The world of medical and recreational marijuana has exploded over the last few years and if you think people are just rolling joints and ripping bong hits, you’re sadly, woefully mistaken. Edibles are a whole new genre of marijuana consumption gaining widespread use, and some people are finding they prefer sweets based consumption to the traditional paper, glass, and gravity of old. They’re a lot of fun, and whether you’re a well educated consumer or a curious newbie looking for a little more info, this guide is for you.

What Are Edibles?

In a nutshell, edibles are anything that you eat that has been infused with cannabis. While that sounds simple, the term “edibles” actually speaks for a pretty wide array of things. This guide from Leafly doesn’t just talk about what edibles are and aren’t, but also explores the primary differences between edibles and regular flowers—including their effects, how long they tend to last, how THC is absorbed into the body differently, etc.

You’ll find traditional brownies and cookies, but there are also things like gummy bears and other sweet treats, as well as in fudges, sandwich spreads, beef jerky, ice cream, coffee, soda, and just about anything else you can think of.   High Times’ put together their list of their top 10 edibles at the 2017 SoCal Cannabis Cup, and the picks were mind boggling. If you’ve tried it before and didn’t like the edible, chances are there’s something out there you will like.



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Why Are They So Popular?

Edibles are more approachable for non smokers because they’re easy to consume and appear less intimidating than smoking from a bong or even a joint. A high from consumption usually comes on a lot more gradually, lasts far longer, and also comes down more gently, too.

Medicinally speaking, because they’re more “body-focused” than regular smokable weed, edibles are excellent for people who use them to treat things like physical pain, appetite loss, and even nausea. The folks at Herb put together a practical and fair list of reasons why people are turning to edibles over smokable marijuana.  It’s by no means a complete list and there are a lot more reasons out there, but this is a solid place to start.


What’s The Deal With Dosing?

Even though they come with names like “Reef Jerky,” “Kiev Krispy,” and “Bubba Kush Root Beer,” that doesn’t mean edibles are all fun and games. On the contrary, they’re incredibly potent.

While flowers usually come in anywhere from 12% to 25% THC, depending on the strain and method of growing, and the shit your folks used to smoke in the ‘70s was like, 5%, (remember Louis C.K.’s bit?), edibles are made using highly concentrated cannabis derivatives. That means it’s not uncommon for edibles to be anywhere from 50% to 90% THC. In fact, in this article from NBC, Incredibles President and Co-Founder Bob Eschino said that his company’s products routinely test in at 99% THC.

If you’re not a consistent weed consumer, that kind of THC content could lead to a pretty awful experience if you’re not careful. This is also a great time for us to clarify that weed won’t kill you no matter how high you get. It’ll just make you super uncomfortable for a few hours.

In this High Times story about incredibly potent edibles, writer Cheri Sicard doesn’t just tell readers what the best edibles are, she also explains how one should go about finding their proper dosage, and the process by which edibles should be consumed (on an empty stomach, little pieces at a time, etc.). If you’ve never eaten one before, it’s an excellent intro piece. There’s also this guide from Anna Wilcox over at Leafly.



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What Are The Most Popular Types?

One of the most common myths about cannabis edibles is that to make them, people just grind some weed, mix it into cake or brownie batter, Jello, or whatever the hell else people are trying to infuse, and just make it as normal.

That’s not true. Cooking/Making/Preparing weed-infused foods, drinks, treats, and condiments is a process that varies greatly depending on what you’re making, but it’s all really based on a combination of tinctures, oils, and butters. William Breathes did a simple write up on how to make all of them at WestWord, and there are also excellent DIY guides on places like Leafly, High Times (this one is great because the author actually tested four popular methods of making “cannabutter” to see which was best), and Merry Jane.

As far as what you’re likely to find in your local dispensaries is concerned, brownies and cookies are obviously still king—and they’re also the easiest to make at home—but these days, if you can eat it, chances are someone’s tried to infuse it with weed. That means energy drinks, hard candies, lollipops, fudge, ice cream, cakes, chocolates, juices, coffees—the list goes on and on.


Where Can I Find Recipes?

Let it be known that we like to consider ourselves pretty good cooks here at Cool Material, and we love passing on solid recipes, but even we can’t deny that cooking with marijuana takes a lot of time and experimentation. Like traditional culinary mastery, cooking with marijuana is more of an art form than anything.

There are a ton of excellent resources out there, like this delicious list of food and drink from The Cannabist, or this expansive guide from The Weed Scene.

There are also a massive amount of cookbooks and recipe complications. Some of our favorites include:

The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook

Stoner’s Delight

Herb: Mastering the Art of Cooking With Cannabis

The Marijuana Chef Cookbook

The 420 Gourmet

When it comes to cooking with marijuana, it’s definitely not something you’re going to learn overnight. However, the learning process is a rewarding one—or so we’ve heard.