Know What You’re Consuming: How To Accurately Dose Infused Edibles
When cannabis is smoked (or vaporized), the effects are immediate because we intake the smoke into our lungs alongside oxygen. Edibles, tinctures, and salves take longer to kick in and the effects are not the same. Many people are making the mistake of not learning enough about an edible before they begin to munch.
Understanding Cannabis Consumption Methods and Their Effects
What I tell all of my patients is, “You can always eat more, you can’t eat less.” If you are new to edibles, don’t take a giant bite out of just any cookie you get from the dispensary. It’s important to read all the labels, ask any questions, listen to your body very closely, and tread lightly.
“When something travels through your saliva it takes only minutes to get to your brain; when you consume food, it has to pass through your stomach and liver, which will take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.”
Just because something tastes good, doesn’t mean you’re supposed to eat all of it in one sitting. This experience will resemble the first time you tried a drug, whether it was alcohol or a pill prescribed by your doctor. The effects are unexpected and anything can be overdone, resulting in a negative experience.
If you medicate with a sublingual like a lozenge or tincture, the effects will occur much quicker than with something that you chew and digest. When something travels through your saliva it takes only minutes to get to your brain; when you consume food, it has to pass through your stomach and liver, which will take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Faster metabolisms will result in quicker effects.
It’s also important to understand that what you’ve already eaten and what you eat with your edible can alter the effects. Just like your doctor warns you not to eat grapefruit with certain cholesterol medications, if you eat mangoes, the effects will be increased and last longer. Also, the effects will change if you mix alcohol or other drugs.
Don’t End Up Like Maureen Dowd
Maureen Dowd of the New York Times recently spent an evening on the floor of her hotel bathroom in Colorado because she claims to not have realized that her edible was supposed to be broken into 15 doses.
For the general public, this may sound unsafe and excessive until you consider the patients with chronic pain who have been ingesting edibles for decades. Their tolerance is likely quite high and edibles are often the best way to help. Those interested in partaking in legal adult cannabis consumption in Colorado and Washington are encouraged to tread lightly when dealing with edibles.
Toni Fox, who owns 3D Cannabis Center, where Dowd received the edible, had the following to say about the incident, according to The Cannabist: “I believe the dispensary told her what the proper dosage was.” She says, “I believe her tour guide told her what a proper dosage is.” The guide confirmed Fox’s claim that he did in fact show Dowd around during her visit and warned her to be cautious with edibles. “We all know that the world is watching us,” says Fox, whose dispensary was the first recreational pot store to open in January. “He knew who she was. He’s going to inform her correctly.”
Dosing Is Unique To The Patient
If the packaging doesn’t contain specific instructions with clear dosing or mg amounts, do research. You would never take a medication from the pharmacy without knowing the dosage, and you shouldn’t do that here. You can always reach out to the edible company specifically or ask someone at your local dispensary.
Some patients have reported negative effects when medicating with an edible that is made with shatter or any type of solvent-based extracts. If you notice this, discontinue use. If making your own infused edibles from home, it’s recommended to stick with naturally infused oils.
To the very sensitive, this next part is for you. There is a design flaw in blindly trusting the dose recommendations, because everyone requires a different THC or CBD mg dose. There is a tolerance to consider for patients suffering from chronic illnesses who have been medicating with edibles for quite some time. The amount of an edible that a first timer eats is not likely to make a dent for the long-term user.
“It takes a few trials to find your footing, but once you’ve got it, you know your sweet spot.”
Once you get comfortable with how your body reacts to edibles, you will find that it’s just like a new diet or exercise routine. It takes a few trials to find your footing, but once you’ve got it, you know your sweet spot.
That doesn’t mean that all edibles are created equal because they all are absorbed differently. It’s wise to treat each edible as if it was your first. You’ll know when to take the training wheels off.