Dosing Edibles: How Much is Enough? Our Tips to Stay Safe and Happy
It’s a thrilling time to be involved in the cannabis industry. So many new products, trends, and research arrive seemingly every day. If you’re a regular visitor toour dispensaries, you’re probably already aware that cannabis-infused foods and beverages are among the hottest and fastest-growing sectors of the cannabis world. From CBD-infused coffees to refreshing apple ciders to irresistible chocolates, caramels and more, there’s an incredible array of products to sample.
But with all this yumminess around, it raises a very important question: When dosing edibles, how much is enough?
We all know the phrase “too much of a good thing,” and it has never been more appropriate than when we discuss the effects of cannabis edibles. Because the cannabis in edibles takes much longer to take effect—and then that effect tends to increase over time—it’s important to be aware of your tolerances and exercise real care when dosing edibles. Let’s look at a few of the reasons why, and then share some guidelines to help you get to maximum benefit (and the minimum heartache) from cannabis-infused edibles.
Dosing Edibles: A Different Way to Ingest Cannabis
Unlike smoking, vaping, or even taking tinctures, the way the body accesses the cannabis in edibles is different than all the others. For a host of reasons, when we eat or drink cannabis, our bodies formulate a compound called11-hydroxy-THC.
As you might guess, the fact that it has “THC” in the name is a hint to its potency. The upshot is that we’ll tend to feel much higher than we would if we had smoked or vaped the same amount of cannabis.
Another factor to consider is the time-delay effect. Edibles typically take a long time to take effect; at the very least 20 minutes, but sometimes up to 3 hours depending on your physiology, what you’d eaten previously, and other factors. It’s not uncommon for folks who aren’t aware of this to ingest an edible, decide it’s “not working” after five or ten minutes, and then consume more…and more…and more. The results, as you might guess, are not pretty.
Dosing Edibles: How Much Is Enough?
So, knowing that edibles have a stronger effect than other forms of cannabis—and that they take much longer to come on—what are some best practices to ensure you get the effects you desire?
To help you make informed decisions, edibles are marked or measured in convenient and easy-to-understand servings: Ounces from a bottle of cooling mint tea, for instance, or squares from a luscious bar of chocolate. Each serving will contain a precisely measured dose of THC—theonly psychoactive cannabinoid, as you’re aware—measured in milligrams (mg).
How much THC is right for you? Again, that will depend on many factors. But we always return to the phrase “start low and go slow.” Start with the lowest measured dose. Wait at least an hour—preferably two—and then assess. You can always take another dose, or if you’re impatient, a hit from a vape pen.
But again, remember that edibles have powerful and long-lasting effects. We want to make sure you enjoy their benefits—and discreet convenience!—while making sure you don’t go overboard!
What Are Cannabis Tinctures and How Do You Use Them?
Once upon a time, cannabis enthusiasts were forced to enjoy their herb with only two options: burn it or cook it. While most enthusiasts are likely to still adore the old fashioned ways, we now also have various other modes to consume. Today we’re going to cover a form that was actually more popular than pipe or butter at the turn of last century — cannabis tinctures.
What are Cannabis Tinctures?
By definition, a tincture is a medicine made by dissolving a drug in alcohol. In the case of cannabis, oils are often used instead of alcohol; mostly because using alcohol-based cannabis tinctures are not allowed in several of the canna-legal states (like Washington), but also because people tend to prefer the taste of oils over the strong taste of alcohol.
Cannabis tinctures come in dark protective bottles with droppers, which are used to measure the desired dose.
The History of Cannabis Tinctures
Before cannabis prohibition in 1937, tinctures were sold at common drug stores. They were so popular that most local drug stores actually made and sold their own brands. (Pharmaceutical companies, several still in existence, took over the market by the mid-19th century.) Doctors directly gave prescriptions for cannabis tinctures, prescribing them to help a large variety of ailments; hence their stunning popularity.
Cannabis Tinctures as Medicine
Of course, thanks to our bodies’ endocannabinoid systems, cannabis and cannabis tinctures still help a large number of ailments. There are tinctures available in several cannabinoid varieties, like THC, CBD, and THCa, each with its own medicinal skill set. Some tinctures isolate cannabinoids, and others combine them; increasing their effectiveness by working together, a phenomenon called the entourage effect.
Medicating via tinctures has several advantages. For one, dropping a bit of liquid into your mouth is very inconspicuous. It’s also faster to take than other methods, especially when you compare the time it takes to smoke a bowl vs. squeezing a dropper. And it starts working very quickly: if dropped under the tongue (sublingually) than it will take effect in 20 minutes or less. (If swallowed, it must be processed through the liver and will take an hour or longer.)
Benefits of Cannabis Tinctures
Cannabis tinctures also offer a lack of smoke or vape for those with throat sensitivity matters, or who just don’t like the feeling. They are also great for precise dosing, as droppers are generally marked very specifically; whereas eating an edible can be a bit of a guessing game. This precision is ideal for those interested in microdosing as well. Plus, tinctures alone also have fewer calories than other edible options, with just the oil or alcohol weighing in.
How to Use a Cannabis Tincture
Tinctures are also very versatile and can be used in several ways. We’ve talked about using them alone; sublingually or swallowed for an edible effect (which can be more psychoactive). But they also can be used to infuse foods and beverages in a quick and easy manner. They can also be applied topically by rubbing the appropriate tincture on any problematic area of skin. Try a topical tincture for your next sunburn, bruise, or to treat pain from an injury!
It’s important to start low when you’re first using tinctures so that you don’t overmedicate, which can result in a rather unpleasant experience if using a psychoactive tincture, and a waste of money either way. The first time, try just a few drops (or up to .25 mL) and see what that does. Increase the dose by the same amount daily until you reach the desired effect. Also, remember that tinctures don’t like light or heat, so be sure keep them in a cool dark place. Enjoy!