shop for cannabis edibles

How to Shop for Cannabis Edibles, Gummies & Chocolates

Cannabis edibles make up a massive chunk of the legal weed industry. According to Flowhub data, edible sales grew from 9% to 11% of legal weed sales in 2021. That’s $3.41 million spent on infused gummies, candies, baked goods, and other edible products. Many consumers are drawn to the option of a smoke or vape-free cannabis experience, but the learning curve can be tricky. 

How much should you take? What is the right kind of edible for every occasion? How long does an edible high last? If you want to learn how to shop for cannabis edibles, you’ve come to the right place. This helpful guide gives us the answers to all these questions and more. 

Understanding THC Dosage

The most intimidating part about taking cannabis edibles is figuring out the dosage. State laws have varying requirements for legal limits, and packaging laws require brands to label their edibles in a certain way. Although the labeling laws are designed to be helpful, they aren’t always very clear about how to dose what’s inside the packaging. 

Legal Limits

States with legal weed usually have medical marijuana and recreational programs. You can shop for both med and rec edibles in the same dispensary, but medical potency limits are often higher to accommodate the needs of patients. In California, the legal limits are the same. A single serving of a THC edible must be no more than 10 mg. However, you can put ten servings into one package, for a total of 100 mg THC per package. 

Every cannabis brand follows this rule, so you don’t have to worry that there might be more THC than stated on the package. Yet, the language on the packaging can be confusing.

Interpreting Packaging

Every product sold in a dispensary contains a label with testing information. These details come directly from the lab that tested the final products, and it verifies things like cannabinoid and terpenes percentages. Although cannabis labels are required to contain the same type of information, they can often be tricky to understand. 

The label on the front of the package says it contains 100 mg THC. Then you open the package and find 20 pieces inside the container. Each piece has only 5 mg THC. Some brands do this so that you can get a lower dose to find your limit. 

Other products may contain ratios on the label, like 1:1, 2:1, or 1:2. This means that there is an additional cannabinoid (like CBD, CBN, or CBG) alongside the THC. In this case, you might find varying quantities inside as well. For example, assume you buy a package of gummies labeled as “1:1 THC to CBD.” The entire package contains 100 mg of THC, and there are ten pieces inside. Each of the pieces contains 10 mg THC and 10 mg CBD. Just remember that as you shop for cannabis edibles, pay close attention to the packaging.

What About Hemp-Derived CBD? 

It’s unlikely that you’ll find hemp-derived CBD edibles in a licensed dispensary. Instead, these products are usually sold online because they do not have to follow the same strict rules as regulated marijuana products. This is because they contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC and come from hemp instead of marijuana. The 2018 Farm Bill protects all hemp-derived products that adhere to this rule. 

The same idea about dosage applies, but the limits are entirely different. You can still shop for cannabis edibles like Delta-9 THC gummies, which will contain less than 0.3% THC. You can also shop a wide variety of other cannabinoids like Delta-8 THC, which offer similar (but milder) effects.

Choosing a Product Category

Cannabis edibles are a great way to enjoy getting high. There are tons of options in this category, and you’re sure to find something you love when you shop for cannabis edibles. Here are the most popular form factors, ranked by overall sales. 

  1. Gummies
  2. Chocolates
  3. Caramels, chews, taffy
  4. Candy, lozenges, gum
  5. Mints
  6. Baked goods, bars

If your biggest concern when learning how to shop for cannabis edibles is quality, don’t worry. Edible brands have adapted to consumer tastes and preferences by offering multiple flavors and ingredient combinations. You should have no trouble finding cannabis edibles that are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and sometimes even sugar-free. There are many organic options, and you can even shop by effect. Some edibles are made with strain-specific cannabis oil or contain added ingredients to promote specific effects. 

What To Expect From an Edibles High

Okay, so we’ve covered how to read labels and what kinds of edibles you might try. But what can you expect from an edibles high? 

Edible Dosage: How Much Should I Take?

Unfortunately, there is no standard dosage for everyone. Instead, starting with a low dose is your best option. What is a low dose of THC? Two to five mg of THC is a perfect starting point for most people. Follow the golden rule and wait at least two hours before taking a second dose. 

How Long Does It Take for Edibles to Kick In?

Unlike smoking which hits your bloodstream moments after you inhale, THC edibles pass through the digestive tract. You might begin to feel the initial effects in the first half hour, but it can take 90 minutes to two hours for the full effects to kick in. This is why it’s so crucial that you wait to see how you feel before taking more. You can always take more, but you can’t take less.

How Long Does an Edibles High Last?

The answer to this question is largely dependent on your personal body chemistry and how much you consume. Did you recently eat a meal? Are you particularly sensitive to intoxicating substances? Do you have a higher than average body fat percentage? These factors can contribute to how quickly your body metabolizes THC. 

On average, an edible high lasts between 4-6 hours, but in larger doses, it can last up to 12 hours or more. Although that might sound intimidating, remember that you can control your dosage and thereby control how long your high will last.

Do Edibles Show Up in Drug Tests?

Drug tests are looking for THC metabolites. This is what’s left after your body has processed or “used up” the active THC. Edibles stay in your system for up to 30 days, depending on various factors. If you have eaten edibles within that time frame, you may fail a drug test.

How Safe Are Edibles?

Cannabis edibles are safe when purchased from a reputable source. As with all weed, avoid the black market and stick with products made by professionals. Anything you purchase inside a dispensary is thoroughly tested for purity, quality, and potency so always shop for cannabis edibles that have test results.

Do Edibles Cause Mood Swings?

Mood swings are typically a side effect of eating cannabis edibles. However, if you eat too much, you can experience some uncomfortable side effects. This includes dry eyes, dry mouth, grogginess, dizziness, paranoia, and anxiety. None of which are enjoyable for a high that lasts several hours. 

Tips for Having a Good Experience

When you’re ready to shop for cannabis edibles and give them a try, follow these tips to ensure you have a positive experience. 

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The budtenders want to help you find the right product and have tons of helpful information to share. 
  • Ask about test results. If the packaging and labels do not have all the details you want to see, ask to see the test results. The dispensary should have these on hand at all times. 
  • Can edibles get you too high? They sure can. Start with a low dose, and go slowly until you increase your tolerance.
  • Hang with a friend. No need to get high solo. Invite a friend or loved one to partake with you and find some fun things to do while high with your friends

Cannabis edibles are a blast. Crack open a can of THC seltzer. Nibble on a fruity gummy. Make a THC-infused s’more with a bar of hash chocolate. It’s a fun world to explore. Just remember to go slow. 

Where to Shop for Cannabis Edibles

Just about every top-shelf dispensary carries some kind of cannabis edible. You can usually peruse their menu online and opt for pickup or even delivery in some cases. If you want to try out a hemp-derived edible, there are plenty of online options.

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