DIY Cannabis Baking vs. Pre-Packaged Edibles – Which Is Right for You?
As more and more states ride the wave of cannabis legalization, edibles have become extremely popular among consumers. Consuming edibles offers several advantages over smoking or other traditional methods of cannabis consumption. In the popular lexicon, “cannabis edibles” are often synonymous with DIY treats cannabis consumers make at home.
Yet, when you enter your favorite local dispensary, you’ll undoubtedly notice the large variety of ready-to-consume edible products available on the shelves. So, you might be wondering, is it better to buy or make your own edibles?
Let’s take a deeper look at the wonderful and vaste world of cannabis edibles.
America Loves Edibles
A 2019 paper in the journal Current Opinion in Food Science noted an extraordinary boom in the popularity of edibles, both in the United States and worldwide. In the US, the regulations regarding edible products are controlled by the states, rather than the federal government. As a result, you can purchase high-quality edibles from licensed dispensaries, especially in tightly regulated medicinal states like Florida. For some, however, creativity and the DIY spirit reigned supreme, and certain individuals enjoy producing their own edibles using top-quality flower, oils, and distillates.
Fortunately for both groups, the culture of competition emerging among the growing number of cannabis outlets now available has also helped address the previous monotony of edible cannabis products. We’ve come a long way from edibles being synonymous with “magic brownies” — not that there aren’t still some delicious brownies out there! The report further noted the rapidly growing popularity of edibles in both medical and adult-use markets.
A Different THC Experience
When edibles containing delta-9-THC (otherwise known simply as THC) are digested, the body must metabolize them just as it does any other food or beverage. Unlike most of the THC that enters the bloodstream via inhalation, digested delta-9-THC is broken down into another compound known as 11-hydroxy-THC. This compound is more powerful than delta-9-THC because it is able to bind more firmly to the brain and body’s endocannabinoid receptors. For that reason, the psychoactive effects are stronger and tend to last longer than those from inhaled THC.
Edible enthusiasts and researchers alike note that digested 11-hydroxy-THC produces a stronger sedative effect than inhaled THC. Coupled with the pseudo-”double dose” you might experience as your body processes both 11-hydroxy-THC and delta-9-THC, it can be easy to achieve a prolonged, powerful high. You’ll likely experience maximum effects after about 90 minutes, but you’ll also continue to feel those effects for up to 7-8 hours.
Absorbing THC and other cannabinoids through the stomach lining and into the bloodstream is also a more prolonged chemical process than smoking or vaping, which allows cannabinoids to be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream via the lungs. Sometimes, because the full effects often “sneak up” on the user over the course of an hour or so, patients may consume more than the intended amount, causing adverse effects. This is why it’s important you educate yourself and understand how to properly dose with edibles.
So, how do you know if you’re getting the right dose? A prepackaged edible will let you know exactly how much THC you’re consuming with the information printed right on the label. Of course, controlling your dose is a little trickier when you make edibles yourself.
Dosages for prepackaged dispensary edibles in Florida can range from 2.5 mg to 50mg in a serving, so you can find something to suit your needs whether you’re a curious first-time experimenter or a longtime cannabis connoisseur. It’s important to note that Florida only allows pre packaged edibles containing up to a total of 200 mg per package, and each piece cannot exceed 10 mg. Items like mints and chocolates are often dosed at 5 mg, or can be broken into pieces to achieve smaller doses.
A World of Flavors
Whatever your favorite dish or treat is, rest assured it can now be made into a cannabis edible. THC-infused oils, butters, and sweeteners mean that no dish is off limits, and new experimentation that pushes the limits of culinary cannabis use is being done every day. Cannabis plants have now been used to brew mead, for example. Another option is a concentrate that can be used as an edible, such as Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), which makes turning your afternoon tea or morning coffee into an edible as easy as adding a few drops and stirring.
As mentioned, the nature of the THC metabolite released after you consume an edible means edibles often exhibit enhanced sedative effects, which can be great for patients experiencing insomnia and migraines. These effects can be further enhanced if the product also contains CBD. Other patients with multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, epilepsy, and gastrointestinal issues enjoy their anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and muscle relaxant properties. In addition, because edibles are ingested rather than inhaled into the lungs, they are a top choice for patients with lung issues like COPD and asthma.
Is It Better To Buy or Make Edibles?
If you’ve never made cannabis edibles before, it might sound like a fun and chill weekend project. Make no mistake, it can be exactly that, but there are many pros and cons you’ll want to consider beforehand:
Pro: Great for Dietary Restrictions
While there are a vast array of readymade edible THC options out there, not all of them are conducive to a restrictive diet. When you craft your own edibles at home, you can ensure you’re following your dietary restrictions, including gluten-free or low-carb recipes.
Con: Time Commitment
The end-to-end process of making cannabutter or cannabis-infused oil is going to take you a minimum of 3 to 4 hours. Once you factor in grinding up the flower, decarbing it in the oven, and then slowly simmering the water out until you’re left with THC-infused oil or butter. Then you still have to use your new butter to bake the edibles, which can mean another hour or more before you’re finally taking that first bite.
Florida is a chief producer of fresh produce and sustainable, locally-sourced ingredients. That means your own homemade edibles can be completely customized to your tastes and budget. If you’re simply trying to eat a healthier diet, you can nix the chocolates and candies in favor of infusing your own healthy smoothies or mixing up your own vinaigrettes with your choice of oil.
There are some great, easy-to-follow cannabutter recipes available, but like any other cooking project, there’s no undo button if you burn something. Ruining a batch of cannabutter can mean your cannabis investment is down the drain, and butter isn’t so cheap either. In addition, you’ll need to carefully research dosing before you get started and take care to dose consistently. Inconsistent dosing can cause your edibles to taste bad; worse, you may wind up ingesting more THC than you intended to and have a negative experience.
As with most things, once you know what you’re doing, it is less expensive to DIY than to purchase pre-made, pre-packaged edibles. If you’re an experienced, high-tolerance edible user, you can also craft higher-dose edibles instead of purchasing multiple packages of low-dose edibles from a dispensary.
If you’re living in an apartment building, now might not be the time for your first cannabis cooking experiment. The process of decarbing flower and cooking down cannabutter will absolutely leave your place smelling like cannabis. Even if you buy your oil pre-made, just cooking a high-potency batch of edibles can give off a pungent odor.
Pro: Great for Home Growers
While Florida does not allow individuals to grow or own cannabis plants at home, many other states do. If you live in a state where home growing is legal, you can use many other parts of the plant you wouldn’t otherwise utilize. For example, trim and leaves can be used to make a variety of DIY edibles.
Potential Con: Skills Required
You’ll need at least basic kitchen skills to make your own homemade edibles, and the more comfortable you are around the kitchen, the better. The project will involve techniques like using a double boiler and straining through cheesecloth.
Are Fresh Edibles More Potent?
One major pro not yet called out is the potential to do just that, create edibles more potent than at dispensaries. In the state of Florida, MMTCs can only provide 10mg THC per piece of edible. For those with a higher tolerance, this is likely nowhere near what they need, making the tailoring of your own potency the key to achieving the effects you seek.
That being said, just about any psychoactive chemical will slowly lose potency over time, and THC and other cannabinoids are no exception. Stored at room temperature, cannabis flower will lose around 3 to 5% of its THC potency every month it sits. Most of this loss is due to degradation caused by oxygen and light. Be sure to use an airtight container that prevents sunlight intrusion both before and after you craft your DIY edible.
It’s also important to consider that edibles are food products, and like any other food, they have the potential to rot, mold, or go stale. Storing your edibles in the freezer or refrigerator until you’re ready to munch can help keep them potent and fresh tasting for longer.
Buying Edibles at a Dispensary
If making your own cannabutter and edible treats sounds like a bit much, you’ll want to opt for a trip to a MUV near you instead. Buying your edible cannabis products from a reputable, licensed facility offers many benefits.
Testing and Labeling
The laws in just about every legalized state require rigorous testing of cannabis products, Florida being no different. THC levels must also be printed clearly on product packaging. This lets you know exactly what you’re consuming, and exactly how much of it, so you can dial in your perfect dose.
When you make your own edibles, you’re limited to the recipes you feel confident tackling. At MÜV Dispensaries, you’ll be able to choose from pre-made chocolate bars, soft chews, mints, and more. MUV also stocks other oral products like tinctures, distillate, and RSO, all of which can be added to pre-packaged edibles to increase their THC content.
All MUV dispensaries will have knowledgeable and friendly staff ready to help you choose the right products to meet your cannabis use goals. In fact, MUV staff is required to complete extensive training after hiring to ensure your every question is answered during your visit. As research, laws, and regulations change, our Cannabis Advisors must continue to receive ongoing education.
When you find a favorite product at MUV, you’ll know you’re getting exactly what you want every time. When you’re planning for cannabis edibles to be a big part of your night, it’s important that you aren’t unpleasantly surprised by a botched batch, or doses that are too high or too low. While edibles that are too weak can feel like a waste, taking too high of a dose of edible THC can also be an extremely unpleasant experience, resulting in a lightheaded feeling or episodes of nausea.
Making your own edibles can be super fun and rewarding, especially if you go in on the project with a friend or two, but it’s not for everyone. It also takes a considerable amount of time, and you can be left with a long, oily clean-up process when all you want to do is curl up on the couch with a chewy brownie square. A trip to the dispensary is much quicker and you can buy the exact number of edibles you need rather than having to make an entire batch of butter at once.
Cons of Buying Pre-Packaged Edibles
Pre-packaged edibles are a quick, tasty way to achieve the therapeutic effects you need with your cannabis purchase. Still, there are a few downsides to relying solely on these convenient treats.
Lack of Personal Control
Buying edibles at the dispensary is quick, safe, and easy, but you must accept that they’ll never have your grandma’s secret snickerdoodle recipe that you’ve been daydreaming about adding marijuana to. Similarly, you’ll need to give up on the idea of adding THC to your favorite spice blend that you use in all your home cooking.
Making your own edibles means you get to use your favorite strain of weed when preparing your oil. Having full control over the finished product also ensures you can make your edibles allergy-safe if you have concerns about gluten, nuts, or dairy.
It’s often convenient to have a small bag of soft chews or a single, prepackaged cookie available for one-time use. Other times, you may want a large batch of edibles at once, so that you can freeze them for later. In these instances, homemade edibles may be a sensible choice.
Proof of Purchase
Each time you make a purchase at a dispensary within Florida, your Cannabis Advisor is required by state law to add a prescription label to each individual package. This proves that you bought your product at a licensed dispensary in the state according to regulations. Because adult- use cannabis is not legal, any patient found with cannabis products that lack a label will risk criminal charges.
If you are traveling in Florida and want to take your medical cannabis with you, it’s in your best interest to buy cannabis edibles from a licensed dispensary that will include prescription labels. The presence of a label will protect you if you are pulled over.
Taking the time to make your own edibles at home can help you stretch the value of your investment. However, it’s important to note that MUV prides itself on offering affordable, therapeutic edible options for all types of consumers. If you’re on the hunt for effective, inexpensive edibles, check out our most affordable options (per 30-day supply):
- THC tinctures
- Distillate syringes
Cannabis Edibles Grant You Options
Cannabis enthusiasts love all of the options that edibles have to offer. If DIY is appealing to you, check out our recipe resource. If making your own treats sounds like a bit much, and you prefer the consistency and convenience of purchasing ready-made products, make a MÜV to your favorite local dispensary.
- Blake, A., & Nahtigal, I. (2019). The evolving landscape of cannabis edibles. Current Opinion in Food Science, 28, 25-31 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cofs.2019.03.009
- Romano, R., Aiello, A., De Luca, L., Sica, R., Caprio, E., Pizzolongo, F., & Blaiotta, G. (2021). Characterization of a new type of mead fermented with Cannabis sativa L.(hemp). Journal of food science, 86(3), 874-880. https://doi.org/10.1111/1750-3841.15614
- Barrus, D. G., Capogrossi, K. L., Cates, S. C., Gourdet, C. K., Peiper, N. C., Novak, S. P., Lefever, T. W., & Wiley, J. L. (2016). Tasty THC: Promises and Challenges of Cannabis Edibles. Methods report (RTI Press), 2016, 10.3768/rtipress.2016.op.0035.1611. https://doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2016.op.0035.1611
- McClements, D. J. (2020). Enhancing efficacy, performance, and reliability of cannabis edibles: Insights from lipid bioavailability studies. Annual review of food science and technology, 11, 45-70. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-food-032519-051834
Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Contributor for Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.