If you're interested in trying edibles for the first time and want to know how to find the right product for your needs, this is the guide for you.
How to try edibles for the first time
Trying edibles for the first time can be intimidating, but it's all about taking it low and slow, as we'll explain in a four-step process. Here are the key takeaways for an optimum edibles experience:
- Try edibles with both T-C and C-D
- Start with 10 mg of TH- or less
- Shop for products that are easy to dose
- Wait at least two hours before consuming more, preferably 24 hours
Step 1: Pick Your Cannabinoid
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in both cannabis and the human body.
Let that sink in for a moment. You can find cannabinoids in weed and your own body. Though we do have different names to distinguish the two: endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are the cannabinoids we produce within our own bodies. Phytocannabinoids are produced by the cannabis plant.
Often called cannabinoids for short, we can thank phytocannabinoids for the mental and physical effects we feel when we consume cannabis. While much more research is needed, they have the potential to affect a range of processes in our bodies from pain and inflammation to anxiety and sleep. We'll focus on T-C and C-D here.
For a psychoactive high, pick TH-. As the most plentiful cannabinoid in the cannabis plant and the one known for producing that classic weed high, T-C tends to get a lot of attention. Depending on the person, this famous cannabinoid may produce feelings of euphoria, creativity, relaxation, or pain relief. Others may experience confusion, short-term memory loss, shifts in time perception, rapid heart-rate, lowered coordination, and anxiety. Starting with the lowest possible dose and combining it with other cannabinoids (which we'll get to in a minute) is the safest way to experiment and avoid some of these potentially unpleasant side effects.
For a barely-there, calm feeling, pick C-D. Contrary to popular belief, CB- does have psychoactive effects — just not in the same way as T-C. Anything that changes the brain's activity is considered psychoactive and C-D is an FDA-approved medication (Epidiolex) thanks to its psychoactivity. That said, taking a bunch of CBD with the hope it'll unleash the euphoric feelings associated with THC is like expecting to start your car with your house key. So, while CBD may be non-intoxicating, it's also been shown to be better at addressing anxiety. If you'd rather risk not feeling anything at all than feeling too much, start with CBD-only edibles.
For a balanced high, pick a combination of T-C and C-D. When TH- and CB- work together, users tend to feel a more mellow, nuanced high than a T-C-only high. When C-D is present, they also have a much lower chance of experiencing T-C-induced paranoia. Cannabis newcomers are best off trying a combination of cannabinoids if the goal is to experience a noticeable, yet soothing high.
Step 2: Get To Know The Milligrams
To gauge how edibles will affect you and find your perfect dose, make the milligram (mg) your best friend. The strength of T-C or C-D in all ingestible cannabis products — whether it be a drink or a gummy — is measured in milligrams. Go to any legal, licensed dispensary and you will see milligrams featured prominently on the labels of every ingestible product. Milligrams are key to figuring out the minimum dose you need to achieve the effects you want and the maximum amount of cannabinoids you can tolerate before experiencing side effects.
Long story short: start with 10 mg of T-C. T-C affects everyone differently, so 10 mg could be considered a microdose, low dose, or perfect dose depending on the person. Consume more than 10 mg for your first time and you could risk feeling more intoxicated than you want for longer than you anticipated. With 10 milligrams, your worst-case scenario is not feeling anything at all, which is preferable to calling the cops on yourself and thinking you're dead.
The same advice goes for those looking to try both: start with 10 mg of T-C and 10 mg or more of C-D. You could arrive at this combination by buying two separate products that contain T-C or C-D and take them at the same time. Or you can choose from a variety of products that contain both.
Step 3: Pick Your Product
Are you dead-set on gummies? Or are you simply looking to avoid inhalation while still feeling the effects as quickly as possible? These days, you can find a range of potencies for just about every product type on the legal market.
Most legal markets feature plenty of low-dose chocolates and gummies these days, so have fun exploring the many options at your disposal.
For a relatively fast-acting edible experience, try a cannabis beverage. You'll have fewer options since most weed drinks are still designed for high-tolerance cannabis consumers, but the low-dose options on the legal market have improved considerably over the past few years. Effects tend to kick in faster with weed drinks — typically within 30 minutes of consumption and certainly within the hour.
Whichever route you choose, shop for products that are easy to dose. Precision is key when you're just starting out. So, while it may be tempting to nibble the corner of your friend's 100-mg chocolate bar or measure out a teaspoon of the highly potent drink on sale at your dispensary, avert disaster by starting with products specifically designed for low-dose cannabis consumers.
Step 4: Exercise Patience
As we already covered, ingested cannabinoids are absorbed through the digestive system, which means you'll have to wait much longer to feel your high than you would with a joint or bong rip. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to feel the effects of your edible kick in and once they do, you can expect them to last for several hours more.
After taking your first dose, wait at least two hours before consuming another dose. Or better yet, wait a full 24 hours before experimenting with a larger dose. This way, you can better gauge how 10 mg affects you versus 25 mg, 50 mg, and so on. If 10 mg of T-C doesn't register in your consciousness after two hours, for example, wait a full day and increase the dose by 10 to 20 mg, or 30 to 40 mg of T-C total. Repeat the process until you find a range that works best for you