Are Marijuana Edibles Better For Your Brain Than Smoking?

Your lungs will thank you ... but make sure you take it slow and understand your dosage.

Marijuana Edibles
Photo by Sarah Pflug via Burst

As more cannabis-infused foods enter the legal marijuana market, consumers have made the switch from smoking the herb to eating it. For some, eating is simply less of a hassle and a more discreet option. But for a growing number of cannabis enthusiasts, edibles are preferred because it is perceived to be a healthier method.

Indeed, consuming edibles is healthier on your lungs and body. By choosing not to smoke it, consumers avoid the toxic chemicals, bronchial irritants, and tumor initiators. But there are some downsides to this approach, chiefly the difficulty in dialing in on the right dosage.

A study released last month suggests there is an uptick in “unexpected highs” among inexperienced marijuana consumers, especially when it comes to marijuana edibles.

 The study from RTI International and published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, finds that some novice marijuana consumers are unable to figure out a satisfactory dose and wind up having a negative experience.“Marijuana users who reported using new marijuana products or edibles were at greater risk of experiencing an unexpected high, regardless of their age, gender, education, mental health status, or amount of marijuana consumed in the past month,” said Jane Allen, author of the study.

“States that have legalized marijuana for recreational use are thinking about how they can prevent negative public health outcomes,” Allen said. “One way we can help them do that is to study consumer perceptions of marijuana, including product packaging, required warning labels, and consumption advice so states can refine how they communicate marijuana information to the public. Effective communication should help to reduce unexpected highs.”

According to the study, most research subjects merely slept off the uncomfortable sensation. The research highlights an important point as more Americans are exposed to edible cannabis: Eating weed has a totally different effect than smoking it.

Here are some handy tips for the novice:

Do Your Homework

A smart newcomer to cannabis should take the time to study up on edibles. Most states require dosing guidelines limiting one dose to 10 milligrams of THC. There is a reason behind the regulation. For many experienced consumers of edibles, 10 milligrams may not be much at all. But for the beginner, 5 milligrams may be just what the doctor ordered. If you are buying from a reputable retailer, the edible will be properly packaged with labeling information. Read the label. Know what the dose is.

Eat Before You Eat

On an empty stomach, edibles will pack a more powerful punch. Make sure you have something nutritious in your system before eating a medicated brownie or any other edible.  You know when you have a prescription that recommends taking the medicine “with your meal”? Think of edible cannabis the same way.

Get Comfortable

Find a relaxing location that has a comfortable place to sit. Be prepared to stay in the same place for a while. When medicating with edibles, time is your friend. First of all, it will take 45-60 minutes for the edible to kick in. And once you start feeling the intoxicating effect, plan on the experience to last a few hours.

Start Small

This goes back to Rule 1 and the Homework Clause. There is no need to take a full dose right off the bat. If you are new to the experience, it’s best to gradually introduce THC into your system. Begin with half a dose. Microdosing cannabis the first few times is a great way to figure out your optimum dosage. Just two or three small bites from an edible may be all you need to start feeling the effects.

Don’t Mix With Booze

Combining alcohol with edible cannabis is not recommended. Sipping a beer while toking on a joint is one thing, but introducing booze to an edible session is a no-no. For most beginners, the result is an uncomfortable spinning sensation. Drink water or fruit juice instead.

Listen To Your Body And Remain Calm

Even if you do everything correctly, you still may feel jittery or anxious. Remember: This is not uncommon and it is not something that should cause concern. If you are feeling out of sorts, try to relax and remain calm. Drink some water, sit down, close your eyes and take a few breaths. Remind yourself that nobody has died from a marijuana overdose. If you are uncomfortable, know that the experience will be over soon.

 

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