If you’ve experimented with cannabis edibles at all, this scenario probably sounds familiar…
You scarf down a “medicated” cookie, chocolate bar, or similar edible cannabis treat. And at first, nothing happens. You even start to wonder if you should eat more. Or worry that you got a “dud batch.”
But then, about 30 minutes later, it hits you. And suddenly, you’re overwhelmed by the most intense high of your life. A wave of roiling anxiety pummels your psyche. Your brain goes into full rebellion. And you spend the next eight hours desperate to crawl out of your own skin.
So, what gives? Why are the effects from a couple of hits off a joint, bong, or vape so mellow in comparison to eating a cookie that totally demolishes you?
How Cannabis is Absorbed When Smoked or Vaped
When you puff on a joint, bong, vape – you suck the smoke (or vapor) into your lungs where it’s absorbed into your bloodstream and circulated through your body to your brain.
Basically, it works the same way as oxygen distribution. The air you breathe is absorbed into your bloodstream through the capillaries in your lungs. And your blood carries that oxygen throughout your body, ultimately landing in your brain.
But when you smoke or vape cannabis, THC hitches a ride on your body’s oxygen distribution system.
So, you take a hit, breath deep, and presto – you’re high!
How Cannabis is Absorbed When Eaten
Ingesting cannabis, however, involved your digestive system. And this puts a whole different set of parameters into play.
Before the chemicals and other potentially “mind-altering” substances in the food you eat impact your body, they must first be digested.
So, this explains the time factor. You eat your cannabis-infused goodie. It makes its way to your stomach. There, it’s broken down various digestive acids. And the remnants are processed by your liver and kidney. Then, and only then, the THC is circulated through your bloodstream. Finally making its way to your brain.
But here’s where things get interesting… It turns, when your liver processes the cannabis you eat, it produces a byproduct, called 11-Hydroxy metabolite. And this compound is, on average, five times more psychoactive than THC. In other words, the mind-bending impact of THC is turned up to FULL BLAST.
Further complicating matters, 11-Hydroxy metabolite also lingers in your system much longer than THC alone. This is why the effects of cannabis edibles are not only far more pronounced, but also hang on for what feels like forever.
But Don’t Let This Turn You Off to Cannabis Edibles…
No doubt, a that’s five times as intense and lasts five times as long sounds kind of scary.
But you can still eat edibles and avoid what feels like a prolonged “cannabis overdose.” Plus, health-wise, there are strong arguments to be made in favor of consuming edibles instead of smoking cannabis flower or vaping cannabis oil.