There are many ways to make an edible.
The hundreds of edible cannabis-infused products on Portland shelves represent another 100 different ways of processing cannabis into hash oil, THC distillate or cannabutter. All of them, however, have to follow the same potency and testing requirements. So whether you're pouring a shot of cannabis-infused ginger ale or snapping off a couple squares of a chocolate bar, you're theoretically consuming the same amount of cannabis.
That said, everybody is different, and even the same body can feel a different effect under identical circumstances a day later. Since the more nuanced effects of cannabis products come from the flower used to make them, I can't tell you whether a brownie will make you sleep better than, say, a cannabis soda. But I can offer some guidance—with the help of a chemistry audit from Zoe Sigman, education coordinator at Farma—when navigating the Oregon edibles market to find what works best for you.
Baked Goods & Snacks
EXAMPLE PRODUCT: Elbe's Gingerdoodle Cookie. Made with classic—and increasingly rare—cannabis butter, the sweet, rich dough tastes homemade, and the gingery cinnamon flavor makes it a healthier treat, free of extras like chocolate chips or frosting. Sold as a single, chewy cookie containing 25 mg CBD and 25 mg THC, the 1-to-1 ratio of cannabinoids is an ideal balance for your high, providing a full-bodied sensation from your brain down to your toes.
SUGGESTED DOSAGE: Single bite, about one-third of the cookie.
ACTIVATION TIME: 1-2½ hours.
WHAT TO KNOW: Although breadier snacks take longer for the stomach to digest, the fat in cannabis-infused butter helps cannabinoids bind to receptors in our brains, making it easier to feel psychoactive effects in their totality.
RECOMMENDED ACTIVITY: Movie night.
WHERE TO BUY: Oregon's Finest, 736 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., oregons-finest.com.
EXAMPLE PRODUCT: Drip Gems. Each package contains 10 pieces of 5 mg candies shaped like tiny jewels and infused with CO2 oil—ideal for those who like to microdose while out and about. Think of them as antidepressant Tic Tacs that smooth out stress without getting you extremely stoned.
SUGGESTED DOSAGE: One Gem.
ACTIVATION TIME: 45 minutes-1½ hours.
WHAT TO KNOW: The genre of 5 mg bite-sized doses are an ideal anxiety medication—the perfect microdose of calm before a big presentation, a night of frenzied packing or a tense dinner with your MAGA relatives. If you want to feel the effects faster, suck on it like a lozenge and the cannabinoids get absorbed sublingually.
RECOMMENDED ACTIVITY: Hiking.
WHERE TO BUY: Bloom, 2637 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., bloomportland.com.
EXAMPLE PRODUCT: Nelson & Co. Organics Carefree Caramels. The dominating sweetness of sugary, buttery caramels have always made a great match with cannabis, and that's especially true with these. The heavy whipping cream, brown sugar and real butter make for a melt-in-your-mouth consistency that doesn't taste like cannabis extract. Be warned, though—there's 50 mg of cannabis concentrate packed into one piece of caramel, which is a risky scenario for the rookie edible consumer.
SUGGESTED DOSAGE: One-tenth of a caramel.
ACTIVATION TIME: 30 minutes-2½ hours.
WHAT TO KNOW: These are heavy-hitting caramels intended to deliver maximum potency in a small size—so not ideal for snacky individuals. If you are trying to microdose, that means eating a small sliver of caramel at a time. But if you want to get as high as the state of Oregon will allow in one bite, this is the treat for you.
RECOMMENDED ACTIVITY: Netflix and nap.
WHERE TO BUY: TreeHouse Collective, 2419 NE Sandy Blvd., pdxtreehouse.com.
Chocolates & Gummies
EXAMPLE PRODUCT: Leif Goods Mexican Chocolate Bar. These bars are slightly larger than a Hershey's and contain 45 mg of Rick Simpson oil—that is, oil with a particularly high amount of THC. It's dusted with cinnamon, New Mexican chipotle and toasted pepitas, adding up to a more measured, gourmet edible experience. For the food-sensitive, this fair trade chocolate is also dairy-free, soy-free, non-GMO and wheat-free.
SUGGESTED DOSAGE: One square, about one-tenth of a bar.
ACTIVATION TIME: 1-2 hours.
WHAT TO KNOW: Chocolate and gummies digest the same way in the stomach, and also tend to be easily pieced out into smaller 5 mg doses. The cannabis extract in Leif Goods edibles are made by extracting cannabinoids with food-grade, organic ethanol, though that's not true with all chocolates.
RECOMMENDED ACTIVITY: Happy hour.
WHERE TO BUY: Kaleafa, 5232 SE Woodstock Blvd., kaleafa.com.
EXAMPLE PRODUCT: Müru Cannabucha. Müru's infused syrup contains 50 mg of cannabis extract, which is then combined with Soma kombucha made with organic green and black tea cold-brewed in volcanic glacier water. Additional flavors come from organic ginger juice and organic cold-pressed lemon essential oil. Other than being refreshing, it delivers a healthy high without the extra fat of candy or baked goods.
SUGGESTED DOSAGE: One-fifth of the 16.9-ounce bottle.
ACTIVATION TIME: 25 minutes-1 hour.
WHAT TO KNOW: Drinks can be more difficult to dose given that you pour them into a glass. The serving size here is less than one-third of the bottle, so newbies should pour it with the same consideration as hard alcohol. Consider a double shot a safe place to start. You'll know whether you can handle more within an hour.
RECOMMENDED ACTIVITY: Sunday self-care.
WHERE TO BUY: Tru Cannabis, 5217 SE 28th Ave., mytrucannabis.com
EXAMPLE PRODUCT: Luminous Botanicals. The formula—675 mg THC and 75 mg CBD per 1-ounce bottle in a blend of coconut and almond oil—is especially versatile: safe for eating and massaging into muscles as a topical and for use as an intimate lubricant. Tinctures are meant to be potent and efficient, and this definitely fits that bill. There are no extra ingredients or flavors, just a mildly nutty aftertaste from the oil base.
SUGGESTED DOSAGE: One dropperful (0.8 ml).
ACTIVATION TIME: 30 minutes-1½ hours.
WHAT TO KNOW: The jumbo syringe-style dropper in the glass bottle makes it extremely easy to control your dose. The dropper is marked at a halfway point for microdosing 0.4 ml throughout the day for chronic pain. For more immediate effects, hold the tincture under your tongue.
RECOMMENDED ACTIVITY: Post-pickup-game aftercare.
WHERE TO BUY: MindRite, 1780 NW Marshall St., mindritepdx.com.