Edibles are becoming more and more popular among both recreational and medicinal users. There is even some evidence that consuming cannabis through edibles is better than smoking. Now that cannabis is legal in Canada and many American states, more and more people are exploring the different ways to medicate. Smoking is the traditional way, but increasingly new ways to consume cannabis are being found. The major benefit you get when choosing edibles is that you don’t have to smoke, meaning you don’t suffer all of the negative effects that come with smoking, like tar building up in your lungs and increased cancer risk.
The different methods of consuming cannabis also have different effects, meaning you might prefer using one over another. Specifically looking at edibles, you will see significant differences in effects on your body and mind between smoking and eating cannabis.
There are many different types of edibles available, but the key principle is the same. Cannabinoids have been extracted from the cannabis plant to be used in other dishes. THC isn’t water soluble, so a fat is used like butter or oil. After a well-planned extraction, you should be left with quality cannabis fat to use in your cooking. The potency of the mixture will depend on the quality of the bud used as well as the quality of the extraction.
How Edibles Work
Cannabis edibles allow you to get higher than you normally would when smoking. This sounds like a simple statement, but there are some complexities that can change your experience. Smoking weed is an effective way of using cannabis in that it produces a lot of a certain type of THC – delta-9THC. However, eating cannabis gets you higher because it produces a combination of both delta-9THC and 11-OH-THC.
This second cannabinoid is what makes edibles so potent. It is found to be a stronger version of THC, one that is more psychoactive as well. When both of these cannabinoids are present in combination, it results in a much more powerful experience due to the effects on your brain receptors. Depending on the dose you use, you can use edibles to effectively administer THC.
The Delta-9THC is created during the extraction process when heat is applied to the cannabis. Once eaten, the THC is absorbed into the bloodstream via the stomach. From here it travels to the liver, which then allows for the conversion into 11-OH-THC. This THC is strong and also generally has more sedative effects. For medical purposes, it is very useful, but if used during the daily doses, it should be carefully monitored.
Edibles are a great way to stay high for a long time. Edibles last long in your system, but they also take a long time before they actually start working. This is due to how edibles are taken into your body. As mentioned, the cannabinoids have to first travel from the stomach to the liver and then to the brain. Only once they have reached the brain does the THC take effect once the cannabinoids bind to your receptors. This takes a lot longer than smoking, which allows for almost immediate effects.
This time frame is usually what makes edibles difficult to gauge. It can take anywhere from 30 up to 90 minutes before the THC makes its way to your brain. There is no exact science to how long it will take, so patience is recommended. Wait to feel the effects set in before taking larger doses. This way you can avoid any unwanted experiences that are far more powerful than intended.
Medicating according to a schedule can be quite efficient with edibles and the effects are not immediate, allowing for a gradual increase in high. The effects of edibles can last between 4 – 6 hours depending on the potency of the edible. This is far longer than the typical 1 – 2 hours when smoking. The effects also gradually increase, allowing for a more controlled experience.
This is one of the main reasons that recreational cannabis users switch to edibles. It is far more potent and the experiences that can be had with edibles are far more psychedelic in nature than just smoking. Not only are the recreational experiences more powerful, but the medicinal benefits are magnified. It is far easier to consume large doses of THC through ingestion. To get a high dose of THC through smoking, you would have to do a lot of damage to your cardiovascular system and spend far more time smoking. This is not practical for a medical cannabis user who just wants to get on with their day.
The potency increase is due to the additional cannabinoid that is present when edibles are absorbed by the body. This is thanks to the process that the THC undergoes before it reaches our brain. With smoking, the THCA is activated by the heat of the fire and you receive a large hit of Delta-9THC. When eating an edible, another cannabinoid is present, 11-OH-THC. This cannabinoid is processed in the liver and allows for a more potent experience. There is a lot of research that needs to be done about 11-OH-THC, but research has concluded it is a more potent version of THC. 11-OH-THC not only amplifies the effects of THC but also increases the sedative effects on the body. Having two cannabinoids present is also supposed to increase the potency because of the effects on our brain receptors.
If smoking isn’t doing the job anymore then the potency step-up from an edible is exactly the thing you need. This is also a great way to administer cannabis medically, allowing for stronger and longer-lasting benefits.
Adam Osborne Vancouver