Whether used medically or recreationally, edibles have become one of the most popular ways to consume cannabis, and there are a wide variety of edible formats, each with unique advantages.
Legal Status of Edibles
In Canada, edibles are allowed for sale in both the medical and recreational cannabis markets. Pre-manufactured edibles, such as chocolates and gummies, are limited to 10mg THC per package. The 10mg THC limit does not apply to cannabis oils or cannabis capsules, which can both be sold in packages of up to 1000mg.
NOTE: There is no limit on the CBD content of edibles.
What Do Edibles Do?
Edibles typically hit harder than inhaled cannabis for several reasons: Firstly, with inhaled cannabis, not all of the vapour is inhaled; but with edibles 100% of the cannabinoid is absorbed by the body. Secondly, edible cannabis is processed differently by the body. The science on this is ongoing, but current consensus is that as THC is processed by the liver, it is converted into a new compound known as 11-Hydroxy-THC, which has stronger psychoactive effects than the THC from inhalation.
Because edibles need to be digested and processed by the liver, it is common for edibles to take longer to take effect. Typically, users who consume edibles will begin feeling effects within 30 minutes, but for some it can take much longer.
CAVEAT: It’s extremely important – especially for new users – to give edibles adequate time to take effect. DO NOT TAKE REPEATED DOSES until you are confident of the effect edibles will have on you.
TYPES OF EDIBLES
Gummies and Chocolates
The most popular edibles formats are gummies and chocolates, which come in a wide variety of sizes and flavours. It’s important to note that gummies and chocolates cannot be legally sold in the recreational market in Quebec, which has banned all edibles that resemble sweets or desserts. However, medical patients in Quebec can purchase these edibles from medical suppliers such as Alterna Pharma with a prescription.
Beverages have grown in popularity as an edible format in the recreational market, but are less common in the medical market.
Oils and Capsules
Cannabis oils can be used as an edible – either by measuring/eating directly, or as an ingredient in the manufacture of homemade edibles. Making your own edibles at home is completely legal in Canada, as long as the cannabis used to make them is legally obtained.
Cannabis capsules are simply cannabis oil that has been pre-portioned into individual capsules. The most common format for these are “gel caps,” with cannabis oil contained in an edible shell. Capsules are a great way to take a daily cannabis dosage without all the added sugar and calories of most edibles.