Written By: Sam Milam
If you’re new to the edibles front, you might be wondering how long edibles last. Consuming edibles is a very different experience from other CBD and THC delivery methods. The product has to be processed through the liver, just like food, instead of a quick sublingual absorption or even faster inhalation. Because of this process, edibles can last quite a bit longer than expected. The long-lasting experience can be a good thing, but it can also be a not-so-good thing if dosing is off, particularly with THC. Let’s take a look at how edibles work in the body and the benefits of this consumption method.
What Are Edibles
Edibles are just like they sound, something that is edible, intended for consumption just like food, but has been infused with cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Edibles come in many forms. You can find CBD cookies, chocolate bars, hard candies, gummies, and brownies. If you are into making your own edibles, I’ve even seen infused mini tacos, empanadas, and guacamole (taco party, anyone?). But beware of the imprecise magic of infusing your own foods as it can be easy to consume too much, and you’ll be in for a wild ride depending on what and how much you consumed.
(see our CBD infused recipes)
How Do Edibles Work
Fats are an important ingredient when it comes to edibles, as they bind well with the cannabinoids and help them move throughout the many cell membranes and barriers that exist in the stomach and intestines. This is why popular edibles come in the form of chocolate (fats), butter (fats), oils (fats). The binding that happens between the fats and the CBD or THC also contributes to the potency of edibles. Still, the major contributor to the potent feelings of ingesting edibles is the liver. When the liver processes a cannabinoid like THC, it breaks it down into 11-hydroxy-THC. This form of THC is believed to be more bioavailable than just THC, and therefore is activated more quickly and moves through the blood-brain barrier with more ease.
Because edibles, and the cannabinoids, specifically, are moving through the entire digestive system before activating, this process is one of the slowest to be “felt.” How quickly an edible activates depends on various factors ranging from how much you’ve eaten that day, how much you’ve eaten before consuming, your weight, how you’re feeling emotionally, and on and on. Sometimes the body doesn’t experience much of an effect, often called the “first-pass effect.” The first pass effect happens when your liver does such a great job of breaking down these foreign compounds. The liver’s initial metabolism has rendered the effects of the compound unnoticeable.
How Do You Feel When You Consume Edibles
How you feel when you consume edibles depends on what you are consuming. THC edibles will have a markedly different response in the body than CBD edibles. 1:1 or 2:1 options are an excellent choice for those looking to experience the dual benefits of using CBD and THC simultaneously. The dose of what you are consuming is also a significant factor. A high amount of THC or CBD will be much more noticeable and can feel overwhelming when consumed in edibles because of the long-lasting effects.
If you consume too much, you won’t know it until you’re riding those waves of feeling too high, potentially paranoid, and wishing and waiting for it to end. Edibles can last in the system for several hours, so it’s best to slowly build up to understand your limits. Sometimes edibles can take 30 to 60 minutes to kick in, while some experts recommend waiting a full 2 hours before deciding if you are ready to consume more or stop. Some people metabolize faster than others, so this process of consuming edibles is more of a journey of finding what works for your specific body on any given day.
The Benefits Of Consuming Edibles
Although the consumption of edibles can feel a little scary, especially if you’ve had a rough experience of consuming too much, they are a fantastic option for those who have fine-tuned how much they need to manage specific symptoms. For example, when I’m experiencing high anxiety in the mornings due to external factors, I can eat a 5 mg piece of CBD chocolate. This is a small amount for some, and just right for others, but it’s enough to slightly soften the edges of my day so that my anxiety feels manageable. And instead of having to continue smoking to maintain that high, the edible high lasts much longer and is great for micro-dosing. Micro-dosing is a useful technique for those who don’t want a whole-body high, but just enough to experience the benefits on a cellular level.
Just like most forms of consumption, eating edibles has more to do with your preferences and what your goal is when consuming CBD or THC combinations. Inhaling is more bioavailable than ingesting cannabinoids, but digesting lasts much longer in the system than smoking. Whenever you’re choosing edibles, unless you like the risk of unknown dosing with homemade edibles, look for reputable sources who are transparent about what’s in their products, how they’re made, how they’re tested, and what they’re doing to ensure proper dosage documentation. Once you’re on that high (hopefully not too high), enjoy the ride knowing that your body is working to find balance and feeling good.
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