With less than a handful of days away before recreational cannabis becomes legal in Canada, and still months out before cannabis edibles become regulated, it's important to understand and be educated going forward. Over the last couple of years, Canadians in the cannabis scene have been fortunate enough to see the creation and execution of MANY different forms of edibles for both medical and recreational consumers. From gummies to recreated childhood candies like the fuzzy peach, to teas and ice cream sandwiches and steak dinners, pretty much ANYTHING can be infused with cannabis.
However, without regulations, rules or quality control it's been an overwhelming area of the industry to dip into if your not cannabis and food safety educated. Whether your a medical patient who doesn't want to smoke cannabis and edibles are the only way you can take your medication, or if your a recreational consumer, then it can be hard to decide which edibles are best for you. Let's start with some basic information.
KNOW WHERE YOUR EDIBLES COME FROM
Just because something is in a nice package, does not mean the product is safe to consume. Turns out anyone can buy packaging these days and Vistaprint can send you all your labeling needs in one order, so if you don't want to make your own edibles, then do your research on where the edibles you will consume come from. Look at the companies website and social media pages and just pay attention to small details. I can't tell you how many times I've seen some awesome new edibles at markets that I want to buy, but after checking out social media pages and discovering the treats were made by some person in their apartment in their underwear, with dirty hands or showcasing their treats in a picture where its all been set upon a dirty counter or table, is endless. I'm all for small craft and even home based business, but overall knowledge of Health and Safety is of the utmost importance. Make sure to ask the vendor:
Who personally makes the edibles? Is it made with butter? oil? Concentrates? Find out if they hold their Food handlers certificate and if they make their product at home or in a commercial, city approved kitchen?
Ask where the cannabis that is used in the edibles comes from. Is it an LP? a local grower? Has it been lab tested? Ask if vendor is educated in medical/recreational dosing and recommendations.
UNDERSTAND THE INGREDIENTS
Much like we pay attention to the ingredients in the foods that we buy at the grocery store, it's important to pay attention to WHAT is going into your edibles. Sure, cannabis is the main reason for your wanting to purchase an infused item, but understanding how the ingredients may affect you from an overall health standpoint is critical.
If a company or vendor is pushing Medical edibles, then use some basic common knowledge to better asses your purchases. For instance, we KNOW that many artificial food dyes contain known human and animal carcinogens. For example, one carcinogen called benzidene is found in the food dyes Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. Allura red (Red 40), tartrazine and other dyes have been associated with conditions like atopic dermatitis, eczema, allergic rhinitis, food allergies, food intolerances and artrazinne can trigger asthma attacks and atopic dermatitis symptoms.
With an ENDLESS supply out there in the cannabis market of cereal bars, I find it SHOCKING that they are being targeted at medical patients. How can any seller of something like infused cereal bars argue the health benefits to a medical patient about food dyes, overuse of sugar and corn syrup?? Especially since it has also been brought to light that MOST of the cereals based with wheat also contain harmful levels of Roundup. If you want to purchase a cereal bar for recreational purposes, that's your call, However, if you are sick and need relief from said illness and chemicals and pills are not for you, then an infused cereal bar may NOT be the way to go. There are specific ingredients used in edibles designed to enhance the benefits of cannabis while others also add medicinal value because they can reduce inflammation, give you energy, and strengthen the immune system.
If you have a serious health condition and edibles are the only way you can take your medication, then consider extracts, butter or oils that you can start to infuse into your already controlled diet so not to create any new symptoms or problems going forward. You can always seek out a lab tested cannabis edibles company that makes healthy choices suited to your specific needs, Or, if your like me and just prefer to know exactly what your putting into your body even for recreational purposes, be conscious of the ingredients. Remember: "The longer the shelf life, the shorter yours”
Whether your consuming an edible made with extracts, butter or oils, start low and go slow until you find the right dosage.
With edibles, the body has to digest the food or drink. It's absorbed through the stomach, passes through the intestine and makes its way to the liver, which breaks down the THC and allows it to enter the bloodstream. That means it can take anywhere from 30min to 2 hours to feel the full impact, and also depends a great deal on the particular person. Someone who weighs 90lbs and hasn't eaten that day will likely feel the effects more intensely than someone who weighs more and has just eaten a big meal. It really pays to be patient. It may take 2 or 3 tries to get your dosage right but that's a lot better than taking 3x what you need in one sitting and having a panic attack.
IF you do happen to overindulge and find yourself in somewhat of a panic attack, drink lots of fluids and go to bed. There are some home remedies said to help such as munching on black peppercorn or chamomile tea to calm as well as CBD drops. Most important thing is to stay calm. Since cannabis is a psychedelic substance, it's largely mind over matter when it comes to the way people react.
Just breathe, relax, and ENJOY!
With adequate safety measures, edibles present a hugely profitable opportunity for the Canadian food industry. As of October 17, 2018 it will be legal in Canada to make your own edibles at home or have someone else make them for you with your own personal supply of cannabis. If making your own sounds too daunting of a task, then make sure that you educate yourself going forward of your future cannabis edibles purchases and research the products and companies you plan on trying out.
Remember Consume Responsibly, Have fun and #CannabisEducationIsKey