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Dear Mama: How do I Choose an Edible

I keep trying edibles and I don’t like how I feel or I don’t feel anything!  So tired of wasting my money but I really like the idea of the convenience of them.  Do you recommend any particular edible? Or what am I doing wrong?  How do I choose an edible?

Starving for an edible in Phoenix

Dear Starving,

I feel your pain on this one. But the good news is it’s getting so much better out there to figure this out! First of all you will need to figure out what your appropriate dosage is. If you don’t know what that is, it’ll be important for you to take notes, so get a small notebook that you can keep all your cannabis data in.

The next thing you’ll have to figure out is what to try? Things like medicated sodas are awesome, but for the beginner, probably not the best place to start because they’re hard to save for later when taking smaller doses. Now that I know my dosage they are one of my favorite edibles, but keep things like that in mind when choosing.

Next, eliminate anything that doesn’t agree with your dietary restrictions.For a lot of people that includes sugar and that can quickly knock down your choices. If you’re like any of my sugar-avoiding friends you allow a little when you want to, so if sugar isn’t a huge deal for you in very small doses I’d allow a little in my diet here.For example a 100mg bag of caramels or hard candy, divided by the number of pieces will give you the dosage of each. (if the 100mg bag has 20 pieces, each is 5mg’s) I recommend most people start at five milligrams or even less if you’re real new to cannabis. Ten milligrams is an average dose for the fairly new but not inexperienced consumer. Personally, I get real chatty and social at 50mgs and any more than that, I start getting unwanted side effects like heavy eyelids, dry mouth, and dizzy or sleepy feeling.

Find one brand that has good recommendations and keep with it. Their methods of extraction may differ from the other guy making the same type of cookie, but the one that works for you is the brand to stick with. After you’re clear on a good average dosage for you, you can get crazy and branch out and experiment a little more. Be sure to see if the edible is fast acting or a “normal acting’ edible that can take up to two hours to feel effects. You don’t wanna be that person who thinks they feel nothing so finishes off the remaining bar, only to miss the next days activities because you’re sleeping it off. I know of more than one person who slept for a day or more after over consumption. They felt great once they were able to wake up but nothing got done for a minute.

Also keep in mind that the moment the blood-brain barrier is passed you may have a little moment of ‘wowza’ or a low blood sugar feeling, which I promise will pass quickly so don’t let it startle you. Just take a slow deep breath and it will ease in a minute or two.

On to “feeling” it.

I have had a couple edible lines and did lots of product testing on card holding friends and family. Let me tell ya, I’ve heard it all. Most people don’t think they “feel” anything. When, in fact, if you took them out of their living room and stuck them in the grocery store, they’d “feel” it for sure. So, the comfort of your surroundings and the people around you will have great influence on the effects of an edible. Most importantly you have to define what your expectation for an edible is. They hit me more body and less in my mind so i find myself having had a great productive day and forget I had medicated tea mid-afternoon because I didn’t really “feel” it. I was happy, and got a lot done and didn’t notice aches and pains so somehow I did “feel” it. So, figure out what you’re expecting to feel and determine if that’s even a reasonable expectation.

All this should be kept documented in that notebook I mentioned before. What you’ll want to note is: what you bought, how much you ate of it in mg’s and size, what you ate before hand or smoked or drank, your current mood, your mood throughout the day, that sort of thing. Keep notes for each edible you try and find the ideal dosage for you (which you clarified in testing and expectation). Add any other things like exercise or movement and stress levels that correspond with your lifestyle. For me, documenting my appetite patterns and pain levels is key to picking my faves. I also write about flavor, consistency, and note what I do and don’t like about the product. Maybe it’s hard to divide, or messy so not discrete, or taste like shit. Trust me, I’ve tasted some really, really bad edibles.

Lastly I always recommend making your own butters, oils, and tinctures and using those to make your edibles. Not everyone has time for that but it’s how I control my outcomes. Edible makers are just starting to realize we want to know what is in them besides ingredient lists. If your edible doesn’t specifically state what strain it is, they probably use a mixture of extra plant matter they have around so the outcome may not be specific from batch to batch. One month might make you sleep great but the next month you find yourself cleaning every closet in the house. No Bueno! If you pick your fave strain and make butter from that you know what’s going to happen (for the most part) when you eat it too! But I cook all day everyday and don’t often have time to make my own either, so when I do, I make a good sized batch, strain it well, and freeze half. I use half to bake treats like cookies and freeze the cookies I make with it. Lasts forever, and although I’m sure that I probably lose a little in my process, I haven’t had any complaints on effects yet. I have a free course on my site about how to make tincture, and there are lots of resources out there to make great cannabis butter and such at home safely and conveniently.

Hope this helps you find an edible or two that you can enjoy! The newer products offered are really improving every time I stop by the dispensary. I’ve been enjoying cannabis Honey recently in my tea. Good notes will be key to figuring out your edibles because when we eat them, we don’t always remember the details clearly.

Stay Lifted, Mama

For more letters to Mama, click here.

Laura Mastropietro

Laura Mastropietro, former cannabis co-op grower and patient advocate, consultant, Edible Chef for two edible lines, featured in ‘Cannabis Saved my Life’ by Elizabeth Limbach, currently curates a learning hub called, stays active in the cannabis community while running a restaurant and commercial bakery in beautiful Sedona Arizona. Wife, Mother, Grandmother, with a full beautiful life and toss in a life altering disease, cannabis is the magic that helps her keep it all going. Have a cannabis question? Send it to Dear Mama at



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