With legalized edibles coming online in late 2019, Canadians are excited to see what they will be like. According to a 2019 report by Deloitte, 59% of the people they surveyed said they were likely to try the newly regulated edibles, compared to only 8% who were already eating cannabis in foods. That big number of possible users means that many are waiting to get products that are government approved.
Planning an edibles party could be a great way to explore the effects of edibles in a safe environment. With a basic understanding of how edibles affect the body and tips for making sure your guests stay comfortable and safe, it can be a great adventure in entertaining.
Are Edibles Really a Social Substance?
If you’re familiar with classic cannabis culture, you might be wondering how edibles could help you connect. Many people associate edibles with super-potent brownies that make you flop on the couch and debate philosophy with the wallpaper. However, the new edibles experience is much more grounded and sociable. The game changers are lower doses of THC and sensory-stimulating pairing with drinks and foods. Creative cannabis connoisseurs are doing things with bud that would impress top chefs and entertaining experts. It’s no wonder even Martha Stewart got on board the edibles train.
In the same Deloitte study above, 53% of current users said that edibles helped them have fun with friends. 37% said they use edibles as an alternative to alcohol.
Sundial’s Marketing Coordinator, Nathan Witte, describes what it’s like to have the option of a cannabis-infused cocktail. “I’m a non-drinker. It’s been that way for about three or four years. When I picked up my first infused Moscow Mule, this wave of happiness came over me. Just having it in my hand felt like drinking, but without having to do all those same old things. It was great feeling like I could be part of the group again.”
Anyone who drinks socially to feel more relaxed in groups might relate. Infusions can offer us a new opportunity to feel connected without relying on alcohol.
With smart planning, an edibles party can be delightful and inclusive. Whether guests nip a microdose, are experienced and can handle more, or abstain altogether, a savvy host can make space for everyone by serving low-dose cannabis infusions alongside tasty virgin cocktails.
Learn More: Connecting Through Cannabis
Why Not Have a Smoking or Vaping Party?
Infused beverages and foods have some advantages over inhaled cannabis. Firstly, edibles are more discrete. Many of us have neighbours or landlords who would raise hell about the smell if we had a smoking party, and most multi-family properties have bylaws against cannabis use. A gathering around edibles wouldn’t be so bothersome for the people around us. Secondly, edibles don’t irritate people’s lungs. Deloitte said that 43% of interviewees said they’d like to try edibles so they could avoid inhaling cannabis. Some people are also worried about making others sick with their smoke. Children, pets, and loved ones with asthma or cannabis allergies can all get sick from the airborne particulate in second-hand smoke. Edibles don’t put anyone’s lungs at risk.
One thing to note about edibles is that they can easily be mistaken for regular foods. It’s important to always label your infused food and drinks and keep them out of reach of children and pets.
The last thing that makes edibles better than joints is that they can give us a richer experience. Smoking with friends can be fun, but you don’t get to savour it the way you do with food and drinks. When you swirl a glass of bubbly soda with bright lime, spicy ginger, crushed mint and clinking ice, it engages your senses and emotions. Modern infusions are made for refined tastes and grown-up pleasures.
Why Not Just Stick with Alcohol?
Although alcohol has been a go-to social lubricant for centuries, some people are getting tired of the way it affects their health and behaviour. A recent study found that women’s mental health improved when they stopped drinking, even if they had only been drinking moderately. Another article in 2018 noted that millennials were having more problems with liquor, including spiking rates in fatal liver disease and more admissions to rehabilitation programs.
As we become more aware of the negative impacts of alcohol, for many of us, abstinence leaves a distance between our friends and us. Some people who consume cannabis regularly abstain from alcohol because of the unpleasant effects they get from mixing the two. For some non-drinkers, cannabis-infused cocktails can bridge that gap.
How Do You Throw a Safe and Awesome Cannabis Cocktail Party?
The most important job of a canna-cocktail host is to manage dosing. To get an uplifted, stimulated effect (and avoid an anxious or fatigued side effect) the key is a low dose of THC.
When edibles become legal in Canada, the maximum dose allowed per serving will be 10 mg of THC. However, even this may be too high of a dose for someone new to cannabis or cannabis edibles. Some experts recommend starting between 1.25 and 2.5 mg of THC and waiting at least one hour for the effects to take hold before you decide if you want another dose. It’s important to realize that although inhaled cannabis can take effect within minutes, edibles can take an hour or two to kick in.
“Even if you’re experienced with cannabis, you need to take it slow with edibles,” says Witte. “It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced. If you take too much, when it kicks in, you’re going to feel overwhelming discomfort. With a low dose, that is way less likely.”
Sundial’s Manager of National Medical Sales, Hart Steinfeld, spent many years as a patient educator for cannabis clinics. He explains why edibles are so potent: “When you eat edibles, the THC gets metabolized by your liver. It breaks down into a molecule called 11-hydroxy-THC, which is reportedly three-to-five times more impairing than THC.” This is why chefs who serve infused dinners only provide micro-doses. A little edible goes a very long way.
With this in mind, here are some tips to help you plan a great canna-cocktail experience:
● Remember to start low and go slow, even if you’re experienced with cannabis
● Serve small doses, ideally measured at about 1.25 to 2.5mg of THC
● Provide plenty of “clean” food and drinks so guests can choose whether to partake and don’t accidentally over-consume just because they’re hungry
● Label your canna-treats, keep them separate from “clean” foods and out of reach of children and pets
● Have some CBD-only items on hand, as these can help relieve the effects of too much THC
● Avoid serving mango because it increases the effects of THC. Mango’s main terpene, myrcene, makes it easier for THC to enter your brain and makes CB1 receptors respond more strongly
● Plan for approximately one to two doses of infused cocktail per guest
● Educate your guests about how much THC is in a serving of your cocktail/food and how long should they wait before taking another dose
● Remind them to plan for safe transport home (edibles effects can last 10 hours or more)
● Provide a safe place for guests to stay overnight if needed
● Do not mix cannabis and alcohol
Our Favourite Canna-Cocktail Recipe: Infused Moscow Mules
- 1 Tbsp Cannabis-infused Simple Syrup (ours had roughly 5–10mg of THC)*
- 1 tsp Ginger syrup (not infused)
- 1 tsp Fresh Lime Juice
- 200 ml Club Soda
- 50 ml Ginger Beer
- ½ cup Crushed Ice
- Garnish Lime Wedge
- Garnish Mint Sprigs
*Total THC content of 1 Tbsp of infused syrup will depend on the strength of the syrup.
1. Mix in both syrups and lime juice
2. Stir in club soda
3. Add ice
4. Pour ginger beer over ice
5. Garnish with lime wedge and mint sprig
Did you Know?
Moscow Mules are full of superfoods. Mint can soothe digestion and ease pain, ginger can reduce nausea, pain and inflammation, and lime can improve immune function and reduce the risk of heart disease.
On top of being full of beneficial ingredients, the infused Mule is a delicious thrill. Witte paints a mouth-watering picture of the experience. “Just looking at the drink glistening inside its copper cup made me think, wow, that looks refreshing! It was like that Ceasar commercial, where as soon as you see it, everyone wants one. The taste was really good. I tasted the lime, ginger, and sweetness of it. The flavours and the syrup covered the taste of the cannabis quite well. This cool, refreshing drink made me feel like I was back in the social community, and the effect was surprisingly mellow and joyful.”
With knowledge about edibles safety and an adventurous spirit, you and your friends can enjoy a creative, mellow, and connecting experience together.