Forms of use
Though there are untold varieties of edibles available on the market today, infused edibles can all be split into three basic categories: those geared towards gastrointestinal uptake (digested through stomach), those geared towards oral uptake (through saliva), and a few that fit into a hybrid category that targets both.
The most common edibles are geared towards gastrointestinal absorption. Any edible where the cannabinoids are absorbed through the stomach falls into this category; this includes brownies, cookies, pill capsules, snacks and many more food-types. These edibles 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).
On the other hand, edibles geared towards oral uptake can affect a patient almost immediately but tend to wear off faster (within two to three hours). Edibles that you hold in your mouth for an extended period of time like suckers, lozenges, and tinctures fall into this category.
Some items, such as infused drinks and chocolate bars fall into a hybrid category because they are designed to be absorbed in both the mouth and the stomach. These types of edibles are a middle ground between oral and intestinal absorption, offering fast-acting relief (patients usually feel this type of edible within a half hour) that can last for four hours or more.
The Effects of Edibles
Because most edibles are exposed to some kind of heat during the cooking process, many of the inactive cannabinoids such as THCA and CBDA, are converted to THC, CBD, and CBN. This heating process, known as decarboxylation, as well as the high levels of THC found in edibles, work together to create an ideal treatment for many disorders / health conditions including chronic pain, muscle inflammation and spasms, autoimmune disorders, nervous system disorders, insomnia, and nausea — provided the patient is well enough to ingest the medication. The acid forms of THC and CBD (e.g. THCA and CBDA) are highly beneficial and provide their own medicinal benefits, so finding infused edible products that are not completely decarboxylated is preferred.
While anyone can enjoy the benefits of edibles, 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 at the root of the problem.
Ingesting cannabis will affect you different than smoking the plant. However, exactly what effect edibles will have on you depends on several factors: the type and potency of the edibles you are using, your tolerance, your body chemistry, and even how much you’ve had to eat. Because the effects of eating an edible differ greatly from the effects of smoking, many first-time users are caught off guard by the stronger potency and long-lasting effects.
Despite CBD’s anxiety-relieving properties, many people experience a heightened sense of anxiety and paranoia when they initially ingest an edible. This is caused by various factors, but tends to mostly deal with fact that most people are not used to ingesting cannabis yet and have feelings of uncertainty, which leads to anxiety and paranoia. This seems to fade away the more you eat them, and get used to the effects.
When you smoke marijuana you only receive a small amount of the cannabinoids in each draw, although the effects will be felt instantly. This is unlike eating edibles which tend to hit you much more slowly. In fact, edibles take roughly 30 minutes to 1 hour to reach maximum effect, so be sure to allow adequate time before ingesting more. Eating infused treats tends to release the effects in waves as the cannabinoids are processed by the stomach and digested over a 2-6-hour period.