As the consumption of cannabis continues to be legalized and destigmatized across various jurisdictions, consequently, marijuana-infused products are becoming increasingly popular.
These products offer an alternative method for individuals to experience the benefits of cannabis without having to smoke or vaporize it. From edibles and beverages to creams and lotions, the market for marijuana-infused products is expanding rapidly.
If you’re new to this emerging market, here’s what you need to know.
Understanding cannabis-infused products
Cannabis-infused products and edibles refer to food and beverage items infused with cannabis extracts or oils. These products allow consumers to access the therapeutic compounds found in cannabis, such as cannabinoids and terpenes, more discreetly and conveniently.
Often, the effects of these products are slower to onset but can last longer compared to traditional consumption methods.
The science behind cannabis-infused products
Cannabis-infused products are created using various extraction methods to isolate the active compounds from the plant material. These compounds, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), are combined with oils or added directly to food and beverages.
The infusion process, therefore, ensures that the cannabinoids and other desirable components are evenly distributed throughout the product, thereby providing a consistent experience for the consumer.
Different types of cannabis-infused products
These include food and drink items, such as brownies, gummies, chocolates, beverages, and even gourmet meals. Edibles often come in predetermined doses, making it easier to control consumption.
It is important to note that the onset of effects from edibles can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, so patience is key to avoiding overconsumption.
Remember to start with a low dose and gradually increase as needed, as the effects can be potent and long-lasting.
Cannabis-infused creams, lotions, balms, and oils fall under topicals. These products are applied directly to the skin and primarily for localized relief, such as muscle recovery or skin care.
The cannabinoids in topicals do not enter the bloodstream, so they do not produce psychoactive effects.
Topicals are a great option for individuals seeking the benefits of cannabis without systemic involvement or impairment.
Capsules and pills
Similar to traditional medicine, cannabis-infused capsules and pills offer a discreet and precise method of consumption. Moreover, they are often preferred by individuals looking for a consistent and measured dosage.
It is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating cannabis capsules or pills into your routine, particularly if you are already taking other medications.
Factors to consider before trying cannabis-infused products
While cannabis-infused products can offer a unique experience, it’s crucial to consider certain factors before incorporating them into your lifestyle.
Dosage and potency
The dosage and potency of cannabis-infused products can vary significantly. It’s essential to start with a low dose and allow ample time for the effects to manifest before consuming more. Consider your tolerance level, desired experience, and any potential interactions with other medications you may be taking.
Regulation and legality
Even in regions where cannabis is legal, specific regulations may exist surrounding the production and sale of cannabis-infused products. Therefore, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with your jurisdiction’s laws to ensure you obtain legal and reputable products from licensed sources.
Consumption methods and effects
Different consumption methods can yield distinct effects. Edibles, for example, can provide a longer-lasting and more intense experience than inhalation methods. Consider your preferences and desired outcome when selecting the type of cannabis-infused product you want to try.
Effects of THC and CBD
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are two of the most well-known compounds found in the cannabis plant, and they have different effects on the body:
- Psychoactive High: THC is primarily responsible for the euphoric and psychoactive effects associated with cannabis use. It can alter perception, mood, and cognition.
- Increased Appetite: THC often increases appetite, commonly called “the munchies.”
- Relaxation: Some users experience a sense of relaxation, pain relief, and stress reduction.
- Impaired Coordination: THC can impair motor skills and coordination, making activities like driving dangerous while under its influence.
- Short-term Memory Impairment: THC can affect short-term memory, making remembering recent events or information challenging.
- Non-Psychoactive: Unlike THC, CBD does not produce a psychoactive high, making it suitable for those who want the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the intoxicating effects.
- Pain Relief: CBD may provide relief from pain and inflammation. People often use it to manage chronic pain conditions.
- Anxiety and Stress Reduction: CBD has shown promise in reducing anxiety and stress levels.
- Antipsychotic Properties: CBD may have antipsychotic effects and could potentially help manage conditions like schizophrenia.
- Anti-seizure: CBD has been approved as a treatment for some forms of epilepsy due to its anti-seizure properties.
Potential Risks of Cannabis-Infused Products
While cannabis-infused products can have therapeutic benefits, they also come with potential risks:
- Psychological Effects: High THC products can lead to anxiety, paranoia, and impaired cognitive function, especially in individuals with mental health issues.
- Addiction: Regular and excessive use of THC-rich cannabis products can lead to dependence or addiction.
- Impaired Judgment: Cannabis can impair judgment and coordination, which can lead to accidents, including car accidents.
- Lung Health: Smoking cannabis can harm lung health, similar to tobacco smoking.
- Cognitive Development: Cannabis use in adolescents can negatively impact brain development.
- Interaction with Medications: Cannabis can interact with medications, potentially reducing their effectiveness or causing adverse reactions.
How to Use Cannabis-Infused Products Safely
- Start Low, Go Slow: If you’re new to cannabis, start with products containing lower THC levels and gradually increase your dosage as needed.
- Understand the Product: Read labels carefully for the THC and CBD content. Different strains and products can have varying effects.
- Consult a Healthcare Professional: If you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications, consult a healthcare provider before using cannabis products.
- Avoid Mixing with Alcohol or Other Substances: Combining cannabis with alcohol or other drugs can intensify its effects and increase the risks.
- Don’t Drive Under the Influence: Never use heavy equipment or drive a vehicle while high on cannabis.
- Store Safely: Keep cannabis products out of reach of children and pets. Store them in a cool, dry place.
- Know Your Limits: Be mindful of your tolerance levels and how cannabis affects you personally. Everyone’s response to cannabis can vary.
- Consider Non-Smoking Methods: If concerned about lung health, explore alternative consumption methods, such as edibles, tinctures, or vaporizers.
Remember that the safety and effectiveness of cannabis use depend on individual factors, so it’s crucial to use these products responsibly and seek guidance from healthcare professionals when necessary.
Cannabis-infused products offer an exciting and diverse way to explore the potential benefits of cannabis. Whether you’re looking for a discreet alternative to smoking or seeking specific therapeutic effects, these products provide options for everyone.
Remember to research and choose reputable brands, start with a low dose, and be patient with the onset of effects. Consult a healthcare professional, and always prioritize your safety and well-being. Happy exploring!