Cookies, confections and cannabis

It’s been a year since cannabis was legalized for adult use in Canada, and October 17, 2019 marks the day that edibles (cannabis-infused foods and drinks) became legal to sell (for approved vendors) as well.

In 2018 we surveyed local residents to find out what folks who live in Wellington, Dufferin and Guelph thought and knew about cannabis. Of over 3,000 respondents:

  • Over half expressed interest in trying pre-prepared edibles once they became legal.
  • Fewer than half of respondents were aware of how long it takes to feel the effects of edibles after eating them.

Although edibles are now legal for sale, you won’t find prepared products for sale in Ontario before about mid-December (2019), due to licensing and approval requirements. But here are some things to think about before they go on sale and if you decide to prepare edibles at home.

Start low and go slow: edibles affect you differently

When cannabis is smoked or vaped, the effects are felt within seconds to minutes. With edibles, it takes much longer to feel the effects—about 30 minutes to 2 hours. The full effects might not be felt until 4 hours after eating it. This means you might be tempted to eat more, which can lead to over-consumption and adverse effects.

Plus, the effects last longer. You could be feeling the effects for 12 hours after consuming an edible (versus up to 6 hours for smoking/vaping).For both methods, some effects could last up to 24 hours after use.

Know how much you’re taking

Illustration of the molecules THC and CBD

If you’re buying cannabis edibles, the amount of THC (mg) will be found on the label. Choose a product with a lower amount of THC. This is especially important if you’re someone who is new to using cannabis or who doesn’t use cannabis very often. Learn more about the two main active components, THC and CBD.

Look for products that contain 2.5 mg of THC or less. If you’re buying a packaged edible product, the total amount of THC in the package might be up to 10 mg, so it is important to read the label carefully.

If you’re making edibles at home, some calculations will be needed to ensure you don’t over-consume.

Remember, every person reacts to cannabis differently, so you might feel very differently from a friend after consuming the same amount.

Don’t store edibles in the cookie jar

cannabis cookies and brownies

If children or pets live in or visit your home, now’s the time to think about how you’ll keep edibles out of the reach of little hands (and paws).

When legal edibles become available for sale in Ontario, they will be in child-resistant and plain packaging to make them less appealing. But that doesn’t mean they should be left out.

Store cannabis products out of reach of children and out of site, in a secure (locked) location.

There are times when zero cannabis is best

Using cannabis increases your risk of a motor vehicle collision (car crash). Don’t use cannabis (including edibles) before driving or operating machinery, or when you’re going to be responsible for something (including children!)

If you’re under 25, your brain is still developing and that makes cannabis use riskier (meaning there’s a higher potential for harm). Cannabis can affect memory, thinking and attention, especially if you start using it as a teenager, if you use it every day (or almost every day) and if you use it for a long time. The risk for dependence (addiction) is also higher if you’re a young person.

These reasons are why we recommend young people delay use as long as possible, ideally until the age of 25.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, hold off on cannabis (including edibles)

When you’re pregnant, what you put in your body is shared with your baby. No form of cannabis, including extracts, skin oils/creams, pills, or edibles are known to be safe during pregnancy.

The chemicals in cannabis also pass into and build up in breastmilk. THC and other chemicals are stored in baby’s fat cells and brain for a long time…and they’re stored in your tissues too. That means ‘pumping and dumping’ doesn’t get it out of your system. Read more about cannabis during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Is there anything you want to know about edibles? Ask us below!

Cannabis resources and supports

Visit our resources and supports page for:

  • General resources about cannabis
  • Addiction/mental health support
  • Low-risk use guidelines
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health