Staying Safe and Healthy While Using Cannabis Edibles
Edibles for Ohio and Maryland Cannabis Patients
When most people think of cannabis edibles they picture baked goods and candies which are often featured on TV shows and in West Coast dispensaries. Maryland law prohibits selling cannabis ‘food’ due to concerns about minors mistakenly using their parents’ medication. Maryland dispensaries are able to provide other oral options such as pills, tablets and infused drinks. (Ohio patients will be able to purchase edibles from dispensaries unlike Maryland patients, however.)
There are ways to use cannabis as a food since it is possible to purchase raw cannabis flower and make your own.
A Healthy Alternative?
There are various reasons for using cannabis edibles with the most common reason being some patients simply don’t want to smoke or vape. While inhaling cannabis is the fastest way to experience relief, it can irritate the lungs and is not always the most convenient way to use the medicine. Some patients also find that ingesting cannabis provides better relief for their symptoms. It is worth at least giving edibles a try, especially if you have gastrointestinal problems. Edibles are basically the extended release version of cannabis which can also make them useful for those seeking longer-term relief for pain or when having difficulty staying asleep.
It Doesn’t Have to be a Baked Sale
There are tons of recipes online for baking cookies and brownies with cannabis, but many people don’t want to eat unhealthy sweets when taking their medication. Below are some healthier ways to use cannabis for those that prefer the edible method:
One of the easiest ways to make your own cannabis edibles is to prepare it as a butter that you can use on your food. Follow this recipe here to make your own.
Extracting cannabis into an oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil, is another popular way to make your own edibles. As an added bonus some patients also use these oils topically for some conditions to attack their symptoms from the inside and outside. Follow this recipe here to make your own.
Making your own cannabis tea is not as popular as the above methods and requires a lot of preparation time due to needing to decarboxylate the cannabis. You may have noticed from the last two recipes that cannabinoids are fat soluble, which is why you need to add some sort of emulsifier such as milk or cream to your tea. Follow this recipe here to make your own tea. You can also simply add cannabutter or oil to your tea.
Rick Simpson Oil:
You can use the Magical Butter machine to create a high potency oil similar to Rick Simpson Oil. Follow this video here for further instructions. Be sure to use less than a drop of oil when trying it due to how powerful it is.
Temperance is a Virtue
You only need to achieve temperatures of 220 °F to decarboxylate, but this temperature must be maintained over a long period of time to fully convert THCA to THC. According to one study “110 °C [230 °F] for 110 minutes” is optimal for decarboxylating and especially for making cannabis butter. The boiling point of THC is around 350 °F and it can degrade into its metabolite cannabinol (CBN) at much higher prolonged temperatures. The foods being cooked may not achieve those high temperatures internally, but if you feel like your edibles aren’t strong enough, try cooking with less heat.
Mind your Limits!
A drawback for Maryland’s medical marijuana program is that edibles aren’t a very efficient medication and some patients reach their monthly cannabis limit. Primarily, this is due to the fact that a significant amount of cannabinoids pass through your digestive system without getting absorbed. Furthermore, not all cannabis plants are created equal and some have higher concentrations of THC than others, but they all count equally towards your 4 ounce per month limit. Furthermore, when making your own edibles it is possible to ruin a batch just like with any cooking endeavor. Purchasing pre-prepared products or using other routes of administration such as sublingual tinctures can help to avoid prematurely hitting your limit. (Unlike Maryland, Ohio’s medical marijuana program does allow for purchasing edibles.)
Another major issue with edibles is they are difficult to dose and can take up to 120 minutes to fully kick in. A common mistake is to overeat cannabis edibles because you aren’t feeling any immediate effects. If dosing is a concern, then pills and tablets a great option. However, you may not get all the other benefits that come from using a favorite strain since the options are more limited. With the right preparation and precautions, you can safely and fully enjoy edible cannabis to treat your condition.