifestyle.
One important note for any edible recipe is to ensure that you thoroughly mix your ingredients, especially the cannabis, so to ensure an even distribution of cannabinoids across each unit.
Here are some fantastic recipes to get you started on creating edibles:
- Canndora’s Chocolate Cannabis Cookies
- Cannabis Mocktail
- Cannabis Rice Krispie Treats
- Leafly’s Cannabutter Recipe
- Leafly’s Cannabis Coconut Oil Recipe
If you’re choosing to make edibles with raw cannabis, make sure you decarboxylate your cannabis. Decarboxylating your cannabis activates the cannabinoids within, which is a requirement for the THC to take effect (i.e. decarboxylation automatically occurs when you light up cannabis).
Here’s how to decarboxylate your cannabis:
- Set your oven to 220-235 degrees F, depending on your oven
- Finely grind your cannabis and place it on parchment paper over a baking sheet
- Bake the cannabis for 30-45 minutes; you’ll notice your cannabis begin to get darker
- Decarboxylated cannabis can be put directly into a recipe if you don’t have time to make cannabis butter or cannabis coconut oil.
Get High With a Little Help from Your Friends
Want to take some of the hard work out of making edibles?
The LEVO Infuser is a product that everyone has been raving about as it helps you make cannabis infusions in your kitchen, while blending in with all your other kitchen appliances. For those who need a bit of creative inspiration, Green Grass Kitchen is a subscription box that delivers pre-measured ingredients to your door each month with a new, fun recipe with which to make your own range of edibles.
Understanding dosing and how cannabis is absorbed through edibles, coupled with culinary creativity can be a fun and effective way to consume your cannabis. Have fun, be safe, and experiment with the recipes and doses that give you your desired effect.