In this context, a food infused with cannabinoids. Marijuana edibles can be brownies, cookies , pasta, and more. Any recipe that calls for butter or oil can be readily infused with cannabis. Edible cannabinoids are processed differently than inhaled cannabinoids. When weed is ingested, cannabinoids enter the bloodstream through the stomach and liver, which increases potency and delays the onset of effects. This process also lengthens the intoxicating effects, sometimes causing them to last from four to six hours. 

“That brownie edible was amazing, I couldn't even taste the cannabis”

“If you're looking to avoid combustion and vaporization, stick to ingestible methods like edibles and tinctures.”

“Try this edible. It's got 50 milligrams of THC, so you'll be able to receive the therapeutic benefits without smoking.”

History of Edibles

The history behind THC edibles is a fascinating one. Historians have traced modern-day edibles back to 1500 BCE in India, where people prepared a beverage known as bhang by combining ground buds and leaves, ghee (clarified butter), and spices.

As time went on, cannabis climbed in popularity across Europe, spurring the 15th century Italian scholar Bartolomeo Platina to publish the very first cookbook, “On Honorable Pleasure and Health (1474),” which featured a cannabis edible recipe that read:

“To make cannabis yourself more commonly used as flax for thread, use a mallet to crush clods collected after a good harvest. Add cannabis to nard oil in an iron pot, crush together over some heat and liquefy into a health drink of cannabis nectar. Carefully treat food and divide for the stomach and the head. Finally, remember everything in excess may be harmful or criminal.

Edibles remained part of cooking around the globe, but it took the legendary Alice B. Toklas, an expatriate living in Paris with her partner, Gertrude Stein, to prove that edibles did not need to be cooked to be enjoyed. Her friends, including Ernest Hemingway, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso, were undoubtedly treated to her creations. Toklas' recipe achieved fame in the 1954 volume, “The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook” as “Haschich Fudge,” though it contains neither chocolate nor hash:

“Take 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 whole nutmeg, 4 average sticks of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon coriander. These should all be pulverized in a mortar. About a handful each of de-stoned dates, dried figs, shelled almonds and peanuts: chop these and mix them together. A bunch of cannabis sativa can be pulverized. This along with the spices should be dusted over the mixed fruit and nuts, kneaded together. About a cup of sugar dissolved in a big pat of butter. Rolled into a cake and cut into pieces or made into balls about the size of a walnut, it should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient. 

The legend of Toklas ascended yet further with the arrival of “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!,” a 1968 film starring Peter Sellers, whose character devours hash brownies and marries a hippie instead of his bride. The silver screen's portrayal of pot brownies immortalized them in cannabis cultures across the globe.

Edibles Today

In today's cannabis culture, it is still very common for people to use weed to make their own edibles. But for those who live in a place where cannabis is legal, it's much more common to simply purchase edibles from a local dispensary, where a wide range of edible products and dosages can be found.

The types of edibles at dispensaries include:

  • Brownies
  • Cookies
  • Candy bars
  • Gummies
  • Mints
  • And much, much more.

Why Enjoy Edibles?

Edibles are enjoyed for a multitude of reasons, such as avoiding the inhalation of particulate matter or seeking a specific level of potency maintained over a longer period of time. Further benefits include:

  • Precise dosage
  • Control over ingredients
  • Avoiding pollen and other plant particulate matter
  • Discretion
  • Longer-lasting effects
  • People's ability to make their own recipes, so they know exactly what they're consuming

On the molecular level, eating cannabis also mitigates users' exposure to potentially damaging respiratory afflictions.


Decarboxylation is the most important step in preparing cannabis for consumption. In cannabis, decarboxylation, or decarbing for short, alters THCA, releasing carbon dioxide and water, which ultimately converts THCA into the intoxicating THC. This process occurs naturally when flower ages, or more quickly when it's cooked in oil or butter; it occurs instantaneously when cannabis is smoked.

Decarbing is an integral step in the edible creation process. If you're wondering what happens if you eat weed that has not been decarboxylated, rest assured that you will not get you stoned, However, it's worth noting that raw cannabis, namely THCA, has demonstrated certain health benefits, and is commonly used as a nutritional supplement and dietary enhancement. Cannabis used in capsules, topicals, and elixirs, among a host of other treatments, must be decarbed beforehand in order to convey its intoxicating effects.

Note: If you see THC on the edible's label, the effects will be intoxicating. If you see THCA, they will not be.

How Are Edibles Digested?

The ingestion of edibles is a two-edged sword. As noted above, eating cannabis offers users a variety of benefits, but it can also adversely affect consumers. Ingested cannabis is absorbed through the digestive system, which means that its intoxicating effects may take hours to set in, and even more time to pass through the body. Another aspect is finding the right dose. Dosing edibles correctly can require trial and error, even if users are accustomed to smoking or vaping cannabis. Weight, gender, age, genetics, and more can affect how your body metabolizes cannabinoids. Everyone is different. 

Edibles enter the body through the mouth and are absorbed through the stomach for metabolization in the liver. The liver turns delta-9-THC into 11-hydroxy-THC, which is more potent, has a longer half-life in the body, and can convey sedative effects. The stronger form of THC is also particularly effective at crossing the blood-brain barrier, which results in stronger potency and longer-lasting effects. The mechanism in the liver that converts THC into 11-hydroxy-THC is chiefly responsible for the varying effects of edibles.

What Does an Edibles High Feel Like?

Edibles are often associated with very intense highs. There are two key reasons for this.

  1. People eat more than they realize. Because edibles are processed through the digestive system, it takes longer for the effects of an edible to set in. Very often, as people wait to feel something, they assume that they simply haven't eaten enough and they continue eating. By the time the effects finally hit them, they've consumed way too much and find themselves feeling much higher than they expected.
  2. Edibles take longer to metabolize. As a result, the effects produced by an edible last much longer than the effects produced by smoking or vaporizing cannabis. This extended time period helps create a much more intense experience than the faster-acting, shorter-lasting effects of smoking or vaping.

How to Dose 

Due to edibles' delayed onset and their duration, users must find their way with trial and error. First, consumers must read the packaging to understand dosing information. Edible packaging includes milligram dosages by serving and by package to fully inform consumers of what they're ingesting. Another critical factor is whether the edible is consumed on an empty stomach, as an individual who ingests an edible without eating beforehand will feel the effects much more quickly than someone with a full stomach. 

A general rule for dosing tells beginners to start with a single dose of 1 to 5 milligrams of THC. Consumers should then wait 2 to 4 hours to evaluate its effects before consuming more.

How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System?

Unlike inhalation, which causes THC to enter the bloodstream through the lungs, ingested THC must first travel through the gastrointestinal tract and into the liver, where it is metabolized, before the cannabinoid receptors are activated.  

Aside from the method of consumption, the amount of time that THC will remain in your system is contingent on several factors, including frequency of use and dosage, as well as individual-specific traits such as body mass, metabolism, and genetics. These various factors will play a role in how long the THC from an edible is detectable in the body. 

Where to Purchase Edibles

People can usually find edibles wherever cannabis is legally dispensed. Some CBD-infused products can be found in health-focused grocery stores. 

Those who seek a particular brand of edible can utilize Weedmaps Brands to quickly locate edibles nearby. Edibles come in a slew of types, such as premade cookie dough or THC strips that melt on your tongue for sublingual absorption. In the world of cannabis edibles, the kitchen is your oyster.

How to Make Cannabutter at Home

There are multiple ways of making edibles at home. Since cannabinoids are fat-soluble, cooking them in fatty substances allows for their easy inclusion in a multitude of foods, including baked goods, sauces, and candy. Below, we'll cover the creation of canna-butter.

One of the simplest methods of creating a cannabis edible is by way of canna-butter. Infuse the butter with cannabis and then use it as you would normally use butter in any recipe.

Kitchen necessities:

  • Fine-mesh strainer
  • Rubber spatula
  • Slow cooker
  • Whisk



  • 1 1 / 2 hours


  1. Set the slow cooker on the lowest setting and add the butter.
  2. Stir until it has coated the bottom and some of the sides of the slow cooker, to protect your flower from charring.
  3. Once the butter has completely melted, pour the cannabis into the center and stir gently.
  4. Allow the butter and cannabis to simmer for 1 hour, but keep an eye on the mixture and stir it every 20 minutes to ensure even cooking.
  5. Pour the mixture through the fine-mesh strainer into a receptacle.
  6. Place the receptacle in the refrigerator and allow it to chill overnight.
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The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This page was last updated on June 9, 2021.