A Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis Edibles

Know your limits and go slowly before trying edibles for the first time

The effects of edibles vary from person to person. (Kristen Frier)

There are only a handful of experiences that feel worse than being too high. Edibles are now available for legal purchase in Canada, and to make sure new cannabis users are ready to try new products, the government has put out a guide for ingesting THC products.

The part of this guide I couldn’t agree more with is the part that advises new users to “Start low, go slow.” This means taking low doses over longer periods until you figure out how the THC metabolizes in your system and what the personal effects it has on you are.

The recommended starting dose is 2.5 mg. Your stoner friends will tell you this is nothing, but if you have zero experience with eating cannabis products, don’t listen to them! Even if you’ve smoked weed before, eating edibles is not the same. When THC metabolizes through your liver, there can be a new set of effects — personally, when I eat edibles, I feel it more in my body, and if I eat too much the sensation can feel unpleasant, like pins and needles.

Be patient when ingesting THC. The time it takes to feel the effects vary from person to person. Edibles can take between 40 minutes and two hours to kick in. Some factors which can affect how long it takes include your body size as well as how much food you’ve eaten that day, and at what time.

Always note the time when you ate the product. After you’ve waited a couple of hours, you may find that the dose you took was too low. Then, you can take more, again at a low dose, if you choose. Don’t decide to eat the whole chocolate just because you didn’t feel the first dose. You can always take more, but there’s no going back and taking less.

Most products I’ve come across have markers at the 10 mg dosage. For example, each chocolate square or gummy is 10 mg. If it’s your first time, five mg (half a square) could be a reasonable dose, but could also be an intense experience.

You will not die from eating too many edibles, but there is a chance that you’ll feel like you might.

If you ever eat too much, try to calm down. Remember that it will pass and you’re going to be okay. Take deep breaths. Go drink some water. Maybe go to sleep if you can.

My friend told me she tried to take herself to the ER because she thought she overdosed on marijuana. All she needed to do was breathe and wait for it to pass.

I always recommend trying edibles for the first time in a low-key environment, as some of the negative effects can include a heightened sense of paranoia and anxiety. Be with someone you trust, even if they’ve never done it before, although you might find it helpful if they have.

It’s important to be with someone you’re comfortable with, someone you can relax and just be with. Taking edibles is not a good first date idea, nor is it a good idea to take them for the first time at a big party or concert because it may not be the most fun experience.

Your favourite movies and music should be indulged while you’re high. Go eat your favourite food, and remember to be somewhere where you won’t need to drive.

Everyone processes substances differently. Doing drugs is not a competition. I don’t care what it seems like your favourite artist is telling you, your drug experience is not a challenge you have to overcome. You have nothing to prove. I think if you’re interested in trying cannabis, you should do so as safely as possible. It’s still a drug, and there will always be risks associated with taking it.