BY MARIA DEL RUSSO
For a lot of people, their first experience with edibles probably involved a plate of brownies or cookies in someone’s college dorm, followed by a high so uncomfortable you couldn’t hold a conversation. That’s the classic story you hear when people describe their first time, and it makes sense. Like sex, popping your edibles cherry can result in a lot of discomfort. And for some people, the experience can turn them off of this type of high for a while.
The reason why people tend to have a bad time with edibles for the first time? For one, it’s difficult to measure out an accurate dose-per-serving, says Kristi Knoblich Palmer, co-founder of Kiva Confections. “It’s hard to be scientific when you’re making [an edible] in your kitchen,” she explains. “So one bite may have a high concentration of THC while another may not.” That feeds into the issue of dosage. It’s hard to know how much to eat, or how high a certain amount of a treat will get you, since there are no measurements. Therefore, it’s nearly impossible to measure out a dose of a homemade confection.
Edibles also take a while to kick in, which may lead people to ingest too much too quickly. And that leads to the classic symptoms of overconsumption — tightening of the chest, paranoia, drowsiness, and nausea. So it’s no wonder that folks who have a bad trip wind up swearing off the stuff.
But with the uptick of professionally-made edibles flooding the marketplace, THC- and CBD-laced goodies are more widely available than ever. So even if you had a bad experience in the past, these companies may be the key to enjoying edibles again. “That’s the amazing thing about the shifting cannabis market,” Palmer says. “We provide edibles in a controlled manner.” And that control is essential to your edible experience.
When choosing an edible, look for a format that you already enjoy. Kiva Confections, for example, has everything from gummies to chocolate to mints. Other companies, like Kikoko, sell teas. The type of edible you eat doesn’t have anything to do with the kind of high you’ll have, according to Palmer. It’s really the dose. A reputable company, though, will have dosing information printed clearly on the labels. “We recommend 2.5 to 5 milligrams of THC for any newbie or anyone sensitive to cannabis,” Palmer says. It’s a good idea to start there after a bad experience, too. Remember: You can always eat more.
“It’s important to start at home or at a place that feels safe,” Palmer says. She also suggests taking edibles with someone who is comfortable with them, since having a pro around can help you feel more comfortable. (They can also help to calm you down if you start to feel paranoid.) Keep the environment chill, too. Avoid doing anything stressful, like tackling emails or applying for a job. “It’s great to watch a movie or clean out your closet,” Palmer says. “Pick a mindless task if you don’t want to just sit around.”
Wait until you start to feel the effects until you eat a little bit more. They can take anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours to kick in. “So if you’ve waited your two hours and the dose is feeling manageable, you can start increasing by a little,” Palmer says. Don’t eat another five milligrams outright, though. Have a few nibbles, see how you feel, and then nibble more. Slow and steady is the name of the game here.
And if you start to feel a little panicked, paranoid, or a little too high? “Keep calm and remind yourself that it’s going to be okay,” Palmer says. She also suggests having a little CBD on hand, since there is a belief that it might temper the effects of overconsumption. “CBD doesn’t offer psychoactive effects, and it tends to be calming, so it can help take you down,” she says. “It can’t do any harm, either, so it’s a good experiment.”
Remember: Edibles are meant to be an enjoyable experience — and you can get back there after a particularly rough go. Take it slow and steady, and you’ll be in for a pleasurable ride.