THC edibles, typically in the form of gummies or chocolate, are a tasty and convenient way to experience long-lasting benefits of THC. They’re great to use in cases when smoking or tinctures aren’t practical, like a long hike with friends, or an anxiety-inducing social situation.
But they are also a great way to get waaaaaay too high and swear off THC for the rest of your life. DON’T BE THAT GUY.
In this post, I am going to walk you through everything you need to know to use THC edibles like a champ, and avoid the mistakes that have plagued so many new users.
Set and Setting
“Set and Setting” refers to your mindset and your physical setting, and is the critical threshold consideration when taking THC edibles.
Set and Setting means that before consuming a THC edible, you need to ask yourself: is this really a good time? Am I in a good state of mind? Am I in a safe space with people I trust? Do I have heavy machinery to operate later?
Take into account that THC edibles can take up to 2 hours to kick in and can last 4-6 hours (more on that later). If either set or setting is not happening for you, wait until the right time. You’ll be glad you did.
This concept is especially important for new users who are getting accustomed to what it feels like to be on a THC edible.
If set and setting are on point, continue to step 2, Start Low and Go Slow.
Start Low and Go Slow
“Start low and go slow,” is the universal mantra of THC edibles. Have you heard this phrase and, being the responsible citizen you are, duly abided by it, and had an extremely measured, reasonable edibles experience?
Or have you heard this phrase, tried to adhere for an hour or so, and then got frustrated, said “eff it, nothing’s happening,” gobbled down a few more gummies, and within a few hours found yourself flying above the treetops?
Whether you’ve learned the truth of this phrase the easy way or the hard way, there’s a reason this is the mantra. Let’s break it down.
“Start low” means start with a very low dose of edibles since you don’t know how it is going to affect you. Most THC edibles come in 10mg pieces, but a reasonable starting dose for a beginning is actually just 2.5mg. So don’t be afraid to cut that gummy into pieces and start there.
“Go slow” means that you need to wait until you feel that 2.5mg edible before you take more. And believe me, it’s going to take all of your grown-up willpower to be that patient. You’re going to be straining to tell whether you can feel it, you’re going to want to be giggling right now, but just wait.
Edibles are unpredictable, they may take 30 minutes to hit, they may take 2 hours.
If you get impatient and take another dose before you feel the first one, now you’ve got two doses going in your system.
They will both say hello to you at some point.
Buckle up, you’re in for a very long and very high ride.
Why do edibles behave this way? Here’s the science: when you ingest THC by taking an edible, it has to travel all the way through your digestive system, a long and winding road, and then be processed by your liver, another while, before you can feel it. Depending on how much you’ve eaten that day, the speed of your metabolism in general, and whether you’re walking or sitting, the journey through your digestive tract can be quite variable.
Once the THC finally makes it through and hits your liver, it is metabolized from the version you’ve ingested, the fat-soluble Delta 9-THC, into a tiny little water-soluble version called 11-hydroxy-THC. Because that version of THC is smaller, it crosses the blood-brain barrier more quickly than Delta 9 THC, and packs a much larger punch.
That’s why when your edible finally does hit, it’s all-consuming.
In contrast, when you smoke or vape THC, or even take it as an oil under your tongue, the THC enters your system through capillary action, which has a faster onset and shorter duration.
So what to do if you have ignored the mantra? You’ve started big and gone fast?
There are a few ways to come back down.
The first step: don’t panic. You cannot die from too much THC. (This is because there are not many endocannabinoid receptors in the parts of your brain that control breathing and heart rate). It’s uncomfortable to be too high on THC but it’s not dangerous.
The second step is to take CBD, which will cancel out some of the effects of the THC. Try smoking CBD flower or dropping CBD oil under your tongue, those methods work most quickly. You can also try chewing on peppercorns or drinking lemon juice, which also work to counteract THC.
The last thing to do is just ride it out. Watch a movie, tuck in, try to go to sleep, and as you lay your floating head on your pillow, promise yourself that next time, hopefully next time, you’ll heed the mantra, and will “start low and go slow.”
Do you want to know more about how YOU can feel better with cannabis, and avoid mistakes like gobbling too many THC edibles?
You’ll get personalized information on CBD and THC products, dosing, and timing to fit your needs, plus a Customized Cannabis Guide with all the details.