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After all this time living in the shadows of society, isn’t time we asked; Are Marijuana Edibles Good for You?
Is it high time (get it…) to bring the ol’ Mary Jane out of the stereotypical sidelines of consumer culture and into the forefront of the wellness game? Lets see.
Isn’t cannabis only for stoners?
Well, actually, no. It isn’t. Who would have thought that the Cannabis plant, the use of which was once considered a scourge on society, has subsequently been rediscovered to have such incredible health effects such as prolonging life, fighting cancer and controlling weight?
Since time immemorial the use of the cannabis plant has permeated through human history. Weather it was by the oracle of Delphi or the shamans and healers, it’s uses have ranged from the spiritual to the medicinal. Historically, cannabis and in fact most botanicals, formed an essential part of our the cultural, ceremonial and healing tool kit for thousands, if not millions of years.
Interestingly, despite all the advances we think we have made as a species, that has not changed at all. In fact, we could say that we have actually lost more knowledge than we have gained, particularly in recent generations of industrialisation, urbanization and deforestation. The ancient ways have disappeared with the cultures and their elders who carried the knowledge and passed it on to successive generations for millennia.
Alas, despite this grave error in human history, all is not lost. We seem to have an innate ability to seek what we need from the natural world and use it accordingly. This has never been more evident than in the modern era during the time of the widespread criminalisation of marijuana cultivation and use.
Despite this, most people and their nana have still used marijuana at one time or another in their lives. In fact, this unique plant has only been outlawed since the 1920s which coincided with the temperance movement overtaking America, the primary focus of which was prevent legal consumption of alcohol in the USA.
Alcohol use was actually a much more severe social problem in the US than what cannabis ever was. Of course, we all know how that worked out. Firstly, banning booze didn’t stop the consumption of alcohol. It inadvertently created an entire underground world network dominated by gangsters, speak-easy’s and unregulated strength bathtub gin. The result was that people still consumed alcohol and got drunk, but it was always a gamble because you never knew what you were going to get. Sound familiar?
Much in the same way as we no longer associate alcohol consumption with a whisky-soaked pistol-touting society, we so too have begun to see the advantages of cannabis consumption that are a far cry from Cheech and Chong or the anti-war flower-child movement of the swinging 60s. In fact, actually smoking marijuana in this day and age is probably the least likely way that you are going to find the majority of people consuming it. Welcome to the mind-expanding world of marijuana edibles.
What Are Marijuana Edibles?
A variety of edibles are available in the market today, and they can be broadly classified into three main categories as follows:
Probably the most commonly known cannabis edible is the brownie commonly known as ‘space cakes’, however, they can take the form of any regular kind of baked-good such as biscuits, macaroons or even pretzels.
Baked goods are intended for gastrointestinal absorption. They include all edibles where the marijuana will be ingested into the stomach and absorbed into the body through the stomach linings. Most of the edibles you will find in this category include cookies, brownies, and more colorful creations such as medicated banana bread.
Arguably the most easily accessed and transported variety of marijuana edibles are those considered to be sweets. These include products such as gummies, lozenges, and suckers. These sweets are the perfect starting place for someone interested in trying out cannabis edibles for the first time as the sensory experience is one that we are all very familiar with. In addition, as there is already such a wide variety of cannabis sweets available, there is definitely going to be a flavor, texture and strength that is suitable for a novice to more experienced user.
Drinks and Liqueurs
Drinks are intended for oral uptake and they have the advantage of taking effects almost immediately, though they also tend to wear off very quickly. This category also includes the edibles which you hold in your mouth for a given amount of time. It is this category that is predicted to see the most advancement and growth in the future years as the levels of legalisation and methods of consumption advance very quickly around the world.
It is perfectly possible for you to be able to go down to the local for a pint of beer or a pint of cannabis infused beverage right alongside one another. One amazing upside of this may also be that marijuana is not known to have any negative effects relating to over consumption, so you will be able to say goodbye to hangovers once and for all.
Oils and Butters
The final category includes oils, butter, and liqueurs. This category is rather hybrid since marijuana in the products can be absorbed either in the mouth or in the stomach. This kind of extraction is the most commonly found in savoury marijuana cooking which has been elevated to Michelin level quality with recipes such as Marijuana infused Truffle Oil Cheese Souffle or Rib-Eye with Weed Chimichurri.
A Brief History of Marijuana Use and The Evolution of Edibles
Documented use of use of marijuana dates back at least 5,000 years, is said to have been an ingredient in the Holy anointing oil referenced in the original Hebrew version of Exodus. The ancient Egyptians reportedly used marijuana to treat Glaucoma as well as general inflammation. Chinese emperor Fu Shi called cannabis a popular medicine in 2,900 BC, and the Chinese had identified more than 100 medicinal uses for marijuana by 100 AD.
The history behind Marijuana edibles is a fascinating one. Historians have traced modern-day edibles back to 1500 BC in India, where people prepared a beverage known as Bhang by combining ground buds and leaves from the Cannabis plant with ghee (clarified butter) and spices. It was used as an anti-phlegmatic and aesthetic.
Bhang is still used in India even today as it is an essential part in the process of many spiritual practices of the region. Ancient Indians may have also used cannabis as a purported cure for leprosy and dysentery as well as to cure fever, encourage sleep, and improve judgment and cognition. It was also thought to prolong life!
As time went on, cannabis climbed in popularity across Europe, spurring the 15th-century Italian scholar Bartolomeo Platina to publish the very first cookbook, On Honourable Pleasure and Health (1474), which featured a cannabis edible recipe that read:
…to make cannabis yourself more commonly used as flax for thread, use a mallet to crush clods collected after a good harvest. Add cannabis to nard oil in an iron pot, crush together over some heat and liquefy into a health drink of cannabis nectar. Carefully treat food and divide for the stomach and the head…
Edibles remained part of cooking around the globe, but it took the legendary Alice B. Toklas, an expatriate living in Paris with her partner, Gertrude Stein, to be credited with the creation of hashish fudge. Her friends, including Ernest Hemingway, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso, were undoubtedly treated to her creations which featured in the 1954 volume of, The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook.
How Are Edibles Different from Other Types of Cannabis Consumption?
The main difference between consuming edibles and other forms of cannabis is in how the body processes the active ingredients. It has been reported that when cannabis extract is ingested, it can produce effects that are similar to those experienced when cannabis flower is smoked or vaped.
When cannabis is inhaled, its active ingredients, known as cannabinoids, are absorbed by the blood in the lungs and moves quickly to the brain, producing an almost immediate effect, possibly within minutes. However, when cannabis is digested, the effects will likely be delayed by anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours or more depending on the many factors, such as your weight, sex, one’s natural metabolism or what other foods one has consumed prior to ingesting the edible.
Why Are Edibles Preferable to Smoking Marijuana?
As most people know, Marijuana can be smoked as a cigarette (called a joint or blunts) or through a pipe or bong, it is now also very commonplace to see the use of vaping as an alternative to traditional smoking. Anyone has tried these methods of consumption may know that they can produce a thick and dense smoke that can often be met with a coughing reaction by the user.
Moreover, these methods of consumption tend to be more reliant on having the necessary tools to facilitate consumption such as lighter, papers etc., which can act as a hindrance. However, perhaps the most undesired quality of smoking marijuana is the permeating smell that the smoke can produce. As a result, it can be difficult to consume it discreetly which may be undesirable for some people.
In contrast, Edibles do not come with any of these barriers to consumption. They can be pre-prepared or purchased ready made which means that consumption can be as easy as simply opening a packet.
How Can I Make Cannabis Edibles for Myself?
Making cannabis edibles at home could not be easier. In addition, you can find a wide range of edible recipes online. The best starting place would arguably be with a cannabutter which is explained further below. All you need is a slow cooker, butter and some high CBD weed.
This is a great one to start out with because it can be the building block for almost anything. Unless you’re vegan, butter is in more foods than you probably know.
Here’s how to make it:
- Melt butter in a slow cooker / crock pot and add a little water to keep the butter from burning - Add your ground, decarboxylated weed and simmer for 2-3 hours on the low setting, depending on the desired effects, you can select a flower with a high CBD content over a high THC content. - Strain the butter into a jar (for example, you can use a funnel with cheesecloth to catch the ground-up weed) - Label and refrigerate the jar of cannabutter for future use!
You now have a perfect ingredient for many edible recipes!
What Are Some Alternatives to Cannabutter?
The reason butter is primarily used to infuse cannabis into edibles is that when heated, a high-fat material (such as butter) more easily extracts cannabinoids from decarboxylated plant matter. However, butter isn’t the only fat in the kitchen, and many dairy-free cannabis chefs have created alternatives.
Cannabis Coconut Oil
You’ll need a slow-cooker for this recipe, but it makes a delicious, dairy-free alternative to butter. Coconut oil may also have other health benefits, including promoting weight loss, boosting immune system function, and regulating metabolism.
Pre Made Marijuana Edibles
Pre prepared options include boutique productions of gummies, chocolate and beverages which are widely available online.
FAQ of Cannabis Edibles Consumption
Whether you’re trying cannabis edibles for the first time or you’re an experienced consumer, it’s okay to be curious about the process. Here are a few frequently asked questions about cannabis edibles:
How do I determine the right Marijuana edible serving size?
There’s no “standard” serving size as far as edibles are concerned. Every user responds differently, and everyone has a different tolerance to the CBD and THC content. The best way to make edibles is to establish a baseline and go up or down from there. With any pre-packaged products you will be ensured of a regulated dosage per unit so you will know in advance if 1 or 2 units is required for you to obtain the desired effect.
How long does it take to feel the effects of an edible?
The answer depends on several factors, but for most consumers who are consuming recreationally, the effects of THC-infused edibles may take anywhere from a half-hour to 90 minutes to appear. As THC levels differ from strain to strain, the concentration in the variety used is a determining factor as a more concentrated level will be felt more quickly. As previously explained, the method of absorption will also play a role in how the body metabolises the compounds. THC lollipops, gum, and hard candies are taken sublingually, which shows effects sooner than absorption via digestion as with cookies.
What are the best strains for using to make Marijuana edibles?
Well, this is a tough one! There are hundreds of great strains out there and they all contribute different benefits and different setbacks. As the organic element of the various strains remains more or less the same, it will come down to personal preference and desired outcome for each user to find the perfect combination of flavour and CBD/THC content.
Can I get addicted to Marijuana?
Technically you can get addicted to anything. Food, sex, whatever it is that makes us feel a certain way that we keep seeking. In terms of similar ‘intoxicants’ other retail options such as alcohol, tobacco, even gambling are seen as being ‘addictive’ so too is fast food or shopping! That list does not even touch on the plethora of prescription drugs available from your doctor that are often opiate-based, making them among the most addictive options available. Most of these prescription options also come along with a raft of other undesirable side effects on the user, which can all be avoided by opting for a natural alternative such as marijuana.
Can I overdose if I take too much Marijuana edibles?
The short answer is no. Even if you do consume way too much marijuana, it is not even recommended by the medical establishment that you are taken to ER! You simply need to wait it out while your body metabolises the compounds. Luckily, in most cases this coincides with a good old sleep if the marijuana has a high THC level!
PSA: A Word of Warning About Cannabis Edibles…
Keep Your Stash Safe
One point to really drive home is that you need to act responsibly where marijuana, medical or recreational is concerned. This means if you are a parent, keep it out of reach of any kids! It makes sense as you have to keep any kind of cleaning product or medicine out of reach of kids anyway, but the additional risk here is that a gummy bear is a lot more enticing to a child than a dishwasher tablet… maybe if you are a parent, rely on alternative forms of edible consumption such as an oil, or keep them literally under lock and key in a safe box.
Start Out Slow
Moreover, if you are new to marijuana edibles, even as an experienced marijuana smoker it is a different way of consuming it and you need to start out slowly to get a base line of how you respond. This is particularly true if you are taking an edible with a relatively high THC content. Make sure you wait until you feel something. Don’t double down after consuming one for the first time thinking that they are not having an effect, as it will affect you! The time it takes will depend on many factors like your metabolism and what you have previously eaten etc.
Don’t Get Busted!
Lastly and most obviously, you need to double check the legality of consumption in the area in which you live. Having said that, the laws are changing so rapidly these days, countries are falling like dominos to legalise cannabis consumption, as most of the western world has medical use in place already with widespread recreational use to follow closely behind.
Ready to Try Cannabis Edibles for Yourself?
Still Not Sure About the Scooby Snacks?
That’s OK! Why not get acquainted with the wide range of non-psychedelic cannabis based products. Check out some of these Cannabis related product to see how you like them.
Get More information on Cannabis
For those genuinely interested in the history and burgeoning uses of marijuana in the medical arena, specifically in the case of mental health, check out these amazing documentaries:
- Cannabis: The PTSD Solution
- Cannabis: A Lost History
- Cannabis: Through the Ages
- Cannabis v.s Cancer
- Medicinal Cannabis
- The God Plant
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