Everything You Need to Know About Cannabis Ingestibles
From brownies to beverages, cannabis ingestibles support a discreet and long-lasting consumption experience. For many consumers, ingestibles provide a way to feel better over the course of a day or through the night. Read on to learn about how ingestibles work, these products’ benefits and drawbacks, and determine whether or not an ingestible might be the right cannabis product for you.
What’s considered an ingestible?
Ingestibles are cannabis-infused products that go through the digestion process, such as food, drink, or capsules. There’s an impressive variety of products underneath this umbrella, ranging from desserts to gourmet food to sodas to softgels.
Ingestibles begin by infusing a fatty substance like butter or oil with phytocannabinoids, which are fat-soluble. Cannabis chefs decarboxylate ground cannabis flower at low temperatures. This process activates Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabidiol (CBD), and other phytocannabinoids in the cannabis flower. Once complete, the infusion is strained of plant material and prepped for use in the final product.
Not all seemingly ingestible products are technically ingestibles, though. Cannabis-infused lozenges or lollipops, for example, are absorbed through membranes in your mouth. This method of consumption is called “sublingual,” which prompts effects much more quickly than digesting an edible because it skips the digestive system. These types of cannabis products are more closely related to cannabis tinctures this way.
Why do ingestibles work differently than other cannabis products?
Ingestibles make their way through the digestive system like any other food, drink, or capsule. Unlike other methods which directly enter the bloodstream, ingestibles must go through the digestion process first. This means it could take up to an hour or more to feel the effects of ingestibles, and the effects could last as long as six to eight hours, with peak THC levels occurring around three hours after consumption.
You might notice that edibles provide a more potent experience than other types of cannabis products. That’s because the delta-9-THC converts to significant amounts of 11-Hydroxy-THC, a more potent form of THC, once ingested. Researchers have observed that 11-Hydroxy-THC takes effect more quickly and provides a more intense experience than its counterpart. While 11-Hydroxy-THC is produced when inhaling cannabis as well, far more is produced when cannabis is ingested, which could explain why ingestibles affect some people more strongly than others.
Why cannabis ingestibles?
Cannabis ingestibles have several distinct advantages that some consumers may find desirable. Here are some of the most common reasons people prefer ingestibles to other cannabis product types:
- Discretion: Ingestibles do not have the same signature smell or immediately recognizable appearance as cannabis flower. They also look like regular foods or capsules. While it can be difficult to inhale cannabis discreetly, ingestibles make it simple to keep your consumption private.
- Longer duration: A steady amount of phytocannabinoids enter your bloodstream over the course of several hours as your digestive system processes the edible. This makes ingestibles a great choice for long-term effects, such as helping you stay asleep or for all-day pain relief.
- No inhalation: You may find inhalation to be harsh or uncomfortable. Ingestibles offer an alternative way to consume. Similarly, those who prefer the discretion of ingestibles might find them superior to vaping or smoking as well.
- A different experience: The world of edibles has vastly expanded, with cannabis making its way into gourmet meals, foods for specialty diets, and non-alcoholic beverages. The novelty of trying an infused gourmet food is a unique experience in itself.
- Simple to consume: There’s nothing to prepare or clean up when it comes to ingestibles: open the package and consume your desired amount.
For all their unique offerings, though, ingestibles may not be the right option for everyone. You may want to choose a different cannabis product type if these factors are of concern to you:
- Unpredictability: Tolerance, weight, diet, and metabolism all play a role in your ingestibles experience. That also means that these products can be wildly unpredictable once eaten. This can trigger an uncomfortable or anxious experience, even for edible lovers.
- They can be difficult to gauge. If you’re new to edibles, you may be tempted to eat more if you don’t feel effects right away. It’s crucial to remember to start with a small amount and be patient as the edibles kick in. Wait one hour or more, then assess how you feel before consuming more.
What are your options at the dispensary?
If you are looking for ingestibles, you have a diverse range of options to choose from. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common types of ingestibles you might encounter in the dispensary:
- Food: Cannabis chefs have infused all types of food, from gourmet meals to chocolate bars. In the dispensary, you are most likely to encounter baked goods like cookies or brownies, as well as snacks like gummies.
- Drink: Cannabis infused beverages are growing in popularity. You might encounter cannabis-infused sodas in dispensaries, in which syrup serves as the carrier for cannabinoids, or you might find a newer development in the beverage sector: cannabis-infused sparkling water.
- Capsules: Capsules are ingestibles designed to be taken regularly. You may take a daily capsule for long-term effects while inhaling or applying a topical for short-term effects. They usually contain cannabis oil or decarboxylated flower. Like other ingestible products, these capsules must be digested before they take effect, but they are likely to break down more quickly than food.
How do you consume ingestibles?
Most ingestibles are consumed by eating or drinking them. Some, like capsules, are swallowed with a beverage. No matter which ingestible you choose, the effect is the same: these cannabis products are broken down in the digestive process. From there, the phytocannabinoids enter your bloodstream and take effect.
Remember, ingestibles have a longer duration than other methods of consumption. Ensure that you avoid driving or operating heavy machinery for the duration of your experience. Only consume in safe and legal ways.
Explore your ingestibles options with Ethos
Ingestible products can be a great choice if you need long-lasting relief from pain, alleviating GI symptoms, or addressing the symptoms that can keep you up at night. Their discreet form also makes them an exceptional choice for keeping your consumption private. Whatever your goals, the variety of ingestibles available ensure you have a range of choice based on your personal preferences.
If you are interested in trying an ingestible product but aren’t sure which is right for you, Ethos associates are ready to help guide your decision. We’re dedicated to sharing our knowledge with you so you can make the best choice to meet your needs.