Most people have a few questions about edible cannabis like; how is it different from inhaling, why can’t I just eat a flower, when will I feel the effects and for how long? All of that information is invaluable to figuring out where edibles fit into your day to best treat your symptoms so that you can take on the world! We’ll answer those questions for you today by giving you a breakdown of some of some of the behind the scenes science that occurs when you eat one of our delicious bars.

Why Eating it Raw Won’t Work
One of the first things you need to know about edibles is that eating raw flowers will not produce the benefits you get from smoking herb because the cannabinoids produced by the plant are in an inactive form until they are converted by heat. THC, for example, is present in raw plant material as its non psychoactive precursor tetrahydrocannabinolic acid or THCA. After cannabis is harvested THCA will start to slowly convert to the active THC, but, this process can be catalyzed by adding heat. That process is called decarboxylation. Smoking and vaporizing achieve this much faster by heating the herb with a fire or vaporizer before it is inhaled. The same is true for edibles. However, since THC and the other cannabinoids are fat soluble and alcohol soluble but not water soluble, simply eating a cooked bud still won’t have the therapeutic benefits that you’re looking for in an edible. The active cannabinoids are unable to bind to water and will need either a fat molecule or alcohol molecule to bind with so they can hitch a ride to the liver which is where your body metabolizes orally ingested cannabinoids. Edible cannabis takes longer to set in, has more potent effects and lasts longer than inhaled marijuana because of the role your liver plays in the process.

Processed in the Liver
Once you’ve consumed a properly decarboxylated edible the THC and other cannabinoids will be shuttled to the liver along with the fat or alcohol molecules that they have bound to. Once there, the liver starts to metabolize the THC into 11-Hydroxy-THC (chemically structured 11-OH-THC) before being released into the bloodstream. The time it takes for the cannabinoids to be broken down and released into the bloodstream is why edibles take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to begin having a noticeable effect and also a reason why edibles last longer. The liver can only convert so much THC at once so there is a delayed release effect with edibles as your liver works to metabolize all of the cannabinoids that you consumed. In some cases this can take up to six hours. Talk about lasting relief!

As a friendly reminder, your metabolism is unique so you can’t always gauge how quickly or how strongly an edible will come on by asking a friend. That’s why it’s important to start slowly to see how your body handles a particular edible. For the most reliable results always choose a lab tested product so you know the concentration of cannabinoids that you’re consuming and can easily gauge the proper dose for your symptoms.

Blood-brain Barrier
After the THC has been converted to 11-OH-THC and been released into the bloodstream it will have to cross the blood-brain barrier in order to have its psychoactive effects. The Blood-brain barrier is a semi-permeable membrane that keeps your normal blood supply out of your brain to protect it from viruses, bacteria and other pathogens that may be in your blood. This barrier selectively allows in some water, gasses and; fortunately for us, fat soluble molecules like 11-OH-THC through a process call passive diffusion. The extra step that the cannabinoids took in the liver to be converted into 11-OH-THC comes in handy here, because 11-OH-THC is more efficient at crossing the blood brain barrier than THC. This is one of the reasons that edibles feel so much more potent than inhaled cannabis.

Now that we’ve covered the journey of THCA in plant material all the way to 11-OH-THC crossing the blood-brain barrier to deliver its therapeutic effects you know, why eating it raw cannabis doesn’t work, why edibles take longer to affect you, why orally ingested cannabis lasts longer and can exhibit different effects than inhaled. Armed with this knowledge, we hope you feel confident choosing edibles to relieve your symptoms and help you flourish.