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Everything You Wanted to Know About Edibles but Were Too High to Ask

cannabis-edibles

In this article, you will learn:

Are Edibles Legal in Canada?

Edibles officially became legal in Canada on October 17, 2019. You’d be forgiven for thinking they were already legalized along with dried bud (the format of cannabis used for smoking or vaporizing) in October 2018 – many consumers were confused when, upon entering their first legal dispensary, they didn’t see THC brownies or CBD gummies on the shelves.

The government’s framework for cannabis legalization has been a phased approach, wherein limited formats of cannabis became legal initially. With “legalization 2.0”, as it is commonly called, Canada legalized three new formats: edibles, concentrates and topicals .

So, if you were wondering “when will edibles be legal in Canada?”, we’ve got good news for you – they already are!

What are Edibles?

Cannabis edibles: infused gummies

When we talk about edibles we are not referring to a specific product, but rather a class of products. Cannabis edibles include THC or CBD-infused food and beverages, such as THC brownies, CBD gummies or even CBD kombucha .

There are many differences between the effects of edibles vs smoking cannabis, which we will explore in this blog post. Read on to learn about THC vs. CBD edibles.

THC vs. CBD Edibles

High-THC edibles are the ones you’re likely more familiar with – you might even have tried them before. The sensation of “couch lock” and feeling spaced out are most often associated with THC edibles, as THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for the “high” commonly experienced from cannabis.

CBD edibles, on the other hand, are unlikely to incapacitate you. That’s because CBD edibles contain the non-intoxicating cannabinoid, CBD (cannabidiol).1 Like THC edibles, they come in a wide range of food and beverages, with CBD gummies being one of the most popular kinds of CBD edibles .

CBD gummies aren’t yet available in Canada, but you can expect to see them on shelves as early as mid-December.

Effects of Edibles vs. Smoking

Cannabis edibles: infused chocolate bars

Many consumers wonder about the effects of edibles vs. smoking. The effects of edibles are very different from those produced from inhalation, since edibles are processed by your body’s digestive system instead of the lungs . Rather than entering the bloodstream almost immediately, THC and other cannabinoids are slowly absorbed by the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Keep reading to find out how the effects of edibles vs. smoking differ.

How long do edibles take to kick in?

If you’re wondering “How long do edibles take to kick in?”, you’re not alone. Many people who are not regular consumers of edibles are unsure about how long the effects of edibles take to kick in.

If you are used to smoking or vaping cannabis, you know that the onset of effects from inhalation is almost instantaneous. With THC or CBD edibles, however, it can take up to 2 or 3 hours for the full effects to be felt. For a new consumer, we suggest starting with a very small dose and waiting a full day to determine how it affects you.

How long do edibles last?

Answering the question “How long do edibles last?” is challenging because it can vary greatly.

Factors that affect how long the effects from edibles will last include recently consumed foods, the individual’s unique Endocannabinoid System (ECS), and the individual’s tolerance for cannabis edibles – a measure that increases with more frequent consumption.

Comparing the effects of edibles vs. smoking, edibles last much longer. While the effects of inhaled cannabis usually last only a couple of hours, edibles can last for 6-8 hours or longer.

Remember to never operate a vehicle within 24 hours of consuming an edible.

How long do edibles stay in your system?

While there is no definitive answer to this question, one study found that an individual with no THC in their system who eats a low-dose edible will have detectable amounts of THC in their system for up to 14 days.2 This figure could be much higher for a frequent consumer who eats more potent edibles.

How to Make Edibles

Cannabis edibles: you can make your own cannabutter at home

Learning how to make edibles doesn’t have to be a complex process. Start with this simple cannabutter recipe, and then add your infused butter (or oil) to your favourite dish. For vegan edibles, simply infuse coconut oil or a dairy-free butter alternative.

If you wish to make THC or CBD gummies, select a gummy recipe that includes butter or oil in the ingredient list. Then replace the regular butter with cannabutter – that’s it! Now you can easily make gummy bear edibles from the comfort of your own home.

How to Store Edibles

Many new and experienced consumers wonder about the best way to store edibles. Most importantly, any edibles storage solution should be lockable to prevent children from accessing it. You’ll also want to keep edibles at around room temperature or slightly chilled, and out of direct sunlight for optimal storage conditions.

Can you Bring Edibles on a Plane?

Cannabis edibles: can you bring infused treats on a plane?

Yes – as long as the edibles were obtained from a legal source (or made at home using legally obtained cannabis), and the flight is within Canada. Never take edibles outside of Canada, even when travelling to a jurisdiction where cannabis is legal.

Remember that travelling within Canada with any cannabis product is subject to all applicable federal, provincial and municipal restrictions, including possession limits.

Currently, federal regulations allow adults to carry up to 30 grams of non-medical dried cannabis, including on domestic flights. This is equivalent to 450 grams of edibles.

Can you Combine Edibles and Alcohol?

We wouldn’t recommend it. For one thing, consuming cannabis and alcohol together could result in much more potent effects than consuming either substance by itself. If you’re not careful, this could lead to “greening out” – the unpleasant effects resulting from consuming too much cannabis.

Combining edibles and alcohol together can also significantly reduce cognitive functioning, potentially leading to risky behaviour or poor decision-making.

Can you Overdose on Edibles?

No. Although consuming too much cannabis – especially in edible format – can produce unpleasant effects such as paranoia and confusion, it’s practically impossible to overdose on cannabis.

Dr. Jeffrey Chan from the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative explains in this article: “There is a theoretical THC limit that could lead to an overdose... but it's basically impossible to consume a level that high.”

Edible Dosage Calculator

Cannabis edibles: infused fudge brownies

Whether making your own edibles or buying them already made, it’s important to understand the amount of THC or CBD you’re about to consume. With time, you can determine the best dose for the effects you’re seeking. Use this edible dosage calculator for guidance.

Edible Dosage Calculator
THC or CBD %mg in 1 gram of dried cannabis
550
10100
15150
20200
25250

How to use this edible dosage calculator

For example, if you bought a gram of cannabis with a THC level of 10%, then made a batch of a dozen infused cookies with it, the entire batch would contain 100 mg of THC. 100 divided by 12 is 8.3, so each cookie will contain approximately 8.3 mg of THC.

Where to Buy Edibles in Canada

Now that you’ve learned about the effects of edibles, the difference between edibles vs. smoking, edible storage and edible dosing, you’re probably wondering where to buy edibles in Canada.

Despite being legalized on October 17, 2019, edibles won’t be available for purchase until December 17 at the earliest, due to a requirement for licensed producers to provide Health Canada with two months’ notice before rolling out edibles. As such, you won’t see any weed brownies or CBD gummies on shelves until then.

Once edibles are commercially available, you will be able to buy them from licensed cannabis retailers or online – either from a private retailer or your provincial government’s dedicated cannabis website, depending which province you reside in.

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References

1. Iffland K, Grotenhermen F. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. 2017;2(1):139–54.

2. Cone EJ, Johnson RE, Paul BD, Mell LD, Mitchell J. Marijuana-Laced Brownies: Behavioral Effects, Physiologic Effects, and Urinalysis in Humans Following Ingestion. Journal of Analytical Toxicology. 1988Jan;12(4):169–75.


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