It’s often said that indicas provides a body high while sativas induce more of a head high. Those seeking to boost creativity and focus trust sativas to deliver, while those more interested in relaxation or sleep appreciate indicas. Most cannabis lovers agree that sativa strains deliver an uplifting, energizing effect, while indica strains tend to be more sedative.
But can the same effects achieved by smoking, vaping, or topical application be realized via ingesting an indica or sativa edible?
How Long Do Edibles Take to Kick In?
Edibles include any food or drink that has been infused with cannabis. Because edibles are chewed and swallowed, they must be processed and metabolized through the digestive system, before the effects can be felt. While the effects of smoking or vaping may be experienced within minutes, it can take an hour or two, sometimes longer, for edibles to be effective. However, the effects of edibles last much longer than other methods of use, sometimes up to 12 hours.
Several factors affect how fast an edible will be experienced and how long it will stay in the system, including the dose, type of edible, and the consumer’s body mass and metabolism. New users may not understand how long it takes to feel the effects of an edible, and ingest more than is advisable. Although overdose from an edible is unlikely, the intensity of the high may be frightening. It’s best to start slow.
How Cannabinoids and Terpenes Affect An Edible
- Effects of Cannabinoids
Leafly defines cannabinoids as, “…the chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers that provide relief to an array of symptoms including pain, nausea, anxiety, and inflammation.” Cannabinoids mimic our body’s own endocannabinoids, which activate and maintain internal stability and health. Wikipedia cites research stating that the cannabis plant contains more than 113 cannabinoids.
The two best known cannabinoids are THC and CBD, both of which deliver therapeutic effects, although, of the two, only THC also delivers a psychoactive effect.
- Effects of Terpenes
Terpenes are the aromatic and flavonoid essential oils produced by the cannabis plant. They not only produce the unique smells and flavors of a strain; they may also affect the various effects delivered by different strains of both indica and sativa. Unfortunately, it is much more difficult to maintain the terpene profiles during extraction or cooking, than it is to maintain cannabinoid profiles.
In 2014, Dr. Jeffery Hergenrather, President of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, stated, “…while cannabinoid ratios in most cannabis may be about the same, it is the terpene content which typically creates the different qualities that we have parsed as the difference between indicas and sativas.”
CannaSOS is in agreement, stating, “Terpenes are…enormously important for the preservation of Indica-Sativa difference.” But terpenes are very delicate, and are easily destroyed by heat. However, CannaSOS continues on to state, “…terpenes can be added after preparation.”
“Preserving terpenes not only ensures a potent flavor and aroma, but it also helps ensure the potent medicinal properties of the cannabis plant, “according to RxLeaf. Their website gives some great tips on cooking with terpenes.
Edibles From Dispensaries
The bottom line is that even those who performed blind taste tests had a hard time distinguishing between the effects of indica vs. sativa edibles. Much of the outcome depended on:
- The time of day
- The expectation of the user
- How the edible was prepared
Homemade edibles may have unevenly distributed cannabis, making it stronger for some than others. Reputable dispensaries offer edibles that are generally labeled as to dose, and whether they are indica or sativa. Purchasing edibles from a trusted dispensary is most likely to give you the results you’re seeking.