After my friend and marijuana seeds hero Subcool died of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) partially caused by inhaling massive amounts of combusted and vaporized buds, dry sift, kief, and dabs, I did a deep dive into alternative, lung-safe methods of getting high.

One of the most obvious alternatives is edible marijuana, but there are nuances about using it most marijuana consumers aren’t aware of.

The first thing to know is the high you get from edibles is very different from the high you get inhaling combusted/vaporized marijuana.

This happens because marijuana edibles must first pass through the stomach and liver before their cannabinoids transfer into your bloodstream and bind with cannabinoid receptors.  

Your liver changes Delta-9 THC into Delta-11, a significant change in THC’s chemical structure. The digestive process, along with the THC alteration, creates slower onset and longer duration of your high.

It also makes marijuana edibles’ high deeper and somewhat more “body-centered” than the high you get from inhaling cannabis.

Another fact is that cannabis terpenoids, which often have medicinal and/or psychoactive properties, are lost or altered in the making and use of cannabis edibles.

There’s a robust debate about which if any cannabis terpenoids survive heat and other cooking processes, or survive the gut and liver.

Some marijuana edibles manufacturers make a cannabis edibles base, test it for cannabinoids and terpenoids, then add a few terpenoids to flavor and chemically enhance the final product.

The takeaway is that the edibles high is likely to have more impact, last much longer, and be less “controllable” and dose-manageable than an inhalation high.

With inhalation, you take a hit or two, wait a few minutes, know exactly how high you are, and decide if you want more.

In contrast, when you consume edibles, you wait at least 30 minutes and as long as 90 minutes to feel full effects.

It’s easy to overdose on edibles. They often taste or look like candy or dessert. That’s one reason you don’t want marijuana edibles accessed by children and pets.

If you eat marijuana-laced goodies like they’re regular food, in a couple of hours you’re flying way too high.

For example, I visited a remote California marijuana farm, ranch, and hospice run by the late, great Dennis Peron, called the “Father of Medical Marijuana” because he led the movement that passed America’s first authentic medical marijuana legalization and legal growing law (Proposition 215), in 1996.

There was a huge plate of brownies Peron’s ranch kitchen. I asked one of his employees if they were marijuana brownies. He said he didn’t think so. I ate seven.

Three days later, I woke up from a bizarre, scary dream, passed out on the ground near the lake on Peron’s ranch.

Dennis and his crew laughed and laughed about my marijuana edibles overdose. When I finally recovered full consciousness, I was able to laugh too.

As you know, this magazine is the favorite for craft, connoisseur growers who cultivate and process their own marijuana. If you grow, you can make better edibles for yourself than anybody can make for you.

Sure, people buy dispensary edibles that are professionally measured and labeled telling you how much THC, CBD and other compounds you’re getting.  

This data is often inaccurate, and doesn’t tell you how high you’ll get, nor does it guarantee a quality, entertaining high.

Dispensary cannabis products are expensive, taxed, mass-produced.

If you grow big piles of buds, for sure you can make better edibles for yourself than anybody can make for you.

Like, it’s ridiculously easy to make a very potent marijuana-infused coconut oil. It tastes pleasantly sharp, and hempy, and is an easy to store, and transportable edible carrier for cannabinoids.

Follow the instructions for making cannabis-infused coconut oil you find in this article about using marijuana as an aphrodisiac.

A simple, effective way to administer marijuana edibles is to put the coconut oil under your tongue and let it absorb into your bloodstream while some of it also goes into your digestive tract.

Sure, you can make brownies and plenty of other goodies with marijuana coconut oil. Cooking with infused cannabis oils and butters is a blast.

But if you just want the high, ingest the coconut oil by itself…and enjoy the ride.

Now here’s a brief flight plan for your marijuana edibles experiences. Pay special attention to this if you’re a novice user…

  • Don’t eat any food for at least two hours before and two hours after ingesting marijuana edibles. Food in the digestive system, even smoothies and other liquid foods, slows down processing and rate of absorption of cannabinoids.
  • Allocate at least 4-5 hours for your edibles high.
  • If you’ve never used marijuana edibles before, reserve an entire day for the experience, and be open-minded about the novel sensations and thoughts you’ll have.
  • Start by eating a very tiny amount of marijuana edible on an empty stomach. Wait an hour to gauge your high. Eat more of the edible if you want to get higher, but don’t overdose!
  • Because an edibles high is more profound, body-centered, and comprehensive than the high you get from inhaling cannabis, be in a safe space when you consume edibles. Don’t operate dangerous machinery or do other tasks that require sobriety, concentration, and coordination.
  • Take a look at the advice in this article on the kind of mental/emotional attitude and ambient setting for using magic mushrooms. This same advice is applicable to using marijuana edibles.
  • A properly-dosed cannabis edibles high provides a unique entourage of pain relief, euphoria, enhanced creativity, relaxation, sensual pleasure, and other fun you don’t get from any other method of using marijuana.
  • If you overdose on marijuana edibles, carefully consider the likely negative variables and consequences of going to an emergency room or urgent care clinic. Telling a medical provider you ingested too many pot brownies might not turn out well for you.
  • I recover from edibles overdose without seeking medical care, by sleeping, eating fruits and veggies, drinking lots of reverse osmosis water, taking Vitamin B supplements, and chilling in a quiet place while the effects gradually recede.
  • According to the latest science, you can’t die from eating too much of marijuana edibles, but you might feel like dying, lol. Overdose effects include nausea, mild hallucinations, depersonalization, dizziness, lethargy, heaviness, confusion.
  • Consult your physician before using any psychoactive substance:)
  • Watch the age-restricted YouTube video embedded herein–it shows a talented chef cooking delicious intoxicating foods with cannabis.

One thing to know about using marijuana medibles is that they can quickly saturate most or all of your cannabinoid receptor sites, causing long-lasting effects hours or days after you ingest the edible.

Large doses of cannabinoids administered orally affect most of the body’s neurotransmitter systems, creating negative side effects.

Using edibles on a regular basis also makes it harder to get high via inhalation.

It also creates a lot of liver stress, and can lead to fatty liver disease and other liver problems.

I recommend all cannabis users, but especially edibles users, take the supplement N-acetylcysteine, which is clinically proven to reduce negative liver effects from excess cannabis use.

It was a spiritual struggle for me to reorient my marijuana use away from inhalation towards reliance on edibles and tinctures.

I’ve always loved getting high instantly by combusting or vaporizing whole cannabis.

But I also love my lungs, breathing, and oxygen.

I don’t want to end up like Subcool. So edibles are increasingly my go-to method for enjoying the world’s most amazing plant. And when you use edibles instead of inhaling cannabis, your lungs smile!