Since the legalization of cannabis, a wider selection of edible products has become available. With this increase in popularity, many people are trying edible cannabis for the first time. While it’s great to have more products to choose from, some users claim that edibles don’t make them high. Here we discuss several reasons why edibles might have reduced psychoactive effects or no effects at all.
What are edibles?
Edibles are food or drink products infused with cannabis. Many people are familiar with the more traditional edibles like homemade brownies. However, since the legalization of cannabis, retailers have introduced several newer products. These include:
- hard candy
- soft drinks
THC edibles versus CBD edibles
As you may already know, THC is the psychoactive compound of cannabis, and CBD is not. Therefore, if you want to get high from edibles, you need to use THC products. Edibles with pure CBD and no THC won’t make you high.
But did you know that a little bit of CBD can enhance the effects of THC? So if you are looking at ways to improve your high from edibles, you could combine a small amount of CBD with THC. However, this is just one factor worth considering; we’ll also discuss other methods of ensuring or improving your high in further detail later in the article.
Edibles take longer to work
How cannabis is consumed influences how long it takes to work. Hence, the length of time that goes by before you feel the effects can impact the high you experience. For instance, when you smoke cannabis, the effects occur after about 10 minutes. Edibles, however, take considerably longer to work, and you may not notice any effect until after 30–60 minutes.
Edibles take longer to work because they need to be digested first. During the digestive stage, the edibles are broken down to release the THC. Once the THC is released, it enters the bloodstream. However, before it can produce an effect on the body, it must pass through the liver.
In comparison, smoked cannabis goes straight from the lungs and into the bloodstream. It doesn’t pass through the liver. Therefore, smoked cannabis has a faster onset. With this quicker onset, the high you experience has a greater intensity.
The high from edibles, however, takes longer to develop and the effects are spread out over 6 hours. So while you may notice some effects within the first 60 minutes, the peak concentration of THC in your blood occurs after 3 hours. Because of this, it takes more time for the high to develop. Rather than having an instant intense high, the high with edibles is less intense and more sustained.
The dose might be too low
Due to safety reasons, most edible products contain lower doses of THC. This is actually good if you’re just beginning; starting with low doses is advisable because edible cannabis can have unpredictable effects.
For example, some people are unaware that it can take up to 60 minutes for edible cannabis to start working. Because of this, they might assume that it’s not working at all and take additional doses within the first hour.
While waiting for the effects to kick in can be frustrating, taking additional doses within the first hour isn’t recommended because it takes longer for your body to clear edible cannabis. Therefore, if the effects aren’t pleasant and the dose is too high, it could take over 6 hours to feel right again.
But if you started with a low dose and didn’t feel high after your first time, you might have room to increase your amount. However, increasing your dose requires patience due to the late onset of action. It also involves some trial and error.
If you want to increase your dose, it’s best to add more THC gradually. Keeping track of much you consume is also essential.
Thus, the dose you’ve tried might not be enough and with more, you could experience a greater high from edibles. Increasing the dose can also help if you have developed a tolerance.
You may have developed a tolerance
Over time, some people develop a tolerance and need to increase their dose slightly to experience the same high they once did. Tolerances occur when you’re no longer sensitive to a particular substance, such as THC because you have used it too often.
Studies have shown that with chronic cannabis use, the number of cannabinoid receptors reduces. The cannabinoid receptors are part of a cell signaling system inside the human body known as the endocannabinoid system.
When the number of these receptors decreases, so does cell signaling. As a result, a tolerance develops because, with fewer receptors, your body becomes less sensitive to THC.
People who have a high tolerance notice that they require more cannabis to feel high. This tolerance can develop regardless of how you use cannabis. Therefore you may notice that with a high tolerance you’re less sensitive to edible cannabis than smoked cannabis.
While some people adapt to their tolerance with higher doses, this isn’t always recommended because they risk severe intoxication. Instead, taking what’s referred to as a T break is preferable, and these breaks do have better results.
Taking a break from cannabis gives your body some time to restore the cannabinoid receptors. These receptors can only be restored in the absence of cannabis. No exact guideline to how long this break should exist but many users has reported good results after 2 weeks.
Edibles don’t work for everyone
Unfortunately, in some rare circumstances, edibles just don’t work. One of the main reasons, not edibles are working is due to genetic variations in liver enzymes.
Everyone’s liver has enzymes that help the body metabolize compounds such as THC. The enzymes that work on THC are known as the cytochrome P450s (CYP450s).
Certain genetic variations in these enzymes alter their function and as a result, they may convert THC to an inactive compound. Since edible THC must pass through the liver before it can affect the rest of the body, this conversion is unavoidable.
The good news is that if you don’t feel high from edibles, you still have a good chance that smoking or vaping cannabis will work for you instead. But if you don’t want to inhale cannabis, the sublingual route could be another option worth trying.
Sublingual edibles vs. non-sublingual edibles
Sublingual edibles dissolve in your mouth. These include hard candies, lollipops, or lozenges.
These edibles dissolve in your mouth so you don’t need to swallow them. Because of this, the THC is absorbed into your body via the blood vessels under your tongue, allowing it to enter your body more quickly.
Scientists explain that the sublingual route is more effective than the nonsublingual route because it enables the drug to work more quickly. Additionally, sublingual administration is more reliable for people with gastrointestinal tract disorders.
Therefore, if you wonder why edibles aren’t getting you high, you could try different varieties. Switching to one that dissolves in your mouth could make a huge difference.
Digestive tract disorders
If you have a digestive disorder, you might have difficulty digesting your edibles. Because of this, you may not get high from them.
Disorders that may affect how you digest and absorb edibles into your body include:
- irritable bowel syndrome
- inflammatory bowel disease
- malabsorptive syndromes
- gastrointestinal trauma
Some digestive disorders hasten the transit of food through the stomach and intestines. As a result, your edibles might not have had enough time to cross your digestive tract. Or, your disease might cause scarring in the gut, and this can also limit absorption.
Previous surgery on the gastrointestinal tract might also determine how compounds like THC are absorbed into the body.
With treatment for your disorder, you may respond better to edibles. However, if not, you could opt for sublingual edibles that dissolve in your mouth instead. As mentioned above, these edibles don’t need to pass through your stomach or intestines, meaning they avoid any gastrointestinal disorder you might have.
Lastly, edibles may not make you high because of your diet. What you eat also influences how edibles are absorbed into your body via your digestive tract.
Some debate has surrounded whether you should take edibles on an empty stomach or a full stomach. Unfortunately, no clear guidelines on this have been determined, and if you’re experimenting with edibles on an empty stomach, it’s best to proceed with caution.
Some users claim that their edibles hit faster when taken on an empty stomach because
no food is present to block absorption. While this may be true, keep in mind that THC can make some people feel nauseated if taken on an empty stomach.
Therefore, if you’re prone to upset stomachs, you could cut back on the amount of food you have with your edibles rather than eating no food at all.
Another aspect of diet is what you eat alongside your edibles. For example, eating a fatty meal may help facilitate absorption because THC is taken up easily in fats. Hence, eating a fatty meal might help and may not necessarily block your edibles.
The bottom line
There are several reasons why edibles might not get you high. These include your diet, the dose, how you take your edibles, your tolerance, or your genetic variances. If you want to increase your dose, remember to do it gradually and be patient until you find the dose that works for you. Edibles that dissolve in your mouth may also be more effective because they work faster than edibles that are swallowed as they bypass the digestive system.
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