8 Must-Know Tips for Edibles Shopping

Photo by Lochfoot

When selecting a cannabis-infused product from the shelves of a medical marijuana dispensary or state-legal retail outlet, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer variety of what’s available. But don’t allow yourself to be swayed by clever marketing or a sales pitch at check-out. Do your homework instead, and you’ll have a much better experience—one that gets you nicely high, while leaving a good taste in your mouth.

Fortunately, the endless variations in cannabis foods make it easy to find the perfect dish for every occasion. From something simple like pouring marijuana-infused olive oil over popcorn or a salad, to more adventurous fare like an infused beef jerky, barbecue sauce, ice creams, gummy bears or lemonades. At HIGH TIMES, as part of organizing our Cannabis Cup competitions, we evaluate hundreds of marijuana-infused foods each year, from standard sugary treats to healthy options like granola bars and fruit smoothies. There’s a whole new world of edibles products to try, and here’s a few tips to help you choose the best ones.

Cannabis-infused foods come in almost any form you can imagine.
Cannabis-infused foods come in almost any form you can imagine.

Cannabis Edible Shopping Checklist

Look for a product that offers an appropriate dose of THC at a satisfying portion size.

For example, a sweet tooth seeking a low dose wouldn’t be happy with a tiny truffle containing 200 milligrams of THC, since that would require using a razor blade to slice off a preferred dose of 20 mg. Nor do those trying to quell chronic neuropathic pain want to eat two slices of cheesecake every time they need relief. Pain patients who consume edibles regularly and may need 100 mg of THC per day (or more) should definitely seek out healthier options, including well-balanced, nutritious recipes to make at home.

Activated cannabinoids should always be listed in milligrams.

Once you’ve determined your optimal THC dosage level, whether you’re a heavyweight seeking 100 to 1000 milligrams or a first-time user looking for just 10 mg, look for products at the appropriate dose for a trustworthy, predictable and pleasurable experience. Most importantly, packaging should include third-party lab test information that details the amount of THC and CBD in milligrams per serving, plus the amount of servings in a package. For example, a Day Dreamers chocolate bar contains 180 total milligrams of THC, but that’s spread across six separate sections of 30 mg each.

Beware of cannabis edibles with no potency information.
Beware of cannabis edibles with no potency information.

Look for professional, tamper-proof packaging and labeling.

This should include an ingredients list, allergy information, dosage advice, nutrition facts and a 1-800 number or website that allows customers to contact the company directly with any questions or concerns. The label should tell you whether the cannabis was infused into butter or oil, or if a solvent-based extraction was used to infuse product with THC, as well as disclosing what type of solvent was used.

Be sure the edible is clearly labeled as containing cannabis!

An obvious pot leaf on the package or very large and legible type should make that abundantly clear, to prevent accidental ingestion by a roommate, family member, babysitter, neighbor, house guest or anyone else who might be raiding your refrigerator. And if you have children or pets in the house, always keep edibles out of sight in a locked cabinet.

Consider your needs.

Choose an edible that fits into your lifestyle. If you’re looking for daily pain relief, try high-dose cannabis capsules. For occasional relaxation, try a low-dose chocolate. Stock up on cannabis-infused olive oils that can be sprinkled onto a salad for quick relief.

Think strain-specific.

If you need daytime pain relief, use an edible that specifies sativa strains were used. For help sleeping, seek out indica-specific edibles.

Always ask your budtender for any recommendations.

A knowledgeable salesperson can help you find the edible that’s right for your needs. Make sure the brand of edibles you choose has an established relationship with the dispensary.

Read reviews.

Especially after a HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup! We always rate the top edibles from California, Colorado, Washington and Michigan so you can discover which products are on the cutting edge.

Some sections of this article were previously published in Marijuana for Everybody! (Chronicle Books 2014)

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