Even if you're an old hand in the weed world, there's a peculiar, transformative power in infused treats: the intensity of combined mind/body effects, and the duration of said effects, can defeat even the most seasoned consumer.
Fortunately, there's more reliable info out there than ever to help you maximize your experience.
Here's our primer to ensure a beautiful ride.
1. Start small
The experts recommend as little as 5-10mg of THC for a first-timer. But - especially if you're making edibles at home - it can be difficult to determine the dose in an individual cookie or brownie.
In order to figure out the potency of homemade treats, bust out the calculator and do a little basic math. (Word to the wise: do this before you're high.) Consider the following: a gram of bud has 1,000mg of dry weight. Although medical-grade Colorado cannabis averages as high as 18.5 percent THC, most strains are closer to 10 percent. Ten percent of 1,000mg would be 100mg. So, in most cases, it's safe to assume that each gram of cannabis you're using equals at least 100mg THC.
To figure out how much THC is in a serving, take the amount of ground marijuana, convert it to milligrams, and divide it by the recipe yield. Remember: unless you've purchased from a dispensary, the THC content of what you're getting can be hard to predict. Err on the side of caution.
2. Smoking tolerance doesn't equal edibles tolerance
Just because you regularly vape or smoke doesn't mean that you're ready to eat an entire Kiva bar or down a higher-milligram elixir in a single sitting. When ingested orally, cannabis enters the stomach, where it passes through a minimal number of membranes compared to when it's inhaled into the lungs as smoke or vapor. Not only is the high different, but it takes a longer time to manifest. If you think you're ready for the maximum-milligram edibles dose just because you're a regular smoker, think again. This isn't the time for macho feats of overconsumption. Treat yourself gently.
3. Personalize your dose
A host of factors affect how edibles will effect you, including (but not limited to) your body composition, weight, gender, fatigue level, and overall temperament. A budtender, or more experienced friends, can offer valuable tips as to the relative strength of various products. But at the end of the day, trial and error are, unfortunately, the only foolproof way to know what dosage and delivery mechanism produce the effects you want.
4. All edibles are different
Edibles aficionados know to expect different effects from gummies, elixirs, and baked goods - even when they purportedly contain the same THC content. Just because you've achieved a certain effect with one product or brand doesn't mean that the same-milligram dose of another will be created equal. Read up on the products you're consuming, and the strains used in their manufacture, to avoid unpleasant surprises.
5. Take care - before you trip
While infused cookies or candy or quinoa salad might be completely delicious, don't be fooled: with the addition of cannabis, they become medicine - not food. That means your rationale of "well, at least I'm eating a brownie with my dose!" doesn't count. Be adequately nourished, hydrated, and in a positive, open mental state. Starting from a baseline of good mental and physical health sets you up for a journey, as opposed to an ordeal.
6. Wait it out
Ah, the classic rookie mistake: take one dose. Wait. After a while, become convinced that it "isn't doing anything." Take some more. Two hours later, get hit with a one-two punch of body stone and paranoia that leaves you curled in the fetal position as the walls melt and you replay every stupid thing you've ever said since fourth grade. Depending on the factors outlined in number 3, edibles can take from 30 minutes to 2 hours to kick in. Take note of the time you dose so that you're not tricked by the time-distorting effects of cannabis. Take your time. Overindulging isn't fun.
7. Roll with it
Once you've ingested, buckle up: out of all the consumption methods you can choose, an edibles high will last the longest. If you've accidentally overindulged, keep in mind that you're definitely gonna be ok. No one - and we literally mean no one - has ever died as a result of a cannabis overdose. So if you're sweaty and your heart is pounding alarmingly, just breathe normally. Remember you won't be stuck like this forever. Lay or sit down, look at or listen to something beautiful, or go out for a breath of fresh air: anything that helps you relax and channel the sensation in a safe, positive way.
h/t The Cannabist