Why do edibles kick in at different times?

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Bay City Dispensary, Cannabis Edibles

Edibles are cannabis-infused food products that come in various forms, from gummies to brownies. There are many factors that contribute to a person’s edible experience, and the effects can kick in at different times depending on how it’s made and the consumer’s body chemistry.

Did you know your body is like a cannabinoid chemistry lab when it comes to edibles? 

As most people know, THC is the principal ingredient in edibles. Specifically, THC delta-9. Amazingly, the human body will transform delta-9 into delta-11. Delta-9 is more of a stimulant, whereas delta-11 delivers a more sedative effect. Add some CBD into the mix, and you can enjoy an even more pleasant body-high and nuanced experience. Point being, different kinds of edibles can have different effects and we hope to help demystify some of that in this article. 

Here are three primary factors that will help you pick the edible that’s right for you:

Extraction & Infusion

How an edible is infused with the cannabinoid is very important. The infusion method consists of putting the major compounds, THC and CBD, and terpenes, into the edible. The mix of these compounds is what determines the type of high the consumer experiences. 

But first, we must extract the cannabinoids from the flower before we can infuse an edible with them. Extracts are typically dissolved in an oil –such as butter or coconut oil– and then used as an ingredient when preparing the edible. This is because cannabinoids bind to oils making them an easy way to infuse food with cannabinoids.. 

However, there is also nano-emulsification that impacts how your body absorbs the THC. “Nano-emulsification” is a newer technique for making edibles.This technique involves dissolving hash oil into a special food-additive that makes them water soluble. This means the THC particle can now absorb into your body and you don’t have to wait for your body to digest the edible.  

Absorption vs. Digestion

bay city dispensary, cannabis store, edibles

Edibles like gummies or brownies need to pass through your digestive track before their effects can be felt.

The high you experience from edibles can differ from the high you get from joints and other inhalants based on whether your body digests or absorbs the THC. For example, gum and lollipops deliver THC  through the mucus membranes of the mouth. This is called sublingual absorption and it has shorter onset times simply because the THC  starts to absorb as soon as the edible reaches the mouth. This is also how fast-acting gummies work. The special infusion technique called “nano-emulsification” helps the THC absorb into your body similar to sublingual absorption. These edibles allow you to get more of that delta-9 high you’re used to from smoking or vaping.

Other edibles, such as brownies and chocolates, need to pass through the digestive tract in order for absorption to occur.  For these edibles, often oil-based, your body needs to digest the delta-9 and turn it into delta-11 before it can leave your digestive track and reach your cannabinoid receptors through your body.

Bodily Factors

Even if a group of friends share the same type of edible, they all may experience different onset times. This is because everyone’s body chemistry is unique and interacts with the compounds differently. Bodily factors that can impact your high include: 

  • Diet
  • Metabolism
  • Gender
  • Weight
  • Natural cannabis tolerance
  • Current cannabis consumption habits


How to Prolong and Enhance the High

If you are looking to elongate your buzz, consider pairing your edible with fatty snacks. There is a reason why cannabutter is so popular as a medium for infusing and edible.  Cannabinoids are lipophilic, meaning that they dissolve in fat rather than water. Eating a fatty snack right after your edible will cause the THC to dissolve into your snack which will improve the efficiency of your digestion as it converts the THC into the delta-11 version. 

Therefore, if you are looking to increase your buzz from edibles, consider pairing it with foods that have a high fat content, such as:

  • Fried foods
  • Nut butters
  • Cheeses
  • Oily sauces

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