MOCA Cannabis Education


Cannabis Edibles 101

Medical cannabis patients have a variety of options as to how they consume medical cannabis. Edible cannabis is an alternative to inhaling cannabis smoke or vapors that many patients prefer. Edibles are typically found in the form of butters, oils, candies, chocolates, gel caps, baked goods and others.

cannabis pills are edibles

Tips for responsible consumption

1. Go low and slow
Always start with a small dose of cannabis edibles. Effects of relief may not occur for 1-2 hours. A good dose to start with is about 5 – 10 milligrams of THC and wait at least two hours before consuming additional edibles. It is also important to keep in mind your digestive system processes cannabis slowly, based on body weight. Onset time may be affected by several factors such as tolerance and how much food has been eaten recently.

2. Do not to mix with alcohol
Patients should never mix cannabis edibles and alcohol. Patients who mix the two in poor may experience symptoms of dizziness and nausea.

3. Take on a full stomach
It is important to consume a cannabis edible on a full stomach, Furthermore, cannabis edibles should always be taken in the comfort of one’s home or a safe place. It is important that when patients are consuming cannabis edibles that there are other sources of non-cannabis foods at their disposal. It is not recommended to consume additional cannabis edibles when a patient feels hungry and has already consumed a cannabis infused edible

4. Keep CBD Capsules on hand
If a patient consumes too much THC, it is recommended that the patient takes a CBD capsule. CBD is known for its healing properties and can aid a patient when they undergo symptoms such as paranoia and panicky feelings. A CBD capsule will balance out the high when a patient consumeds too much THC from cannabis edibles.

5. Keep away from children
Children will not be able to differentiate the difference from a cannabis edible when compared to a non-cannabis infused edible. For this reason, it is important to hide cannabis edibles in a safe area where children are not permitted access.

6. Remain calm
Having too much THC in your system can cause patients to feel overwhelmed. The only thing that can be done is simply go to sleep. A patient may sleep for over ten hours, but the only effects will be feeling rested and possibly feeling slightly groggy.

7. Never use edibles as pranks
Never prank people by giving them infused foods without their knowledge, as such actions are criminally irresponsible. Ingesting pot food without expecting its effects is scary and dangerous.

cannabis chocolate bar

Differences between flower and edibles

THC is absorbed differently

When medical cannabis is absorbed through edibles, which is an ingestible form, the THC is metabolized by the live. This active metabolite can create a more intense high for patients when compared to a patient inhaling the same amount of cannabis. Medical cannabis that is inhaled, such as that from burning flower, then undergoes a different process when compared to orally consuming cannabis. When THC is inhaled, it does not pass through the stomach or the liver. Instead THC travels directly to the brain, which is why when smoking cannabis, the effects come faster and diminish at a faster rate.

Effects and Duration

When consuming cannabis edibles, it is important for all patients to start with a small dose and to be patient when waiting for the effects to occur. Due to the way that cannabis edibles are metabolized, the effects can take anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours to occur and can last up to eight hours.

Edibles may be strong yet when compared to inhaling cannabis, edibles deliver a smaller concentration of cannabinoids to the bloodstream. Cannabis edibles deliver about ten to twenty percent of THC and other cannabinoids to the blood plasma, whereas inhaling cannabis ranges from about fifty to sixty percent. Inhaling cannabis delivers effects in about ten minutes and rapidly dissipates over thirty to sixty minutes.

Edibles are more difficult to dose

It is important that patients take small doses when consuming cannabis edibles. When compared to inhaling cannabis. Due to the delayed onset, it may be difficult to determine the effects of a dose. It is important to wait until full onset before evaluating if a large enough dose has been taken. Variable bodyweights of users also make it difficult for dispensaries to recommend an exact dose. Overall, patients need to be careful when consuming cannabis edibles. Copious amounts of THC consumed will not harm a patient, but it will not deliver a desired experience. For this reason, it is important to ingest modern cannabis edibles in small amounts.

edibles lollipop moca chicago

Types of Uptake 

Modern cannabis edibles can be categorized into two different forms of consumption. One being gastrointestinal uptake and the other being oral uptake. Both types of edibles have different effects for patients and are offered in a variety of different forms. Aside from gastrointestinal uptake and oral uptake, there are other modern cannabis edible products on the market that are considered a hybrid category, which targets both forms of uptakes.

gastrointestinal image

Gastrointestinal uptake

Most cannabis edibles designed for patients are created for gastrointestinal uptake. The reason being is that cannabis edibles designed for gastrointestinal uptake produce longer durations of relief when compared to oral uptake. Consumption of such edibles may take up to two hours to produce an effect of relief, but the duration of relief may last for up to eight hours. Edibles that are designed for gastrointestinal uptake can be found in mainly foods such chocolates, oils, butter, and baked goods.

Oral uptake

Patients who prefer to feel effects of relief in a shorter time frame and that prefer edibles may be inclined to ingest oral uptake cannabis edibles. Effects of relief from oral uptake edibles can be felt almost immediately, yet tend to ware off within about two to three hours. Edibles that fall under this category can be found in products such as suckers, lozenges, and tinctures.

Hybrid Uptake

As mentioned previously, there are edibles that are a combination of both gastrointestinal and oral uptake. Such edibles are designed to be absorbed both through the mouth and the stomach, and are the middle ground between both gastrointestinal and oral uptakes. Hybrids can be found in products such as chocolate bars and infused drinks and effects of relief occur at about thirty minutes and can last for about four hours or more.

tinctures image, cbd, thc, cannabis, chicago, illinois


Up until its prohibition in 1937, tinctures were the most common form of cannabis medicine in the United States. A tincture is a liquid concentrate procured through alcohol extraction, which pulls out many of the plant’s beneficial cannabinoids. A few drops under the tongue may be a sufficient dose, but patients can safely apply more as needed. Tinctures, which are now available in a variety of flavors, are a great way for patients to medicate without having to smoke.