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- Are you experienced: “We always ask people if they have they tried cannabis before,” said Ean Seeb of central Denver dispensary Denver Relief. “Have they eaten or smoked before? If not, we’ll start them out slower.” It’s worth noting that tolerance doesn’t often translate from smoking pot to eating it. Read on and you’ll see that a high smoking tolerance doesn’t equal a high tolerance for edibles.
2. Listen to your body: “Know that body mass, age, metabolism, gender and body chemistry at that point in time all vary in the effectiveness of the medicine,” said Jayson Emo, better known in the Colorado weed community as Giddy Up and a production head at Gaia’s Garden, a 5-year-old infused edibles company. Ask your budtender a couple questions about your body type, gender and age; THC’s fickle relationship with fatty cells, regardless of how much pot you smoke, might throw you for an unexpected loop.
3. Never on an empty stomach: “We always recommend that people treat (edibles) like they would a painkiller — like Vicodin or Percocet,” said My 420 Tours’ Meinerz, who regularly advises tourists on the dos and don’ts of Colorado cannabis. “You never wanna have it on an empty stomach, so maybe start with a little bit, and have it with some food.” Just envision the sticker on your prescription bottle of antibiotics: TAKE WITH FOOD.
4. Measuring by milligrams: “We consider 10 milligrams to be a unit or dose of THC,” said Christie Lunsford, director of operations at 3D Cannabis Center. When you’re dosing out an edible, drink or tincture, you’ll calculate the amount of activated THC in each piece or square. If the 100-milligram chocolate bar splits into 10 pieces, each one is roughly 10 milligrams apiece. Dose accordingly — but only after reading No. 7 on this list.
5. Different brands, different consistency: “Some people have a different reaction or experience with infused chocolates or infused gummies, and one will often work better than the other for somebody,” said Giddy Up. “It ties into the comparison with the (marijuana) flower. If people find a strain they like, they go with that strain — or they might find a dispensary they prefer because of the growers there. It’s the same with edibles: If somebody finds an edible they really enjoy, and it’s a 10-milligram gummy and it’s consistent with the dosage and they know how their body will react and how they’ll react psychologically, it becomes their go-to brand.” So experiment with different brands. Again, ask your budtender and friends. Do your research.
6. The waiting game: “For casual users, people who don’t have high tolerances, 10-20 milligrams should be more than enough,” said Incredibles’ Eschino. “10 milligrams is the recommended serving size from the (Marijuana Enforcement Division). It’s a good place to start, especially with edibles, because you don’t wanna take too much. So start slow, and wait 45 minutes after you take it to see how you feel. You can always take more — but you can’t go back and take less.” And some edibles take longer than 45 minutes to kick in. Colorado edible brand Dixie Elixirs includes an Activation Time on each of its products — a smart graphic on the packaging that tells consumers how long they should wait before taking more. “Marijuana infused products can take 30 minutes to 2 hours to take effect,” says Dixie’s clever Marijuana 101 promotional pamphlet. “So take your time, because overindulging is not fun.”
7. Expect a different high: “I only eat edibles when I know I’m Ubering,” said Giddy Up, referencing the high-end taxi alternative. Giddy Up calls himself “an intense, heavy smoker who smokes on average a gram and a half to two grams of concentrate per day.” That’s a gargantuan amount of concentrate, and yet “a heavy smoker like myself is still an edible weakling,” he continued. “A lot of the reason why the ride is so intense in edibles is because of the minimal amount of membranes it passes through in the stomach. It doesn’t absorb the same way as smoking through the lungs.” So if you think your pot-smoking tolerance has prepped you for higher-milligram usage in edibles, think again.
8. What happens if I get too high? An edibles high will last longer than almost every other high, and that stands true for bad experiences, too. HuffPo pot writer Matt Ferner offers these three important tips to folks who have overindulged: “1. You’re not actually dying. Just try to breathe normally. 2. This might last a while, but you will make it through. 3. You will return to normal.” The Marijuana Policy Project’s Consume Responsibly page offers this tip: “If you consume too much marijuana, try to stay calm and remember that the feeling is only temporary. Lay or sit down, close your eyes, and try to relax. If you are with other people, let them know that you have overdone it and want them to keep an eye on you. If your discomfort becomes so intense that you think you need medical attention, ask someone to take you to the emergency room or call 9-1-1. Do NOT try to drive anywhere!”
The following information was obtained from:
1. Read the Package Dosing Guidelines Carefully
We’re past the days of playing Russian roulette to determine edible doses. Edibles on the legal market typically label their THC contents in milligrams for easy dosing. The standard dose according to Colorado’s edibles dosing guidelines is 10 milligrams, but a cannabis newbie or low-tolerance consumer should start with half of that.
Example: EdiPure’s recreational product line is dosed at 10 milligrams per piece, so if you’ve cracked into a bottle of watermelon tarts, eat just one to start as each tart will be infused with 10 milligrams of activated THC.
If you’re worried that 10 milligrams is too strong of a dose, you can cut a piece in half or, better yet, try a product line that offers five milligram options (EdiPure’s Organix line is dosed at five milligrams of activated THC per piece for newcomers and low-tolerance consumers).
2. Consider Your Tolerance
Starting with a small dose is always a good idea, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve used cannabis. Experienced consumers might venture into larger doses and eat one or two more 10 mg gummies or cookies.
While it may be difficult to find the perfect amount when splitting up a large multi-dose dessert, reliable dosing delivered in small increments allows you to be more precise in your amounts, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned veteran.
3. Be Patient and Exercise Restraint
We know, it’s hard to wait for the effects to kick in when you have an entire bottle of delicious infused Peach Tarts staring you in the face. You need to keep in mind, however, that with cannabis-infused edibles you can’t mindlessly snack on handfuls like you can with your favorite snack or treat – if you lose track of what you’re eating, you could be in for a bumpy ride.
Instead, take a dose and wait it out – that way, you’re much more likely to have a positive and in-control experience. Because body fat and metabolism vary so much from individual to individual, it’s hard to say when that edible is going to kick in. It could be 30 minutes later, or it could take an hour and a half. Resist snacking on the rest of your edibles until you’ve felt the effects the first dose, then, once you’ve waited long enough (it could be two hours or longer), you can decide whether you want to pop another peanut butter bite into your mouth.
4. Be Mindful of Your Stomach’s Contents
Before you dose, consider how much you’ve eaten and what you’ve had to drink. An empty stomach means your sweet ’n’ sour is going to kick in faster, and if this is the case, maybe think about starting with half a dose.
Another thing to keep in mind is how much alcohol you’ve had to drink. Fun fact: alcohol can increase THC blood concentration significantly, so dose modestly if you’re mixing the two.
5. Find a Comfortable Place
Edibles are delightfully portable, but keep in mind the importance of consuming in a comfortable setting. Larger doses are best tackled at home, or with people you’re close to. It can be good to have your best friend or partner there with you if it’s your first time – they can help you keep track of how many sour gummi bears you’ve eaten and help if you’re experiencing any discomfort.
With experience come the comforts of familiarity, and with time, it becomes easier to feel at peace with your surroundings when consuming edibles. Until then, gather the people and things you love most and enjoy all the bliss, relaxation, relief, and laughter edibles have to offer in a secure, cozy place.