If you go to Health Canada’s website to find out information on dosing cannabis, they will tell you, “There are no precise doses or established uniform dosing schedules for products such as fresh marijuana, smoked/vaporized marijuana, or cannabis oil”.
If you plan to smoke or vaporize your cannabis, it’s a lot easier for a person to get a sense of the strength because of the quick release effects. If you want to try edibles, everyone will tell you to start low and go slow. But, what exactly does that mean? Should a 250lb trucker start at the same place as an 85lb senior?
I love edibles and I am not quiet about the fact that they saved my life. Edibles are currently banned in Victoria; leaving the patient with the daunting task of guessing the potency of their homemade edibles. If you suffer from pain, or have other medical conditions that may benefit from a slow release form of cannabis, edible cannabis may help you.
Here are some guidelines to help you, “start low and go slow…”
Think about the milligrams, but take them with a grain of salt
In this day and age, we are used to being able to go to the doctor for an ailment and have a certain amount of medicine prescribed to treat the condition. We are trained to think of the number of milligrams as being uniform from product to product, that if it has the amount on the bottle that we take, then, the brand doesn’t matter. The difference in effectiveness of generic to brand name drugs is an example of this, and we think of both as equally sufficient. Because of all the factors associated with growing cannabis, you should always look at the milligrams tested, yet take into account the possibility that it may be slightly stronger or weaker, depending on the quality of the product.
Rather than seek to relate dosing cannabis to a prescription, think about trying cannabis like trying a new type of exercise for the very first time
You would never jump into a new sport without any instruction on the rules, the proper equipment or without knowing your physical limits and you should approach edibles with the same attitude. Make sure you get advice from a reputable medical cannabis dispensary, from someone who knows about the product to advise you on what to do and what to expect.
Trying it for the first time, make sure you are in a comfortable environment and have no pressing matters. Take your time; listen to your body and the way it feels before increasing the dose. Plus, don’t assume that what you experienced in the past will work ideally for you now.
Pay attention to how much is in your stomach
If you eat an edible on an empty stomach, it will digest and absorb into your bloodstream really quickly. On the opposite side of that, on top of a full meal, an edible can take hours to absorb.
What is the cannabis being ingested with? The food your cannabis is ingested with will make all the difference in how fast you feel it and for how long. If you need to digest a cookie or brownie, it will take a lot longer than a quick releasing cannabis drink.
Be aware of the type of cannabis in your edibles
Edibles made with a concentrate will have a different effect and taste than edibles made with leaf or hash infused ingredients. Edibles that are made with leaves will provide a broad spectrum of cannabinoids that may assist in a variety of medical conditions. Extracts will provide a very specialized profile of concentrated molecules, thus, creating a totally different kind of “stone”.
Through trial and error, you will find what works for you; but, believe me, the feel of an edible will vary depending on what it is made with.
Another thing to consider is if it is made with a sativa, indica or hybrid cannabis, as the edibles will all have different benefits; another popular option is choosing a CBD dominant strain that has little to no psychoactive effect. Again, speak to an expert. If the dispensary does not offer this kind of information, walk away. You may not get what is best for you.
If you take too much, have something high in CBD
CBD is another cannabinoid that has amazing properties, but it does not produce a psychoactive effect. CBD and THC both target your CB1 and CB2 receptors but in completely different ways. If you have a lot of THC in your system and you feel too much of the effect, introducing CBD into your system will stimulate an additional process in your endocannabinoid system, reducing the psychoactive effect significantly; this has been proven on a clinical level to the point where pharmaceutical companies are beginning to develop CBD products for this purpose specifically.
Know that it is impossible to fatally overdose
Our cannabinoid receptors are the part of us responsible for absorbing all the different cannabinoids; this is what creates all the amazing benefits cannabis provides. The receptors can be found everywhere, our skin, organs and brain, but, the one place we have very few is the brain stem. Responsible for all involuntary functions like heartbeat and breathing, the brain stem can never be overstimulated and shut down by cannabis. It is physically impossible. This is the reason why no one has ever died from cannabis and no one ever will; it is literally safer for our systems than the majority of what is in our houses.
If you take too much and start to feel uncomfortable, know that no matter what, time is going to pass and you are not going to physically hurt yourself
The biggest fear of any budtender is that someone will try an edible for their first time, take too much, and never get the health benefits associated with cannabis. The effects of edibles are truly incredible and if I had to choose between smoking cannabis and eating it, I would make no hesitation.
If you have a serious condition or intense pain and cannot find relief in inhalation or don’t have the option to smoke, edibles are another option. The key to your health and a better quality of life might only be a brownie away…
Check out this video “Edibles, Let’s Stir the Pot” about dosage of edibles and other interesting facts on cooking with cannabis.