Edibles: More Than Just Convenience

By: Gus Tovar

I have personally been reaping the benefits of Medical Marijuana for a bit over a decade now. I am someone who suffers from a couple of chronic conditions, which require a daily intake of harmful medications. Marijuana has been a fantastic alternative for me, as it has allowed me to continue my life without the fear of my liver shutting down on due to the constant abuse of pharmaceuticals. I was lucky to have open-minded doctors who, from a very early age spoke to me truthfully about medical marijuana and the possibility of me using it instead of pharmaceuticals, which I had been taking for quite a few years at that point. Looking back at my childhood, it is kind of hard to remember much before I turned 14 and started medicating with Marijuana. The drugs I had been on from an early age until then had kept me in a constant blur of reality and in a constant numbness to the outside world. I don’t feel like I started living until I found Medical Marijuana, as I don’t have much memory of anything before then.

Unfortunately, my mother did not feel too good about my newfound source of relief. This lead to us is having many misunderstandings growing up, but most importantly lead to my love and passion for edible marijuana. As a 14-year-old, with very limited real life knowledge of marijuana and drugs in general, I turned to the most obvious way of medicating, combustion. While I found combustion to be a very suitable and efficient way of medicating, it often caused more problems than it solved, as it is quite hard to hide the smell from a huge bong rip or, worse, a scrumptious dank filled blunt. It was not until maybe three months into my medicating days that I discovered the beauty of edibles. The first few times, they were good old homemade medicated Rice Krispy treats, using cannabis-infused butter, which a friend and I went ahead and made while his mom wasn’t home. I had found a new way to medicate without having to burn anything, without having to call for more attention than needed. From this point on, my Marijuana medicating schedule consisted of about 90% edibles and only about 10% lung inhalation. I could go into the restroom at home, eat and edible, brush my teeth, and rejoin the family without anyone batting an eye. I was stoned the whole time I lived at my parent’s house growing up, mom never knew any better. She just thought my conditions had disappeared by some supernatural Jesus miracle.

I can truly say I was quite lucky to have a constant supply of fantastic material that we turned into very potent edibles, which eventually lead to extracting “Rick Simpson Oil” or “Phoenix Tears.” This is primarily using an alcohol-based extraction after allowing the plant material to decarboxylate. Decarboxylation is the process of removing the carboxylic group from the chemical structure of the THCA molecule, and turning it into psychoactive THC molecule we all love. This is something that happens naturally at the moment of combustion or vaporization. Decarboxylation will not take place if one is to directly ingest the material orally. After decarboxylating the plant material with little heat, the plant material can then be used to extract a very pure and very potent resin, which can be orally ingested and activated by our digestive system and our liver which will process the THC into 11-hydroxy-thc.

The 11-hydroxy-thc high , while similar to the familiarly known THC high brought upon by inhaling flowers or dabs is a much different drug than conventional THC.  The differentiation is on the come up and the way the drug affects your body and mind. If you are familiar with smoking or vaporizing marijuana and marijuana concentrates, you are very familiar with the feeling of a quick come up. When one inhales a bit of marijuana or wax, the drug is immediately absorbed by our lungs, producing an almost instant effect on the user. A “head-change” is often felt after just one hit of high-quality flower or wax. Depending on the potency and strain of the flower the results will vary. As we already know an Indica heavy strain will bring forth a more body focused high, and quite a bit of pain relief. While a Sativa heavy strain will bring forth a more cerebral and “heady” high, both have a very definite place and purpose. The effects of inhaling the drug will usually be felt for 2-4, hours once again depending on the potency of the flower or concentrate. But the most important thing to take away from this is that inhaling Marijuana brings a quick onset to the effects, which will slowly taper off as time goes on.

The edible experience is quite different, as there are no immediate or quick onset effects. Edibles have a funny way of working depending on the type of active material, which is being used in the edible. Edibles can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours for the effects to take hold, and then usually another hour or so for you to reach the peak of the experience. One clear benefit of edibles is the length of effect; most people find that once they hit the peak of their experience the comedown period lasts for a good 3-5 hours, or even longer time periods in people with low tolerance. Edibles have been known to humbly bring many experience smokers to their knees, with the intensity of their effects.

The effects of edible marijuana can be described to be many times more psychedelic than the effects of inhaling the drug. While both methods of ingestion will bring psychedelic effects to the user, it is clear that the edible version of medicating lends itself to a more psychedelic and introspective experience. Many people who have been smoking for years, will take a heavier than normal edible dose only to find themselves feeling like they are taking a drug they have never taken before. The effects of an edible, just like any other drug that is ingested orally, cannot be gradually incremented as it happens in smoking. Once you take a dose, you have no choice but to hold on for the ride. I recently had a run in with a Shaman from Oaxaca Mexico, who has vast experience with Marijuana and other psychedelics. After he had tried one of my 150mg edible doses, he accused me of giving him a narcotic. After showing him our lab tests from SDPharmLabs in Ocean Beach, he understood that he simply had no experience with edibles. I cannot stress the fact enough that 11-hydroxy-thc is a very different beast from the typical THC experience.

In California, most typical edible doses are set at 50mg of THC (which will be processed into 11-hydroxy-thc by your liver). Recreational Marijuana states like Colorado and Oregon have extremely limiting rules which only allow edibles to reach a potency of 10mg of THC per unit. In my eyes, this is foolish, and I sincerely hope that with the new laws in California edible makers will not be forced to follow such silly rules. In California, we are lucky enough to have edible companies offering edibles in the 1000-2000mg of THC range. While they are not intended to be consumed as a whole, they allow substantial edible users to dose out the edible into many doses. For example, a 1000mg edible can be dosed into as many as 20 effective treatments. While I would personally break it down into 75mg doses, it is clear that edibles can bring a great value when we consider than most 1000mg edibles are sold around the $50-$60 range. Going a bit further that drops the price of each dose to about $3, when most grams of top shelf flower are going anywhere from $15-$25 and will be good for one or two sessions, we can see the value of edibles shine.

As you can tell by this point, I am a bit biased about edibles, as they have served such an essential part in my life. As I got older my love for dabbing concentrates took a hold and now I am about a 50% edible and 50% concentrate daily user. But to be honest, nothing takes me to the places that a nice solid edible dose will take me. There is simply an added layer of effects brought upon by edibles, which we cannot expect from inhalation. That added psychedelic “head-space” and introspective agenda brought upon by edibles is something I value quite deeply in my life. With new and upcoming ways of infusing edibles popping into the market, I am quite excited to see what the future holds. It has been interesting seeing the edible market go from cannabis infused butter classics, to RSO infused edibles, to the present winterized wax/shatter infused edibles such as Kushy Punch which are indeed taking over the market. We are now also seeing THC-infused syrups and even “invisi-dabs” THC-infused inhalers, yes, like asthma inhalers. The edible market is bound to blow up, as the legalization of marijuana becomes a reality throughout our nation.