Infused Edibles

With all the options available to cannabis patients today, many are choosing to explore methods of medicating beyond the traditional pipe or paper. Cannabis infused foods commonly referred to as edibles, provide another option to patients who cannot or choose not to imbibe through smoking. Eating infused products is a healthier alternative to inhaling cannabis smoke, as there is no exposure to carbon, tar, carcinogens, or other pollutants.

Any consumable can be infused with cannabis, including popular, ready-to-eat items like brownies and candy, or cooking ingredients like butter and hot sauce. There are even companies that offer a “medicated” meals-on-wheels service for patients that cannot physically leave their homes.

Some patients, such as those on supplemental oxygen, turn to cannabis-infused edibles when smoking is no longer an option. For patients with eating and digestive disorders, edibles testing high in cannabidiol (CBD) are not only a source of nausea-reducing medicine but also a vital source of essential nutrients and calories. The same is true for cancer patients suffering from nausea caused by their treatments, or expectant mothers dealing with hyperemesis (morning sickness). In addition to this, many patients choose edibles as their preferred method of consumption because they are a more discreet way to medicate, while others simply prefer the longevity of effects when ingesting cannabis compared to the fast-acting effects of smoking.

First-time cannabis patients typically start with a low dose of 10 to 15 mg (milligrams) of active THC and/or CBD cannabinoids. The right dosage can only be determined by the patient himself and

often requires experimenting with different potencies and types of edibles. Finding the right dosage is a learning process and keeping a journal is recommended. Patients are encouraged to record their experiences with different products, dosages, and the ratio of cannabinoids in dosages, to optimize therapeutic effects on their particular conditions.

Edibles Categories

Infused edibles are divided into three basic categories, including the gastrointestinal uptake, oral uptake, and hybrid categories. Edibles absorbed through gastrointestinal uptake are digested through the stomach and edibles absorbed through oral uptake are ingested through saliva. The hybrid category refers to edibles absorbed simultaneously through the stomach and saliva.

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Gastrointestinal uptake

The most common edibles are geared towards gastrointestinal absorption. These tend to take longer to activate within the body (sometimes as long as two hours), but produce a longer-lasting effect (up to eight hours of relief). Common food items like brownies and pill forms like gel capsules fall into this category.

Oral uptake

Edibles geared towards oral uptake are kept in the mouth for an extended period of time.  They can affect the body almost immediately but tend to wear off faster (within two to three hours). Edibles like lollipops, lozenges, and tinctures fall into this category.

Hybrids

Hybrid edibles are the middle ground between oral and gastrointestinal absorption. They offer fast-acting relief (patients usually feel this type of edible within a half hour) that can last for four hours or more. Infused drinks and chocolate bars fall into this category.

The Effects of Edibles

Because most edibles are exposed to some form of heat during the cooking process, many inactive cannabinoids inherent in the plant are converted to active cannabinoids. This heating process is known as decarboxylation, where acid forms of THC and CBD (THCA and CBDA) are transformed into active cannabinoid THC and CBD compounds. This combination of active and inactive cannabinoids optimizes the total cannabinoid content, so that edibles that are not completely decarboxylated offer more medicinal value.

Decarboxylation and the high levels of THC found in edibles work together to create an ideal treatment for many ailments, including chronic pain, muscle inflammation and spasms, autoimmune disorders, nervous system disorders, insomnia, and nausea. Patients suffering from Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that affects as many as 700,000 Americans, find this method of medicating extremely beneficial. This is because Crohn’s Disease occurs in the GI tract, precisely where edibles distribute useful active and inactive cannabinoids.

Ingesting cannabis creates a different user experience than that of smoking it. The impact edibles deliver depends on many factors, including their type and potency, the user’s tolerance level and body chemistry, and even how much the user has previously eaten. Because the effects of edibles are so different from that of smoking, many first time users are caught unawares by their stronger potency and longer-lasting effects. First-time users often feel a heightened sense of anxiety and paranoia. This may have many causes but is usually due to the fact that users with a history of smoking cannabis tend to expect immediate effects after consuming edibles and tend not to wait sufficient time before consuming more. In fact, many first time users simply consume too much at a given time. This is exacerbated by the nature of the high, which is released in waves over a period of hours as cannabinoids are processed by the stomach.

Dosing Recommendations

When selecting an edible, it is important to pay attention to the potency of the product. This will determine how much of the product to eat, as many edibles are designed to be split into multiple doses. However, the exact potency of an edible can be difficult for consumers to assess because the strength of an edible depends on the potency of the product used to infuse it. For example, a candy bar that contains five grams of shake or poor quality bud is not necessarily stronger than one that has two grams of primo bud.

Some manufacturers list their products in strengths, such as “10x.” While this may help as a guide to understanding dosages, it is impossible to determine exactly how much cannabis is in a product without asking the vendor. Other edible companies label their products with the amount of cannabis identified in grams. However, unless the consumer is aware of how potent that particular gram of cannabis is there is no way to really know how potent the edible will be. The same goes for manufacturers who test their products for total cannabinoid content and then label the total content in milligrams. These labels are misleading because they completely disregard the individual bioactive compounds contained in the product.

When purchasing infused products, it is wise to look for edibles that are lab tested, use quality ingredients, and have proper labels on the product’s packaging (including the recommended dosage). Follow the cannabinoid content numbers on the packaging as a guideline to determine the preferred dose. Ask if the product is lab tested if there is no testing data on the label. Above all, do not hesitate to ask budtenders about their products. Budtenders interact with cannabis patients daily and receive a lot of feedback on their products effectiveness with medical conditions.

Potential Health Risks

Edible medical cannabis is safe and will not cause any long-term toxicity. However, edibles companies are not yet regulated and there is no system in place to ensure government compliance with what they put into their products. Most US states require nothing more than a commercial cooking license to sell edibles to a dispensary. In Canada, the regulations are only now just being developed.

Further to this, some companies may use edibles as a way to dispose of cannabis that otherwise could not be sold, as in buds heavily laden with spider mites or mold. Because of this, it is very important to get edibles from a trusted source that professionally tests their products for potency and contaminants. Consumers with allergies are also advised to use extreme caution when selecting edibles, as kitchens could be contaminated with trace amounts of nuts, gluten, lactose, or even pet dander.

The only sure-proof way to know the quality of your edibles product is to create your own infused foods.

 

Prepared by https://consultandgrow.com/

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