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EDIBLES

'Edibles' refers to any foods or drinks that contain cannabis in a form that can be ingested, rather than smoked or vaporized. Digestion has to take place for the edible cannabis to have any effect. This slower process means there is a risk of consuming too much at one time. Offset time – or how long the edibles effects will last – can also be unpredictable.

Edibles can contain a maximum of 10 mg of THC per package. Makers of edibles aren't allowed to make any dietary or health claims about their products.

Cannabis edibles can't have:

  • added alcohol or nicotine
  • added vitamins or minerals
  • artificially added flavours

They can contain only limited amounts of naturally occurring caffeine.

Cannabis in food or drink takes much longer to take effect than inhaling cannabis.

  • Can take at least 30 minutes to 2 hours to feel effects
  • Important to wait a minimum of 2 hours before taking a second dose
  • Overconsumption can lead to a condition sometimes called "greening out" which can be characterized by:

    • increased breathing rate
    • nausea and vomiting
    • anxiety or paranoia
    • in extreme cases, psychosis

Effects of eating or drinking cannabis last a relatively long time.

  • Effects can last up to 12 hours
  • Don't drive or perform other safety-related tasks for an extended period of time

EXTRACTS AND CONCENTRATES

'Extracts' are highly concentrated cannabis extracts dissolved in petroleum-based solvents (for example, butane). They can carry THC potencies as high as 90 per cent. Extracts can be produced for ingestion (shatter, budder or wax) or for inhaling (vapes or hash). Ingested or inhaled concentrates can legally carry a maximum of 1,000 mg of THC per package.

No extracts or concentrates can include:

  • added vitamins or minerals
  • nicotine
  • caffeine
  • sugars, sweeteners or colours

Extracts and concentrates are created in a number of different ways.

Distillate is a cannabis extract in which the final product has been stripped of all materials and compounds, except one specific cannabinoid. Although the process can be complicated and expensive, distillates can be made using lower quality cannabis flower or even trim, making them less expensive to produce. Distillate is the base ingredient of most edibles and vape cartridges, and typically lacks any flavour, taste or aroma.

Winterizing is a process to remove fats, waxes and lipids from extracts by mixing the extract with ethanol, freezing the solution to allow undesirable compounds to separate, filtering and finally removing the ethanol. Winterization is known for preserving the aromatic and flavour properties of the cannabis used, so a higher quality flower is recommended.

A live resin process involves freezing the cannabis plant material without drying or curing it and then extracting the concentrate. This product contains aromas that smell more like f resh, growing cannabis than the dried, smokable variety. 

You should remember that cannabis extracts and concentrates are significantly more potent than dried flower, and these high THC levels increase impairment – don't drive or mix extracts with alcohol.

Vaping products will be a major new product category. While a few cannabis producers plan on offering products like hash or shatter, almost all will be selling various forms of vape pens for inhaling distillates. Vape pens are different than vaporizers, which are used for burning dried flower.

TOPICALS

Some cannabis products can be used through the skin, hair or nails. Topicals are extracts prepared with alcohol, oil or wax and applied to the skin, including lotions, creams, lip balms and bath bombs.

Although most topicals are CBD-specific products, there are some that offer THC infusions. Cannabis topicals can carry a maximum of 1,000 mg of THC per package.

REMEMBER

Like dried cannabis flower, edibles and cannabis concentrates have different effects on each person. All users should start low and go slow. If you're new to cannabis look for a product containing 2.5 mg of THC or less, or 10% THC (100 mg/g) or less — and an equal or higher amount of CBD.

Make sure you read and follow any directions included with your product.

Cannabis products harm children and pets. Lock your grow space and products and dispose of waste safely.

  • Store in a locked location out of sight and reach of children and youth
  • If cannabis is taken by children, call Poison and Drug Information Services (PADIS) at 1-800-332-1414
  • Can be harmful to pets so call a vet if your pets get into your cannabis.

More information:

AlbertaCannabis.org - Responsible Use
Health Canada
Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction
Alberta Health Services