Why do pot edibles cause potent, long-lasting effects than smoking or vaping? This question lingers in the mind of most marijuana enthusiasts who have tried several delivery methods. Edibles cause highs that take a longer duration to kick in compared to smoking and vaping, which makes it much easier to overdose. Controlling the dosage is easier with smoking and vaping since marijuana consumers can simply take it puff by puff. Many users assume THC will have the same psychoactive effective irrespective of the method of delivery used. On the contrary, orally ingested THC follows a different metabolic pathway that converts it into a more powerful psychoactive molecule called 11-hydroxy-THC.
Introduction to 11-Hydroxy-THC
Most people know Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is cannabinoid present in the marijuana plant that brings the euphoria and psychotropic effects associated with weed. However, most of them are not aware that consuming THC creates a completely different and more powerful compound known as 11-Hydroxy-THC. Surprisingly, 11-Hydroxy-THC is not available within the weed plant itself, but it is formed through the digestion process in our body. User’s body chemistry together with how effectively they metabolize other medications determines how perfectly THC is transformed into 11-Hydroxy-THC.
Digestion and Enzymes
When eating THC-infused edibles, similar to other foods and drinks, they must pass through the gastrointestinal tract to be broken down. The liver produces enzymes known as CYP Enzymes that begin the process of digesting cannabinoids. This process creates molecules known as metabolites. While the majority of the metabolites are not active, 11-Hydroxy-THC is a special metabolite since it is stronger compared to its parent, THC.
While smoking or vaping marijuana, THC is absorbed straight into the bloodstream via the capillaries found in the lungs and generates a quicker onset, but its effects don’t last long. Although some THC may be transported to the liver via the bloodstream, only a trivial amount will be changed to 11-Hydroxy-THC. Therefore, while a THC-infused edible takes longer to cause psychoactive effects, the length and intensity will probably be more substantial due to the formation of this metabolite.
Is 11-Hydroxy-THC that Powerful?
Hosts of studies have shown the compound to have stronger effects that last longer compared to its parent, THC. However, it is difficult to tell exactly how stronger the metabolite is. A study published on PubMed clams 11-Hydroxy-THC travels through the blood-brain barrier quicker than THC. The researchers in this study observed that the psychoactive effect of 11-Hydroxy-THC reached its peak after 2 to 3 minutes of intravenous administration. Participants reported a greater intensity of high than they had ever experienced after consuming marijuana.
In another study, subjects were given a slow dose of either THC or 11-Hydroxy-THC. They were required to report two things:
• The exact time when the psychological high kicked in
• When they attained the preferred level of highness – researchers stopped the infusion at this point.
The study found out that the participants in the 11-Hydroxy-THC group halted the infusion earlier compared to the THC group, reporting a greater psychoactive high. Those in the THC group felt an overall high.
In yet another study, researchers administered the same amount of 11-Hydroxy-THC and THC to the subjects intravenously. Both medications were administered at different times. Participants reported a stronger psychoactive high for 11-Hydroxy-THCt than for THC.
So Why Can’t I Reach my Desire Level of Highness with Edibles?
Similar to other medications, humans synthesize the enzyme responsible for breaking down chemical compounds at different levels. Some individuals have a fast metabolism while others have a slow metabolism. The amount of 11-Hydroxy-THC produced as your liver breaks down the THC depends on how fast your body releases the metabolizing enzymes. Individuals thought to be slow metabolizers will require significantly higher dosages to attain the same psychoactive effect as those considered fast metabolizers. Although tolerance definitely could be a factor, if marijuana edibles don’t give you any reaction, you may be having a deficiency of CYP Enzymes. Consult with your doctor, especially if you are consuming marijuana for medical reasons. Recreational cannabis consumers can also seek professional advice from a recognized cannabinoid expert.
What are the Medical Advantages of 11-Hydroxy-THC?
Many patients are struggling with long-lasting symptoms of inflammation and pain that last throughout the day and frustrate their day-to-day functioning. Such patients may benefit from extended duration of pain-relieving effects that marijuana-infused edibles offer. By using ingested cannabinoids together with other types of inhaled therapy, patients can manage their symptoms the entire day. The inhaled consumption method offer instant onset and alleviation of symptoms, and then ushers in the prolonged effects of the cannabis edible.
11-Hydroxy-THC could also be advantageous for recreational cannabis consumers looking for potent and long-lasting experiences. Consuming an infused cake or brownie will provide a powerful and extended high compared to just smoking or vaping the bud of the same strain.
Tips for Taking 11-Hydroxy-THC
If you want to get a positive experience from 11-Hydroxy-THC, the following two tips will be helpful.
- Choose edibles that produce a large amount of 11-Hydroxy-THC. The level of 11-Hydroxy-THC varies from one edible to another. If you are creating your edible straight from marijuana, you will have to begin with decarboxylation of 11-Hydroxy-THC to trigger potent effects. If you are purchasing marijuana-infused edibles, you must double check to ensure they are made from THC rather than cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA).
- Control your dose: Edibles take between one to two hours to trigger a psychological effect, and at times users assume the edible isn’t working and end up eating more. This assumption is a direct ticket to a terrible edible trip. The best way of consuming edibles is starting with a significantly low dosage – anywhere between 2.5-5mg. Then relax for at least two hours before taking another dose.
11-hydroxy-THC provides prolonged effects, ranging from 6 to 8 hours, which are effective in dealing with conditions like soreness and chronic pain. Just like most compounds present in marijuana, more research is required to unearth the full potential of 11-Hydroxy-THC and its effects on the many people looking for solutions.