Monday January 8, 2018

By Andrew Ward

Cannabis Edibles 101: Product Types and Infusion Methods Education

We often get asked which edibles are the best and which types will work for specific ailments. Truth is, the answer is largely dependent on the individual and their personal preferences towards cannabis. On top of that, many factors also depend on a person’s body and the way it interacts with certain cannabinoids.

Since cannabis affects everyone differently, it can be difficult to recommend a specific product or type of infusion that will work best for a given purpose.

However, through understanding the different types of products available, there is an effective method for finding the perfect edible for your needs. There are a growing number of infusion processes, and different types of edibles are hitting shelves every day. Some produce exact results, while others can generate more widespread effects.

Edible Infusions and Their Benefits

As you may know, both recreational and medical cannabis dispensaries carry a wide variety of edibles in many different shapes, sizes, doses and consistencies. While a large selection is always nice, it can sometimes be challenging to find the best product for your needs.

To help you better understand the bioavailability of these products and the ways they affect the human body, let’s take a look at what edible options are out there:

Drinks

Chronic pain sufferers benefit immensely from cannabis drinks, particularly tea. Much like edibles, drinking cannabis is taken in through the digestive tract. This is a slower acting process, taking anywhere from a half hour to hours before taking effect, and stays in the body longer.

Typically, drinks and teas give pain patients extra time before needing another dose.

With drinks, our best advice is to stick with tea, as its healing properties pair well with cannabis. Sugary drinks and other options could leave you with varying effects. Marijuana and tea, instead, make a dynamic one-two punch for combating anxiety and digestive woes as well.

Stillwater Teas
Stillwater Teas are a great way to enjoy cannabis infusions. Stillwater Brands

There are many brands out there who produce cannabis teas. Stillwater, a Colorado company, has a great line of teas that come in low-dose options to help ease into desired effects.

Solids

Piggybacking off drinks, solids are another excellent option for people looking to treat chronic pain and depression. The drawback to solid edibles and beverages are in their dosing. Homemade foods and brews alike have the potential to vary wildly from one to another, with each portion potentially having a different dose, just like calories in any food.

Amateurs should head to the dispensary or have some guidance the first time consuming.

That being said, solid form edibles are an excellent option for consumers. Last year saw gummies and mints as the most popular types. Additionally, healthier snacks and even dining experiences are now options worth considering.

Tinctures

Tinctures are a classic edible consumption method and are back on the rise due to their ease of use, portability and overall healing benefits.

Cannabis tinctures are alcohol-infused cannabis extracts that are great for versatile connoisseurs. Consumers can do everything from placing a few drops into their mouths to combining with foods or drinks. Nonsmokers are often fans of tinctures for their easy application and accurate dosing as well. If you’re a slow consumer, tinctures are a great solution due to their long shelf-life. Take it off the shelf and apply a few drops under the tongue whenever you need without worrying your supply’s gone bad.

Sprays

Another quick, oral application on the rise is spray-able cannabis. By directly spraying under the tongue, you give yourself a micro-dosed CBD/THC shot to the mouth.

Sprays are great for marijuana consumers on-the-go just as much as they are for those seeking discretion. People with pain or anxiety benefit from the immediacy of its effect – though, pain sufferers may need more applications than they would with a drink or edible. That said, there is a good deal of comfort in having a spray that you can quickly take anywhere from home, the office or even out in the wilderness.

Inhalers

Inhalers are a relatively recent entry to the space, with the Vapen Clear and the Quest AeroInhaler being the only big names to reach the news so far. Part spray and part vape, cannabis inhalers give users a quick 10mg hit without heating up your product. Like sprays, inhaler consumers enjoy discrete on-the-go hits without anyone knowing the wiser.

Quest AeroInhaler
Quest's AeroInhaler is perhaps the most subtle form of cannabis ingestion on the market. Quest Aerosols

Inhalers are very limited in availability right now but as the trend catches on, expect to see them in more and more markets.

Dissolvables/Powders

Like inhalers, on-the-go consumers are becoming aware of powdered cannabis products. These powders have no taste and can be dissolved into any liquid to add a boost of cannabinoids. They can also be added to other powders like protein or workout supplements.

With dissolvable cannabis products, you can help boost your workout in addition to getting the benefits of marijuana.

Marijuana powder makes sense as the use of cannabis in workouts becomes more of a topic online and in gyms. The jury remains out on a definitive answer, but cannabis and working out have links to quick recoveries as well as lower fasting insulin levels that can help keep the weight off. With that in mind, it only makes sense for a cannabis-based protein powder, right?

Infusion Methods and Their Benefits

Now that we’ve covered the different types of products available on the market, let’s take a closer look at some different methods and binding agents for cannabis infusions.

Oil

Oils are a great option when infusing your cannabis. Coconut oil emerged as a popular choice amongst health-conscious consumers in recent years. While other oils are indeed viable, coconut oil tends to be a dominating topic when searching for cannabis and oil infusion, and rightly so.

Coconut oil is regarded as the best binding agent for cannabis infusions.

The acids in coconut oil contain cited health benefits, mainly in the stomach, giving it a beneficial edge over others you can find in the grocery aisle. Other healthier options that provide similar benefits include olive, avocado and walnut oils.

Butter

Cannabutter serves as the favorite precursor to oil infusion. As the binding ingredient that's turned edibles into the cannabis products they are, butter has helped a range of chronic pain sufferers address their comfort and lack of appetite. Both butter and oil allow for you to control your dosage better than smoking might while delaying the psychotropic effects for some time.

Distillate

Cannabis distillate is for consumers seeking a more versatile infusion option that works from dabbing to direct oral applications. Butter and oils are limited to what they infuse will with. That's not the case with distillates. The process of distilling the precise compounds from your plants has the potential of producing purities up to 99%.

And, because it's decarboxylated, distillate can be added to almost any recipe.

Distillates are also perfect if you prefer to stay out the kitchen. Though, you should be experienced in extraction techniques if you want to make your own. Those that can, however, are capable of isolating and targeting the exact effect they want from their concentrates – producing a much more precise impact than butter or oil.

No matter the product or method of infusion you choose, it’s always important to be aware of how much cannabis you are consuming. Ingesting too much cannabis can result in unpleasant side effects and experiences.


The best advice we can give is to start slow and try several different product types (not all at once, of course) to determine which product best suits your needs. From there, it’s as simple as visiting your local dispensary to pick up a product you know will produce the desired effects you’re looking for.

What’s your favorite type of edible and why? Comment below!

Photo Credit: Pezibear (license)


Andrew Ward Andrew Ward

Andrew Ward is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and editor. Andrew has covered the cannabis industry for publications like AOL and Cannabis Culture. He is also an avid screenwriter, fantasy soccer fanatic, and aspiring world traveler.


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