Cannabis-infused brownies, or "pot brownies" as their colloquially referred to. Picture by Getty Images.

With puffs of smoke, South Africans are celebrating the decriminalization of smoking weed at home, and edibles are often perceived as a more discreet way to consume cannabis. “Exploring edibles begins with education”, asserts the Dagga Couple, a pro-cannabis lobbyist organisation in South Africa, founded by Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke after the two were arrested for the possession and dealing of marijuana in 2010. In order to better understand what to expect from cannabis-infused foods, we reached out to The Dagga Couple, who were gracious enough to help weigh in on some handy tips on how to consume edibles responsibly.

Cannabis-infused chocolate truffles. Picture by Getty Images

According to Clarke, “many of us new to cannabis-infused foods fall victim to the same mistake: we eat too much. Edibles are a great choice when consumed responsibly; they’re potent and body-focused, meaning they’re perfect for people who suffer from pain, nausea, or lack of appetite”. Unfortunately, they can easily lead to disaster if you’re not careful. You eat a whole brownie and feel normal for an hour, then all of a sudden it feels like everyone in the room is secretly laughing at you.

The Dagga Couple, a pro-cannabis lobbyist organisation in South Africa, founded by Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke. Picture supplied.

After eating an edible, your body needs to digest and metabolize the food before you feel the effects. Something like a space chocolate chip cookie needs to be processed before it affects the consumer. “That means slower absorption time and more of the THC will be filtered out of your system”, says Clarke. “The amount of time it takes for the effects to kick in also depends on your metabolism”, she adds. People with faster metabolisms may feel medicated after an hour, yet people with slower metabolisms may not feel the effects for two hours or more.

A pint of cannabis-infused mint ice-cream. Picture from Pinterest

I asked the Dagga Couple how long (on average) do the effects of edibles last, and the general consensus is that metabolizing cannabis makes the effects much stronger. Stobbs and Clarke assert that edibles are typically made with highly concentrated cannabis, be it in actual concentrate form (hash oil), cannabis-infused butter, or infused oil. This means that it’s incredibly easy to overdo it. Between the time it takes for the cannabis to kick in and the highly concentrated levels of THC found in many edibles, finding the correct dose can be quite the chore.

Cannabis-infused dark chocolate. Picture by Pinterest

Another important factor is whether you consumed the edible on an empty stomach or after you’ve already eaten. An empty stomach will feel the effects much more quickly, while a full stomach won’t hit you as hard. In order to avoid feeling uncomfortable when eating an infused product, you may want to take The Dagga Couple’s advice: “Eat a meal, and then try an edible. Not vice versa. Food doesn’t have the same effect for edibles as it does for alcohol. If you feel like you have taken too much, eating a meal can actually push more into your system rather than dilute what’s already there.”

Stay safe; always consume cannabis in a comfortable place as this adds to your enjoyment. Just remember to always mind your marijuana manners.