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How Eating Cannabis Affects Your Body Differently

As a growing number of states are becoming more open to marijuana consumption, more users are given the option to use cannabis to address the symptoms of their diseases. Smoking is one of the more popular ways of using the herb, especially for first-timers, but this method carries a negative stigma. The act has been tied with negative health impacts for so long that it turns away people who want to live a healthier lifestyle.

But smoking is only one of the many ways of using the herb; the tips and buds of marijuana, after all, are not the only useful parts of the plant. The entire plant itself can be used to produce concentrates like oils and butters which, in turn, are used as ingredients in various cannabis-infused products. In fact, many cannabis consumers use edibles and marijuana-infused recipes to manage their health issues. Ingesting cannabis, apparently, allows the user to maximize the benefits of the herb without experiencing drawbacks to one’s health.

But how exactly do edibles affect the body?

An Entirely Different Process

Ingested marijuana is processed by the body differently compared to marijuana that is smoked or applied topically. Smoking is one of the most common ways of using marijuana, and it is typically done using joints or blunts or with the help of implements like bongs or pipes. The smoke produced by burned marijuana is inhaled and taken into the lungs. Then, the cannabinoids from the plant travel through the blood stream and are absorbed by the brain. This entire reaction happens in only a few minutes, so the effects of smoking marijuana can be felt almost immediately.

Topically applied marijuana products, which usually come in the form of creams, oils, and patches, are absorbed directly through the skin. The cannabinoids in these products bind to the endocannabinoid receptors near the skin, bringing about localized benefits like focused and faster pain relief. Human skin has a low absorption rate, so marijuana products often need to be applied liberally to the area before effects can be felt.

Edibles, on the other hand, go through a rather circuitous route before one can feel their effects. First, the edible has to reach the stomach and get metabolized by the liver, a process that takes considerably more time compared to simply smoking marijuana. Once it reaches the liver, the THC component is broken down into a smaller compound called 11-hydroxy-THC, which is more bioavailable or more easily absorbed by the human body. This process results to a different kind of reaction compared to what a user can expect from smoked or topical marijuana products.

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Ingested Marijuana and Its Effects on the Body

This explains a lot of things as to why edibles and marijuana-infused recipes affect people differently. People who eat marijuana instead of smoke it can look forward to the following results:

  1. A healthier way of consuming cannabis
    Smoking not only has a bad reputation, it also has negative impacts on one’s health. Smoking marijuana is not as bad as smoking tobacco, but the irritants and pollutants produced by burning things and inhaling the resulting smoke can still have detrimental effects on one’s health. Smoke and debris, after all, can trigger asthma and other allergic reactions, and they can worsen existing respiratory ailments. Not only that, burning marijuana ensures that the user’s hair, clothes, and room will carry the scent for hours.
    This simply is not the case with ingested cannabis. Cannabis oil is simply mixed into dishes, drinks, or desserts, and eaten. You can consume it without producing smoke or retaining the strong smell of the herb in your home or kitchen.
  2. Longer waiting time
    People who are used to experiencing near-instantaneous highs when smoking cannabis have to exercise a bit of patience when it comes to feeling the effects of ingested cannabis products. Smoked cannabis is absorbed through the lungs, so its effects can be felt 10 to 30 minutes after lighting up. Ingested cannabis has to be processed by the digestive system, so it takes a considerably longer time in comparison. It takes 30 minutes to 2 hours before the effects of an edible can be felt. Some people get impatient and end up eating a lot of edibles, but this won’t necessarily help since the waiting time is more dependent on the person’s metabolic rate.
  3. A longer-lasting high
    While it takes longer for edibles to take effect, the effects also take a much longer time to subside -- a couple of hours, at least! This is great news for people who use cannabis to deal with chronic pain since they’ll feel relief for a longer time. The reduced level of pain gives them more freedom to rest, socialize, or take part in activities they otherwise could not join because of their condition. In addition to longer-lasting effects, edibles also bring about a stronger high. This is something that recreational marijuana users can look forward to.
  4. Dosing difference
    Dosing plays an important role when it comes to preparing edibles. Eating an excessive amount of edibles can result to a potent high, which can sometimes be too strong to be enjoyed. Such a situation can result to anxiety and paranoia that can last for a few hours. This is why it’s important to note the level of THC present in store-bought edibles. If you’re using cannabis oil to cook recipes at home, you’ll have more opportunities to control the cannabinoid dose in your edibles. If you’re just interested in eating and not in cooking, make sure to start eating small portions first. Then, wait for the effects to take hold and eat in small increments to achieve the experience you want to have.

Food products like edibles, oil, and butter make cannabis more accessible to those who want to try using the herb to manage the symptoms of their illnesses. See for yourself if ingested marijuana fits your lifestyle better and if this method addresses your health conditions in a more efficient manner. 

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