Q & A with Dr. Mike: What’s the difference between smoking cannabis & eating edibles?

Q & A with Dr. Mike: What’s the difference between smoking cannabis & eating edibles?

Dr. Michael Heller, mjwooly.com

Q: What is the fastest way to get high?

A: Smoking/Vaping: 5 – 10 minutes, THC enters your bloodstream immediately!

Edibles: 30 – 120 minutes, peak levels reached after 4 hours.

Drinks: less than 30 minutes, quicker than edibles because they don’t have to be digested.

Q: Why do edibles take longer to kick in than smoking or vaping?

A: When you smoke or vape, cannabinoids go directly into your bloodstream. Edibles have to go through your stomach, intestines (GI tract) and liver before cannabinoids enter your bloodstream, similar to how food is digested.

Q: Does it matter if I ate a meal right before my edible?

A: Yes. If your stomach is full you have to wait for the food in there to move out of the way before the edible is digested. This results in the edible taking longer and not feeling as strong. Drinks on the other hand can drain through your full stomach, so the effects aren’t as delayed or diminished.

Q: What is the most efficient way to get high?

A: Smoking/Vaping, approximately 25 to 56% of inhaled THC enters the bloodstream. Only about 6% of ingested THC, whether ate or drank, enters the bloodstream.

Q: Why is smoking more efficient than edibles or drinks?

A: The cannabinoids in edibles and drinks are degraded by your stomach acid and metabolized in your liver before they enter your bloodstream. Inhaled cannabinoids don’t begin to breakdown until they have already been circulated through the body.
Q: Can you increase the efficiency of edibles?

A: Yes. If you can protect cannabinoids from your stomach acid you can increase the efficiency of an edible or drink. Nanoencapsulated (protected in a coating) cannabinoids do not degrade as easily in your stomach and increase efficiency 2 to 8 times. This technology is new to cannabis and hasn’t made it into many edibles yet.

Q: If edibles are less efficient than smoking why do they feel so strong?

A: Edibles and drinks are subjected to the first-pass metabolism of your liver. During metabolism in your liver THC is converted into 11-OH-THC. 11-OH-THC is approximately 10 times more psychoactive and more effective in crossing the blood brain barrier than THC. Meaning that edibles result in a higher concentration of a more psychedelic compound than smoking cannabis.

Q: Why do edibles last longer than smoking?

A: Edibles take longer to make it into your bloodstream and as a result the effects are spread out over a longer period of time. It is also believed that the product from liver metabolism, 11-OH-THC, gets deposited in the liver and is slowly released over time.

Dr. Mike Heller, MJWooly.com

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