Anyone who’s ever tried a special brownie or cookie knows that the effects aren’t quite the same as smoking marijuana. The difference between edibles and smoking has created a lot of controversy in states with legalized marijuana. This is because it’s much harder to regulate the amount of marijuana found in edibles.
Today we’re going to tackle the science behind edibles. What makes them so much more potent compared to smoking? Is one healthier or safer than the other? Before you eat the second half of that brownie, let’s break down why you feel such a different high when you eat a pot brownie.
The Science Behind Edible Marijuana
According to ASAP Science, when you heat marijuana for smoking, you’re changing the chemical compounds within it. This is when THCA is changed to DELTA-9THC which binds to the receptors in your brain to create that instant high feeling. The smoke travels from your lungs to your bloodstream and directly into your brain. This process works much faster than consuming an edible.
When you smoke marijuana, the drug can take effect within just a few minutes. This effect lasts up to 3 hours depending on the amount smoked. As you can expect, the process and effects of consuming marijuana are much different.
Cooking with marijuana heats the substance at much lower temperature. Less of the actual plant is burned. Because THC isn’t water-soluble, it needs to be dissolved into a fat like butter or oil. When it’s time to actually consume the marijuana, it is absorbed through your gut in a much slower process. Unlike smoking marijuana, it could take over an hour to feel a high from edibles, though the effects will last anywhere between 4-8 hours.
Why Does Edible Marijuana Feel Stronger?
Many people who consume marijuana through an edible report it feels stronger than just smoking weed. There’s actual science behind this too. As we said before, when you smoke cannabis, it goes through the lungs to the bloodstream and then to your brain. When you consume marijuana, it starts by being processed by your liver before it reaches your brain.
When DELTA-THC goes through your liver, it turns into 11-OH-THC. This is more rapidly absorbed into the brain, and it’s a much more potent chemical than it’s smoking counterpart. So it’s true, the same amount of weed will get you higher on edibles than with smoking because it produces two different chemicals in your body.
Are Edibles Healthier Than Smoking?
Another benefit besides the longer, more powerful high is the lack of harmful chemicals of smoking. When you smoke cannabis, you’re exposed to carcinogens like carbon monoxide and other irritants that can lead to harmful side effects. It’s generally healthier for your lungs and the rest of your body because you aren’t inhaling anything.
However, one drawback of edibles is that it’s harder to control. Like we mentioned before with the state controversies, because it takes so long to feel effects and control the dosage, it’s much harder to anticipate just how high you’ll feel when consuming edibles.
The good news is there are no long-term health effects of consuming too much marijuana, so you’ll likely be just fine as soon as the effects wear off in a few hours. Just be careful you don’t eat too much too fast if you haven’t waited the full hour to two hours to see if any effects have taken place.
While both edibles and smoking marijuana are safe, many people prefer the effects of consuming marijuana over smoking it. Who doesn’t want an excuse to eat more treats? Plus, it’s a healthier alternative to the potential chemicals that come with smoking. It’s time to get cooking!