The first time I ate edibles, the experience was intense…A little too intense. Up to that point, I had smoked cannabis a little here and there but didn’t have much experience in the cannabis realm and considered myself a novice. At the time, I didn’t enjoy the act of smoking so I was particularly interested in edibles. I believed they would allow me to experience the benefits of cannabis while avoiding the harsh inhale that can come with smoking.
I had also heard about how different the high was and having recently taken up meditation I was interested in experiencing the psychedelic-like high first hand. I was nervous but excited. I had never experienced anything I would have described as psychedelic before. As an eternal self- improver on the quest for truth and enlightenment an experience like this was right up my alley: slightly uncomfortable but with the potential to transform. Experimenting with edibles was just another step on my path to spiritual growth.
My friend who smoked regularly and whom I considered my go-to expert on all things cannabis agreed to be my guide on my first edible experience. We set a date and with a candy shop’s worth of edibles in front of us, proceeded down the rabbit hole.
Deferring to my friend’s judgment I asked him with how much should I start. He paused to think, shrugged his shoulders and said he knew heavy users who regularly consumed 100mg so I should start with 50mg. This seemed like a reasonable plan. We sampled a bit of each of the candies he brought and kept a notepad of who had eaten what, the number of milligrams consumed, with the time eaten notated (because this was an experiment after all). An hour later, we were feeling it.
We would comment when we started to feel the waves of the high come over us and describe to each other what we were experiencing. In the company of good friends it was quite fun sitting around and experiencing the effects of edibles. The euphoria was magical and I couldn’t help but giggle and smile at the smallest things. Finding joy was easy. Mundane, previously unnoticed bits of life became essential and beautiful.
My friend- the expert, and I continued to enjoy the experience but by now, we were both really, REALLY deep. I used yogic breathing to pass through the heavy waves that came and went. At times, I was uncomfortable but it would pass. I laughed at the feeling of being stuck. My body was incapacitated and heavy when I tried to move. As someone who is normally so active and physical, I had become a couch potato and reveled in the irony.
We didn’t move for 6 hours. Around 11:00PM my friend who had become particularly quiet stood up, turned to us and said he was going to bed. He turned around, strolled into the bedroom, closed the door behind him and proceeded to sleep until 4pm the next day. When he awoke from his 17-hour sleep, he stated it was the best sleep he had ever had.
Twelve hours later I could have sworn I too was still feeling the effects. Overall it was a very intense – but positive learning experience. Afterwards, we all agreed that we could have started with a LOT less for our first foray into edibles.
Since then, I have enjoyed plenty of edibles and experimented enough to know my sweet spot depending on the activity and the goal. To this day, 1 mg gets me there. I know plenty of people who consume edibles for pain relief and they will take upwards of 50, 100 or more milligrams per serving. But for my purposes of relaxation and sleep assistance, a little goes a long way.
I have heard others share the story of their first edible experience and they mirror closely to my own. Consuming too much, too quickly can lead to a potentially scary experience –if you aren’t prepared for it. To help create an enlightened first edible experience the following list contains some things I wish someone had told me before eating edibles for the first time:
1. Edibles won’t kill you! This was a crucial part of my decision to even entertain the thought of trying edibles. Knowing that I couldn’t overdose made me open to them in the first place though I knew eating too much could cause unpleasant side effects. I understood and accepted it as part of the experience.
2. Start slow…really slow. I have seen a lot of commentary out there about how much THC to consume the first time you try edibles. Many state 10-25 mg is a good amount with, which to start. I would argue from my own experience that if you are looking to relax start with 0.25mg to avoid the overwhelming high and get a sense of your tolerance. You can always build on the lower dose. But there is no going back once the deep waves hit.
3. If you are a regular cannabis smoker (or not), STILL start slow. Consuming cannabis and smoking cannabis involve two different metabolization mechanisms resulting in different highs. A high tolerance for smoking does not translate to a high tolerance for edibles. Be sure to keep track of (read: WRITE IT DOWN) the amounts you ingest so you know for next time if it’s too much or too little.
4. There are many factors that contribute to the high, which can vary from one experience to another. Different brands or kinds of edibles can vary the experience. A high from a drink can feel different from a high from a brownie. Different ingredients can also alter the affects. Coffee, lemon, and mango are all known to enhance the affects of cannabis. For more on the entourage effect check out this article.
5. Don’t decide to dive into an edible for the first time after you have already consumed alcohol or vice versa. If you have never done edibles before, it’s best to start with a clean slate so you know what the edible feels like. Having a few drinks after ingesting edibles can magnify the experience of dizziness, nausea, etc. Not so fun – especially for your first time.
6. Consuming edibles on an empty stomach will cause you to feel the effects quicker while consuming edibles after eating a full meal will delay the effects. I personally prefer to have a little bit of food in my stomach before an edible. Either way, be sure to have some non-medicated snacks and water on hand so you don’t resort to eating more edibles just because they’re there.
7. Give yourself time. Edibles can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours before they are felt and can last far longer. Don’t take them for the first time if you have somewhere important to be in the next 3 hours and give yourself 2 hours to start feeling it before taking more.
8. Choose the right environment. If I had done edibles for the first time at a wild party it would have been even more intense. For me, being home in a relaxing environment with no more than a few, chill people and no plans for the next 6-10 hours is my ideal setting for edible consumption. Going for a walk and being outside in nature also enhances my enjoyment of the experience.
9. Have an open mind. Acknowledge that your first time is essentially an experiment and that you may take too much (or too little). Knowing that the potential to feel uncomfortable is there can help you prepare mentally and physically for the experience. They key is to be prepeared!
10. Breathe deep. Put that yogic breathing to work! This is especially true if you have taken too much and are feeling the wave coming. Sometimes it’s a quick change of temperature, or a deep feeling of relaxation, or a visual or mental high. It is something you can get through quite easily with some deep breaths. Close your eyes, breathe deep, lean in, and enjoy.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice.