I have great news to share with Maryland medical cannabis patients. The sale of edibles is now legal at Maryland dispensaries. This article will examine the change in the law, the benefits of edibles, why some patients prefer edibles over other delivery methods and tips on making your own edibles.
The Change in the Maryland Law
The Maryland General Assembly passed two bills in April; to legalize medical cannabis edibles and to establish cannabis antitrust laws. Governor Hogan signed them into law this past Monday, May 13, 2019.
Other important provisions in the new laws:
- Allows an applicant to own up to four dispensaries
- Restricts an applicant from receiving more than one cultivator or processing license
- Allows for universities, medical facilities and biomedical research firms to file with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission to purchase medical cannabis for research purposes
Benefits of Choosing Edibles
- Better choice for patients who prefer not to smoke or for whom smoking is not an option, especially those on oxygen and those with pulmonary conditions
- For patients with eating disorders and/or digestive problems, edibles not only provide relief of symptoms, especially for nausea, but they also provide essential nutrients which may be lacking
- Beneficial for pregnant women who experience morning sickness who are having trouble maintaining their weight due to vomiting and nausea
- For those that prefer long-lasting effects, edibles may provide relief for as long as 8 hours
- Provides relief for cancer patients suffering with chemotherapy-induced nausea
- It is a more discreet and portable way to medicate
- Choose high-CBD or CBD only products if you do not enjoy the psychotropic effects of THC
3 Different Types of Edibles
- Gastrointestinal uptake edibles are ingested orally, digested and broken down by gastric juices in the stomach and absorbed by the intestines. After this process is complete, the cannabinoids enter the blood stream. This is why it takes much longer to feel the effects of your medicine. Depending on many factors, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to kick in and the relief of symptoms may last up to eight hours. This is the most common type of edible which includes cannabis-infused foods of all varieties; savory and sweet, and capsules.
- Oral uptake edibles, digested by saliva, are kept in your mouth for an extended amount of time; lollipops, lozenges, tinctures, gum and many more. Their effect is almost immediate but they tend to wear off within 2-3 hours.
- Hybrids are absorbed by both the mouth and the stomach and include infused drinks and chocolate bars. They kick in somewhere between the onset of effects of the intestinal and the oral uptake edibles, typically within 30 minutes and last for about 4 hours.
The Effects of Edibles
The effects that each individual patient experiences depends on many factors which include:
- Seasoned vs new consumer
- Type, potency and dosage of the edibles
- Body chemistry
- Empty or full stomach when consuming edibles
Those used to smoking medical cannabis who try edibles for the first time may be surprised at the strength and duration of the effects. That brings me to a general guideline about edibles consumption. I cannot overstate the importance of it!
Start at a Low Dosage and Slowly Increase It Over Time
First of all, it is important to understand what is considered to be a dose.
The potency of an edible is measured by the amount of milligrams (mgs) of cannabinoids contained by the product. You will receive both the milligrams per serving and the milligrams for the entire product.
A chocolate bar with 50 mgs of THC can be divided into ten x 5 mg doses. Please note that no matter the THC:CBD ratio in your product, only the amount of THC is a factor in determining the dose.
The recommended dose for new consumers is 5 mg. Wait 24 hours to evaluate the effects. Increase by 5 mg every 24 hours until you experience the desired effects. This is considered your minimum effective dose. You can eat more if need be, but once you eat too large a dose, you may feel very uncomfortable for some time. Remember the effects can get stronger over time. Avoid this pitfall which is common for new consumers. They eat a small amount of an edible and before the effects can kick in, because they are unaware of the time delay, they eat more of it. All of a sudden, the psychotropic effects hit them and they feel out of control.
Forms of Medical Cannabis Used in Commercial Products
- Cannabis distillate, known as hashish, which is an odorless and flavorless oil
- Pure cannabinoid crystals which are infused into food using a fat like butter or oil. Crystalline, which contains one compound, typically CBD or THCA, can be sprinkled on food or blended with dry or wet ingredients before cooking.
- Commercial producers use these forms of cannabis because they are decarboxylated during the production process of distillation.
Making Your Own Edibles at Home
- It is much cheaper to make your own edibles using flower. You can also use the remains of the cannabis from your vaporizer, your tinctures, teas and topicals to make edibles
- You can choose the strain, potency and dosage
- Make sure to stir very well for even distribution
- It is highly recommended to infuse oils and butters first and then add them to your recipes
- Decarboxylate the flower if you make your own cannabis edibles. That involves slightly heating it over a period of time. The non-psychotropic THCA in the raw flower converts into the psychotropic THC. Our bodies are incapable of converting THCA to THC.
The inclusion of cannabis edibles in the Maryland medical cannabis program is a welcomed addition for patients who are anxious to investigate this delivery method for their medicine. This allows those patients who do not feel ready or do not want to make their own edibles the option of trying different cannabis infused products. It is another tool in their toolbox for symptom relief and a better quality of life.
Bloom Medicinals is slated to carry edibles by May 22nd & you can view our menu for our sublinguals.
Sources: mjbizdaily.com, Maryland Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Now Allowed to Sell Edibles, May 13, 2019, Jeff Smith
Medicaljane.com, Eating Cannabis Infused Edibles
Weedmaps.com, Weed & Marijuana Edibles: How To Dose & Ingest Properly