Marijuana edibles only make up around 10% of the total sales of cannabis products; marijuana flower and concentrates make up about 60% and 22% respectively. Edibles are surprisingly underutilized when you take into consideration the potency of the effects and unique qualities you can get from them.
The marijuana edible product category is made up of chocolates, cookies, brownies, potato chips, fruit chews, mints, lozenges, gel capsules, beverages, liquid shots, tinctures, and more.
These edibles can be made with a variety of cannabis extracts such as RSO, EHO, BHO, Isolate, etc.
Each of these different products can give you unique effects. We will outline some of the important variables associated with these unique effects throughout this article.
Time for onset of effects: 20-45 minutes
Type of effects: Similar to smoking flower. Not too uplifting or sedative.
Time for onset of effects: 60-90 minutes.
Type of effects: Somewhat similar to Indica strains. Body oriented high with sedative and relaxing qualities.
One of the most interesting facts about marijuana edibles is that many of them can give you distinctly different highs based on how you consume them. For instance, if you have a hard fruit candy and you let it dissolve in your mouth, the effects will most likely hit you within 20-45 minutes. If you had that exact same hard fruit candy, but you swallowed it whole this time, you probably won’t feel it until about 60-90 minutes later; in addition to the increased time it takes to feel the effects, they will most likely feel more sedative, relaxing, and body-oriented.
The reason why swallowing the edible takes longer for the effects to take place is because your stomach has to break down the material, which is a slower process. When you let that candy dissolve in your mouth, the cannabinoids are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. The reason why these highs feel different is because when you swallow edibles and your stomach has to break them down, they get processed through your liver instead of going straight into your bloodstream. When your liver processes Delta 9 THC, it converts it to 11-Hydroxy THC which gives the user a more powerful and sedative effect.
If you swallow edibles, there are some factors you need to keep in mind. Bioavailability (how much of the edible product your body is able to process) is an important consideration; if your GI tract is compromised, you may only be able to absorb a fraction of the total contents of the edible. If the edible products are hard to digest, it will also delay the onset of the effects.
Here are some of the most important variables that affect how long it takes to feel the edibles kick in, and how strong those effects will be:
- Your weight
- What you ate for at least two meals before taking THC
- The amount of THC you took
- Your metabolism
- Your tolerance to THC or CBD
Downsides of Swallowing Edibles
There are a few potential downsides to swallowing edibles versus dissolving them in your mouth. Because of the delayed onset, users will sometimes think that they didn’t eat enough to feel anything, so they end up eating more; this can lead to consuming too much, and getting REALLY high…
Here’s a short video of a 911 call from an off-duty Police Officer who ate edibles and thought he was dying.
Another downside to swallowing edibles is that some people have issues with their GI tract not absorbing nutrients efficiently. People with malabsorption syndrome or similar inflictions might only be able to absorb half or less of the actual cannabinoid content of the edibles they swallowed. For people with these types of medical issues, we would typically recommend using sublinguals instead of swallowing edibles.
One last downside of swallowing edibles that we’ll cover in this article is that some users may get inconsistent effects of cannabinoids due to their liver not working efficiently. If your liver is compromised due to heavy alcohol use, disease, etc., THC may not be processed in a timely manner. When cannabinoids get backed up in your liver as they’re waiting to be processed, it can delay the onset of the effects significantly. If you use edibles to help you sleep, but you have liver issues, you may wake up the next morning still feeling very high, or it may hit you once you get up and start moving around for the day; that wouldn’t be a good thing for people who have to go to work or drive around.
Even though those downsides of edibles are real, they shouldn’t affect most people who use them, and if they do, it may not even be significant enough to notice.
Placebo Effect: Indica/Sativa Edibles
There are a lot of edible products on the market that have Indica or Sativa designations, but we’re skeptical about these products having uplifting or relaxing effects based strictly on the terpenes that were present in the raw source material that these edibles were made from.
Many of the most predominant terpenes such as Beta-Caryophyllene and Pinene begin to evaporate well before reaching 350° F, which many edible products need to reach in order to bake off properly. With this being the case, it’s not likely that there will be much of a terpene presence in most edibles, therefore, those terpenes won’t be able to provide any sort of uplifting or energetic effects.
Some edible products do contain added ingredients such as green tea extract and caffeine, in those cases, yes, those edibles may give you an energetic and uplifting effect; without those additives though, edible products will most likely give you some couchlock.
Why Can’t You Just Eat Raw Marijuana Flower?
Well, you can, it just won’t get you very high. When marijuana flower is still fresh, it contains high levels of THCA, which is the precursor to THC. THCA is non-psychoactive, meaning it cannot get you high. THC is only formed through a process called “decarboxylation”, which means that THCA loses a carbolic acid; once that carbolic acid is removed from the molecule, it becomes THC, which will get you high.
With all that being said, you can still eat raw marijuana flower, and get some great benefits from it. This is actually something we recommend to some of our medical marijuana users if they want to receive some of the medical properties without the high. THC and THCA have a lot of similar medical properties that are distinctly different from CBD and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids; so, to be able to pair CBD with THCA would be a great way to stimulate the entourage effect to maximize the medical properties you get, without the high.
If you do want to get high from eating raw marijuana flower, there is a way to do that. All you need to do is wait for the flower to get old. Heat and age are the only two ways to convert THCA to THC. With heat, you will convert a very high percentage of the THCA to THC; with age on the other hand, the decarboxylation process will be much less effective.
If you are someone who wants the medical properties of THCA, we recommend you grind up some raw flower and sprinkle it on some of your food, or if you have some fresh and moist bud, you could try juicing it, although the yield will probably be pretty low.
Destination HWY 420 also sells a variety of products that contain THCA; if you’re interested in learning more about it, either swing by our store or check out our products on our online menu.