Now, let’s really talk about edibles.  The whole idea of eating your cannabis scares many people. If you ask them why, it always comes down to their first few experiences when they or ‘a friend’ had no idea what they were doing when making brownies or cookies or how to dose properly and the story is always the same: “I’ll never do it again, it was really scary, it was way too much!” I was that person for 15 years, until I was properly educated and reintroduced edibles slowly and responsibly. I now feel confident in listening to what dosage my body needs and how and when to administer it without fear.

Replace your fear of edibles with education, respect for the plant, and responsible consumption and you will not fail! Most of you are probably not suffering from cancer, AIDS, Leukemia, etc. so a heavy dose is not what you need to start with. If you are in major pain or going through treatment your doctor probably has already guided you on dosage. For those that occasionally puff a hit or two off a joint when they need to relax, you may want to start with micro-dosing your edibles (10mg THC or less at a time). Even if you can dab or use a bong, that does not necessarily mean your body needs a high level of THC in your edibles. Always consult a licensed professional on what may work best for you and make sure you have your state medical card before consuming.

First tip to remember, when consuming edibles, start slow and small. If you need to get high immediately, smoke or vape. Edibles are for the patient patients: Those who are looking for a long-lasting effect and who can handle and need the duration. Getting your dose right is the most important thing you can do to have an enjoyable experience.

How does eating cannabis compare to smoking?

Edibles work on the body in a way that takes time to feel the effect. There is no immediate high, like smoking and this can create an uncomfortable anticipation that leads the patient to want to eat more. It can take up to two hours to feel, so eating more in anticipation that it’s not working can create an unwanted extreme high. The effects also last longer than smoking. If you have plans in a couple hours…maybe stick to smoking. The effects from eating cannabis can last from three to six+ hours depending on dosage. Strategic scheduling is important when using edibles.

For those of you who have used edibles, found your base dosage, and are looking to learn more, well…this one is for you.

THC only becomes THC when it has been heated to 250 F. Before THC becomes THC it is THC-A. The A stands for Acid that is attached to the THC. THC-A is not psychoactive. When heated, the acid evaporates leaving us with THC, the psychoactive portion of the plant. This process is often called decarboxylation.

Now, before you start up the oven to cook up some medicated oil or butter, you do need to know that THC has a boiling point and it’s 314.6 F. When it passes this temperature, it too begins to evaporate. Luckily, when you are baking at 350 F, the food you are baking is more like 200 F, so don’t worry too much about losing your THC. If you are cooking on the stove, most likely your heat is around 400 F, so try and add your cannabis oil or plant material or kief, etc. at the end. This will insure a better result.

Tips for when you are feeling too high

*  Remember there is no need to panic. The effects WILL wear off. You will not be high forever.

•Be Comfortable and Relax. Find a peaceful, low stimulating environment. Music is one of the best things to focus on no matter how high you are. It makes for a nice distraction if you are feeling uneasy. Any form of entertainment, really. You know, Netflix.

•Water and Food. You may just need a nice tall glass of good old fashioned water, and I bet a snack sounds good right about now.

•CBD. It has been known to reduce the intensity of THC.

•Surroundings. If you are in a place that you are uncomfortable with before you get high, you may not want to be getting high there. (Although that could also change when you do get high!) So pay close attention to how you feel after, and if the stress continues, it’s time to roll out.

Ilana ‘Sugar’ Laytart is the CEO & Co-Founder of Giggle Therapeutics and Founder & Chairwoman of Women Grow Sonoma County Chapter. Sugar has over 10 years in the Health & Wellness and Event Production industry. She has a degree in Advertising, Technology, Arts & Media from the University of Colorado-Boulder and is also a certified Yoga Teacher and Personal Trainer. In her free time she likes to garden, cook and spend time with her family.

Below is an excerpt of Sugar moderating a panel discussion with cannabis leaders following the screening of “Rolling Papers” documentary at the 39th Mill Valley Film Festival Focus: Smoke Screens.  The Cannabist founder and editor, Ricardo Baca, talks about the importance of labeling and potency:

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