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Wednesday December 8, 2021

By Paul Barach

a variety of cannabis edibles 420 Culture

Edibles are the easiest entry into the world of cannabis. There’s no real learning curve to speak of besides: 

Step 1: Chew (sometimes)

Step 2: Swallow (definitely)

Step 3: Wait for it to take effect before consuming more (very important.)

Edibles also last longer, are easier to dose than flower or concentrates, and there’s no introduction of smoke to sensitive lungs. This is most likely why cannabis edibles have become the most popular method of consumption in the United States over the past few years, especially amongst the older generations. 

Even though edibles are the “easy mode” of cannabis, it can still be daunting stepping into a dispensary for the first time. A quick scroll through the edibles menu or glance across the shelves and you’ll find infused capsules, lollipops, gummies, chocolate bars, baked goods, drinks, distillate, and more. So which one is right for you? 

PotGuide is here with some questions that’ll help you pick the right edible for your needs.

What Effect Are You Hoping to Have with Your Edible?

This is one of the first questions your budtender should ask (no matter what product you’re looking for). Knowing what outcome you’re hoping to achieve an hour after consuming that edible will help both you and your budtender narrow down the right one.

Even answering, “to get stoned I guess?” is better than, “I don’t know. My friend said it might be good for me.”

So, what brings you into the dispensary today? Start there.

Are You Looking for an Edible That’ll Help With Pains or Stress?

In that case, you’ll probably want a full-spectrum edible with some type of THC:CBD ratio. Edibles using full-spectrum cannabis oil are rich in terpenes and minor cannabinoids, so they’re more beneficial than ones using a more distilled THC oil. Full-spectrum edibles come in any form, from tincture to hard candy, so be sure to ask your budtender what type of oil they use.

Are You Looking for an Edible to Have Some Fun?

If you want to enjoy a concert, a hike, or a video game, ask your budtender for their recommendations. A full-spectrum indica, hybrid or sativa-dominant oil may increase your enjoyment with more holistic and directed effects. However, full spectrum edibles are also stronger and may cause less-desired effects such as paranoia or excess hunger. Distilled oils or hybrids usually give a more subtle experience. 

Indicas: Are better if you’re looking for some stoney wind-down time at the end of the day or to put you to sleep. 

Sativas: Give you more energy for being social or outdoors, but can come on a little racy. If you’re prone to anxiety or worry, find an edible with a higher CBD ratio or a hybrid.  

Hybrids: A mix between the two, usually a relaxed, elevated experience.

What Dosage Do You Want in Your Edible?

While more and more companies are beginning to offer low-dose edibles, the standard edible dosage that you’ll find in every recreational dispensary is 10 mg. Depending on your body chemistry and the experience that you’re hoping to have, 10 mg may either be a lot, or a little. 

Microdose 2.5 mg edibles
Microdose edibles are great for starting with a low, accurate dosage. photo credit

If you have any health issues that affect your balance, it’s best to start with a low dose and work your way up. Gummies and chocolates are the easiest to microdose by cutting them into halves or quarters. Drinks and tinctures can also be microdosed, but these require more measuring. 

How Fast Do You Want Your Edible to Take Effect?

If you’re dealing with a health issue that comes on quickly, like migraines or an arthritis flare-up, you want relief as soon as possible. Everyone’s body chemistry is different, including their metabolism. However, there are some forms of edibles that generally take effect faster. For example, cannabis drinks tend to work faster than foods because the small intestine doesn’t need to break it down. Arguably, chocolates tend to work faster and be a bit stronger than gummies, because the THC absorbs into the oil in chocolates better than into gummies. On the whole, tinctures are the fastest to take effect; they’re absorbed into the bloodstream beneath the tongue.

Do You Have Any Food or Stomach Sensitivities?

If you have no food sensitivities, then you are pretty set when it comes to edibles. Your biggest concerns will be what form you’d like.

The best part about the variety of edibles available is that even consumers with food sensitivities have options. If you have a gluten sensitivity, avoid baked goods (obviously) and check the ingredients of any gummies or chocolates carefully. 

If you’re diabetic or glucose sensitive, capsules, tinctures, and distillate will probably be your best bet (you may find some sugar free gummies out there, but the demand isn’t there yet to make this a widespread option).

Of those three, distillate is the best if you’re looking to microdose. It’s an activated form of cannabis that you can put under your tongue, in your food, or however you wish to take it. 

While less tasty than a traditional edible, tinctures are just as effective! photo credit

Tinctures, on the other hand, are cannabis distilled in alcohol or oil. Tinctures are more likely to be full spectrum, which will give you more of a holistic, beneficial experience. 

Capsules are the third option for those with food sensitivities, but they have a set dosage. If you don’t want 10 mg, you should avoid these.

If you’re vegan, you’ll have to check the ingredients listing. Luckily, much like gluten, more and more edibles companies are putting this information on their packaging. 

Wrap Up

It can be intimidating heading into a dispensary for the first time. You’re taking a mind-altering substance that may either be a great time or an unpleasant one. Luckily, the budtenders are there to help guide you to the best option available. So, before you head in, think about these questions, get an idea of the products that sound best for the experience you’re hoping to have, and have a great time. Going into it with a good attitude is one of the best ways to enjoy edibles. 

Did we miss anything? How would you help someone find the right edible? Let us know in the comments!


Paul Barach Paul Barach

Paul Barach is a Seattle-based freelance writer, editor, and author with experience creating well-researched, edited web articles covering cannabis news, culture, history and science. Paul is a regular contributor to PotGuide and has also contributed to publications such as, SlabMechanix, Litro, and The Trek. He prefers to spend his free time outdoors and most recently hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. So far he has only fallen into the La Brea Tarpits once. You can follow him on Instagram @BarachOutdoors and stay up to date professionally through his LinkedIn page.

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