For most people, marijuana edibles pack more punch than smoking dry herb. Joe Rogan, no stranger to weed, famously got paranoid after eating a single THC gummy bear. Snoop Dogg won’t even touch them!
But all of us are built a little bit differently, and for some people, the effects of edibles are actually weaker. In rare cases, you might not feel anything at all after eating those special brownies. So, what can you do about it? We’re about to take a close look at pot edibles, and how the body processes them. Then we’ll look at some reasons you might be having trouble getting high.
How Do Edibles Make You Feel?
In general, THC edibles have the same effects as smoking or vaping THC. You feel high, relaxed, and euphoric. Many people get hungry. Some people report that THC edibles have a stronger body high than smoking, but your mileage may vary. It varies from person to person.
The main difference is that edibles take longer to kick in, and last much longer. For example, when you smoke marijuana, the high peaks in about 30 minutes. When you take edibles, you’ll only start feeling effects at 30 to 60 minutes after eating them. The effects won’t peak until 6-8 hours later, and can last as long as 12 hours. If the edibles are very strong, you could even feel some lingering effects 24 hours later.
How Are Marijuana Edibles Digested?
The body processes THC differently depending on how you ingest it. When you smoke weed, the THC enters your lungs, and passes through the membranes into your bloodstream. From there, it’s carried straight to your brain. This is pretty straightforward, and it’s why you start to feel high almost immediately after taking your first hit. It doesn’t take long for that THC-laden blood to get to your brain!
When you eat marijuana edibles, the process is a little more complicated. First, the food needs to pass through your stomach and into the small intestine. Then, the THC is absorbed into your liver. Here, it undergoes a process called first-pass metabolism. In this process, the THC is actually removed from your bloodstream.
Yes, you read that correctly. The THC gets stripped out. So how do people get high from edibles?
During first-pass metabolism, the THC is converted into another compound called 11-hydroxy-THC. This compound has a similar effect on the brain to THC, but it’s more powerful and far longer-lasting. That said, you won’t feel the effects nearly as quickly.
This leads some people into a trap. It’s easy to take edibles, wait an hour, and come to the conclusion that nothing is happening. Be careful about taking more edibles too soon; it’s easy to take too much.
Why Don’t Weed Edibles Work on Me?
So, you ate a couple of brownies, or some cannabis-infused candies. You waited and waited, and nothing happened. What’s going on? Here are eight possible reasons.
You Have a High Tolerance to Edibles
It’s no secret that regular drinkers develop a tolerance to alcohol. The same is true for most other substances – we all know somebody who drinks coffee as if they’re dying of thirst. Guess what? THC is no different. If you smoke every day, especially if you regularly wake and bake, your tolerance is probably higher than most people’s.
In this case, the solution is to reset your tolerance to THC. One way to do this is to stop smoking for a few days. Even taking a single day off can noticeably reduce your tolerance. If you abstain for about two weeks, your THC tolerance will return to nearly zero.
Another solution is to mix a high-CBD strain into your cannabis routine. CBD won’t get you high, but it can reduce stress and alleviate pain. Smoke this strain most of the time, and use the higher-THC strain when you really want to feel high. By using THC less frequently, you’ll lower your tolerance.
You Ate Edibles on an Empty Stomach
If you’re trying to get the most powerful effects, it would seem logical to take your edibles on an empty stomach. Without a bunch of other food in the way, the THC-laden food should be the first to hit your liver. This is true in one sense; the THC will start to kick in faster if you’re eating on an empty stomach.
On the other hand, THC absorbs better in the presence of fats. Yes, your edibles probably have some fats in them. But it helps if you eat a cheeseburger or another fatty food alongside your edibles. This extra infusion of fat will boost the efficiency of THC absorption. It won’t absorb as quickly, but you’ll get more of it in total.
As a side note, some people get a much stronger effect from taking edibles on an empty stomach. Since the THC hits so hard, so fast, they start to experience negative effects like paranoia and panic. For these people, the answer is the same. Eat a meal with your edibles, and you’ll slow the rate of absorption to something more manageable.
The Weed Wasn’t Decarboxylated
This shouldn’t be an issue if you bought your edibles from a reputable shop. However, it’s one of the most common mistakes by first-time edible creators. It doesn’t matter how strong your baking skills are; if your weed isn’t decarboxylated, your edibles are going to be ineffective. Thankfully, decarboxylation isn’t complicated – it’s just a fancy term for pre-heating your cannabis.
The THC and CBD in raw bud are inactive. If you were to eat a whole bag of dry herb, you wouldn’t get high. You might feel sick from eating that much sticky bud, but you won’t have a good time. When you smoke weed, the heat activates the THC and it gets vaporized.
To decarboxylate your bud, grind it up and spread it on a baking sheet. Now, set your oven for 230 degrees. If your oven doesn’t go this low, try using the “warm” setting. Once it’s done preheating, put your baking sheet in the oven, and leave it in for about an hour.
Take it out ever 15 minutes or so and stir the weed up to keep it from burning. What you want is a golden-brown and slightly toasted bud. If the weed is actually burning, it’s either too hot or you’ve left it in too long. Once it’s properly decarboxylated, you’re ready to make your pot butter or other extraction.
Edible Weed Doesn’t Affect You
Everybody gets high from smoking weed. That’s because all human beings have cannabinoid receptors in our brains. But some people are immune to the effects of edible THC. How can that be?
As it turns out, some people’s livers are too efficient for edibles to work. Remember how the metabolism handles THC; it’s broken down into 11-hydroxy-THC, which actually makes it last longer. That’s why many people prefer edibles over smoking their weed.
But in a small number of people, THC actually leapfrogs the 11-hydroxy-THC state, and most of it is broken directly into non-psychoactive compounds. It’s not fully understood how this works, or why only some people’s livers work this way. Unfortunately, if you’re one of those people, your only solution will be smoking or vaping your weed.
You Didn’t Wait Long Enough
We’ve already discussed how edibles take longer than smoked herb to kick in. The problem is that no matter how many times you hear it, it’s difficult to understand unless you’ve experienced it. If you’re used to smoking your weed, you’re accustomed to feeling the effects quickly. So after you’ve waited for half an hour, you might be tempted to grab another brownie.
Don’t. Depending on your metabolism and other variables, edibles can take as long as two hours for you to really start feeling the effects. Watch a movie. Play a video game. Take a walk, and be patient. The weed should eventually kick in!
Another word of warning is that the high from edibles doesn’t peak for around six to eight hours. If you’re three hours in and you’re just a little bit high, you might want to take some more. This is harder to judge, and it takes experience to know how much is too much. If you’re new to edibles, take it easy. Wait at least three hours after your first dose to take anything extra.
You Didn’t Take Enough
We just got done talking about how easy it is to take too much edible pot. That’s true. But just because you don’t want to get “too high” doesn’t mean you don’t want to get high at all. The key is to find the right balance. Much like knowing how much is too much, knowing how much is enough is also a matter of experience. If you’re a first-timer, you’ll have to follow a general rule of thumb, and adjust from there.
Most people prefer a total dosage of between 5 and 10mg of THC. A gram of dried, 20% THC bud contains 200mg of THC, or around 20 doses. So if you used that gram of bud to make cookies, you’d ideally mix it into the amount of butter needed for 20 cookies.
Your Body Processes THC Too Quickly
As we already discussed, some people process THC so efficiently that they can’t get high from edibles at all. But that’s one end of a spectrum of different metabolisms that people may have. Many other people have a fast metabolism that processes the THC too quickly. Even if you take a lot of edibles, you may experience only a brief, unsatisfying high. When you’re hanging out with friends, you can suddenly find that you’re sober, even while everyone else is just getting started.
If this sounds like what you’re experiencing, you might want to supplement your edibles. For example, you can try a sublingual cannabis oil. This oil will absorb directly through your mucous membranes, so the THC bypasses your liver and goes right into your blood. The downside is that the high will wear off faster, much like the high from smoking weed. But you can always re-dose as needed.
They Were CBD Edibles
If you want your edibles to get you high, you need to be using a full-spectrum or THC edible. However, many edibles in dispensaries are CBD-only. You can even find these in grocery stores in states where marijuana is otherwise illegal!
CBD is a non-psychotropic cannabinoid that has a number of benefits. People use it for low key pain relief, stress relief, and to sleep better at night. But even with all of these benefits, it’s still not going to get you high.
When in doubt, ask! You should be looking for a full-spectrum edible with a balance of THC and CBD. Look for a ratio of at least 1:1. If you can’t find that, a THC-only edible will also get the job done.
As a side note, the same rule applies if you’re making your own pot butter. Many dispensaries are now selling some CBD-only strains in addition to their normal weed. This is great for people who want the health benefits of marijuana without the high. But if you want to make potent edibles, check with your budtender to make sure you’re getting a high-THC strain.
What to Do When Too High on Edibles
All this time, we’ve been talking about what to do when you’re not getting the high you crave. But what about when the opposite happens? We’ve all been there – you smoke or eat too much, and suddenly you’re feeling paranoid and jittery. Here are a few ways to relieve that feeling, or at least to ride it out more easily.
Does Eating Make You Less High?
Eating can make you less high in a couple of ways. To begin with, you could eat a lot of food before you eat your edibles. As we already mentioned, it’s smart to have a small meal before your edibles. But if you eat a big meal, to the point where you’re full, your edibles will take significantly longer to digest. This can bring about a less intense high that’s more palatable to many people.
Another thing to keep in mind is your food’s sugar content. When your blood sugar goes up, your body’s metabolism kicks into high gear, and THC in the blood is metabolized faster. So if you’re feeling paranoid, a good thing to do is to drink a sugary beverage, or eat some candy. You’ll get a quick sugar rush, and then you should feel yourself start to mellow out as your metabolism speeds up.
Along the same lines, keep in mind that there are certain foods that will actually increase your high. These foods will increase the sensation of euphoria and general well-being that comes with being stoned. Among others, they include mangoes, chocolate, and green and black tea. This is obviously a double-edged sword. If you’re not feeling high enough, eating some chocolate is a good idea. If you’re feeling paranoid, it’s best to avoid chocolate.
How to Stop the High?
A marijuana high is a chemical process that occurs in your brain. As long as there’s THC in your blood, you’re going to feel high. That said, being high is also a state of mind. If the feeling is too intense, there are a number of ways to calm down and help yourself feel better.
One good way to relax is to take a walk. Now, we’re not talking about hiking miles into the woods or anything like that. Getting lost would certainly not do anything good for your anxiety! Instead, stick to a familiar area. Take a walk around the block, or to a favorite nearby food spot. Also, don’t take a walk if you’re too lightheaded to stand. Safety first!
If you’re in your own house, you can take a shower, or even a bubble bath. Getting out of your clothes and feeling water on your skin is a great way to relax under any circumstances, and it feels even better when you’re stoned. Besides which, you’re already chilling at home and eating edibles. What better time to engage in some self-care?
Another useful trick is to drink a glass of water. As simple as it sounds, a cold beverage will help you relax. It can also relieve the dry mouth that a lot of people experience when you’re stoned.
If that doesn’t sound appealing, try and take your mind off your anxiety by doing something you enjoy. Play a video game, listen to your favorite artist, or binge watch something on streaming media. If you’re with other people, talk to them, or cuddle with your significant other. Whatever you decide to do, choose something that’s pleasant and isn’t going to trigger you. The point is to feel safe, and to remember that everything is going to be alright. You’re just stoned, dude.