While most people associate taking cannabis with smoking or vaporizing, there are numerous benefits that come with eating it, that simply don’t get enough attention.

It’s well-known that smoking cannabis is the quickest way to get medicated, as it delivers via the lungs to the blood within minutes. However, when it comes to eating cannabis, the effects take up to two full hours to feel fully.

The first thing that has to be mentioned here is the word “decarboxylation,” which is a process whereby a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases carbon dioxide (CO2,) takes place, in essence activating the active compounds within the plant. The process is simple and involves baking the raw cannabis in an oven to active its compounds.

Some patients just aren’t smokers. It irritates their throat, makes them cough, is stinky and must be done in private. For those folks, edibles are the answer, and as long as they remain patient and dose properly, the effects from eating cannabis can be stronger than smoking it.

Anyone who has eaten cannabis will tell you it’s a different kind of feeling from smoking. Many report a more deeply-felt body sensation, often referred to as ‘couchlock,’ and less of a phychoactive effect in the brain.


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The science behind it simple. When  cannabis is smoked, a conversion of non-psychoactive THC converts into a psychoactive form of THC called delta-9 THC, which produces a unique set of effects. When cannabis is eaten, the digestive system converts the inactive form of THC to delta-11 THC, a compound that produces different effects than delta-9.

So what is the difference in terms of effects? The answer to that is that there are many, but it differs from patient to patient, and is subject to numeorus other factors including mood, strain type and strength, as well as numerous other factors.

Solid research is still lacking a little, although we do know that ingested cannabis is processed via the liver, whereas smoked cannabis is not, with some studies suggesting that certain compounds can be healthy for good liver function.

Those who have eaten cannabis will tell you, the effects usually last for a long time, up to 7 hours in some cases. For those who smoke cannabis, the effects won’t last for more than around two-three hours.

Finally, a word of caution! Due to the fact it’s harder to dose properly when consuming cannabis, it is recommended that one starts by eating just a small amount of the edible, on an empty stomach, and not gulp down that delicious brownie in one shot.

As medical cannabis becomes increasingly legal in states across America, as well as the rest of the world, more research into edibles and possible solutions for correct dosing need to be looked into, in this interesting field of medical science.

[Image credit- Wikimedia.Commons]

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