Now that medical cannabis is legal and recreational use of marijuana is available in the ACT; I started looking for alternative methods to consuming weed. Let’s take a deep dive into cannabis edibles as Australia’s new favourite alternative to smoking weed.
We live in exciting cannabis times, especially for the people who are looking for alternatives to smoking cannabis. Medical cannabis available in Australia is typically oil, and that is the best ingredient for edibles. Edibles have been around for a long time with “weed brownies” becoming popular in the 1990s — gummies (gummy bears), cookies, tea, beer and so much more are available today. Digesting cannabis is an entirely different experience than smoking cannabis.
Edibles are not commonly available in Australia with medical CBD and THC oil, so people are attempting to make it themselves. The most challenging part of making edibles is:
Understanding the effects of CBD and THC on the body
Measuring the potency (dosage) of cannabis to suit the users
Knowing how long it takes to kick in and wear off
Making it delicious; whether its tea or brownies
What are cannabis edibles?
Cannabis edibles are almost any type of food and beverage that has been infused with cannabis. You will often hear them referred to as “weed” or “marijuana” edibles and are most commonly found in sweets such as cookies, brownies or gummy bears.
You can make edibles from the extracts of cannabis plants; including hemp and marijuana. The best extracts for edibles are the kief, bud, and leaf trimmings.
Edibles with a high concentrate of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) will provide a stronger body high. The THC component is a psychoactive component which causes the same high when smoking bud (flowers).
Edibles with high concentrate of cannabidiol (CBD) will provide a lighter and more therapeutic high. Most cannabis medicines have a mixture of CBD and THC, such as 10% THC and 10% CBD. Read our previous article on “what is cannabidiol (CBD)” to learn more.
The main ingredient to make cannabis edibles is cannabis oil or butter (Cannabutter). With medicinal cannabis primarily being oils, this has created a lot of opportunities for people to make edibles in the form of tea, cookies, brownies and so much more.
Types of weed edibles
With medical cannabis legalisation in Australia, the demand for alternative cannabis products has been on the rise. Rather than taking drops of oil on your tongue, people are looking for tastier and more interesting ways to consume their medicinal marijuana.
You could create cannabis edibles with higher levels of THC if you created oil or Cannabutter from dry marijuana buds, kief or leaf trimmings. You won’t be limited to just the CBD and THC oil, as you can create this yourself.
Most cannabis products are extracted from marijuana plants that can yield high concentrations of THC. Hemp plans will produce a higher yield of CBD, which does not give you the strong “high” feeling. Edibles created from medicinal cannabis oil generally have an even balance of CBD and THC.
People have been experimenting with edibles for decades and they come in different tastes, shapes and forms. These are some of the most popular cannabis edible recipes you will find online:
Gummies and hard candy
Cannabis cooking oil
Beverages (Soft Drinks, Iced Tea etc.)
How long do edibles take to kick in?
The main thing when it comes to cannabis and edibles is everyone is different; both mentally and physically. Even the same person can have a completely different experience on various occasions due to a change in mental or physical state.
You may feel the effects of cannabis between 1 to 3 hours. The most commonly reported time is 2 hours and the longest was 4 hours. But this can vary depending on mind and body. The main factors that will change the time it takes to feel the effects of weed edibles are:
Size and weight of the person
Taking other drugs at the same time
The amount taken
The potency of the edibles
The environment (at home or in a new place)
Personality and mental state
Edibles are absorbed through your intestines, digestive tract, and the liver. It usually takes anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes for the edibles to kick in. For people with stronger tolerances to cannabis, edible effects will take quite longer to kick anywhere between 2 to 4 hours, unlike beginners.
You need to be [cautious of over-eating. If you don’t feel the effects within an hour and go to eat more, it may hit you harder. For some people, it may take longer to start feeling the effects.
Cannabis edible calculators will allow you to estimate the dosage when making edibles. This allows you to make edibles that suit your body type, tolerance, and so on.
How long do weed edibles last in your body?
Weed edibles can stay in your body for weeks after consumption, and it can be detected in your saliva for 48 hours after consuming. If you ingest a certain amount of edibles, the effects can last anywhere between 6 to 10 hours.
While some people enjoy the psychoactive effects of cannabis edibles, others find them hard to bear. It is recommended to ingest small amounts in the beginning and to get medical advice for any of the cannabis products you are consuming for health reasons.
How to calculate edibles dosage
Everyone is asking us about how to calculate how much cannabis do you need to make oil or butter. How much of the marijuana plant extracts do you need to create edibles? Well, we have put together table of edibles dosage to guide you on your cannabis journey.
Deciding how much cannabis to use in edibles is nowhere near a science, but based on research and experience around the world, we can estimate edibles dosage. The main factor we use to calculate dosage is tolerance levels to figure out how much to include.
Based on tolerance levels, here is a simple guide for edibles using THC dosage:
1 - 2.5mg (THC)
Beginners (First Time)
This level helps relieve pain, anxiety, stress, and other symptoms
2.5 - 15mg (THC)
Low Tolerance (Few times a month)
This dosage is ideal for patients with persistent problems, relentless sleepers, and social butterflies. It helps to relieve stronger symptoms
15 - 30mg (THC)
This dosage is deal for well-seasoned consumers and medical patients with developed tolerances. May cause euphorbia and may impair coordination and alter perception.
30 - 50mg (THC)
Upper Intermediate (Regular)
Meant for consumers with poor GI absorption of cannabinoids and people with significant tolerance to THC. Such amount is likely to impair coordination and alter perception.
50 - 100mg (THC)
Advanced (Experienced with High Tolerance)
For experienced THC individuals only or patients with cancer, inflammatory disorders, or medical conditions that need high doses.
There is not deadly amount of cannabis, but there is always adverse side effects such as increased heart rate, pain, paranoia, and nausea. If you are unsure of the dosage, you can visit a Cannabis Clinic in Australia for advice from a health professional.
Every individual has different reactions while consuming cannabis edibles. So, knowing the accurate dosage of edibles is essential due to the delayed onset and different dosage options.
Why eat edibles instead of smoking
Here are the top reasons edibles are becoming more popular than smoking weed in Australia.
1) Edibles give you a different high
Ingesting edibles, instead of smoking, gives you a different kind of high because your body converts non-psychoactive THC into a whole different form of THC called delta-11. This experience is often preferred over smoking as it will effect your mind and body.
Delta-11 has a unique effect on your mind and body. This kind of “high” is the one people regard as the most significant than the impact of smoking cannabis. There is debate on whether or not dabbing has a stronger effect on the body. But edibles is surely the easier option when looking for a “full body high”.
2) Eating edibles make the high last longer
If you’re looking for a high, that is mild and will last longer, eating edibles rather than smoking is perfect for you. Smoking cannabis circulates THC into your nervous system to the lungs; you can feel the effects real quick.
However, the peak of the high will last anywhere between one to three hours, and you’ll begin to feel exhausted.
While eating edibles, you’ll find that the high may take longer to kick in like one hour and for some people, it may take as long as three hours to feel the effect. After the first few times trying, you will discover how long it takes for edibles to affect your body and you can choose the perfect dosage amount.
3) Eating edibles do not give you cottonmouth
Smoking marijuana can cause health problems when consumed in excess. Smoking reduces saliva production because of the powerful effect it has on the nervous system. The lack of saliva may perhaps lead to gum diseases.
While more research is needed for this, we can say that eating edibles rather than smoking are a more natural way to consume cannabis. It does not cause a lot of the traditional problems with smoking weed such as cottonmouth, sore throat and smokers cough etc.
4) Edibles can be made from more parts of the plant
Eating edibles utilises offcuts, leaf trimmings, kief, defective buds, which would have gone to waste. Rather than disposing of the substandard cannabis bits you can use them for baking yummy cookies and other snacks or drinks. This makes the cannabis plant more environmentally sustainable.
The leaf trimmings, which usually go unused, are the most popular ingredients for cannabis edibles. These would usually be burnt or buried, but are not utilised as the main go-to cooking ingredient for edibles.
5) It creates a full-body high effect
Smoking cannabis circulates THC into your nervous system way faster, but it doesn’t distribute evenly throughout the body. While eating edibles rather than smoking, it helps to relieve pain and offers a soothing effect of THC and other cannabinoids more evenly across the body.
Therefore, ingested weed edibles are an ideal solution for people looking for pain relief. This is due to the more prolonged effects and its therapeutic relief on the body. With the effects lasting up to 8 hours compared to smoking which is usually 1-3 hours.
6) Eating edibles help avoid a post-high crash
Smoking cannabis comes with a post-high crash. This crash feels exhausting and isn’t ideal for people wanting to continue about their day after using cannabis medicine.
Edibles are entirely different as they have a slow-release effect. This slow effect means that you won’t have a hard crash that’s commonly found with smoking.
7) No smell or sore throat
People are looking for easier ways to consume cannabis without the smell of weed smoke lingering in your house or on your clothes. A safer alternative that has less negative physical effects on your body than smoking. Edibles are the answer to that.
Scientists consider oral THC far healthier than smoking cannabis. This is because it offers potent psychoactive high, which is primarily utilized for therapeutic purposes and treating medical conditions.
Cannabis edibles can have adverse effects when ingested more than what the body is used to, that’s why having a cannabis edibles calculator is essential. Here are some of the side effects of cannabis-infused edibles
While cannabis edibles have a variety of flavours, make use of this chance to try out different flavours when choosing a recipe and find the ones that suit you more. Making cookies or brownies to get high is easy, but making these edibles taste delicious is a challenge.
In North America, cannabis chefs are becoming highly sought after to create high quality edibles in both taste and potency. Edibles are becoming the “craft beer” of the cannabis industry with people searching for unique flavours.
Always check the CBD content of the oil, butter of cannabis plant before making any edibles. The higher the CBD content, the higher the amount of CBD will be distributed into your nervous system. Therefore, if you’re a beginner, it is advised to start with edibles with low CBD content.
The THC potency level dictates how “high” you will feel. So measuring the THC dosage for edibles is even more critical than CBD as you would not want to have 50mg of THC in edibles for a first time user. Finding the right dosage level will provide the users with a better experience.
Marijuana plants have the most active THC content, but if these plants are homegrown like in the ACT, it will be hard to figure out the potency level. Understanding the strain of cannabis plants allows you to estimate how potent the CBD and THC levels will be, but the environment and growing process also affects this.
Always go for weed edibles that suit your food preferences. If you’re allergic to some foods, obviously avoid those. But as you become more experienced, you can understand how little or how much THC and CBD to include to give yourself the best experience.
Medical doctors at Australia’s cannabis clinics are trained to estimate the dosage for patients. As Australia moves towards the legalisation of marijuana, we can find regulated and more measured cannabis products, as found with alcohol. You will drink a light beer if you’re driving, or spirits if you’re partying.
James is an experienced writer and legal cannabis advocate in Australia. He answers all the questions about business, legalisation and medicinal cannabis.
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