One fact that everyone including novices should be familiar with – Marijuana contains delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC. It is the cannabinoid that interacts with the brain’s neurotransmitters and gets you high. Interestingly enough, it is processed differently by the body as an edible compared to when you smoke it. Read on to find out how.
When ingested as an edible, THC travels from the stomach to the liver. In the liver, it is metabolized or transformed into 11-hydroxy- tetrahydrocannabinol. It’s this chemical that is the key to understanding how consuming THC as an edible differs from smoking it. You’ll experience an increased psychedelic effect with 11-hydroxy-THC compared to the delta9-THC that you ingest when smoking. In effect, that difference explains the stark contrast between how you feel after ingesting it as an edible versus smoking it. You might want to try it and see the difference for yourself and enjoy both the experiences.
Furthermore, if you’ve only smoked marijuana there’s a huge difference between these two highs. Another factor that separates ingesting edibles from smoking is the timing involved. While the effects of smoking are felt quickly, they begin to dissipate soon afterwards. Conversely, with edibles, the 11-hydroxy-THC has to pass through the digestive system and then the circulatory system until it reaches the brain. Although you may have to wait 1 to 2 hours to feel the effects, the high can last up to 10 hours.
When smoking marijuana, the delta9-THC passes through the lungs, then into the bloodstream, and on to the brain. Although the lungs filter it to some extent, 50% to 60% of it will cross the blood-brain barrier and make you high. The entire process can be felt almost immediately. With the average joint, the highest you’ll get happens from 5 to 15 minutes after you’ve inhaled. However, the effect will start to taper off over the next hour or two. So, here are the key takeaways:
- delta9-THC is introduced into the body by smoking marijuana
- the effects are felt almost immediately, usually within the first few minutes
- the high peaks around 15 minutes after inhaling and can be gone within an hour
The benefits of consuming edibles versus smoking differ as well. For instance, edibles are discreet (no one has to know), healthier than inhaling smoke, and the effects are longer lasting. On the other hand, getting high by smoking marijuana is faster, fun, and often more social.
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