Most patients wonder how eating an edible is different from inhaling and how long it takes to affect? All of that information is invaluable to figuring out where edibles fit into your day to best treat your symptoms. Cocoa Meds is going to answer those questions for you today by giving you a breakdown of some of some of the behind the scenes science that occurs when you eat one of our delicious bars.
Why Eating it Raw Won’t Work
Raw flowers don’t produce the benefits from smoking herb. The cannabinoids in the plant are in an inactive form until you heat them up. THC, for example, is present in raw plant material as its non psychoactive precursor tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). After cannabis is harvested, THCA will start to slowly convert to the active THC. However, this process can be catalyzed by adding heat. That process is called decarboxylation. Smoking and vaporizing achieve this much faster by heating the herb with a fire or vaporizer before it is inhaled. The same is true for edibles. The cannabis or cannabis extracts like we use in Cocoa Meds also heated to facilitate decarboxylation.
However, since THC and the other cannabinoids are fat soluble, eating a cooked bud won’t have the therapeutic benefits as in an edible. The active cannabinoids will need either a fat molecule or alcohol molecule to bind with so they can hitch a ride to the liver. Edible cannabis takes longer to set in. It has more potent effects and lasts longer than inhaled marijuana because of the role your liver plays in the process.
Processed in the Liver
Once consuming an edible, the THC and other cannabinoids will be shuttled to the liver along with the fat or alcohol molecules that they have bound to. Once there, the liver starts to metabolize the THC into 11-Hydroxy-THC before being released into the bloodstream. Therefore, the time it takes for the cannabinoids to be broken down and released into the bloodstream is from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Then it begins having a noticeable effect and that’s why edibles last longer. The liver can only convert so much THC at once. So there is a delayed release effect with edibles as your liver works to metabolize all of the cannabinoids that you consumed. In some cases this can take up to six hours. Talk about lasting relief!
As a friendly reminder, your metabolism is unique so you can’t always gauge how quickly or how strongly an edible will affect. That’s why it’s important to start slowly to see how your body handles a particular edible. For the most reliable results, always choose a lab tested product so you know the concentration of cannabinoids. Hence, you can easily gauge the proper dose for your symptoms.
After the THC becomes 11-OH-THC and is released into the bloodstream it will have to cross the blood-brain barrier to have its psychoactive effects. The Blood-brain barrier protect your normal blood supply out of your brain from viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. This barrier selectively allows in some water, gasses and; fortunately for us, fat soluble molecules like 11-OH-THC through a process call passive diffusion. 11-OH-THC is more efficient at crossing the blood brain barrier than THC because of the extra step that the cannabinoids took. This is one of the reasons that edibles feel so much more potent than inhaled cannabis.
Now that we’ve covered the journey of THCA in plant material all the way. It explains why eating raw cannabis doesn’t work and why edibles take longer to affect you. Armed with this knowledge, we hope you feel confident choosing edibles to relieve your symptoms and help you flourish! Here at Cocoa Meds we test every batch for potency so you’ll always know how much medicine you’re getting!