- Cannabis edibles come in both solid and beverage forms, and are similarly absorbed through the digestive tract, which may delay potential effects and cause them to persist longer.
- Consumers may only purchase 30 g of dried cannabis flower or its equivalent at one time. For cannabis beverages, OCS.ca automatically calculates the equivalent amount before purchase.
- Avoid consuming cannabis and alcohol at the same time. Doing so may cause more severe levels of impairment and adverse effects.
Offering another way to consume cannabis, edibles are available in many forms, including chocolates, baked goods, soft chews and beverages. Here are the basics on cannabis beverages, including what they are, how they work, some of the pros and cons of consuming them, and what to consider when shopping.
What are cannabis beverages?
To make cannabis beverages, producers infuse a liquid, such as sparkling or flat water, with cannabis extract or concentrate. However, because cannabis extract is an oil, it isn’t water soluble, so it must be blended with an emulsifier in order to produce a smooth finished product. (Consumers steep loose teas and tea bags in water at home, but these are still considered cannabis beverages.)
What are the pros and cons of consuming cannabis beverages?
Cannabis beverages offer a smoke-free option to inhaling dried cannabis flower, which can come with potential risks to lung health.
However, the cannabinoids (such as THC and other active ingredients) in cannabis beverages are absorbed through the digestive tract, which means the onset of effects can be 30 minutes to 4 hours or more — much longer than the almost-immediate effects from smoking. The effects of cannabis beverages may also persist for 12 hours or more.
To minimize the risk for overconsumption, Health Canada recommends starting with a very small amount (2.5 mg of THC or less), especially if you are trying a new product, and waiting to see how it affects your body.
What should I consider when shopping for cannabis beverages?
Just like other edibles, cannabis beverages may contain no more than 10 mg of THC per unit. Before you purchase an edible product, read the label or the information available on the product page at OCS.ca so you know how much THC and CBD it contains.
When shopping through OCS.ca or at an Authorized Cannabis Store, you may only purchase 30 g of dried cannabis flower at one time (this is the same amount you may legally carry with you). This is easy to calculate when the product you are purchasing is dried flower, but for other formats, it’s more complicated.
For your shopping convenience, OCS.ca automatically calculates the number of grams in your entire purchase. These purchase limits are in line with Licensed Producers’ products, which are based on Health Canada’s regulations.
Cannabis packaging made on or after Oct. 17, 2019, will list the product’s equivalency to grams of dried cannabis.
Any tips I should know?
Read the product label carefully so you know how much THC and CBD it contains. If you are trying edibles for the first time, choose a product with a low level of THC or a high amount of CBD, which can counter the unpleasant effects of THC.
Avoid consuming cannabis and alcohol at the same time. Doing so the potential effects and can lead to extreme intoxication, dizziness and nausea, and further lower concentration and reaction times. Combining cannabis with alcohol can also increase vulnerable people’s risk of experiencing psychotic symptoms.
All cannabis products, especially edibles that look like other common food products, can be appealing to children, and should be kept in a secure spot, such as a lockable container.