Besides actually smoking weed, eating edibles is by far the most popular way that cannabis enthusiasts have enjoyed getting high for years. And there’s a good reason for that––edibles are notorious for hitting super hard. Pretty much every stoner we know has an “I accidentally took too many edibles and almost saw god” story.
In comparison to other methods of consuming cannabis such as smoking and vaping, edibles are by far the strongest way to get high. Thankfully, you can carefully dose your edibles so you don’t get too high, but for the most part, edibles will hit a lot harder than pretty much any other method of cannabis consumption. But why is that? Why do edibles hit so hard?
As you know, we always encourage the curious stoner mind to continue learning, so we’re here to talk about edibles, how they affect the human body, and break down exactly why edibles hit so hard.
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How Do Edibles Affect the Body?
To understand why edibles hit so hard, we have to understand how edibles interact with and affect the body.
The human body contains a naturally-occurring system called the endocannabinoid system (or ECS). The endocannabinoid system is made up of two different cannabinoid receptors, CB1 (cannabinoid receptor type 1) and CB2 (cannabinoid receptor type 2). CB1 receptors can be found in the nervous system, while CB2 receptors can be found in the immune system.
When we ingest cannabinoids like THC, CBD, HHC, etc., these cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system to produce the feelings, effects, and benefits that we’ve come to know and love from the cannabis plant, such as relaxation, elevated mood, help with sleep, help stimulating appetite, pain relief, inflammation relief, among many more.
Methods of consumption like smoking and vaping are the quickest and easiest ways to get high because they get the cannabinoids into your bloodstream the fastest. When you inhale cannabis smoke, it enters the lungs and is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. This makes for a quick (almost instantaneous) but short-lived high. The effects of smoking or vaping can be super strong but will fade somewhat quickly. Depending on your tolerance and how much you consume, a typical high from smoking or vaping can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours.
On the other hand, the timeline of edibles is the complete opposite. Once you eat an edible, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to fully kick in, with the peak effects being somewhere around the 3 to 4 hour mark. This is because instead of being immediately absorbed into the bloodstream via the lungs, the cannabinoids are digested through the stomach and then processed through the liver, where they enter your bloodstream and eventually make their way to your brain. Smoking and vaping are quick and effective, but edibles are long and strong.
Why Do Edibles Hit the Hardest?
Some people believe that dabs are the way to get the highest, but that’s not quite true. As far as potent ways to get high, edibles and dabs can be considered somewhat close to the same level. Dabs (such as resin, rosin, wax, or shatter) are highly-concentrated cannabinoid extracts that are known for being a lot stronger than raw weed flower. But are edibles stronger than cartridges?
That answer depends on a handful of variables (such as how much you consume, your tolerance, your overall health, etc.), but for the most part, yes, edibles will be much stronger than cartridges. But why are edibles stronger?
The short answer: your liver. When you eat edibles, the cannabinoids it contains are first digested through the stomach and then processed and metabolized through the liver. As a result, the liver actually intensifies the effects of the cannabinoids by turning them into a metabolized byproduct (or metabolite) called 11-hydroxy-THC. 11-hydroxy-THC is roughly five times stronger than regular THC, which means that edibles will, on average, hit you five times stronger than other methods of consumption.
Additionally, with smoking, vaping, or dabbing, you are physically limited by how much you can consume at one time. While you can smoke five joints in a row or take a gram dab to the face, that’s not realistic for a lot of people. It’s harsh on the throat and, for those who are regular smokers, can tend to feel like you’ve hit a ceiling after a while. There’s only so much you can smoke before you can’t feel any higher. And that is most definitely not the case with edibles. Since edibles are eaten rather than inhaled, there’s very little physically limiting you from taking a super large dose all at once.
Finally, when you smoke or vape, you’re actually not absorbing all of the THC (or other cannabinoids). Because the smoke that’s exhaled is technically considered ‘waste,’ you’re blowing out a lot of the cannabinoid that could otherwise be absorbed. With edibles, since there is no waste (you know, until way later), you are absorbing all of the THC that the edible has to offer.
How to Make Edibles Hit Harder
If you’re the type of savage who wants to know how to make edibles stronger, don’t worry; you’re among friends here. We’ll teach you some tips and tricks on how to make edibles hit if you feel like they’re not, as well as how to make edibles hit harder if you want to pump up your experience.
The trick to making your edibles hit harder is to answer these question: Why do edibles hit harder or When do edibles hit the hardest? Typically, an edible will hit a bit harder if you’ve done things like:
Take a Tolerance Break
Tolerance breaks work for any kind of weed in general but are definitely super effective for making an edible hit harder. Although, once you’ve taken a t-break, it’s important to remember to start small again. The whole point is to lower your tolerance, meaning you shouldn’t need nearly as much as you’re used to taking to get high.
Smoke Once You’ve Hit its Peak
This can be a dangerous game, but if you time it right, not only will you be straight on a rocket ship to the moon, but you’ll probably orbit it a couple of times. Some people like to smoke right as they take their edibles so that they keep a steady high until the edibles kick in, but other cannabis connoisseurs like to time it just right so that they smoke right as they hit the peak of their edible experience. But use caution––this will make you extremely high, which can be a scary experience for some people. If you’re worried, this is a great time to opt for a milder cannabinoid such as delta 8, which is well known for being less anxiety-inducing than delta 9 THC.
Take One on an Empty Stomach
We definitely don’t recommend this one for everyone since we believe it’s super important to stay hydrated and eat a well-balanced meal when partaking in cannabis use of any kind, but if you’re a seasoned professional, we trust that you’ll be careful. Think of this as similar to alcohol––when you drink on an empty stomach, you get a lot drunker a lot faster. The same principle applies to edibles. If you have less food in your stomach before taking them, there’s less competing with the digestion of the cannabinoids, making it a lot easier for the edibles to hit you faster and stronger. (And thankfully, once the effects kick in, so will the munchies. Embrace them!)
If you want your edible to hit harder, these tips are great ways to start. But please, be cautious! An edible experience can go from fun to a “please call an ambulance and also my mom” situation really quick. So, make sure that you’re well-versed in your own tolerance, comfort level, and how edibles affect you.