THC cannabis edibles are far from new. In fact, ingesting cannabis was standard practice in ancient China after 2737 B.C.E. Of course, today’s edibles are more refined – and powerful.
Now, these products come in a variety of options. Pastries, drinks, candies and other assorted goods can be infused with cannabis. The end result is a very different “high” compared to conventional smoking.
There are many reasons – and precautions – to consider when using cannabis edibles. Understanding what they are and how to use them is essential. Take a moment to learn the details, but also feel free to leave questions in the comments below.
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Commonly known as simply “edibles,” cannabis edibles are foods infused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Consuming these products in large enough quantities causes cognitive impairment.
However, many users report that edibles are a very different experience compared to smoking. Like dry herb, the strains involved affect how the product performs. There are also edibles with CBD which are completely non-impairing.
For those interested in trying these, there are plenty of THC cannabis edibles available.
The infamous “pot brownie” is universally known – most likely due to its frequent use as a comedic trope; however, brownies are just the beginning. Virtually any baked good can be infused with THC.
Aside from brownies, they may come as muffins, cookies, and biscuits, to name a few. Bakers add cannabis-infused oil or butter to the recipe. Once digested, the active THC produces powerful effects.
The impressive part about cannabis candies is that they can be literally anything. If a conventional candy exists, rest assured that a cannabis version is available.
Gums, gummies, lollipops, fruit chews, hard candies, mints and caramels all have a place in the cannabis lineup. At their core, the recipes are the same. The only difference is that manufacturers add a special cannabis tincture during production.
Chocolate (in certain forms) already offers health benefits as an antioxidant; however, adding THC to the recipe takes a good thing and makes it infinitely better.
Chocolates are particularly appealing because they are easy to dose. Just like the cannabis-free version, many bars are split into small squares, giving consumers more control of their intake. The same applies for bonbons or other “one-bite” treats.
However, chocolates are arguably the hardest edibles to make. Because real chocolate contains many different fats and fatty acids, making them “behave” properly is difficult in a melted state. Nonetheless, those who master it, master it well.
For those who are not feeling hungry (yet), drinks are a wise alternative. Teas appear to dominate this market, mostly due to their other short and long-term benefits; however, professionals and amateurs alike invented products like sodas, flavored water, coffee, infused juices and even alcoholic drinks.
Recipes vary in complexity. Some merely require tincture, while others might use hash – a highly potent form of THC. The safest bet when trying drinks is to buy them from a licensed dispensary.
Cannabis butter or “cannabutter” is essentially butter with THC. People use it as a base for other recipes (i.e. baked goods) or simply spread it on toast; however, plain cannabutter tastes rather unpleasant.
Tinctures are very basic. While they may not have the same “flair” as candies, baked goods or chocolates, their premise is “function over fashion”. In other words, they are easier to use, but not as fun.
Because users apply tinctures in specific dosages, it gives them very accurate control over their intake. This is excellent for medical users who know exactly how much THC they need. At the same time, recreational consumers can custom-fit their experiences.
These items consist of THC infused into a carrier oil. The highest quality industrial products use medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), but coconut oil is also a popular and effective option.
How Strains Affect Cannabis Edibles
Smokers often emphasize the importance of strains, but the differences are equally relevant for THC cannabis edibles. There are thousands of available types, but they can all be categorized as sativa, indica, hybrid or CBD. Those looking for a specific experience need to choose the right one.
However, it is important to note that the distinguishing features of sativa and indica are not always clear-cut. Years of crossbreeding and modification could make a sativa-based strain behave more like indica, or vice-versa. The only definitive differences between indica and sativa are their physical shape and ideal climates.
Commercial buyers should always ask their budtender for details. Alternately, leave questions for us below.
Generally speaking, sativa users want to experience a euphoric “head high”. This strain is known for its ability to provide bursts of physical and mental energy. It invigorates the senses and evokes creativity.
Cannabis connoisseurs often enjoy this variant when exercising, working on creative projects or attending social events.
Indica is the opposite of sativa in every respect. While sativa’s effects inspire activity, indica triggers powerful sedation. Users describe it as more of a “body high”.
Due to indica’s relaxing properties, it is something best used before bed or as a way to reduce stress.
As the name implies, hybrids combine sativa and indica strains to create a new product. Consequently, the end result can be unpredictable. Skilled cultivators, however, do an excellent job at choosing the right two (or more) breeds to achieve the desired effect.
“CBD” stands for “cannabidiol,” a non-psychoactive cannabinoid with many known health benefits. Unlike THC cannabis edibles, CBD edible variants will not produce any kind of high. They contain – at most – trace amounts of THC.
CBD products are usually (but not always) extracted from industrial hemp. Hemp is naturally high in CBD, with only trace levels of THC.
How Do We Make THC Cannabis Edibles?
THC cannabis edibles are fun and diverse, but how do they work? While items can range from moderately simple to incredibly complex, there are some key concepts involved.
There is a reason why people smoke marijuana. Heat is necessary in order to activate the THC (and other compounds) in dry herb. The same rule applies with edibles.
However, setting brownies on fire is not an option. This is where decarboxylation comes in.
Believe it or not, THC does not initially exist in its familiar form until exposed to heat. It actually starts as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). Without getting too technical, decarboxylation through heat is what turns THCA into active THC.
In order to make edibles, cooks need to activate its cannabinoids without burning the bud to a crisp. Fortunately, decarboxylation occurs at a much lower temperature than combustion. Cooks simply bake the cannabis at 220-235oF (~100-110oC) for about 45 minutes.
Once complete, decarboxylation leaves dry herb looking brown. The next step is to harness the active cannabinoids. This requires some kind of “carrier oil”.
There are many potential options; however, many experts strongly advocate for coconut oil. Butter or MCT oil is also a good choice.
The reason we use oils instead of water or some other material is that fatty acids effectively separate and extract the THC from its decarboxylated home. Unfortunately, the process is tedious. It can take hours of monitoring and occasional stirring to properly infuse the product.
Now comes everyone’s favorite stage (next to eating). This where users add the THC-infused oil or butter to their favorite recipes. Simply cook the food as normal, adding the cannabis extracts accordingly.
Keep in mind that the above is simply an overview. There are many other steps involved, so its intent is to inform, not instruct.
THC cannabis edibles help liven up and broaden people’s experiences with marijuana, but there are practical benefits as well.
Inhaling smoke is never a good idea. While cannabis smoke is not nearly as chemically-infused as cigarette smoke, it still contains compounds that irritate the throat and lungs. This is why many users look for alternatives.
Edibles, of course, are the perfect solution, as there is no need for smoking. Some products, like tinctures, also make dosing very precise.
For medical users, pulling out a joint to medicate at work is a bit conspicuous. Edibles, however, are masters of disguise. Patients can possess them as brownies or cookies and carry them around.
It is just as easy to purchase tinctures, capsules or small candies infused with THC. All of these look benign to the untrained eye.
Little else can be said about variety. We have already established the plethora of great options available. From plain to delicious, there will always be a great product out there.
There are many medical conditions for which cannabis edibles provide relief or cure. To learn more about the medical condition
Nothing is perfect, and THC cannabis edibles are no exception. There are some considerations for those looking to try edibles.
Fortunately, it is physically impossible to overdose on THC; however, this does not mean that people do not make the mistake of eating too much cannabis. While not life-threatening, the experience of being overly high is unpleasant.
The best way to avoid this is to “start low and go slow”. In other words, use the lowest amount possible and go up from there. One or two bites of a brownie, for instance, might be enough for a beginner.
Individuals who want total control should opt for tinctures, which allow accurate measurement.
Edibles may be tasty, but they do not hit as quickly. In fact, it could take anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours before the effects kick in. This often leads people to prematurely eat more, leading to the issue mentioned above.