In today’s article we’ll be covering the alternate intake method to inhalation, edibles. We’ll give you a brief description of cooking with cannabis to create edibles and expanding this introduction to discuss when and why patients should use edibles.
The most important thing to know about extracting cannabinoids for edibles is that they are fat-soluble, which means they bond best with substances containing high levels of fat. The most well-known infused ingredient is butter. While effective and easy to use for the first time cannabis cook, it is not the healthiest way for a patient to medicate on a daily basis, and for vegan patients, butter isn’t even an option. Instead we can turn to plant-based fats, like olive, canola, or coconut oil. Lesser-known alternatives include cocoa butter, milk, and glycerin, a sweet plant-based fat created by breaking down the long-chain fatty acids of other oils. The basic idea is to get the lipids (fats) to absorb the cannabinoids and strain out the plant material. Adding heat to this process converts inactive acids like THC-a and CBD-a, into the active compounds we desire such as THC, CBD and other cannabinoids.
Benefits of Edibles
The key benefit of edibles over smoking is that there is no exposure to carbon-rich smoke for the patient and for second hand bystanders. For patients with eating and digestive disorders, edibles are not only a great source of nausea-reducing CBD, but also a vital source of nutrients and calories. This is also the case with cancer patients suffering from nausea caused by their treatments. Edibles are also a more discreet way to medicate for those who are trying to avoid smoking in front of children.
Uses for Edibles
So long as the cannabinoids in the edibles have been exposed to heat , they have been activated (carboxylated) and have been found to be especially effective to relieve chronic pain, muscle inflammation and spasms, autoimmune disorders, nervous system disorders, insomnia, and nausea (provided the patient is well enough to ingest the medication). Patients with Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract find this method of medicating extremely beneficial. Because Crohn’s Disease occurs in the GI tract, edibles distribute useful active and inactive cannabinoids at the site of the problem, instead of having to rely on the bloodstream to carry them from the lungs.
Ingestion vs Inhalation
The effect of ingesting edibles depends on several factors: the type and potency of the edibles, your tolerance, your body chemistry, and even how much you’ve had to eat. Ingestion tends to deliver longer-lasting effects. Despite CBD’s anxiety relieving properties, many people experience a heightened sense of anxiety and paranoia when they initially ingest an edible. This is caused by various factors, but tends to mostly deal with fact that most people are not used to ingesting cannabis yet and have feelings of uncertainty, which leads to anxiety and paranoia. This seems to fade away the more you eat them, and get used to the effects. When you smoke marijuana you only receive a small amount of the cannabinoids in each hit, although it will be felt instantly. Where as, edibles tend to hit you much more slowly. This allows the cannabinoids to be released in waves, as they are processed by the stomach and digested.
Drawbacks of edibles
The main risk of ingesting cannabinoids through edibles is with dosing. Because with inhalation you can control the amount that enters your blood stream in real time and dynamically it is a more accurate way of determining how much you need. Unfortunately with ingestion because it takes up to 30 minutes for digestion to occur it is much harder to administer the right amount in a dynamic and timely way.
There are many ways in which ingestion is superior to inhalation and vice versa. We encourage all of our readers who are patients to explore the world of edibles as part of your therapy in order to find that right mix of edibles and inhalation.