What Are Edibles? – A Complete Guide To Weed Edibles

Nikhil Goswami

With the recent cannabis fad, everyone has been consuming cannabis. Sometimes people do it for legit medical reasons. Other times, they’re just trying to get high. No matter the intended use, brands have quickly begun filling markets with their own versions of cannabis edibles.

Of course, the Farm Bill has made things significantly easier. It legalized hemp, a type of cannabis, and its derivatives. So people can easily access hemp-derived edibles. Marijuana is still federally illegal, but there are a few states where you can get marijuana edibles. Legal or not, let’s get into what edibles are and whether they have any benefits. 

What Are Edibles?

Edibles are usually food products that contain CBD gummies or THC gummies. Brands usually mix CBD or THC oil into the food bases. Legally, the THC levels need to be around 0.3%. However, certain states allow more than that. Even though smoking marijuana is the most prevalent method, more people are turning towards cannabis edibles because they are more discreet and taste better. Furthermore, regular cannabis smoking can have adverse effects on your respiratory health. 

What Are The Different Types Of Cannabis Edibles? 

You can make cannabis edibles at home. However, you will need a cannabis tincture for these homemade edible products. You can use the tincture to make cannabis-infused gummies, chocolates, baked goods (like brownies or cookies), hard candies, and more. Chewable edibles like gummies are the most popular form of marijuana edibles. 

All these and more marijuana edibles are available in the market. Moreover, you can opt for more savory products if you aren’t a fan of sweets. These include beef jerky, mints, lozenges, and even peanut butter. All these are consumed orally.

Edibles are also categorized based on their active ingredients. These ingredients can translate into different forms of strains and compounds like CBD. The main types are as follows:

  • Sativa: Sativa is a strain or variety of the marijuana plant. Marijuana edibles derived from sativa tend to be energetic and boost your energy. They are perfect if you are looking for recreational cannabis. 
  • Indica: Indica strains are higher in CBD content. However, they still have a significant amount of THC. People take indica strains for their relaxing effects. They can help you deal with chronic pain, insomnia, and more.
  • Hybrid: As the name indicated, marijuana edibles derived from hybrid strains contain both indica and sativa. Thus, they are high in CBD and THC content. The benefits depend on the ratio of these strains.
  • CBD: CBD edibles don’t have any psychoactive effects. That’s because they don’t have any THC. People use CBD edibles to relieve pain and anxiety.

What Are the Benefits Of Marijuana Edibles? 

Despite popular belief, people don’t just consume marijuana for recreational purposes. They do it to self-medicate. That’s because marijuana is thought to have multiple medical benefits. Since edibles contain marijuana, theoretically, they should offer the same benefits. These are:

  • Reduces Anxiety

Anxiety is basically your body’s response to stressful situations. You may feel your heartbeat increase, have trouble focusing, and more. If it happens once in a while, this response is quite normal. However, if you are getting increased periods of anxiety at a higher frequency, it can be categorized as a disorder. Marijuana has THC and CBD. Both of these compounds are cannabinoids that interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system has a lot of functions in your body, including regulating stress responses. 

A 2010 study investigating the effects of CBD in patients with generalized anxiety observed a decrease in anxiety levels. That’s because CBD regulates the blood flow in the cerebral region. Further studies also indicate that CBD could be useful for other psychological disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and panic disorder (PD). Please note that most of these studies include animal models. We need human trials to learn more about marijuana’s effects on humans. A 2019 study also highlighted the effects of THC on anxiety at various doses. The researchers administered THC to forty-two participants. The results showed that THC reduces stress levels at low doses. 

  • Helps With Seizures

Seizures are the major symptom of epilepsy. They happen because neurons begin firing signals in the brain abnormally at once. Current treatments can’t really stop seizures from happening. There is hope that marijuana can help because THC and CBD can stop seizures, at least in the cases of animals. 

People have been using cannabis to treat epilepsy for quite some time now. However, we have limited scientific data to back this belief. An experiment in 1978 involved four epileptic patients to observe their response to CBD. Four of these patients were given CBD for three months. Two didn’t get any seizures during these three months. One showed some improvement, while the third remained unaffected. All these patients weren’t responding to conventional CBD treatment. A study in 1980 showed similar results. Since marijuana edibles typically contain CBD, consuming them may help reduce seizure frequency in patients. However, we need more research in this field to observe the long-term effects of marijuana on patients. 

  • Pain Relief

Generally, physiologists use opioids to help patients deal with chronic pain. However, opioids are considered undesirable because they present a higher risk of substance abuse. That’s why researchers have been looking into alternatives to help relieve pain. Marijuana is one of these proposed alternatives. 

According to a 2017 review paper, 15 out of 18 participants (83%) said that they have experienced some relief. Of these patients, 43% said that the pain reduction was equal to 40%. During another study in 2017, researchers used online surveys to see marijuana’s effectiveness in relieving pain. There were over 900 participants in the study. People responded that medical marijuana helped numb some of the pain. Additionally, it could even take away the pain for a while, granting some relief. The group included patients with different diseases who all experienced chronic pain. Most participants suffered from neck and back pain, neuropathic pain, abdominal pain, post-surgical pain, and more. Thus, cannabis products like edibles may be helpful for chronic pain relief. 

  • Reduces Muscle Spasms

You might know muscle spasms as cramps. While painful cramps aren’t that harmful, they can make it tough to use the affected area. Muscle cramps usually result from continuous use, like in exercise or labor. Spasticity is a major symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). Spasticity causes the muscles to become more rigid. In severe cases, it also increases the frequency of muscle spasms which can prove painful for the patient. Spasticity can also occur in patients with spinal injury.

Various studies investigated the effect of marijuana on spasticity using nabiximols. Nabiximols are botanical drugs that are derived from cannabis and have CBD and THC as their active ingredient. A 2014 review reported that nabiximols and THC effectively reduced patient-reported spasticity. They also reported that THC consumed orally was also effective in this matter. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough data to determine whether marijuana can help with spasticity in spinal injury patients. A German study in 2018 observed the effects of marijuana extract in a hundred and sixty-three MS patients. 89% of folks reported that the extract was helping relieve muscle spasms. Furthermore, this effect was more pronounced in women. They reported relief in spasticity-related pain. 

  • Helps Fight Cancer

Folks can consume edibles to try to treat cancer. That’s because marijuana contains cannabinoids that have anti-tumor properties. They do treat cancer by killing cancer cells and stopping cancer’s spread directly via apoptosis. Unfortunately, all this work was performed in animal models. 

Besides its anti-cancer properties, marijuana may be useful for treating the side effects of chemotherapy. The most common side effects of chemotherapy are nausea and vomiting. Previous studies have shown that smoking cannabis can alleviate these symptoms. Thus, edible use should have similar results. 

  • Increases Appetite

Anorexia and the accompanying weight loss are common symptoms of AIDs and cancer. Folks who don’t take antiretrovirals suffer from the wasting syndrome that accompanies AIDS. Weight loss and anorexia are much more pronounced in such patients. However, there is hope that marijuana can change that. 

Cannabis use has been linked with an increase in appetite. That means people will likely consume more calories after taking or smoking cannabis. However, there weren’t any significant changes in weight in these patients. More detailed trials can shed better light on this scenario.

Is Eating Marijuana Better Than Smoking It?

Smoking cannabis can be just as bad as smoking tobacco cigarettes. That’s because they both contain carcinogens and other toxins. In fact, some toxins were higher in cannabis smoke than in tobacco smoke. These include ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxides, and more. 

Furthermore, cannabis smoke can cause lung inflammation, leading to pulmonary diseases and increasing your risk for cancer. It also causes oxidative stress, bronchitis, and cytotoxicity in animal models. Given all these disadvantages, edibles seem like the more reasonable choice. However, they have their own risks. Furthermore, clinical studies don’t use marijuana edibles, so we don’t know if they are as effective in health conditions. 

Negative Effects of Cannabis Edibles

Marijuana shouldn’t have any serious side effects. However, it can cause some overdose symptoms if not taken carefully. Some of these symptoms include:


Edibles can have a delayed onset meaning it takes a long time before you feel anything. Sometimes people take edibles; they don’t feel anything, so they take some more. However, this can cause you to take more marijuana than necessary.

In some cases, folks can also mistake edibles for normal food. In fact, according to Children’s Hospital Colorado, this is the biggest cause of marijuana overdose in children. They can mistake marijuana gummies and baked goods for regular food and eat too much. A study on unintentional pediatric exposure to marijuana showed that the incidents had increased after legalization. These incidents involved increased exposure to recreational marijuana. Please note that researchers conducted this study by taking samples from Children’s Hospital Colorado.

On the other hand, people consuming marijuana daily can develop a condition called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. As long as they are taking marijuana products daily, they won’t feel its adverse side effects. They start experiencing nausea, vomiting, and dehydration when they take a break. The only way to get rid of such a condition is to stop using marijuana for a long time so your body gets used to its natural self. However, to avoid experiencing these side effects, taking marijuana daily is also necessary.

One recommendation is to lower the marijuana dosage and keep lowering it daily to avoid getting a strong reaction. It might take some months to get rid of it completely, but it is better than leaving it suddenly and facing issues. Moreover, you can take medicines to overcome these side effects, but it is better to slowly leave them since you have been using them for a long time.

Psychoactive Effects

Marijuana contains a higher concentration of THC, which is why it causes a solid high feel that can make you dizzy and even numb your senses. The reason why CBD products are more popular than marijuana is because of the lower concentration of THC. People get to enjoy a light buzz and a soothing high feel, but they remain in their senses and won’t feel any severe side effects.

The most common psychoactive effect that marijuana causes is the ability to lose concentration. You’ll see people can’t walk properly or can’t pay attention to something after using marijuana for a long time. Even worse, these symptoms get prominent with time, and people show abrupt behavior even when they don’t use marijuana. Another negative effect of using such edibles is short-term memory loss. However, people with such side effects will forget those things they are not paying attention to. For example, you explained something to them a minute ago, and they might forget it as soon as they get up to do something else. Pair short-term memory loss with problems in concentrating, and you’ll have a person that can’t do anything without proper help.

Hallucination is not common, but it happens to people taking marijuana when they feel depressed or scared. If your mind is already feeling weak because of poor mental health, marijuana will negatively affect the brain and cause it to show you stuff that isn’t there. The drug enforcement administration has set up multiple camps to help such patients do social work and make a living. Moreover, they are trying their best to provide such people with proper medical attention so they can stop overdosing on marijuana.

Digestive System

THC can help improve your appetite only if you use it in a lower concentration. Marijuana is commonly used in most places to improve people’s appetite and works quite effectively. The problem starts when people start using it for pleasure or overeating. It is common for people to use marijuana when they feel anxious or depressed; THC helps calm the brain to improve mental health. But it also leads to people taking snacks irregularly, which disturbs their digestive system and causes weight gain or loss.

If your digestive system is not working properly due to a higher concentration of THC, it can lead to vomiting and constipation. Simply put, your body is not digesting the food, and it won’t allow the food to stay in the stomach, so you’ll barf it out. Since food is not being digested, the nutrients your intestine absorbs to stay clean and work properly are not getting there; thus, it leads to constipation.

The good thing with such side effects is that they are easy to cure, only if you take proper measurements at the initial stages. If you keep using marijuana even after having digestive problems, the effects will become permanent and might not go away even if you quit marijuana. Nausea and stomach pain are quite common if you overdose on marijuana. The best way to avoid these is to keep your diet strong and work out. Use marijuana only for relaxation, and you won’t feel any of its side effects.

Psychosis Episodes

Long-term use of cannabis edibles can cause paranoid delusions. A person experiencing these side effects will stay alert and afraid of everyone. They’ll believe everyone in the room will make fun of and harass them. They might also believe that people close to them are spreading rumors about them, which can lead to trust issues. While this might not be a huge problem for singles, a relationship can end due to paranoid delusions. On the other hand, THC is highly responsible for improving people’s confidence. Cannabis products help improve your social skills but can also lead to overconfidence, and you are thinking lowly of people. People using a higher concentration of THC can develop a sense of grandiosity. A sensation where they feel superior over others and won’t listen to anyone for advice or decision-making.

Most of these effects are associated with overdosing on marijuana after five or six months of usage. The best way to avoid this is to either not use marijuana or use it in low amounts while keeping your health at its best. Remember, your body can fight the negative impacts of cannabis if you are healthy and won’t let THC get inside your head for long.

Drug Interactions

A study at children’s hospital Colorado stated that children are most likely to take cannabis edibles by mistake, and their bodies might show adverse reactions if they are already taking some medications. We can’t mention each medicine in this article, but marijuana can interact with over 400 prescription medications, eradicating their positive effects or boosting them.

Some doctors might prescribe cannabis to improve medical results, but it is quite rare. Most doctors recommend medical marijuana to help manage pain their patients might feel after minor surgery or injection. On the other hand, there were some cases of impaired motor ability after people took high doses of marijuana with other medications. However, their condition returned to normal after quitting cannabis and only allowed the medicines to heal them.

Most doctors called for a drug alert when their patients took a defective marijuana product that caused extreme negative effects on their brain and body. Moreover, many doctors might use medical marijuana to relax their patients if they take a defective medicine that might require another medicine to clean up the stomach. Cleaning the stomach gets painful as you vomit a lot, which is why a solid high feel from cannabis can help relieve the pain afterward.

How Much THC Is in an Edible?

US regulatory authorities have banned cannabis products with more than 0.3% concentration of THC. Only medical marijuana is allowed with higher THC concentration, so you’ll need your doctor’s consent and a medical certificate.

On average, 5 to 8 mg of THC is considered a low amount, and people won’t feel the high buzz after consuming it. However, it also depends on your body; people using THC for the first time might get a high feel after consuming low amounts of THC. More than 10 mg of THC is considered as edible as it provides the results that people want. Most cannabis products have 10 mg of THC, whose effects will last for hours. Those who won’t feel anything of 10 mg should switch to 15 mg but refrain from going above. Also, 20 mg of THC is considered a high dosage which might start causing side effects that get permanent with each use.

The problem with THC is that you have to control the dosage. There are times when your body stops reacting to THC, and you must forcefully increase the dosage. At such times, instead of increasing the dosage, take a break for a month or even more before using THC again. If you keep increasing the dosage, THC starts causing anxiety instead of helping manage it. You can switch to CBD-only products for a while to stay relaxed during your work hours or get a good sleep.

How Long Do Effects of Edibles Last?

Usually, it depends on the dosage and concentration, but your health can also alter the timings. People use cannabis products to get a night’s sleep; a cannabis gummy might last for four to six hours, while the THC effects last for two to three hours. Smoking cannabis or marijuana brings quick results, but they are also quick to wear off. It might take less than one hour for the high to go away, and you’ll have to smoke cannabis again to get a high feeling.

Taking edibles in any form except for smoking will take about 30 minutes to kick in and about two hours to reach the peak effects. If you use cannabis for sleep, it is better to take your desired product one hour before bed. After 30-40 minutes, you’ll feel the relaxation, and you can rest while the effects get stronger. After four to six hours, the relaxation effect will be gone, and you might wake up instantly but fresh. However, it is recommended to rest for another 30 minutes to avoid getting side effects like fatigue or tiredness during the day.

If you want to survive the day, it is better to smoke marijuana so you’ll get instant effects. Lower THC products are allowed to be used anywhere as long as people around you are comfortable with smoke. It won’t take more than five minutes to kick and relax your brain, helping improve your concentration and focus for the next 40 to 50 minutes.

Are Edibles Legal?

Medical marijuana is legal in the USA, making edibles with higher THC concentration legal as long as you have a medical certificate. On the other hand, lower than 0.3% THC is legal in the USA except for some states. CBD products with pure CBD isolate and broad-spectrum CBD are legal all over the USA.

Thanks to this legalization, many companies have started online businesses to sell edibles all across the USA. With their increasing demand, the prices of such products have gone down, making them easily accessible for everyone. Cannabis was legalized in the USA after many studies were published sharing its positive impacts if people use it in lower doses. After that, USA regulatory authorities allowed the growth of industrial hemp as long as hemp farms followed the rules dictated by the authorities.

You can also grow marijuana in your house if you have medical consent from your doctor and can not get marijuana from stores due to state laws. Online brands ship CBD products to every state, while THC might have trouble reaching you in some states. If you are caught growing marijuana without a marijuana certificate, a fine of $1,000 will be imposed, and if you are caught again, you might face a time of one year in jail.

Conclusion: How Exactly Do Edibles Work? 

What are edibles? Edibles are cannabis-based food products that come in different forms, like gummies and brownies. They either contain THC and CBD or may be one of these active hemp/marijuana ingredients. After the legalization of marijuana, these products are getting popular among the new generation. We shared everything about edibles, including their benefits and side effects, and we highly recommend getting your doctor’s consent before using edibles.

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