Edibles … What Is It Exactly? See Here

Edibles

Edible

ˈe-də-bəl | Noun

A term that refers to any food infused with cannabinoids. Edibles can be made from both marijuana and hemp, contain various cannabinoids, and range from brownies and cookies to gummies and pasta. Most recipes that include butter or oil during preparation can be infused with cannabis flower or extract. People enjoy eating cannabinoids because they process differently in the body compared to inhalation. Ingested cannabis enters the bloodstream through the stomach and liver, which delays the effects, but increases its potency. The effects of the edible can last for hours, depending on dosage, frequency of use, and metabolism.  

“I love making hemp edibles, especially CBD-infused chocolate chip cookies.”

“My friends love to dab their CBD concentrate, but I enjoy putting it into CBD edible recipes.”

More About Edibles

History of Edibles

THC was the main cannabinoid in the first cannabis edibles — whose history is fascinating. According to historians, modern-day edibles trace back to 1500 BCE in India. People prepared the beverage called “bhang” by mixing ground buds and leaves, spices, and ghee (clarified butter).  

Over the centuries, cannabis became popular across Europe, which inspired the 15th-century Italian scholar Bartolomeo Platina to publish the first cookbook known as “On Honorable Pleasures and Health (1474). The book featured a cannabis edible recipe. 

Cannabis edible recipes continued to spread across the globe until the legendary Alice B. Toklas proved that edibles don’t need to be cooked to be enjoyed. Alice lived in Paris with her partner Gertrude Stein and was friends with Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, and other notable figures who enjoyed her recipes. She published “The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook” in 1954, and one recipe that contained cannabis sativa achieved fame.

Edibles Today

Today, people use cannabis (whether that’d be hemp or marijuana) to prepare their own edibles, or they simply buy from a dispensary — if the plant is legal where they live. Dispensaries offer a range of edible products and dosages, including brownies, cookies, gummies, candy bars, mints, and more.

Some users prefer edibles to avoid inhalation of particulate matter or seeking a specific level of potency that lasts for a longer period. Edibles also mitigate the risk of exposure to potentially damaging respiratory afflictions. They offer:

  • Precise dosage
  • Control over ingredients when made at home
  • Longer-lasting effects
  • Avoiding pollen and plant matter
  • Discretion

Hemp CBD Edibles

CBD edibles are foods infused with cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid found in the hemp plant. There are multiple types of CBD edibles on the market, from gummies to chocolates. These products come in various forms and are infused with different CBD oils like full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate. Full spectrum products are rich in other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids naturally found in the hemp plant. Full spectrum edibles typically contain some levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 

Broad spectrum products also contain all of the compounds found in full spectrum CBD without the THC. CBD isolate products contain only cannabidiol. 

Are They Safe to Consume? 

Most of them are. The U.S. cannabidiol market remains unregulated in some states, so it’s up to the consumer to check which products are safe. One of the main issues with CBD products is that they often don’t contain the same ingredients (or percentage) as listed on the label. 

According to a test conducted in November 2020 by Leafreport, only one of four CBD edibles contains the labeled amount of CBD. They tested 40 products from 21 brands and discovered that 63 percent of the products contained more CBD than advertised. 

This is why the consumer needs to research and check the brand and credibility behind the product. 

How Long Do They Take to Work?  

CBD edibles take longer to work than smoking or vaping CBD oil. However, their effects are deeper and longer-lived. This product takes effect anywhere from half an hour to two hours, and it can last from four to six hours. If you want to notice faster results, take a CBD tincture or oil under your tongue or sublingually for two minutes. Sublingual application allows the bloodstream to absorb the cannabinoid directly through the mucous membranes. 

Decarboxylation

Decarboxylation is the essential step in preparing hemp flower for consumption. This process, known as decarbing for short, alters CBDA — releasing carbon dioxide and water — and converts it into CBD. During decarboxylation, other cannabinoids like THCA also convert into the intoxicating THC. The hemp plant can decarb naturally, over time, when the flower ages or more quickly when cooked in oil or butter. This process happens instantaneously when smoking or vaping CBD flower. 

The process of decarbing is best observed with THCA’s conversion into THC. Namely, if you consume cannabis that hasn’t been decarboxylated, it won’t get you high because it contains THCA. This cannabinoid is non-intoxicating but does demonstrate certain health benefits and is a common nutritional supplement and dietary enhancement. 

Most cannabis products on the market have been decarbed, including capsules, topicals, elixirs, and edibles. This is why the user can start taking them immediately in their final form and yield their benefits.

If you still doubt whether a product has been decarboxylated or not, follow a simple rule. Check the label of the product to see what’s the main cannabinoid in it. If CBDA is prevailing over CBD, the product hasn’t been decarboxylated and may come with instructions on how to activate it before use. 

How to Dose 

These products have a delayed onset and duration. Therefore the user must go through trial and error to see which dose is best suited for the body. Cannabinoids are not well absorbed from the gut, so when taking a capsule or cookie, only 6 to 15 percent might cross the gut-blood barrier to produce its effects. 

Still, new users should start with a low dose of around 5 to 10mg. It’s important to keep track of what feels right and how the increased dose affects the body and mind. The body’s absorption of CBD edibles can be boosted by taking them with a meal — especially a fatty one — and not on an empty stomach. If taken on an empty stomach, the user will feel the effects much more quickly, but they won’t be as strong.  

Before consuming the product, the user must read the packaging to understand dosing information. Before consuming more, the user should wait for the edible to start producing its effects. This can last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.

How Long Do They Stay in Your System?

Unlike inhalation, ingested cannabinoids travel through the gastrointestinal tract and into the liver. Here, they are metabolized before the cannabinoid receptors are activated. Apart from the method of consumption, the amount of time cannabidiol remains in your body depends on several factors, including dosage, frequency of use, body mass, metabolism, and genetics. Cannabidiol typically stays in the system from 2 to 5 days, again, depending on the person.

If you use this product regularly and are concerned about whether it can show up on a drug test, it’s best to stick with no-THC options like broad spectrum or isolate. Most tests don’t check for CBD but  THC only because that’s the intoxicating compound of cannabis.  

Where to Buy?

You can buy edibles in a legal cannabis dispensary, health-focused grocery stores, or online. They come in a slew of types, from premade cookie dough to stripes that melt on your tongue for sublingual absorption. 

Final Thoughts

Despite not being the most efficient way to consume cannabinoids, CBD edibles have long-lasting effects, and many people find them useful for easing anxiety or stress. 

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