In Edibles 101, we talked about decarboxylation, dosage, inhalation/digestion and the onset of psychoactive effects. In Part Two, we now explore plant species, managing adverse effects, safety recommendations, medicinal use and utilizing terpenes and flavonoids to enhance a dish’s flavor.
Sativa, Indica and Hybrids
Cannabis has two different types of species that have many theories to their respective gene pools of why they evolved in nature. The first is cannabis sativa, and the second is cannabis indica. When these two plants are crossed genetically, they produce strains known as hybrids. Cannabis sativa typically possesses the following effects on the body and mind making it the perfect daytime medication: physical energy, uplifting mental energy, introspective cerebral thoughts, helps balance mood disorders, creative energy, antidepressant, increased alertness and stimulation of appetite. Cannabis indica typically possesses the following effects on the body and mind making it the perfect nighttime medication: induced relaxation, narcotic pain relief, sedation of the body and mind, anti-anxiety, reduces nausea, controls muscle spasms, aids in controlling seizures and also stimulates appetite. The effects of hybrids depend on the parent plants and what traits were considered favorable then stabilized during the breeding process.
What to Do if You Consume Too Much and Experience Adverse Effects?
The first thing you need to realize is that you cannot overdose and die from cannabis. Though you may feel out of control and that there is a possibility of something tragic happening, it will not. According to a 1988 Department of Justice/DEA brief written by Judge Francis L. Young, a person would have to consume 1,500 pounds of cannabis within 15 minutes for it to become lethal. This is such a great feat that one would pass out and throw up before progressing very far into consuming such an astronomical amount. The second thing you need to realize is that cannabis lowers your blood sugar so the best thing to do is consume a large glass of orange juice and lay down in a comfortable environment. Make sure the room is cool yet cozy, play some of your favorite music (Pink Floyd would be a great choice), invite a friend over or call your significant other to your side to help keep you level headed, drink some water after your juice and snack on a balanced healthy treat such as an apple and cheese. Basically remind yourself to ride the waves and that you will come out just fine in the end. The last thing you need to realize is that cannabis acts as a mental defragmenter and that this can lead to paranoia. Life can be complex and crazy, which can lead some people to put things on the “back burner” so to speak. These things can pile up and be repressed because one does not want to deal with working through those issues and thoughts. When cannabis is consumed in large amounts, all of these thoughts immediately start coming from the back burner to the front of your consciousness. In most people, this causes extreme states of paranoia because they cannot deal with their own inner dialog. It is best to treat this situation as both a spiritual and healing experience. Allow yourself to work through your thoughts and come out of the experience a better person. If you need a little help coming down faster, take pure CBD pills or oil as it counteracts the effects of THC in the body.
Safety Recommendations for Edible Consumption
The following are important safety recommendations to be aware of before consuming edibles:
- Be sure to start at the lowest dosage possible, such as 5mg or 10mg, if it is your first time consuming edibles
- Wait at least two hours before consuming another dose if you feel the first is not working
- Sublingual edibles hit the bloodstream faster than food so make sure to accommodate your schedule to the faster effects
- Do not consume edibles and then drive or operate heavy machinery
- Keep your edibles out of the reach of both children and pets
- Have a friend or lover stay with you in the event you consume too much and follow the aforementioned advice
- Do not make edibles at home with flower that contains mold or has not been flushed properly
- It is not recommended to mix edibles with alcohol—being crossfaded might exacerbate a mental or physical condition—and the same applies when mixing cannabis with other drugs
- Do not eat edibles from people you do not know very well; always make sure it is from a trusted source instead
- Properly store your edibles and follow all general food safety guidelines
Edible Recommendations for Individuals Seeking Medicinal Benefits
It is recommended that individuals seeking medicinal benefits try several different approaches to treating their condition. My first recommendation is to have a “Strain Diary” to figure out which strains best treat your symptoms. In this diary, record the following: strain name, strain type, what type of food was the vessel, milligram or gram dosage, onset time, negative and positive effects and how the strain performed on treating your symptoms. This will help patients figure out which strain, what type of food and which dosage works best for them. The second recommendation is to research online which strains are known to treat specific conditions. If a specific strain works for someone else with the same condition, there is a chance it may work for you as well. And lastly, if you are in a medical cannabis or legal state, seek the advice of dispensaries and/or cannabis books/cookbooks.
General Recommendations on Edible Making
For the best tasting edibles, I recommend selecting specific cannabis strains based on their aroma and taste (from terpenes and flavonoids) and then pairing it with the flavor profiles of the ingredients in dishes (strain-specific cannabis cuisine). This groundbreaking terpene-pairing cuisine treats each individual strain as a culinary herb by harnessing the unique flavor and fragrance profiles.
I pioneered strain-specific cannabis cuisine for flavor and found that it makes more enjoyable edibles for patients. Lemon Kush, for example, can be paired with Vietnamese Spring Rolls. By doing this, the Lemon Kush will impart a lemony taste with floral and mint undertones that deepens the flavors in this dish because of the similar taste profiles already present in the ingredients. This also helps patients to understand the importance of flavor profiles in recipes for a more enjoyable experience and how each strain will affect their bodies.
Decarboxylize your cannabis before infusing into butter or oil. To decarboxylize flower, preheat your oven to 220 degrees F. Take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper that will not burn in the oven. Very carefully sprinkle the ground flower onto the sheet making sure that it is evenly disbursed. Place the baking sheet into the oven uncovered and heat for 25 minutes. Pull the baking sheet from the oven, and let it cool completely. Be very careful when removing it from the pan. After you have decarboxylized your cannabis flower, add it to butter or oil for one hour in a double boiler on a medium low setting. Be sure to stir this mixture every 15 minutes with a wooden spoon.
When your butter or oil has been strained, immediately use for a recipe or follow general food safety guidelines on food storage so that your oil or butter does not spoil.
Jessica Catalano, author of The Ganja Kitchen Revolution: The Bible of Cannabis Cuisine, is a professional cannabis chef and food columnist famous for strain-specific dishes.