Before experimenting with edible cannabis products, people should know a few things. First-time users should take all information such as dosage, strains, and ingredients used into consideration. In this article, we are going to go over some key points to make sure that your experience with cooking and consuming cannabis-infused products goes as smoothly as possible.
Knowing Your Strains
When preparing or enjoying cannabis-infused food products, the first thing you should know is what strain is being used as an ingredient. Usually, strains will fall under three categories: indica, sativa, or hybrid.
Indica: Some of us will remember the classic saying, “indica equals in the couch.” Indica strains tend to leave users feeling more relaxed and sedated. For those using cannabis for medical purposes, indica strains tend to be ideal for patients suffering from chronic pain, lowering anxiety levels, preventing seizures, and inducing sleep. Some of the most popular and well-recognized indica strains are those belonging to the Kush family. In terms of recreational users, indica strains are better utilized for relaxing activities such as watching a movie.
Sativa: Sativa strains tend to leave consumers with a more uplifting effect. These strains tend to have higher levels of THC than those of their indica counterparts. These strains are ideal for daytime use since they do not have a sedating effect. Many users say that sativa strains can enhance productivity and creativity. Some of the more popular sativa strains include those belonging to the Haze family.
Hybrids: Hybrid strains tend to combine the properties from an indica and sativa strain, which often causes, what users would describe as an “alert mellowness.” These strains are ideal for consumers who wish to feel the uplifting effects of sativa while also experiencing the body relaxation of an indica. However, not all hybrids are complete mixes of sativa and indica strains. Cannabis growers can also create hybrid strains by crossing multiple indica strains as well as multiple sativa strains. When looking for a strain that is right for your needs, it is recommended that you speak with a trusted budtender at your local dispensary.
CBD: One is one of the chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Unlike, THC which is the cannabinoid that causes the “high” sensation associated with cannabis, CBD is non-psychoactive. Because of this, CBD has become a popular option for users who wish to medicate using cannabis, but who do not want to feel the effects of being “stoned.” This is a great option for parents of children suffering from conditions such as epilepsy, and other health issues that can be treated with medical marijuana. Some of the benefits of CBD include: pain relief, possible reduction of anxiety and depression, and it’s even being experimented with when it comes to substance abuse treatment.
After choosing which strain is best for you, the next step in the process when it comes to cooking with cannabis is to decide which the best base ingredient to use is. One of the most common ways that cannabis is used when it comes to infused foods is cannabutter. Cannabutter can be used as a base ingredient to make baked foods such as cookies and brownies or substituted for any baking recipe that calls for regular butter.
Canna-oil is any kind of cooking oil such as vegetable, canola, or coconut oil that has been infused with cannabis flower. These cooking oils can also be used for baking foods, but they’re also used for sauces or salad dressings, sautéeing foods, or frying at a low temperature.
Tinctures are a growing option used by many when it comes to ingesting cannabis. Tinctures can be used to infuse beverages such as sodas, teas, and even energy drinks. Tinctures are also used when making cannabis-infused candies. Tinctures can also be added to almost any food products, and are a great base to use when users want to have control over the dosage (which we will cover later on in the article). Another bonus of cannabis-infused tinctures is the fact that they can be consumed by simply applying a few drops directly under the tongue.
Cooking with Cannabis
One of the most important steps to take when cooking with cannabis is the decarboxylation process. Decarbing, as it is often referred to, involves heating cannabis flower in a hot source such as an oven to activate the THC. Depending on the temperature and time in the oven, you can either activate the THC or even convert the cannabis flower to enhance CBD properties. As stated earlier in the conversation, CBD is an excellent alternative for users who wish to medicate with cannabis, but do not want to feel the “high” associated with cannabis use. After your cannabis has been properly decarboxylated, you need to determine how strong you wish to make your base ingredients. Stronger base ingredients will require more flower, whereas low dosage or less powerful base ingredients can be made using less.
When it comes to consuming edibles, especially for first-time users, it is important to understand that the effects of cannabis are very different when it’s eaten and not smoked. When users smoke cannabis, oftentimes the effects tend to be felt immediately. How long it takes to feel the effect of infused foods, will depend on what the food product is and how it is absorbed. Items such as mints, candies, and tinctures may induce effects on the user faster than other foods since they are ingested through the saliva glands; whereas foods such as brownies and cookies might take longer since they must be digested for the effects to take shape.
Besides which foods are being eaten, one main key component when it comes to when the effect will take place depends on a users’ metabolism. It almost goes without saying that someone who has a faster metabolism will feel the effects of cannabis-infused foods, over someone with a lower metabolism. It is also important to take into consideration whether or not a user has previously eaten before consuming an edible. Those who consume cannabis-infused products on an empty stomach will more likely than not feel the effects sooner than someone who has previously eaten. However, there is a catch here. Unlike someone who has consumed too much alcohol, food might not be the right choice to “sober up,” someone who has consumed too much cannabis. Eating more food might cause more THC to be released into your system since your body will begin digesting the food that was just eaten. However, research shows that CBD can help reduce the effects of THC, so this might be a good resource for those who might feel that they have ingested too much THC in a single dosage.
Aside from when the effects are felt, the duration of the “high” is much different when cannabis is ingested rather than smoked or vaporized. When ingesting THC, the effects will tend to last longer since THC will continuously be released into a user’s bloodstream over time, since it is being digested. It is important to keep this in mind especially for first time edible users.
Dosage: How Much Is Enough?
One of the most important issues when it comes to consuming cannabis-infused foods is the dosage. Knowing how to calibrate dosages will give consumers an idea of how strong a product is and how much to ingest to feel the desired effects. When it comes to dosage, many factors need to be taken into consideration, such as: how often the consumer medicates or recreationally uses cannabis, a user’s metabolism and body size, and what the desired effect is the user going for?
A non-smoker or a beginner cannabis user might want to start around the 5mg stage. This will not be too strong and leaving a new user completely out of it. Users may experience a calmness taking over them, or the relief of symptoms such as pain or other ailments if products are being used for a medicinal purpose.
When you start getting into the 10-15 milligram area, this when you start getting into the “high” category. This is ideal for medical patients who have stronger ailments, or those cannabis users who wish to feel the alternating effects. This dosage is recommended for users who would not consider themselves beginners, but are not quite at that “experienced” level just yet.
Veteran or daily smokers might look for items that fall into the 16-30mg range. This is for users who regularly consume cannabis and will satisfy the needs of daily users.
When you begin to reach the 30-50mg range, things might start to get a little fuzzy (but in a good way!). This dosage is recommended for very experienced smokers but will be way too much for beginners.
When you reach the 80mg, range be careful! When it comes to medical cannabis, this high of a dosage is usually used for extreme conditions such as cancer patients. Oftentimes dispensaries will sell products in this range and usually, they are meant to be consumed in multiple dosages. If it is your first time using cannabis-infused products, a dosage this high should be broken down into small sizes and consumed on a micro dosage level.
One of the golden rules of consuming cannabis-infused foods is the idea that you can always consume more, but you can’t eat less. There is nothing wrong with eating around 10mg and waiting around 30-60 minutes to see if the desired effects have been reached. If after consuming a small amount, waiting and then digesting more, you will be able to find out what is the best dosage to fit your needs.
We hope that this article provided some insight into consuming cannabis-infused products for first-timers and experts alike. New medical, as well as recreational, cannabis users should feel free to talk to local cannabis pros to get a better idea of how what products and dosages are right for them.