Brownies, cookies, gummies, candies, chocolates: the possibilities are endless. Nowadays, it seems like people are putting marijuana in pretty much everything. Pretty soon, even the cookies that made your grandma famous will get you high. Or maybe they've been laced all this time. Ever wonder why grandpa couldn't stop watching Robot Chicken?
Humans have been eating cannabis almost as long as we've been smoking it. The ancient Chinese brewed cannabis tea. Indians as early as the 10th century drank Bhang, a concoction made of milk, pulverized weed, ghee (clarified butter), and spices. In Europe, too, cannabis nectar was a delicacy. We've been eating marijuana for years, and for good reason too.
Eating marijuana can be a completely different experience than smoking or vaping it. The effects are wide ranging with differing durations. Let's explore what makes edible marijuana so unique.
It's All in the Liver
When you eat marijuana, your body metabolizes the cannabinoids in the plant differently than if you inhale it. When inhaled, marijuana travels directly through the lungs into the bloodstream and then directly to the brain. When smoked or burnt, the THCA molecules in marijuana turn into Delta-9THC in the brain, which puts your neurons on overdrive and is the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Because smoking or vaping weed gives marijuana's cannabinoids a direct path to the brain, effects can be felt as quickly as 30 seconds after lighting up but only last for 2 to 3 hours.
Eating marijuana, on the other hand, takes a little longer. After eating cannabis, users don't starting feeling the effects until 30 minutes to 2 hours after initial ingestion. The high can last from 4 to 8 hours, too. It takes so much longer for edibles to start working because it has to be digested and metabolized through the liver.
The liver doesn't just slow down edibles' process, though. The liver, when metabolizing THCA, also produces 11-OH-THC in addition to Delta-9THC. 11-OH-THC is more potent than Delta-9THC, which causes users to get more high from eating marijuana than smoking the same amount. Many people who eat marijuana consider it to have a more "body high" effect than smoking marijuana, which is due to it's higher potency.
To Smoke or to Eat?
Smoking and eating cannabis each have their own benefits and drawbacks. Smoking offers immediate pain relief for those that need it and only lasts for 2-3 hours. Edibles, however, are better suited for those looking for longer periods of pain or symptom relief.
Dosing is definitely easier with smoking or vaping marijuana. Because the effects are instantaneous, users can more accurately measure how much cannabis they want and make sure they don't overdo it. Dosing with edibles is much more difficult as its effects can occur up to 2 hours after eating it. The standard dose for an single user is 10ml but the industry is still having problems implementing standardized potency levels. Though there are no long-term health effects or lethal concerns with taking too much marijuana, it's easy for users to get higher than intended by eating too much cannabis.
Edibles definitely have the health advantage over smoking though. Smoking marijuana exposes your lungs to carcinogens, bronchial irritants, and tumor initiators. Eating cannabis, on the other hand, avoids all these concerns.
Eating cannabis just seems like a no-brainer to me. Why not get high and satisfy your munchies at the same time? There are so many different options for edibles out there too: there's ice cream, macaroons, nuts, reef jerky, and countless others. Just make sure the cookies you brought to the birthday party at work are the right ones.