Start Low, Go Slow: A beginner’s guide to edible cannabis

For those who prefer not to smoke, cannabis edibles can offer a welcome alternative. However, edibles react differently in the body, so it pays to remember a few guidelines.

From gummies to rich, infused chocolate, the possibilities of edible cannabis products seem endless, but if you’re new to cannabis – or to edibles – where do you begin?

We’re here to help you begin your edible journey and share some tips and strategies to ensure you’re giggling all night long – if that’s your goal. If you’d rather just relax, well, there are edibles to support that goal, too.

Why edibles? For new or returning users who prefer not to smoke, edibles offer a welcome alternative. They’re easy, they’re inconspicuous, and you don’t have to worry about the harshness some people find when smoking. However, edibles react differently in the body, compared to smoked cannabis, so it pays to remember a few guidelines.

First, what effect are you are trying to achieve? The main three edible options you’ll need to consider are products containing mainly CBD, those with mainly THC, or a mix of both.

CBD-infused edibles are popular for relaxing, reducing anxiety and their suggested anti-inflammatory properties, without the psychoactive effects of THC, meaning there’s no “high.” The size of CBD dose changes for different uses. For beginners wanting to try CBD, choose your favourite style of edible treats from your local dispensary, beginning around 10mg of CBD per unit.

THC-infused edibles are the most popular choice of cannabis edibles, and are for those looking to indulge in the full cannabis experience without smoking or vaping. The right amount of edibles can bring a euphoric feeling along with all-night-long laughs about the silliest topics, but too much can also relegate users to the “sunken place,” for lack of better words. THC edibles should always be taken with extreme care – more on that a little farther down.

For those looking for a more subtle THC high, and the wellness effects of CBD, you can have your infused cake and eat it too. While the high is not a vastly different experience from THC-only infused edibles, having edibles with both THC / CBD can reduce the stress and anxiety someone may have about taking cannabis, or be useful for someone who gets slightly more anxious while using cannabis.

Note that edibles are restricted to having 10mg of THC per package, but for new users that’s a pretty heroic amount and should definitely not be taken all at once.

Start low and go slow.

You really can’t say it enough – go low and slow. The difficulty with edible cannabis stems from how long it can take to kick in and the infamous mistake is taking too much – thinking the first dose hasn’t “worked,” then taking a second dose and it ends up being far too much.

Edibles take different amounts of time to kick in for different people, depending on factors such as metabolism, age, gender, if you’ve eaten recently and much more. Generally, you’ll begin feeling the first effects around an hour and within two hours you are feeling the full effects, but it can take up to four hours to feel these effects and they can last for another four – or even up to 12 hours.

But how much exactly, you ask? For most people with little or even no experience, starting with 2.0 to 2.5mg of THC is suggested. Some people may benefit from a certain extent of micro-dosing at around 1mg to reduce aches and pains without melting into the couch for the whole night. With more THC taken, the effects become greater, so proceed with caution using these starting points and remember: you can always take more, but you can’t take less than you’ve already done.

Now that you know what edibles to get, how you store them? Carefully! While edibles may look like candy, and smell and taste a whole lot like candy, it’s imperative to remember that they can be hazardous. The last thing you want is a pair of young hands seeing rainbow-coloured “candy” and digging in, not to mention any critters that may be running around the house. Be sure to store edibles securely and out of reach from children and pets, and remember you can’t drive or operate heavy machinery on any amount of THC.

Check with your local dispensary or connect with local artists to buy a locking “stash box,” a handmade wooden container similar to a humidor, as a perfect way to keep your goods safe.

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