It has become common knowledge that cannabis has many medicinal benefits. Studies have shown cannabis can be used to help treat glaucoma, muscle spasms, chronic pain, nausea and vomiting, epilepsy, anorexia, cancer, HIV, PTSD, anxiety, depression, and insomnia (Barrus et al., 2016). Many individuals with chronic illness or disability are turning to cannabis as an effective alternative to more dangerous and addictive prescriptions. With the variety of different cannabis products now available, it can be hard for cannabis users to determine what will be most beneficial for them.
Edibles: The Best Way to Consume Cannabis?
Arguably yes! It depends on what you are looking for from your cannabis experience. As compared to smoking or vaping, the effects of a cannabis edible take longer to kick in and last significantly longer as well. When smoking, you generally feel the effects within 5-15 minutes and the high will generally last about an hour or two. Edibles on the other hand can take 1-2 hours before you feel the effects, and the high will generally last 4-6 hours, but can range up to 12 hours in some cases (“11-Hydroxy-THC”, 2020).
Cannabis users who struggle with chronic conditions and/or pain can really benefit from the extended duration of a cannabis edible. One recent laboratory study of “daily recreational cannabis smokers demonstrated that oral Δ9-THC [THC edibles] resulted in a longer duration of analgesic effect than the relatively transient effect produced by smoked cannabis” (Barrus et al., 2016). This longer lasting high means the cannabis user doesn’t need to keep lighting up every few hours to maintain the desired effect, which makes for a great and discrete way to consume your herb. No weedy odor, no need to excuse yourself for a smoke break.
Some cannabis users prefer edibles because they can produce more potent physical and psychological effects. Because of the way edibles are digested through your liver, they can produce “a more intense psychoactive experience” (“11-Hydroxy-THC”, 2020). Your liver breaks the THC down into a smaller molecule, 11-Hydroxy-THC, which more readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and “more effectively engages with CB-1 receptors to initiate the signaling pathways to cause that cerebral high” (Schwind & Chasen, 2019). Your tolerance and body chemistry will affect how strongly you feel an edible, so it is important to know what edible dose is best for you.
The main reason many cannabis users turn to edibles instead of smoking is for respiratory health. The health risks and harmful toxins associated with smoking have not been extensively studied for smoking or vaping cannabis. But one thing is for certain, eating cannabis edibles does not “affect pulmonary function or increase cancer risk, which provides a solid rationale for choosing this route of administration as opposed to smoking cannabis, particularly for medical conditions such as cancer.” (Barrus et al., 2016). No one wants to add a smoker’s cough to their list of problems, especially if you’re already dealing with an underlying medical condition. Some long term cannabis users still prefer smoking/vaping, and there are valid medical reasons for wanting quick relief for acute conditions. For my stoner friends with the extensive bong collection, the die hard dabbers, or the vaping enthusiasts, consider adding edibles into your cannabis routine! They can significantly reduce the amount you end up needing to smoke.
In Conclusion, edibles are a great option because:
11-Hydroxy-THC: Why Edibles Can Feel More Potent. (2020, May 01). Retrieved January 27, 2021,
Barrus, D. G., Capogrossi, K. L., Cates, S. C., Gourdet, C. K., Peiper, N. C., Novak, S. P.,
Lefever, T. W., & Wiley, J. L. (2016). Tasty THC: Promises and Challenges of Cannabis
Edibles. Methods report (RTI Press), 2016, 10.3768/rtipress.2016.op.0035.1611.
Schwind, W., & Chasen, E. (2019, May 31). Science You Can Eat: How and Why Edibles Work
(and Sometimes Don't). Retrieved January 27, 2021, from
If you’re trying an edible for the first time here are a few recommendations:
Do Some People Not Feel Edibles?
It is more likely that you are not consuming the right dosage for yourself or that you need to take measures to avoid excessive THC breakdown through first pass metabolism in the liver. Because edibles are processed through your digestive system, having a fat based edible or eating your edible with a meal can increase the bio-availability of your cannabis edible and can help avoid that "first pass effect". Eating your edible with or after a meal can help you to make the most of the THC content, but it can also delay the initial effects of the edible and sometimes can increase the duration of your high.
I know one or two friends who see the average edible dosage chart and laugh. It's rare, but there are some individuals who need 200mg or 300+mg edibles to feel anything. I've have a friend who tried a 500mg edible and felt nothing. As a plant medicine, cannabis can have a huge dose range. The reason an individual doesn't feel an edible could be a high tolerance level, but it could also be attributed to liver function, metabolic rate, or the condition of the person's endocannbinoid system. There is not significant research on this subject yet.
When You Should Take it More Seriously
Cannabis Infusion Potency Equation
(__grams Cannabis) x (__ THC% of your strain) x (1000) x (.88) x (.6)
= __Total mg THC in your Infusion
Cannabis Tincture Potency Equation
(__grams Cannabis) x (__% THC of your strain) x (1000) x (.88) x (.8)
= __ Total mg THC in your Tincture
Units Used In Equation:
1000 - mg to g
88% - THCA to THC conversion
60% - Efficiency of Extraction for oil/butter
80% - Efficiency of Extraction for Everclear
Equation to Determine How Much Cannabis Infusion to Use In Your Recipe
((__mg THC for you Ideal Edible Potency per serving) x (__Number of Servings))
/Total THC in Your Infusion = Percent Infusion You Should Use in Your Recipe
Don't Want to Write that All Out?
Click the link below, we have both equations in an open excel spreadsheet ready to go! You just need to know the % THC of your cannabis and the amount you're using in grams.