For a long time, marijuana had a stigma as a “stoner” product that’s only used by a certain set of people. But as the nation has mobilized around legalization (cannabis is now legal for recreational use in 11 states, and for medical use in 33), its reputation has evolved, and it’s now being seen as an attractive option for high-functioning adults. Enter: edibles—cannabis products that you ingest—which have taken prominence in this new market, due to their ease of use, discretion, and lack of lung-damaging smoke. To learn more about these THC-filled products, we spoke with Heather Larimer, the chief marketing officer at Colorado-based edibles company 1906. Here, she shares some of the science behind edibles, how they can be beneficial, and how to ensure an optimal experience.
Consider the potential wellness benefits. While many products exist for recreational use, there are companies, such as 1906, that invest in science to produce edibles that offer specific benefits, including improved cognitive focus, added energy, stress and anxiety relief, assistance with arousal, and ensuring a good night’s sleep. Larimer explains that these concentrations are blended with CBD, THC, and other plant medicines that help deliver consistent results. “People who discover what we call ‘functional cannabis’ feel like it’s nothing short of a miracle,” Larimer says. “It has enabled many people to ditch the calories and headaches of alcohol, to stop using Ambien, and to stop drinking so much coffee.”
Read the labels. The broad category of “edibles” encompasses a lot of formats, Larimer shares. Gummies are a very popular option, but you will also find them as chocolates, mints, and zero-calorie pills. Plus, there are novelty items like lollipops, popcorn, and all manner of baked goods. Therefore, Larimer warns, it’s very important to read the label. “Just like with any category of food, there’s a lot of garbage out there,” she says. If purity is important to you, pay attention to the strain (indica or sativa) and whether or not there are pesticides. Also, keep in mind that a lot of edibles are very inconsistent, with some taking one to two hours to kick in.
Take it slow. When you take cannabis into your lungs, you’re going to feel it almost immediately. However, since edibles are absorbed through the digestive system, it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours to feel the effect. That’s why, when trying a new product, Larimer says it’s imperative to go slow so you can control the results. “Most of the unpleasant stories you hear about people consuming too many edibles are because they underestimated how long it would take to feel the full effects, so they ate a second dose and ended up very, very high,” she notes.
Pay attention to dosage. “There are vast inequities in the amount of THC in different edibles, which can range from 2.5mg THC to 100mg THC,” Larimer says. Additionally, people’s tolerances vary per individual. According to Larimer, a low-dose edible, in the range of 2.5 mg to 5 mg, can allow for high-functioning adults to incorporate them into their everyday lives. “The best advice is to start with less than you think,” she says. “You can’t ‘un-eat’ an edible, but you can always take more.” Also, expect the effects of an edible vs. something smokeable to last longer.
Know the facts about cannabis and addiction. “As with anything, there is always a chance to become addicted to a product, whether it be sugar, fat, energy drinks, alcohol, or cannabis,” Larimer says. “However, current research shows that cannabis is a non-habit forming drug when used responsibly. That’s far more than we can say about alcohol or pharmaceuticals, which many people use on a daily basis.”