Beginner's Guide to Edibles

It’s a tale as old as time: You’ve just been offered an edible. You’ve never had one before, but it seems like a fun time! 

Without any instructions, you eat one little gummy. Twenty minutes pass and you don’t feel anything, so you have another. Another 20 minutes pass, and still nothing! So you eat another. Twenty more minutes pass, and you’re now curled up in the fetal position on a hardwood floor, the most anxious you’ve ever been, convinced you’re having a heart attack. Oops.

For some people, edibles are the absolute best way to consume weed, but one bad experience can scare you away forever. That’s why it’s so important to get it right. Really, edibles are extremely approachable and can create a blissful, long-lasting high — but you have to know what you’re doing.

Thankfully, we’re no longer eating our roommate’s friend’s brownies, which could have any amount of THC in it and usually tastes like a skunk. Provisioning centers (dispensaries) now offer a massive variety of edibles, from chocolates to gummies to mints and even drinks — though the latter is largely restricted in Michigan, for now. And more importantly, you know exactly what you’re getting in each one.

As always with cannabis, who should you turn to for advice? A budtender. We spoke to Casey Kornoelje, founder of Pharmhouse Wellness, the only locally owned and operated cannabis facility in Grand Rapids. Kornoelje and his family greatly appreciate all the love they’ve received so far from the community, and we talked to him about where to get started with edibles.


Smoking cannabis is nowhere near as dangerous as cigarettes, but smoking anything isn’t amazing for your lungs. Meanwhile, edibles have no real downside for your health! Plus, the experience is different.

“I think edibles is probably a more physical experience versus psychological,” Kornoelje said. “At least that’s, that’s my experience. And a lot of people give me those same reports, that it’s more of a body sensation. I do feel like the experience lasts longer at times well.”

So if you’re looking to relax the body and get a longer-lasting high without having to smoke throughout the night, edibles are the way to go. Plus, it’s far easier to pop a gummy in your mouth versus grinding, packing and lighting a bowl.


The most important thing to know about edibles is that they have a delayed effect. A vast majority of bad edible experiences come from people getting impatient and taking more — a recipe for disaster.

If you’re taking an edible, you need to know that it can take anywhere from half an hour to two hours to set in. Thus, the ubiquitous, ever-true advice from every single person I’ve talked to for this column: Start low and slow.

That doesn’t mean you always have to wait a full two hours before you take more, but if you’re a beginner, you’ll want to wait at least 45 minutes. It’s far better to not be high at all than be far too high.

And for what it’s worth, Public Health Muskegon County does suggest waiting a full two hours!


Much like alcohol, the time and impact can be affected by how much you’ve eaten before the edible, your weight, and other physiological factors.

“Edibles are absorbed through the intestinal wall,” Kornoelje said. “So if you eat big for dinner, and this is just a gummy that you’re having a dessert, then it’s going to absorb slower into your bloodstream through the intestinal wall, because it’s already working on other stuff in there. But if you’re on an empty stomach and you haven’t eaten anything all day, then it might not take as long, maybe 20 minutes or half hour before you’re feeling it.”


The biggest advantage we have in the modern world, with legalized cannabis, is that our edibles can be perfectly formulated with an exact amount of THC and CBD. Rather than just working off your friend telling you, “Oh, yeah, they’re not that strong,” you know exactly how many milligrams of THC you’re getting in every bite.

Let’s say you’re a total beginner who never touches weed, and you don’t want to get super high — Kornoelje said you’ll probably want to start with 2.5 mg. That’s likely to be a slight buzz, with pretty much zero danger of becoming too high. 

If you’re looking to actually get high and you very rarely touch cannabis, 5 mg is typically the sweet spot. It’s just enough to feel the effects, and you might even have a moment of spacing out, but you won’t end up in the fetal position.

It scales from there. For fairly experienced smokers, 10 mg is great. That’s what Kornoelje tends to go for — it’s a perfectly versatile dosing, because you can take two if you’re feeling bold, or even cut it in half if you just want to take the edge off. It’s up to you!

If you think you’re ready for 50 mg, there’s really no reason for you to be reading this, but welcome! Just as an FYI, though: Public Health Muskegon county doesn’t suggest anyone take more than 15 mg at a time.


As with all cannabis, various products will affect you differently for a variety of reasons. Your budtender may suggest something more “psychoactive” if you’re looking for that heady high, for instance. Or if you’re worried about anxiety, Kornoelje says CBD is a perfect counter to THC, and plenty of edibles have CBD as well to both counteract and work in tandem with the THC. 


Don’t panic! Even if it feels like you’ll be high for the rest of your life, you won’t. 

OK, that’s easier said than done, but really — you’ll be fine. Drink water. If you have some CBD on-hand, take that. Kornoelje strongly suggests taking a shower, which can help calm you down and wash away some of that high feeling. Legend has it that chewing a black peppercorn helps too, but we can’t verify that.

The best solution, however, is to have a trusted loved one around to guide you through the experience.