Edibles & Sublinguals + Topicals & Transdermals


What are Cannabis Edibles?

Edible products include any food, drink, or capsule/pill that contain cannabis. The earliest use of oral cannabis as medicine dates back 2,500 years. Ground-up female cannabis plants were used to treat malaria, rheumatism and menstrual pain in ancient China.  Edibles provide unique medicinal and recreational benefits when compared to smoking, like potency and duration. 


To make edibles, cannabis is first infused in a butter or oil mixture. Some examples of these infusions include cannabutter, cannabis coconut oil, cannabis cooking oil, and more. Raw cannabis contains THCA and CBDA, which are non-psychoactive acid forms of cannabinoids. These acid forms need to be heated (decarboxylated) to activate them for metabolism in the human digestive tract. Complete activation of cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, occurs at 220 degrees fahrenheit after 90 minutes. Once that process is completed, then comes the fun part – making the delicious edible into gummies and baked goods such as brownies, cookies, salad dressings, soup broths, and more. 


Why do Edibles Hit Differently?

Edibles are notorious for having incredibly high potency; this is because when we consume them, our digestive systems and livers metabolize the THC into a more potent form; 4 times more potent than inhaled THC. This is also why the effects of edibles last significantly longer than a smoke sesh, vape hit, or dab. Eating a fatty meal before or with your edibles will help your body process and absorb the cannabinoids to increase their effect. 


We’ve all known someone who has eaten too many edibles, or one that was just too strong, and had an unpleasant evening—that’s why it’s important to buy edibles from a provisioning center so you can consume the right dosage and ensure a therapeutic experience. Every person metabolizes cannabis differently, so finding the right dose will be different for everyone. Rule of thumb is to start with a low dose and wait. The desired effect of edibles can take anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours, and is different for everyone.

Ratios are also important when looking at edible cannabis products. For example, an 8:1 CBD to THC ratio typically causes no psychoactive effects, while a 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC will typically cause psychoactive effects. Other cannabinoids like CBN, to help promote sleep; or CBG, to help reduce nausea and stimulate appetite may be found in edible products to increase medicinal benefits. 


What are the Benefits of Edibles?

  • Easier to accurately dose
  • Longer-lasting effects

What are Sublingual Forms of Cannabis?

Sublingual forms of cannabis include lozenges, suckers, tinctures, oils, sprays, and tablets. These are different from edibles because the cannabinoids are able to get into the bloodstream more quickly by avoiding the digestive tract and liver. The effects of sublingual cannabis products are more comparable to that of smoking or vaping because the liver does not have a chance to convert THC into that more potent form that was discussed earlier. 

Fun Fact: Terpenes, which have their own medicinal benefits,  may be delivered more efficiently by mouth than through the lungs by smoking or vaping. This is because the heat associated with smoking and vaping breaks down the terpenes, causing them to be less effective. 

What is a Topical?

cannabis topical

Topicals are cannabis-infused lotions, balms, and oils that are absorbed through the skin. This provides a localized treatment for pain and inflammation. Because topicals are non-intoxicating, they are often chosen by patients who desire the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive effects usually associated with the plant. Topicals can contain other ingredients outside of just cannabis, such as essential oils and terpenes that are known for their own unique therapeutic effects.


What are the Different Kinds of Topicals?

While most topicals come in the form of creams and balms, patients have demanded more of a  variety, and the industry hasn’t disappointed. Topicals now exist in the following forms:

  • Salves
  • Balms
  • Lotions
  • Creams
  • Sprays
  • Oils
  • Bath Products (bath bombs, bath salts)
  • Transdermal patches and lotions


*Transdermal patches and lotions deliver cannabinoids through the skin and into the underlying tissue, joints and bloodstream while topical creams and lotions remain on the skin’s surface like sunscreen and insect repellent. 


How are Topicals Used?

Topicals are most often used to treat localized pain relief, muscle soreness, tension, and inflammation. While the majority of topicals are non-intoxicating, transdermal patches and lotions with high enough THC content can provide intoxicating effects since the cannabinoids may penetrate deep enough to enter the bloodstream.


Fun Fact: CBD, in combination with cannabis terpenes limonene, linalool, and pinene has been found to be useful in treating acne. CBD can reduce the overproduction of sebum, which is linked to acne prone skin. These 3 terpenes listed above also act as antibiotics against the primary bacteria that causes acne. 

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