They say baking is a science, but when it comes to edibles, we would argue that it’s more of an art form than anything. (Though there’s plenty of science involved, too.)
This page covers every aspect of marijuana edibles under the sun. Use the Table of Contents below to jump around, or, read from start to finish to become a total expert on marijuana edibles in less than 20 minutes.
Marijuana edibles are food items that you can eat in order to experience the effects of marijuana. Why would you want to eat your bud instead of smoking or vaping it? For a few reasons:
In a broader sense, since edibles do not require inhalation, they’re an attractive alternative for those who are not comfortable with the act of smoking or vaping.
Lastly, since it’s easier to control THC consumption with edibles, they’re an attractive alternative for people who want to experience the positive therapeutic effects of marijuana without the sensation of feeling too high.
Since the effects from edibles have the potential to be more intense than those of smoking or vaping, it’s imperative you choose the perfect strain before you attempt to make them.
And, since edibles are generally made in batches, it’s wise to make sure the edibles provide the desired effects before you commit to making so many.
Marijuana is classified into two categories: sativa and indica. In general, indica is associated with relaxation and sativa is associated with energy. So, if you want to get stuff done after eating an edible, choose sativa. If you just want to relax, choose indica.
Note that these categorizations are quite broad and not always entirely accurate. For example, some indicas will make you want to fall asleep quickly, whereas others will simply provide a soothing hum or relaxation without the drowsiness. Things are further complicated by the fact that many strains are a hybrid cross between indica and sativa.
So, how do you choose the perfect strain for your edibles? It depends where you’re getting your bud from:
Before committing to any particular strain, it’s always a good idea to do extra research via websites such as Leafly to get a more accurate idea of how the strain will affect you. For example, this page details the effects of OG Kush, with thousands of people sharing their experiences with how the strain affected them.
Note that although the effects of a particular strain are generally fairly standard for everyone, there is always the matter of preference. If you haven’t experienced the effects of a particular strain before, consider smoking or vaping a small amount beforehand before you commit to making the entire batch of edibles.
Most know that it’s very, very difficult for marijuana to be fatal. Even though the effects from marijuana edibles are more intense, it’s still nearly impossible to overdo it in a life-or-death sense.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should simply make the most potent edibles possible. Eat too much THC and you may feel very uncomfortable, which will be made even worse by the fact that the effects from edibles tend to last for quite a long time.
Colorado’s guideline for edible consumption is 10 milligrams of active THC per serving. Most other states have followed this guideline when decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana, and we agree that it’s a good jumping off point. If you have experience with marijuana and you know you are comfortable with the effects of the strain you have chosen, aim for 10mg per serving.
However. If you are new to marijuana, or you consider yourself to be a “lightweight”, or you haven’t tried a particular strain before, we would recommend starting with even less. For example, 5mg may be more appropriate.
Worst case scenario? You can increase the dosage by taking another bite if you’re not feeling anything.
Remember that the effects from edibles take longer to set in, so give it two to three hours before you declare they haven’t hit you like you wanted them to. Bad edible experiences often begin with someone eating too many due to an erroneously perceived lack of effects.
To ensure you get close to 10mg, use the step-by-step guide below.
From the example above, you can easily deduce just how intense edibles can be, even if not much marijuana is used. 4g of marijuana dispersed among 25 pieces of brownie results in double the recommended serving for each brownie!
Since it’s very hard to get perfectly even THC distribution with an at-home edible setup, note that certain servings may contain slightly more than your approximation, and some may contain slightly less. At the risk of repetition, we remind you once again that when it comes to edibles, less is always more.
Decarboxylating is the process of removing acid from cannabinoids in order to activate them. Specifically, we are focused on the acidic cannabinoid THC-A and CBD-A. These cannabinoids produce no active effects until they are heated up (via vaporizer or flame). Once that happens, THC-A becomes THC and CBD-A becomes CBD, which leads to a traditional high that makes use of buds efficiently.
It’s commonly stated that without decarboxylation, edibles are useless. Although we undoubtedly agree that THC-A and CBD-A will not become activated unless heated, we aren’t quite ready to write off non-decarboxylated edibles just yet. According to Dr. Willian Courtney, raw (non-decarboxylated) marijuana is a “superfood”, and actually more effective if you desire antioxidants, anti-inflammation effects, and neuroprotective effects more than you do psychoactive effects.
Our overall recommendation is to start with decarboxylated edibles, and if you feel that the effects aren’t quite right for you in particular, consider trying the same approach without decarboxylating the buds beforehand.
There are five common ways to achieve decarboxylation. We’ve listed them in no particular order before. In general, the oven is the easiest, and a mini decarber or sous verde machine is the most efficient.
The slow cooker is ultra-convenient. You can toss some buds in, go to work, and they’ll be ready for cooking when you arrive back home.
The Instant Pot is similar to the slow cooker, except way more efficient. The whole process takes 40 minutes instead of four hours.
The process for the instant pot is the same as it is for the slow cooker. Just set it to 40 minutes instead of 4 hours, and remember to be very careful when manually releasing the steam.
Start with the oven if you’re new to edibles and want to reduce the chances of making a mistake.
Note that you can also use the toaster oven on the “Bake” setting, though traditional ovens generally lead to more even heat distribution, which prevents the bud from potentially burning.
If you’re making a lot of edibles, you will eventually want to invest in a mini decarber, which is a specialized machine quite literally built for the job. These specialized machines provide steady and ultra-consistent temperatures, resulting in more precise end results.
Along with better results, mini decarbers also nearly eliminate the odors involved in the process, making them excellent choices for multi-person households.
Sous Vide machines use a similar heating method as the slow cooker and instant pot do. However, they’re smaller and more specialized machines, usually resulting in a more even and consistent distribution of heat. Specifically, water circulates inside of the machine to achieve better results; however, this fact also means that mason jars cannot be used, as glass becomes very brittle when heated.
Alright! You’ve gone through the decarboxylation process and you’re finally ready to get cooking. Although edibles are generally associated with sweets like brownies and cookies, once you have the cannabis-infused staple ingredient sitting in your fridge, the sky is truly the limit.
Check out the five recipes below as a jumping off point. From there, get creative!
Canna butter (cannabutter) is a smart all-around choice. It can be cooked with dishes; or, if you don’t typically cook, you can just spread it on a piece of bread to get the desired effects.
Canna butter cooking instructions:
Canna oil is a popular alternative to canna butter due to its versatility. In general, a higher number of baked goods call for oil than they do butter.
Cooking instructions for canna oil are identical to the canna butter cooking instructions above. Just replace butter with oil. We recommend canola or vegetable oil, though olive or avocado oil are also good choices for making certain dishes.
Did you know? Edibles aren’t limited to food items. You can also create tincture, which can be added to alcoholic drinks! We recommend exercising extreme caution when consuming tincture, as the effects of alcohol when combined with the effects of edibles can be very intense.
Unlike other cannabis edibles, tincture does not require any heating, making it a perfect alternative for those of us who like to avoid cooking at all costs.
Step-by-step guide to make canna tincture:
If you plan to drink quite a bit of your tincture at once, drastically reduce the amount of buds used.
Honey is an excellent alternative to canna oil and canna butter due to its long shelf life. It can sit in the pantry for a full two months before concerns with its age start to sprout up.
Step-by-step recipe guide to make canna honey:
Canna maple syrup is similar to canna honey. The instructions for making canna maple syrup are identical to the instructions above. However, note that canna maple syrup requires refrigeration, and lasts for only two to four weeks before going bad.
Edibles are an attractive alternative to smoking or vaping, and now that you know how to make them, you can avoid hefty markups from dispensaries and independent sellers. (Yours will probably taste better, too!)
Have a question or comment? Be sure to leave a comment below to join the conversation.
In general, edibles take between one and two hours to kick in. However, this is only an estimate. Various factors affect THC absorption:
In general, the most noticeable effects from edibles come around between 2 and 4 hours after consumption. Beyond that, effects may not completely subside, but they will gradually taper down between 4 and 8 hours after consumption. Most users report the effects wearing off completely after 8 hours or more.
Keep in mind that the more THC you ingest, the longer it will take to leave your system. In other words, eating two edibles instead of one will result in a longer duration of effects.
Due to the variability with how long edibles take to kick in, wait at least two hours before you conclude that you haven’t felt anything.
Also keep in mind that the effects from edibles are different than those from vaping or smoking, meaning you shouldn’t expect an identical experience.
After two to three hours, if you still feel nothing, increase your dose by a small amount, but do not double it (by simply eating two edibles instead of one). If you eat too much, you risk going from feeling nothing… to feeling highly uncomfortable from the too-intense effects.