3 Warnings When Consuming Edibles (And the Science Behind It)

1. You’ll Have Cotton Mouth

It will vary depending on what strain of cannabis you’re using, but prepare yourself for a potential mouth desert. Ensure you’ve topped up a large glass of water within comfortable distance and have a backup canteen beside it. There’s nothing like waking up in the middle of the night realizing you’ve got sandpaper tongue but the effort to walk to the kitchen sink feels like an episode of American Ninja Warrior

Science behind it: A study conducted at a molecular biology lab based in Kiev confirmed when consuming cannabinoids, the human endocannabinoid system’s receptors CB1 and CB2 are affected, and they control the accumulation and consistency of saliva in the mouth. This explains the distinct changes to your mouth you’ll feel. The good news? It doesn’t necessarily mean your body is dehydrated, since cannabis consumption doesn’t cause dehydration. But, let’s be very clear- drinking water is never a bad idea. Avoid beer, wine and fruit juices, since those can exacerbate the dry mouth feels. Instead of dry, salty snacks like potato chips, popcorn or rice krispie squares, try reaching for some juicy grapes or ice cream.

2. It Changes Your Perception of Time

Though this happens when you smoke a joint too, it can be more pronounced when you consume edibles. Get ready for everything to slow…..down. Even when you think your high might be fading, try brushing your teeth. For anyone that uses an electric toothbrush with a set timer of 2 minutes…you may want to put down the toilet seat and sit to wait this one out because you’re about to learn what ‘eternity’ feels like. 

Science behind it:  A network in your brain called the thalamo-cortico-striatal circuit is key to our perception of time. Studies show this area of the brain has a large number of cannabinoid receptors, which are affected by THC and thus disrupt our time perception. Interestingly, this affects casual users the most, whereas people who are consuming 2-3 times a week or more seem less prone to feel their clocks are being screwed with.

3. You Have to Decarb Your Weed

We know you want to grind up the bud and throw it in the brownie batter, right? Sadly it doesn’t quite work like that, you’d be wasting precious flower and we don’t ever advise that. If you’re serious about making your own edibles, you’ve got to decarb(oxylate) your weed. You might consider investing in a Magical Butter machine that does the majority of the work, and gets you infused butters and oils that you can then transform into culinary delights. The full set comes with a ‘DecarBox’ and an oven proof temperature probe to ensure your oven temperature is accurate. For your first time decarbing with a thermometer, grab a book, set yourself up with a comfy chair near the oven, and tell your roommates you’re working on an important project. This way you can relax and occasionally verify the oven temperature and timer while your weed toasts, and not be running to and from the kitchen like a mad scientist.

Science behind it: Decarboxylation is the scientific term for a chemical reaction that activates compounds in cannabis such as THC and CBD. To get super nerdy on you- THC doesn’t actually exist in a freshly picked cannabis plant. The decarboxylation process turns non-psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) into THC, which is the activated compound. When you smoke or vape, that chemical reaction happens due to the heat produced. With edibles, heating the cannabis flower to precise temperatures turns the THCA into THC, rendering it into the active compound. Warning- if you heat it for too long, you’ll end up with pure CBD and no THC at all, so decide what kind of compound you’re seeking. Researching online can help you find the optimal temperatures for decarbing your weed. 

Meghan Légère

Meghan Légère

Meghan Légère is a Toronto-based freelance writer and proofreader who enjoys writing about food, wellness, and cannabis. When not writing, you can find her tending to her growing family of plants, crafting delicious misshapen pizzas, and day-dreaming about the beach.