With the recent update of Florida’s medical marijuana guidelines, there has been a lot of talk about the approval of edibles. Edibles are a great option when consumed responsibly; they are potent and give full body effects, making them perfect for people who suffer from pain, nausea, or lack of appetite.
Getting edibles added onto your Florida medical cannabis recommendation is required in order to be able to purchase infused treats from qualified Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC). In order to get the edibles route added to your recommendation, you must either submit a change request form to your doctor, or ask for it to be added during your appointment. If you do not have your medical marijuana recommendation yet, this pre-qualifying survey will tell you if you could be eligible to get your card.
If you have not added the edible route to your recommendation, there are other options for you to have access to edibles. The best one: making your own.
What are Edibles?
Edibles, according to the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), are classified as five types of different product groups. These groups are lozenges, gelatins, baked goods, chocolates, and drink powders. By definition these categories are as followed:
- Lozenges – A hard edible that is held in the mouth or under the tongue and slowly dissolved.
- Gelatins – A semi-translucent edible made with a water-soluble protein derived from collagen or another plant-based alternative.
- Baked Goods – An edible consisting of dough or batter baked in an oven by the Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC).
- Chocolates – An edible made of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or a chocolate substitute such as carob. The chocolates may not contain any caramel, nougat, nuts, fruit, honey, marshmallows, or any other such ingredient, toppings, or fillings.
- Drink Powders – A powder that is combined with a fluid for consumption as a beverage by a qualified patient.
After consuming an edible, your body has to digest and metabolize the food before the effects are felt. The cannabinoids need to be processed by the liver before they affect the consumer. This results in a slower absorption time with more of the THC getting filtered out of your system.
The onset time of the effects from edibles also depends on the persons metabolism. Those with faster metabolisms may feel relief after an hour or so, whereas people who have a slower metabolism may not feel the effects for much longer.
An important thing to note is that the effects from edibles are a lot stronger than those caused by smoking cannabis. This is because the THC is chemically converted into a compound called 11-Hydroxy-THC. This metabolite is effective at crossing the blood-brain barrier and it has a more psychedelic effect than THC does.
Florida Edible Guidelines
The Florida Department of Health just recently published the guidelines MMTCs must follow in order to sell THC-infused edibles. After four years of discussion, qualified patients have access to an alternative route of ingesting medical cannabis – but not without limitations.
To no surprise, the edibles must be produced within the MMTC. Since Florida is a vertically integrated market, an MMTC must follow their products from seed to sale. The edibles must be produced in a department-approved processing facility and packaged and labeled in accordance with s. 381.986, F.S., and the department’s MMTC Packaging and Labeling rule.
In addition, all edibles must be stamped with the universal THC symbol and get approved by the Department of Health before they can be sold to patients. The MMTC must have valid permit to operate as a food establishment in Florida, and be able to prove that their processing facility where edibles will be produced, has passed a Food Safety Good Manufacturing Practices inspection.
Edibles can only be one of the following shapes: Square; Circle; Rectangle; Triangle; Parallelogram; Oval; or Diamond. They cannot resemble any popular candies available to children.
In the case of multi-serving edibles, each single serving portion must be distinct or clearly marked in a way that allows a reasonable person to determine the amount of the entire edible that constitutes a single serving. A single serving cannot surpass 10 milligrams of THC and a multi-serving cannot have more than 200 milligrams of THC.
An MMTC shall also not produce any edibles that:
(a) Contain any color additives, whether natural or artificial;
(b) Contain or bear a reasonable resemblance to commercially available candy.
(c) Bear any markings, symbols, images, graphics, or words, other than the universal symbol, as described herein;
(d) Are decorated with icing, sprinkles, or other toppings of any kind; or
(e) Are a primary or bright color. Edibles shall be produced in a manner to minimize color intensity and other color and visual characteristics attractive to children.
Edibles shall not contain any meat, poultry, or fish. An MMTC can also not put anything other than marijuana oil and ingredients that meet the definitions of “food” or “food additive” in s. 500.03, F.S. Nor can rhwy add any additive that can increase potency or any psychoactive substance like nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine.
Making Your Own Edibles
Making marijuana edibles is a lot less intimidating than most people think, especially with the variety of products that can be used to make them. In order to make your own edibles you must infuse a fatty oil, such as butter or coconut oil, with cannabis to mix along with other ingredients to create a snack that will have you feeling weightless after eating it.
Using fatty oils will allow for the best absorption of the cannabinoids. This is because they are lipophilic – meaning they combine and dissolve best with fatty substances. Always be careful to not allow the oil to overheat or most of the cannabinoids will boil away.
The Florida medical marijuana products that you can use to make your own infused oils are whole flower, distillate, RSO, and other concentrate products.
- Flower: When you want to make your own treat with whole cannabis flowers, the first step is one of the most important steps. Decarbing your flower is an essential part of the infusion process because the THC must reach a certain temperature in order to be activated and produce its psychoactive effects. You then slowly cook the debarbed flower with butter or oil for a few hours to allow the lipophilic molecules to separate from the cannabis flowers and attach to the oil being used. Once strained and cooled, the cannabutter will be ready to use! Keep in mind that depending on the strength of your canna-oil, the taste might be very plant-like.
- Distillate: The advantage of infusing your oils with distillate, is it contains already activated THC – meaning you can skip the decarbing step of the process. One disadvantage is you are not getting full spectrum relief like you would normally feel from whole flower edibles.
- RSO: Full extract cannabis oil is one of the most potent extracts available. It contains the majority of the plant’s chemical profile and allows users to experience the entourage effect. This product, like distillate, is already activated and ready to be ingested. RSO is best used alongside rich recipes such as brownies, cakes, and chocolate truffles.
- Other Concentrates: Extracted cannabis concentrates, like shatter and rosin, can also be used to make edibles. Similar to flower, most of these products have to be decarboxylated in the oven to activate it prior to combining it with an oil.
Any of these products can be added to whichever oil your recipe calls for. Just be mindful about how you are transporting these products because if any product (not just edibles) are incorrectly packaged you are technically breaking the law.
The ideal edibles dose depends on a variety of factors, including a persons tolerance, their individual body chemistry, and the overall desired experience.
Leafly came out with basic guidelines that can help you find the right dose, which are measured in milligrams (mg). They are as follows:
1 – 2.5 mg THC edibles
- Effects include: Mild relief of symptoms like pain, stress, and anxiety; increased focus and creativity.
- Good for: First-time consumers or regular consumers looking to microdose.
2.5 – 15 mg THC edibles
- Effects include: Stronger relief of pain and anxiety symptoms; euphoria; impaired coordination and perception.
- Good for: Standard recreational use; persistent symptoms not addressed by smaller doses; people looking for a good night’s sleep.
30 – 50 mg THC edibles
- Effects include: Strong euphoric effects; significantly impaired coordination and perception.
- Good for: High tolerance THC consumers; consumers whose GI systems don’t absorb cannabinoids well.
50 – 100 mg THC edibles
- Effects include: Seriously impaired coordination and perception; possible unpleasant side effects including nausea, pain, and increased heart rate.
- Good for: Experienced, high-tolerance THC consumers; patients living with inflammatory disorders, cancer, and other serious conditions
When trying edibles for the first time, remember to always start low and go slow. If you have any questions or concerns regarding edibles and your recommendation, visit the DocMJ patient portal for everything you need to know.