When it comes to marijuana, there are two main ways to consume it: inhalation and edibles. Smoking is the most popular way to consume marijuana, but edibles are becoming more and more popular. Many people prefer edibles because they provide a stronger high and last longer. In this blog post, we will discuss the reasons why an edibles high hits harder and lasts longer than a smoked high.
The Science of Smoking Cannabis vs. Cannabis Edibles
Here’s a story you’ve probably heard before: Somebody ate too much of an edible and got uncomfortably high. We have all been there, or know someone who has. It’s because cannabis affects the body differently when ingested as opposed to smoked because of the chemical reaction with the human body. Let’s take a look at the science.
It’s All About the Cannabinoids, Baby
Several factors, like terpenes, can affect a person’s reaction to cannabis. But the most significant thing to know about before trying edibles is cannabinoids. THC and CBD are the two main cannabinoids in cannabis that interact with our bodies. THC is mostly popular among recreational users who want to experience the psychoactive effects, while CBD is usually associated with a general sense of wellness.
There are multiple receptors in the human body that cannabinoids can bind to, and this interaction is mainly dictated by how those cannabinoids were consumed. For example, when you inhale cannabis flower or vaporize concentrates, the THC enters your lungs and bloodstream almost immediately. This is why the effects of vaping cannabis or smoking cannabis are so sudden.
. . . And the Digestive System
One of the reasons edibles have a stronger effect is that they’re processed by your digestive system rather than your lungs. However, when you eat an edible, it takes much longer to digest. After you eat an edible, it breaks down in your stomach and the cannabinoids are processed by your digestive system. This is when you start to feel the effects of an edible.
When you ingest cannabis, the THC is slowly processed through your mouth, stomach, intestines, and finally the liver. The resulting effects depend on many factors though.
You may become uncomfortably high if you consume an edible while dehydrated or on an empty stomach because the THC hits your system all at once. However, eating THC after you’ve eaten will generally cause a delay in the edible’s metabolism. That means it might take a few hours before you feel any effects, but when you do, they will be stronger and long-lasting since it takes longer for food to break down fully.
A Longer-Lasting High, Because of Science
Edibles are also known for producing a longer-lasting high than inhalation. The effects of an edible can take a while to dissipate, depending on your metabolism and whether you’ve taken the edible with other food, as mentioned above.
Edible highs tend to last longer because when THC is consumed, the body creates different by-products. When delta-9-THC is inhaled, it remains unchanged and enters the bloodstream to get you high. However, when ingested orally, delta-9-THC metabolizes into 11-hydroxy THC, which is a more potent form of the chemical. To put it simply, after your edible has been eaten, it’s metabolized into a stronger form of cannabis that you wouldn’t experience from smoking.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of people over-consuming edibles and being high for days. And it is true that 11-hydroxy-THC has the potential to remain inside your body for up to a day or more, depending on how much you’ve consumed. So, if you are new to cannabis edibles, remember to start low and go slow.
The Last Bite
Inhaling cannabis is a generally safe experience, but things can go off the rails when using edibles. Experienced consumers know the difference between how a smoking or vaping high versus an edible high affects them personally, and they can dose appropriately. If you are new to edibles, always start with a low dose, around 5-10 mg of THC. Ingested cannabis affects everyone differently, so it will take time to understand how cannabis interacts with your body. We have a wide selection of edibles at Frost Exotic Cannabis that are great for first-timers, so stop by and ask our budtenders for help in choosing the right cannabis edible product for you.