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The phrase “eating weed” conjures up the image of a goat chowing down of some fresh marijuana buds. But that is not all it means, you can either chew some fresh green nugs (highly unlikely) or infuse your meals and baked goodies with some THC loaded herb or oil.
Should you choose to try out some raw weed, this is what you should know;
First, it is never going to get you high and over the moon! The psychoactive component in weed that gives the typical marijuana high (euphoria) is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Weed in its raw form contains THCA, the acidic form of the cannabinoid. This acidic form needs to be heated up in order to breakdown into THC, through a process known as decarboxylation. So when you take raw weed, what you will be getting is THCA and not THC.
More than that, raw weed tastes awful!
On the flip side, THCA, as well as CBDA the acidic precursor of CBD, have been shown to have therapeutic properties in their own rights. So as much as you will be missing out on the high, you will still be getting some nutrients in.
Considering how repulsive the taste of raw weed is, you could try out some tastier alternatives that give a more potent buzz.
What happens when you eat weed edibles?
The most common way to have weed is by inhaling it in different ways. Alternatively, you could consume weed-infused edibles such as the popular weed cookies.
When you ingest foods containing weed, delta-9-THC is transported through the walls of your stomach, into the intestines and finds itself in the liver. In the liver, most of the Delta-9-THC is metabolized and converted into 11-OH-THC even before it has had a chance to bind onto cannabinoid receptors. This effect is known as the first pass effect. After this the remaining THC is moved into the circulation and find into the heart, brain, and other organs. Both THC and 11-OH-THC are transported to the brain simultaneously.
Because of the prolonged pathway taken when weed is ingested, it takes a longer time to get the “high”, usually about three hours. In comparison, when you inhale weed you will begin to feel the cerebral effects almost instantly. On the other hand, the effects of ingested weed will last longer.
Some stoners report a stronger hit with edible THC than with inhaled THC. Not many studies have been centered on this, so it is hard to prove or disapprove. But there is some explanation that definitely makes sense.
The first pass effect means that there is less THC in circulation after having a pot cookie. However, some studies have shown that 11-OH-THC binds more readily to the CB1 receptor as compared to delta-9-THC. This gives it greater psychedelic properties and more potency than THC. 11-OH-THC also has greater permeability to the brain. It appears that the effects of the first pass effect are evened out by the increased permeability and greater ability to bind to the CB1 receptor.
Lastly, eating that pot cookie on an empty stomach will definitely speed up the hit, there will be nothing else competing for the digestive juices. But only do this when you are ready to handle the exaggerated side effects, much like taking alcohol on an empty stomach. This is definitely not recommended for newbies.
Speaking of which, a New York Times columnist by the name of Maureen Down recently gained publicity when a billboard was put up “in her honor.” On a trip to Colorado in 2014, Down decided to indulge in some pot-infused candy bars, and she apparently had one-too-many. What followed next was nothing short of a horrendous experience. She actually believed that she was dead. Fortunately, she did get out of it, eight hours later! She let her experience go public and “well-wishers” put up a billboard to educate the general public on what not to do when it comes to weed edibles. The billboard reads “With edibles, start low and go slow.”
- NCBI (2016): Decarboxylation. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549281/
- Reuters (2014): Pro-pot activists launch first U.S. ‘Consume Responsibly’ campaign