Avoid Getting Too High From Cannabis Edibles
- August 7, 2020
Too avoid getting too high from cannabis edibles, eating too much of a THC-infused edible is an awful feeling: the nausea, dizziness and paranoia is the polar opposite of how anyone wants to feel after a cannabis treat. Yet it’s not uncommon to know at least one person with an uncomfortable or outright frightening story about eating too much of a “special” brownie.
Commercially produced cannabis edibles will be legal as of Oct. 17, 2019. When products hit shelves later this year or early next, consumers will want to make sure they’re getting more of Andrew Garfield’s “Disneyland seems extra special today” vibe from their edibles and less of Maureen Dowd’s “I’ve died and no one has told me about it” experience.
At the core of most bad edible experiences is too much tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Some consumers might be familiar with “greening out” from smoking or vaping, but Dr. Michael Verbora says edibles present a new challenge.
“THC is metabolised by the liver when it’s eaten, so it can last a lot longer,” says Verbora, chief medical officer at Aleafia Health Inc. and medical director at Canabo Medical Clinic, a network of referral-only cannabis clinics.
Too avoid getting too high from cannabis edibles Verbora says it takes longer for the effects of edibles to set in, but they last longer. Whereas a nasty high brought on by smoking or vaping will usually peter out in less than an hour, unpleasant edible experiences can last over two or three hours. The “sickness” can encompass everything from feelings of anxiety and paranoia to physical tremors and vomiting.
Verbora says the intensity of a bad high is unlikely to change whether you’re chewing on a cannabis-infused gummy or a brownie.
“By and large, most of the edibles we’re going to see [in October] are going to produce the same effects,” he says. “Five milligrams of THC should be the same across the board.”
Verbora says the only caveat may be edibles that dissolve in the mouth, causing them to kick in faster.
“If the dose is delivered more rapidly throughout the bloodstream, that might change the effects.”
According to Verbora, the trick to dosing is as simple as “start low and go slow.” Health Canada regulations limit THC levels to 10 mg per package, but the suggested serving for beginners can be about half of that. Verbora acknowledges it’s a rule borne of caution, and may suggest going even lower than that.
“Most naïve [consumers] should start with one or two milligrams. There are no harms to going slower.” He says you can dose again in a couple hours if the feeling’s just not there.
Other steps to edible success include being mindful of your personal tolerance level, reading the packaging and not immediately eating more within the first hour.
Oh, and think carefully about combining cannabis with alcohol – it may increase the presence of THC in the bloodstream.
While the stories are compelling, the little research conducted on the protective capabilities of CBD suggests promising but inconsistent results. In fact, other studies have suggested it may even intensify a high in some cases. If introducing other cannabinoids seems worth a try, Verbora says plenty of his patients have reported positive results.
“THC binds to receptors in the brain, and too much binding produces negative effects,” he says. “CBD makes it not bind the same way.”
Since the upset has more to do with the brain than the body, however, Verbora advises mindfulness exercises to bring that high back down to Earth.
Too avoid getting too high from cannabis edibles “Try to take a deep breath, relax, and remember that all effects will wear off 100 per cent within a few hours.”
He says sitting down in a comfortable place and/or having someone sit with you also works wonders in terms of stabilizing someone having a bad time.
Though hospitalization should be a last resort, “If your heart’s beating out of your chest, you may need to go to one.”
Ray Gracewood, senior VP of marketing and communications at OrganiGram, says the licensed producer is balancing consumer safety and offering the products many consumers want. The company has been prepping for Legalization 2.0 with a flavourless cannabinoid powder that can be mixed into any drink.
“When we talk about safety, that’s a complete unknown in the black market,” Gracewood says. “One time a dose will take 45 minutes, the next time it’s 90 minutes. It’s giving consumers a ticket for a ride they didn’t sign up for.”
Gracewood says OrganiGram’s powder sets in reliably within 20 minutes, every time.
OrganiGram is also working on more traditional products such as chocolates.
“The sensory experience is important,” Gracewood says. “We don’t just want to have the best canna-infused chocolates, but the best chocolates in general.”