Types of Edibles: A Guide to Edible Cannabis

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Courtesy of KIVA

Pop culture made pot brownies a staple of the infused food pyramid—but there are many different kinds of edibles including chocolates, oils, drinks, and more. Here’s your 101 crash course on edibles.

What is an edible?

On 4/20 of last year, the classy folks at The New Yorker declared: The cannabis edible has gone mainstream.

Cannabis experts at Leafly define an edible as “any food or drink that contains cannabinoids,” including THC and CBD. Cannabinoids are natural chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. Some edibles are designed to have psychoactive effects via higher doses of THC, while others deliver more CBD for therapeutic purposes.

Edibles are a great choice for those who like the high of THC, or the soothing effects of CBD, but don’t want to consume smoke or carry its smell. Dosing and safe handling protocols are important parts of safe edible consumption. Packaging and storage methods should ensure that edibles are never within the reach of children or any unknowing adult consumers.

Dosing people with edibles unknowingly is lame, and contributes to negative stereotypes about cannabis. The Halloween myth of strange stoners giving kids edibles is ridiculous—who would waste their edibles? But cannabis can cause increased appetite for some, aka the munchies, so consume with care or you may end up biting off way more than you can chew.

The types of edibles


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Getty Images

Chocolate mixes well with the slight aftertaste that some cannabis edibles carry.

Whether it’s an old fashioned milk chocolate bar, or one of Grandma’s classic pot brownies, chocolate is an excellent delivery method for cannabis because of the powerful, familiar flavor.

Lately, the legal cannabis market has seen a boom in edible demand which has major food and alcohol companies ready to dive in. In the next decade you’ll see infused candy bars and beer brands in the grocery store. Until then, brands like KIVA and Punch Edibles have scaled major brands in multiple states thanks to the power of infused chocolate.

Hard Candies

Hard candies like mints and hard caramels are a great way to keep a mellow buzz throughout the day.

Carrying a pack of hard fruit candies or mints with THC or CBD is a cheat code for many cannabis users. You can microdose the small candies throughout the day without fear of consuming too much. Brands like Mari’s Mints have mastered the art of the bite-sized edible treat.

Soft Candies and Gummies

Courtesy of Florist Farms

Soft candies and pastries are a popular way to get baked. Whether you like gummies or baked goods, cannabis lovers with a sweet tooth will be thrilled.

From California to Thailand, Dee Thai’s exotic fruit flavors are blowing up nationwide. In New York, legal dispensaries are moving bags of Chef For Higher gummies and  cooking oil nonstop. And in NYC’s underground market, dozens of trusted brands are building a buzz. There are gummies from MJ’s Eds, baked goods from Fly Guyz Bakery and Shagssnacks, and vegan fruit gummies from Shanghigh Sweets. Oh, and Sopranos fans can’t forget about Uncle Paulie’s Peculiar Pastries, including frozen desserts and infused cannolis.


Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and other cooking oils can be infused to use in various recipes.

Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Chef For Higher is a hot commodity in New York, since it can be used to cook so many different dishes. For CBD-lovers, Jenny’s helps turn food into medicine with full spectrum olive oil that contains 63 mg of CBD in one tbsp.


Get ready for new cannabis beverages poised to steal customers from beer, vape and flower providers.

Drinks have been reported to represent just one percent of the current cannabis market. But that is going to change fast over the next decade with major beer companies like Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser) and Constellation Brands (Modelo Especial, Corona Extra) already dipping their toes in the tincture. Some infused drinks are surging ahead in the market this second, including Ayrloom’s delicious lemonade and apple juice drinks, available in New York’s legal dispensaries. On the start-up side, legacy brands like So-Lah-Tea and The Herbal Heaux are delivering teas and other herbal blends to connoisseurs at events and pop-ups across NYC.

Sauce and Honey

Infused sauce is a brilliant way to control dosing. Instead of infusing an entire dish or meal, use sauce to give everyone control of their experience.

New York dispensaries are now carrying Chef For Higher’s famous THC-infused honey, which can be used to infuse drinks and food while providing a boost of prebiotics and antioxidants. Same goes for sauce providers like Sky High Condiments.

What is the science behind edibles?

Courtesy of MJ's Eds

There are many ways to infuse food and beverages with cannabinoids. The best method for any given dish depends on the desired effect and can impact the taste, texture, and effects that users experience. We asked NYC-based edible specialist Nick from MJ's Eds, which is selling fast at New York’s Empire Cannabis Clubs, about the different approaches to infusing edibles.

Some popular infusion methods include:

The Old School Way: According to Nick, “The old school way is taking the bud or trim or shake, and decarbing it in your oven at a certain temperature. You do it low and slow. That’s how I first started making edibles.”

The Modern Way: “This is the simple, quick way to do it,” said Nick. You can just buy distillate from an extractor or someone who knows them. Then you can infuse any food you want. They distill it like they’re making alcohol, removing the impurities.

The Cutting Edge Way: “If you want to get heady,” Nick said, “you would buy food-grade hash rosin and decarb that yourself and throw it into the edibles.”

Once you’ve got the magic ingredient, delivery methods include gelatin gummies, pectin gummies, oils (canola, vegetable, coconut, peanut, sesame), butters, and more. “That’s all preference,” said Nick. “It’s a texture and taste thing. I think gelatin gummies are superior to pectin because they’re old school candy. When you use pectin, it’s more like a fruit snack—not as bouncy of a texture.”

How long do edibles take to work?

Edibles can take anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours to kick in. This is why it’s important to consume consciously. Ask who made it, how much THC or CBD is in it (5-20 mgs is a single serving for most adults), and what you have planned for the next two days before taking a bite. If you don’t feel anything within the first 30 minutes to an hour, hold off on taking more until you can feel the effects of your first dose.

Leafly’s Edibles 101 guide explains, “edibles are processed in the stomach and liver, whereas smoked or vaped cannabis enters the lungs to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream.” This is why it takes longer to feel the effects of edibles. They must be digested and metabolized first. This absorption method takes longer, but it also lasts longer and can be more potent than flower or vapes highs.

What are the pros and cons of edibles?


  • No smoke (great for medical cannabis users who have asthma)
  • No smell (great for parents and professionals who want use to be undetected)
  • Taste good (great for social events and bonding)
  • Delayed reaction (great for traveling places you’re not allowed to smoke flower or vapes)


  • Hard to predict (go slow and know your dosage)
  • Attractive to children and pets (use child-safe packaging and storing practices)
  • Can be confused with uninfused food (pay close attention to where you keep edibles and who you share them with)
  • Easy to over consume (resist the munchies if your snack is infused)

Are edibles safe?

Yes, edibles are safe when consumed responsibly by adults. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports zero deaths related to cannabis use in U.S. history and there are no known records of anyone overdosing on cannabis or cannabis edibles. Children who accidentally consume edibles can have unpleasant trips and may require medical attention, but there is no risk of serious injury or death. So don’t panic if an accident occurs.

When used by responsible adults and kept out of the reach of children, pets, or non-consenting adults, edibles are completely safe. Even when adults, kids, or pets consume edibles unknowingly, most recover quickly from the bad trip with a nap and a snack. In comparison, many common household items are lethal if ingested, even in small amounts.

Some studies, news stories, and popular myths have tied cannabis to more serious negative outcomes, but no autopsy has listed cannabis use as the direct cause of death in any known case. Depending on the consumer’s tolerance level, serious inebriation is possible. To be safe, users should avoid operating heavy machinery or motor vehicles if they are new to using edibles and don’t know how they will affect their minds and bodies.

Cannabis legalization in many U.S. states has made it possible for consumers to enjoy regulated, tested, and taxed edibles. As edibles become more mainstream, expect to see big brands and retailers begin offering infused options that make it even more normal to eat or drink your cannabis.

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