Cannabis has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, but for many of us this concept is a new phenomenon. When we think of medicine images of doctor’s notes, orange bottles, and little white pills come to mind. An expert with years of experience tells us exactly what to take and how much to cure our discomfort. But it’s not always that simple. Sometimes the doctor makes an unhelpful recommendation, or the medicine does not work, or the medicine has negative side effects. Turning to cannabis is a viable option. Still, many are hesitant to try cannabis because it does not come to us in a way we are used to or with clear instructions.
Getting the right product and the correct dosage is vital to the effectiveness and the experience of the user. If we take too little, our condition goes unaddressed, but too much may cause an uncomfortable experience. Just as with any other drug consuming the right amount is unique to each person based on a whole host of factors. Which is the right kind of cannabis for the ailment? How much should I take? What are the best conditions under which to take it? This guide will provide helpful information to get the most out of edible cannabis products.
HOW EDIBLES WORK
Cannabis research has found that the healthiest and perhaps most effective way to use cannabis is by eating it. These products are called “edibles”. Thanks to the digestive system and the way the human body breaks down cannabis it has a longer lasting effect vs smoking or topicals. Cannabis is absorbed into the blood stream starting with the oral membranes, then the GI tract, and finally processed in the liver changing the compounds before they reach the brain. The digestion process takes a little time which is why it can take up to 90 minutes before the effects can be fully felt. For faster onset, some edibles can be taken sublingually such as Sensi Chew caramels, hard candies, or tinctures. Depending on the individual user effects can last from 3-6 hours in younger users and 3-10 hours in older users.
TYPES OF CANNABIONIDS IN EDIBLES
Not all edible cannabis products are the same. Some edibles focus on the benefits of the cannabinoid THC, while others focus on the benefits of the cannabinoid CBD, and there are more still which utilize both THC and CBD together.
The reason for such a variety of edibles is the variety of ailments they are used to treat. Edibles that focus on THC are used to help those suffering from nausea, stress, insomnia, glaucoma, low appetite, pain and more. CBD based edibles aid in curbing inflammation, anxiety, seizures, pain, and migraines, as well as a number of other health issues. Some edibles have potent amounts of both THC and CBD in different ratios making them a formidable therapy. The combined forces of THC and CBD boost the benefits that each brings to the table in what is called the Entourage Effect. Essentially, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The two cannabinoids THC and CBD can be supplemented by the myriad of other cannabinoids, such as CBN, CBG, and CBC. These lesser known cannabinoids enhance and contribute to the Entourage Effect and edibles containing this “full spectrum” are the most effective.
FINDING A PERFECT DOSE
Edibles are being used more frequently but it is not always clear how much to take to achieve the desired effect. And because each person is unique it’s important to understand some basic rules of thumb:
Before taking an edible for the first time, be sure you are prepared and have planned ahead by eating and drinking plenty of water, putting yourself in a comfortable, safe environment, and being certain you do not need to drive any time soon or make important decisions. Planning ahead where and when to take your edible allows you to relax and lets the cannabis medicine do its work. Once you are ready, start slow, and be patient to see how your body reacts. Edibles can take about an hour or more to reach maximum effect.
Each persons’ outcome can vary based on metabolism, physiology, health condition, and tolerance. Be sure to read the packaging carefully to know the dosage of the edible and plan out how much you should take. New users with low tolerance can start with 2-5 mg, those with a medium tolerance can use 10-20 mg, and users with a high tolerance could have anywhere from 25-50 mg or more. The key is to have a good experience and find the dosage that is best for you. Never mix edibles with alcohol or prescription drugs. Edibles should be taken independent of other drugs so you can identify the cannabis effects alone without the effects from other medications. If you feel sick after taking an edible, the best thing to do is try to relax, drink water, take a nap, and be patient until the effects wear off.
Other factors that contribute to proper dosing are age and physical activity, and the specific health condition being treated. A young, active person will have a higher metabolic rate, may feel the effects of an edible shortly after taking it, but the effect may wear off faster, as their body will process faster. Older users tend to be less active and have a slower metabolism and this means lower doses are usually preferred and the effects will last longer.
After you become familiar with using edibles, establish an ideal dose, and the best time of day to consume, you can incorporate cannabis into a lifestyle in a safe and effective way.
|Tolerance/effect level|| Dosage|
|What to expect|
|New User / Low Tolerance||2mg to 5mg||Mild relief, improved focus|
|Low Tolerance/ Mild Effect||5mg to 10mg||More relief, mild impairment, mild euphoria|
|Average Tolerance/Medium Effect||10mg to 20mg||Stronger relief, euphoria, some impairment|
|High Tolerance/ Strong Effect||25mg to 50mg||Strongest relief, strong euphoria, impairment|
DOSING WITH SENSI CHEW
Sensi Chews are a cannabis infused chocolate caramel and are accurately dosed in 9mg per serving. To reduce the dose, cut the chew down. Half of 1 chew would be 4.5mg, or ¼ of a chew would be 2.25mg, etc. For faster onset let the chew melt under the tongue.
“I use Sensi Chews for pain, anxiety and most importantly sleep. I like this product because it’s small and convenient. It also doesn’t have a ton of calories. I don’t like to eat cookies and candies. The dose amount is extremely consistent. This is important to me with my medication. Great product!“- LB, San Bernadino
“Can You Boost Your Metabolism?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 30 Aug. 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle-weight-loss/in-depth/metabolism/art-20046508.
Sulak, Dustin. “How to Dose Cannabis Edibles Part 2, Cannabis Edibles Dosing Chart: Find the Right Dose.” Leafly, 19 Apr. 2018, www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/cannabis-edibles-dosage-guide-chart.