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How To Consume Marijuana: 3 Tips For Beginners
marijuana edibles

It’s important to be prepared when trying marijuana edibles for the first time.

If you typically smoke or vaporize cannabis, the thought of consuming edibles can seem intimidating.

You may have heard stories about people incorrectly dosing their cannabis-infused foods and having an uncomfortable high as a result.

But whether you’re consuming a marijuana cookie, chocolate bar or four-course meal, it’s possible to have a responsible and enjoyable experience if you follow these three tips.

1. Educate Yourself on the Edible

(Photo: Kiva Confections)

The most important tip to having a good marijuana edible experience is to be educated about the dose of your product.

Smoking cannabis allows you to easily control the dose: After you inhale, you can wait a few minutes to see the effects and smoke again if necessary. However, edibles can be easy to over-consume because of the delay between when the cannabis is ingested and when the effects are experienced.

“Your body takes on edibles differently,” says Andrea Drummer, edible expert and co-owner of Elevation VIP Co-Op, a Los Angeles-based catering company that provides sophisticated marijuana-infused foods.

Drummer also stressed the importance of knowing the milligrams of THC per serving and how large the serving is.

“I’ve seen candy bars that are like 1,000 milligrams [of THC]. That’s a lot. So, you can only eat a square of that,” Drummer says.

If you’re consuming edibles for the first time, you should start with a small dose of 5 or 10 milligrams. A typical dose ranges between 10 and 20 milligrams per serving, according to Drummer.

Besides dosage, Drummer also says it’s important to know what strain works for your body. To get a comfortable high, you should purchase products made with strains you typically smoke and enjoy.

If you don’t have a favourite strain, Drummer recommends starting off with a hybrid strain — a combination of both sativa and indica strains.

Luckily, the edible market is becoming more conscious of proper dosing, so you can usually check the label for dosing and strain information.

2. Expect a Different, More Intense High

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Eating a marijuana edible will give you a different high than smoking or vaporizing.

“It’s definitely more of a body high,” Drummer says. However, the effects also depend on the strain the edible is made with.

When you smoke cannabis, you will typically feel the high within minutes, whereas it can take 20 to 30 minutes to feel the effects of an edible. The high also lasts longer. Depending on the dose, the effects of edibles typically last for 3 to 6 hours.

However, if you consume too much, the high can last a day or even longer.

For example, Drummer catered a marijuana-infused dinner for comedian and television host Chelsea Handler and her friends on the fourth episode of “Chelsea Does,” a Netflix documentary series. Handler’s team wanted the dinner to be as intense as possible for the show.

As a result of the extremely high doses, Handler and her friends were high for about two and a half days, recalls Drummer.

3. Stay Calm if You Consume Too Much

(Photo: Spirit-Fire/Flickr)

If you consume too high of a dose, the effects will be similar to smoking too much cannabis: Paranoia, anxiety and a sense of dread.

If your dose was too high and you’re uncomfortable, Drummer says to stay calm.

“Just wait it out, you’re not going to die. There have been no overdoses. You’ll be fine,” she says.

She recommends doing something calming to focus your attention, such as watching television, playing a video game or listening to music. You could also lay down and sleep it off.

Alternatively, many people swear by the black pepper home remedy. Chewing on a few peppercorns or simply taking a few whiffs is said to quickly reduce the anxious effects of consuming too much cannabis.

A 2011 review details the similarities between THC and the terpenoids found in black pepper. When combined, they seem to be effective at reducing anxiety.

Apart from getting the dosage correct, you can also avoid getting too high by eating a meal before your edible. Consuming marijuana on an empty stomach can cause the effects to be quicker and more intense.