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A cannabis edible, also known as a cannabis-infused food or simply an edible, is a food product that contains cannabinoids, especially tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Although edible may refer to either a food or a drink, a cannabis-infused drink may be referred to more specifically as a liquid edible or drinkable.
Most edibles contain a significant amount of THC, which can induce a wide range of effects, including relaxation, euphoria, increased appetite, fatigue, and anxiety. THC-dominant edibles are consumed for recreational and medical purposes. Some edibles contain a negligible amount of THC and are instead dominant in other cannabinoids, most commonly cannabidiol (CBD). These edibles are primarily used for medical purposes only.
Foods and beverages made from non-psychoactive cannabis products are known as hemp foods.
The earliest recorded cannabis-infused food was in the Indian subcontinent, where people have prepared food and drink with bhang for millennia, for both spiritual and medicinal purposes. The oil-solubility of cannabis extracts was also known to ancient Indians, with Sanskrit recipes requiring cannabis to be sautéed in ghee before mixing it with other ingredients.
Bhang has been used in food and drink as early as 1,000 BCE by Hindus in the Indian subcontinent. Bhang is traditionally distributed during the Hindu spring festival of Holi.
Modern interest in cannabis-infused food is credited to the publication of The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book. Toklas included a recipe for “haschich fudge”, which was contributed by artist and friend Brion Gysin when the book was published in 1954. Although it was omitted from the first American editions, Toklas’ name and her “brownies” became synonymous with cannabis in the growing 1960s counterculture.
In some U.S. states that have legalized cannabis, edibles have experienced a dramatic rise in sales. However, there is growing concern about the danger edibles pose to children and inexperienced cannabis consumers, who may easily ingest too much at once, possibly not even realizing the food has been infused. Furthermore, calls to poison control have dramatically increased since 2008 due to dogs ingesting edibles.
Chemistry and pharmacology
Cannabis does not naturally contain significant amounts of THC. Rather, it contains high levels of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), which converts into THC through decarboxylation, a process induced by heating.
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Comparing effects of eating cannabis products and smoking them is difficult because there are large margins of error due to variability in how different people smoke, with the number, duration, and spacing of puffs, the hold time and the volume of the person’s lungs all affecting the dosing. With regard to eating, different vehicles in which cannabinoids are dissolved for oral intake affect the availability of the cannabinoids, and different people metabolize differently. Generally, however, because oral doses are processed by the digestive system and the liver before entering the bloodstream, cannabinoids that are ingested are absorbed more slowly and have delayed and lower peak concentrations, and are cleared more slowly, compared to inhaling them in the aerosol that is formed when cannabis is burnt. Oral administration generally leads to two peaks of concentration, due to enterohepatic circulation.
Consuming THC through ingestion results in absorption through the liver and, through metabolic processes, the conversion of a significant proportion of it into 11-Hydroxy-THC
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The Carrot Cake Cookie, from the Sweet Mary Jane Edibles company, is a cloud of whipped cream cheese frosting sandwiched between 2 heavenly carrot cake cookies. Contains about 100 mg of THC.