Curious about cannabis but not sure about smoking or vaping it? You could always try edibles.
With edibles now available through licensed dispensaries and more products expected throughout 2020, Vancouver Coastal Health is sharing a few reminders for those munching on cannabis goodies for the first time.
“We’ve seen for many years that it’s easy for people, especially those who have less experience with cannabis, to consume more cannabis than they mean to with edibles,” said Dr. Mark Lysyshyn, medical health officer with VCH.
“Because the psychoactive effects of cannabis are a little different and take longer to kick in when digested, people often make the mistake of taking additional doses. But once the effects kick in, they can find themselves dealing with unpleasant sensations and feeling more impaired than they expected to be.”
Here are five things to know about munching on cannabis edibles.
If you’re new to edibles, it’s best to start with a small dose and see how your body responds before increasing the amount you eat. Edibles can often pack a bigger punch than smoking cannabis so until you know what works for you, start small. Be sure to always check the THC levels in your edible and be mindful that a dose of 2.5 to 5 mg of THC is often enough for many. Cut an edible into halves or quarters if needed.
Wait and see.
Edibles might take a bit longer to kick in than smoking so be sure to wait and see before eating more. Be patient — wait at least an hour to feel the full effect. Ingesting edibles on a full or empty stomach can also affect the amount of time it takes to feel the effects. Plan ahead and be sure you’ll be in a comfortable place approximately an hour after ingesting your edible.
Avoid too much and avoid mixing.
Avoid eating too much cannabis, using strong extracts or mixing it with alcohol, as this can cause anxiety, vomiting and fainting for those unfamiliar with how their body will respond. Eating a meal before ingesting an edible can help moderate the intensity of any possible negative effects. In short, keep it simple until you know what to expect or what works for your system.
Don’t drive if impaired.
Health officials recommend not driving or engaging in other potentially dangerous activities when enjoying edibles, as cannabis can impair co-ordination, reaction time and other cognitive abilities. While the time it takes for the effects to wear off can vary from person to person, experts recommend waiting at least six hours after ingesting cannabis to drive.
This one will be hard but do your best. If you start to feel the effects and it’s not what you expected or you think you’re too high, don’t panic. Drink some water, eat something and find a safe place where you can get cosy and comfortable and wait it out. Ground yourself by laying down and taking a nap if you need to, or keep yourself near a washroom or bin if you think you might vomit. The effects should wear off between two to eight hours.
Other things to remember when ingesting cannabis edibles:
• Label and store all cannabis securely, particularly when many edibles look like regular food or candy. Store cannabis products away from regular food products and ensure they are out of reach from children and pets, to prevent accidental consumption.
• Be sure to obtain your cannabis from a legal source or a source that you trust.
• If you or someone you know doesn’t feel well after consuming cannabis, call the B.C. Poison Control Centre at 1-800-567-8911 or 604-682-5050. You can also call 911 or visit your local hospital emergency department.