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What Exactly is a Cannabis Edible?

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The Simplified Science Behind Edibles

How you consume your cannabis matters. Anyone who has tried different forms of cannabis will soon discover that varying your consumption method allows you to create remarkably different experiences.

Edibles are packed full of cannabinoids, which are the therapeutic compounds found inside the cannabis plant. These cannabinoids—primarily THC and CBD—interact with the endocannabinoid receptors in your body to exert an effect on mood, sleep, appetite, pain response, inflammation, and more. Edibles are unique from other forms of cannabis primarily because they do not take effect until the cannabinoids have been metabolized and released into your bloodstream. This metabolizing, though, creates a drastically different medicating experience.

Delta-9 THC, the compound that gets you “high,” must be broken down like anything else you consume.This metabolizing through the liver, however, converts delta-9 THC to 11-hydroxy THC – cannabinoid that induces effects roughly 5x’s more potent when compared to smoking. And, this metabolization takes time, so you don’t feel the effects of the cannabis edible anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours after consuming.

Science Behind Edibles

There’s an important adage for eating edibles for these very reasons – start low and go slow. Always start with a low dose edible, 2.5-5mg to start, in order to gauge how they make you feel. If, after two hours, you do not seem to feel the effects you’re seeking, try adding another 2.5-5mg dose. When starting an edibles routine, be sure to take notes of the various doses you try and the experience they provide.

Now, where edibles can feel more potent at seemingly lower doses, they also have longer effects. Smoking cannabis or vaping produces effects that last 2-4 hours. Edibles, on the other hand, last for 4-6, and up to 8 hours, making them a great solution for all-day relief.

Patients who use edibles for medicinal purposes can see significant benefits from consuming their cannabis products orally. Cancer patients, for example, often benefit from the appetite increase that edibles provide because the release time and concentration of edibles help them reduce the nausea and vomiting often experienced after chemo sessions.

Types of Edibles

Edibles can come in an extraordinary variety of foods, and availability will depend on your location. The following list gives an overview of the most popular types of edibles available.

Hard Candy, Mints and Lozenges

Hard Candy, Mints and Lozenges

Edibles in mint and hard candy forms are discreet, portable choices for consuming cannabis. They initially appear to be normal candies, but they are anything but. Candy edibles are are packed with THC, CBD, both, or even minor cannabinoids.

Soft Chews and Gummies

These products are sweet, chewy, and easy to enjoy. Gummy edibles are versatile options for consumption and come in lots of fun shapes, sizes, and flavors. You can find anything from fruity, gumdrop-like gummies to soft caramels and everything between.

Another bonus to gummies? They can easily be split in half for a smaller dose.

Baked Goods

Baked Goods

Baked goods are most likely the first thing that comes to mind when you think of edibles, and with good reason. The popular cannabis brownie we mentioned before has been around a long time and is still a tried and true way to enjoy edible baked goods. The cannabis industry has made great strides in introducing other varieties of baked goods, so users can now treat themselves to cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cupcakes, and more.


If you are a chocolate lover, you can celebrate because there are a plethora of cannabis-infused chocolate treats available. You can enjoy dark chocolate, white chocolate, mint chocolate flavored goodies, and more. Sweet lovers can indulge in their favorite treats while experiencing their desired therapeutic or psychoactive effects.

Salty and Savory Options

Salty and Savory Options

We know some aren’t fond of sweets – and you can rest assured that there are edible products for you as well. You can achieve your desired psychoactive state with treats like pretzels and peanut butter-flavored snacks.


Also called drinkables, these cannabis drinks are becoming a very popular way to consume cannabis. The variety of drinkable cannabis products ranges from seltzers to teas, juices, coffees, and more. Drink mixes are also available for those who want to create their own DIY-infused beverages at home.

Cannabis Oil for Cooking


If you are the type of person who enjoys creating goodies on your own, you can use cannabis-infused cooking or baking oil to prepare your cannabis edibles. You can bake your own cannabis treats using cannabutter or create something more traditional, like cannabis-infused olive oil for a salad dressing.

No matter what type of edibles you prefer to enjoy, always remember to do so with caution to ensure you are consuming the recommended dose labeled on the package. You should also make sure that any cannabis-infused foods are safely out of reach of anyone under the legal age, as well as any household pets.

The Pros and Cons of Using Edible Cannabis Products

Similar to other forms of cannabis consumption, there are pros and cons to using edible cannabis products. Ultimately your decision to use (or not use) edibles will depend heavily on one or more of these factors.


Edibles Offer Variety

The primary reason many users like edibles is because of the variety of treats available for consumption. You can go classic with brownies, try a lozenge or gummy, drink a soda, or sip a cup of coffee. Thanks to all the prepackaged products found in dispensaries near you, the options are plentiful.

Edibles Are Better For Those Who Cannot Smoke

Asthma, COPD, or another respiratory issue can make inhaling cannabis uncomfortable or impossible for many users. Edibles offer these users a safer consumption method and allow them to enjoy the effects of cannabis without stress on their lungs. Edibles are also a preferred option for those who do not have respiratory issues and simply wish to avoid the smell associated with traditional inhalation methods.

Edibles Have Longer-Lasting Effects

Edibles spread to the rest of the body after the metabolization process has been completed in the gut. The THC is metabolized into another form of THC, meaning that both forms will continue to have a lasting effect on the user. In cases of medicinal use, the effects allow users to experience longer periods of relief between doses which is very helpful for issues related to appetite and sleep.


Edibles Take Longer to Take Effect

Compared to other forms of consumption, edibles take much longer to take effect. For example, inhaling cannabis smoke allows the cannabinoids to reach the blood vessels serving the lungs almost immediately, while digestion of an edible can take 30 minutes to an hour, and sometimes two. Though edible products last longer once they are metabolized, they also take longer to provide relief from issues like nausea or chronic pain, which can be rough for users in need of fast relief.

Dosage May Be Hard to Regulate

While professionally produced cannabis edibles must include dosage information on the package, the same is not true of homemade edibles you create using cannabis-infused oils. Inconsistent dosage in edibles can make them tricky to use, especially for first-timers.

The first time many users try edibles, they run into one of two issues—they may initially eat too much, or they may fail to wait long enough for the edible to take effect and consume more. Both situations often result in unpleasant first-time experiences. If you are new to edibles or trying a new edible product, wait for at least 1.5 to 2 hours before consuming more of the edible to give it ample time to metabolize and travel through your bloodstream.

Quality Varies

Just like dosage, the quality of edibles can vary, especially if you choose to make your own at home. Professional cannabis product manufacturers who sell their items in approved dispensaries must adhere to strict quality control measures and regulations regarding cannabinoid potency. For example, manufacturers must take measures to account for pesticides used, sanitary processing methods, and cannabinoid potency measurements. As a consumer, you should always research your options and support the qualified brands available at a trusted dispensary like Zen Leaf.

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