Why don’t edibles get me high?
Have you ever asked yourself this question before?
Dosing, and cannabis consumption in general, can be sensitive and tricky.
As much as we like to think that getting high is a magical process, it comes down to cold, hard science most of the time.
Not only that, but weed tends to be very finicky, impacting every individual user and their unique endocannabinoid system differently.
So what makes your friend sky-high might not even have an impact on you. Frustrating, right? Well, unfortunately, them’s the facts!
For cannabis edibles, the THC and other chemical compounds present in these products must go through a complex process to be absorbed into the body.
Compared to more simple and straightforward consumption methods, such as smoking or vaping, it involves a few more steps.
Additionally, it also depends on the distinct physical attributes of the individual user.
So, while all bodies process edibles the same way biologically, the duration, intensity, and longevity of the high itself are not universal!
We’re going to clarify why all of this takes place to determine why marijuana edibles produce varying effects, or sometimes none at all, depending on the user in question.
How the Body Processes Edibles
As we stated above, how your body absorbs the THC from marijuana edibles and how this ingestion method interacts with and impacts the endocannabinoid system differs significantly from how it would with more traditional consumption methods, such as smoking.
In edible form, the cannabinoid is converted into an entirely different compound, which has far more profound effects on the various functions that the endocannabinoid system facilitates.
Check out our endocannabinoid system guide for a comprehensive walk through of what your ECS is.
We’re warning you now. We’re about to talk about internal biology and chemistry.
However, before you become too intimidated and click away, we will make it as straightforward as humanly possible. So, prepare to put on your thinking caps!
When you smoke weed, you inhale it through your lungs.
So, when the smoke enters your lungs, it passes through millions of tiny little air sacs called alveoli before being deposited into the bloodstream and dispersed to the rest of the body, including the brain.
This entire process happens relatively quickly, which is why the onset of effects when you’re smoking or vaping weed come on sooner rather than later.
However, when you ingest an edible, the process is entirely different.
Rather than inhaling the THC through your lungs, the body must break it down by moving them through several different sectors.
First, the cannabinoids and other compounds must pass through the stomach and digestive tract, where they undergo a process known as the first-pass metabolism.
The compounds are then broken down into a byproduct of metabolized THC known as 11-Hydroxy-THC by the liver before they are administered into the bloodstream and produce psychoactive effects.
How Does 11-Hydroxy-THC Differ From Regular THC?
Have you ever wondered why some people state that the effects of edibles hit so much harder than smoking or vaping?
11-Hydroxy-THC is the culprit.
11-Hydroxy-THC, or 11-OH-THC for short, is the primary element that creates the difference between edible and other consumption methods’ highs.
The difference between 11-OH-THC and THC is that the former can be up to 10 times more potent.
Once it’s been converted by the liver and subsequently enters the bloodstream, this newly created compound makes its way to the brain, where it has an enhanced ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.
For those who may not know, the blood-brain barrier serves as the metaphorical bouncer that checks whether or not particular properties or compounds are “on the list” to be permitted entry to the brain.
Since it is so much stronger than standard THC, edibles whose compounds have been converted into 11-Hydroxy-THC are more likely to produce side effects with an astounding amount of strength.
The onset time regarding how long it takes for one to feel the effects will be longer than if you were to smoke or vape since the edible and all of the cannabinoids and compounds within it need to be digested.
Are you wondering how long for edibles to kick in? This extended duration is why it may take anywhere from 30 minutes to upwards of 2 hours for you to start feeling the effects.
However, not everyone will feel the effects of edible marijuana.
Here’s 5 reasons why edibles don’t you high.
5 Reasons Edibles Don’t Get You High
Whichever way you ingest cannabis, no two people will experience exactly the same effects or get high to the precise same degree.
In the context of edible cannabis, specifically, there are several factors to impact how significantly the edibles work, including but not limited to:
The Particular Product
We live in a time where the variations of cannabis edibles are abundant.
Nowadays, variety is the spice of life, and we’re almost spoiled by the sheer number of different types of edibles currently available on the market.
The type of cannabis edible you ingest can significantly impact how likely you are to feel the effects.
For instance, say you were to try and make brownies, a space cake or some other variation of cannabis-infused edible at home.
There is a wide range of variables that could affect the overall potency of your batch.
Ingredients are everything, and using dry cannabis flower can have a substantially different outcome than, say, cannabis oil.
Additionally, the distribution of THC in home cooking is entirely unpredictable.
One person may receive a highly dosed brownie, cookie or what have you, while another could end up with an item that contains little to no THC at all.
If you want to take the creative process out of the mix entirely, you can opt for cannabis tinctures to provide an accurate and concentrated dose every time.
All you need to do is ingest the tincture through sublingual application under your tongue and wait.
Many users prefer tinctures because they are more fast-acting and present more noticeable effects. That said, they won’t work the same for everyone, and it doesn’t mean that they’ll supply the same effects as ingesting a full cannabis edible.
Your Unique Metabolism
As we’ve stated multiple times now, edibles operate on a completely different level than other types of cannabis.
Edibles need to be digested before they can supply their effects.
More specifically, the THC present in the edible must be metabolized by the liver before entering your bloodstream. This process is unique for everybody.
Not all metabolisms or metabolic rates are created equal, and the enzymes present in your liver play a crucial role in your body’s specific response to various cannabinoids.
Having a higher or lower concentration of these specific enzymes will either speed up or slow down your overall metabolic rate or may even mean that the THC isn’t metabolized at all.
Put simply, those with a higher metabolism are likely to experience the effects of edibles faster than those with a slower metabolism.
At the same time, those in the former category may also find that the effects wear off much sooner or that they don’t feel that high.
You Took Edibles on an Empty Stomach
Just because you don’t feel particularly ‘high’ when consuming them doesn’t mean that edibles aren’t producing some variation of effects.
Consuming THC on an empty stomach will cause the effects to hit faster than if you were to have eaten something beforehand.
If you want a less scary or intense outcome, it’s best to try and eat a decent meal and drink plenty of water beforehand.
These preliminary practices will help slow the absorption rate and help prevent your body and mind from becoming too overwhelmed or overstimulated by THC.
You Haven’t Waited Long Enough
Edibles may take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to take effect. Some users don’t have the patience to wait this long, which results in one of the biggest rookie mistakes when eating edibles for the first time.
This mistake occurs when users don’t allow the appropriate amount of time to pass and ingest more edibles because they haven’t felt anything yet.
Most of the time, however, this act results in quite literally biting off more than they can chew.
What happens next is something that every toker, regardless of their experience level, should do their best to avoid.
Paying attention to doses and ensuring you don’t consume more than the recommended amount is the best way to prevent unrighteous outcomes, such as a green out, from taking place.
If you thought that ingesting edibles on an empty stomach was bad, upping the dosage and consuming higher THC levels will likely overwhelm your system and result in adverse rather than desirable outcomes, including feelings of anxiety, paranoia, dizziness and nausea.
You Took Too Low of a Dose
Speaking of dosage levels, another potential reason why edibles might not be getting you high is that you aren’t consuming enough.
You don’t want to jump off the deep end and take more than necessary, but you also don’t want to err too far on the side of caution that you barely ingest any THC at all.
This is where individual tolerance levels come into play.
Just like any other form of cannabis, no two tolerance levels will be the same, and it might take more of any given product to produce the same effects for someone with a high tolerance compared to someone with a low tolerance.
That said, if you are ingesting edibles for the first time, it’s best to approach them with caution, start low and go slow, and wait the recommended amount of time to avoid unsavoury situations such as ingesting too much and suffering from a green out.
For beginners, 5-10 mg per serving is around the realm you’d want to stay in.
Cannabis Edibles Don’t Work for Everyone
There are so many different factors that go into your body’s absorption of edibles, including individual metabolism, age, tolerance level, and more. So, if edibles don’t get you high, or aren’t producing the effects you’re looking for, it’s likely a good indicator that they just aren’t for you, and that’s okay!
The same products won’t produce the same outcomes for everyone, and it takes experimenting with a wide range of items to find the best possible ones to suit your needs and supply the desired effects.
One of the things we all love about cannabis is that there are so many different ways to enjoy it in all its glory.
With this in mind, what’s your favourite way to enjoy some gorgeous green? Let us know!
As always, happy toking!