What you need to know about edibles before you dive in
Want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without smoking? Well, edibles can be your best friend. In Canada, edibles are taking the cannabis consumer market by storm, and now you can get your THC and CBD from many different forms including chocolate bars, gummies, beverages, and everything in between.
Edibles are one of those things that people either love or fear. Some people are all about their pot brownies or cookies; others will run far away. But why is there such a strong, divisive reaction? The answer is likely in your metabolism.
In this edition, we’ll focus only on THC, as this compound presents the greatest impact on overt reactions to edibles.
Cannabis is typically introduced into the body through two mechanisms: ingestion, in which THC is metabolized through the liver, or inhalation, in the form of smoking or vaporizing, in which THC is absorbed directly into the bloodstream via the lungs.
When inhaled, THC enters your bloodstream directly through your lungs, most of which bypasses the liver. From the bloodstream, THC travels to the brain to provide the euphoric effect associated with getting high. The onset of this effect is fairly rapid.
When you ingest cannabis through edibles or capsules, the majority of the THC has to go through the digestive tract and most of it is metabolized through the liver. This process often takes longer, which is why getting the high feeling from edibles usually takes longer. 1
The CYP2C9 gene encodes cells in the liver to create the enzyme responsible for converting active THC to the inactive form (THC-COOH). About 20% of the population carries a variation of the CYP2C9 gene which results in active THC being in the bloodstream for twice as long (slow metabolizers). Only 1% of the population carries a variation resulting in THC being in the active form three-times as long (very slow metabolizers). The longer active THC is in the bloodstream, the greater the psychotropic effects, which can often lead to adverse symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, paranoia, and anxiety. 2, 3, 4
With inhalation, slow and very slow metabolizers will feel the negative effects and for a longer duration than normal metabolizers (those with no slow variations). With ingestion, more THC is metabolized through the liver (and small intestines) and converted into a much stronger active THC metabolite (11-OH-THC), resulting in an even stronger and longer effect. The impact will be even greater for slow and very slow metabolizers. 2
What does this mean for you?
Health Canada warns consumers of cannabis to start low and go slow. 5 For edibles, this advice is even more pertinent. It’s one thing to have a bad high for an hour — it’s a completely other thing to have a negative experience for several hours to several days. Understanding your body’s metabolism of THC is extremely valuable information to have before you dive into the world of edibles. The THC Genetic Test Kit from Lobo Genetics is available now at cannabis retailers and online. The kit includes postage, instructions on how to register, and a simple cheek swab kit you can do from the comfort of your own home. Your samples are processed in our privately owned lab in Toronto, ON and your information is kept local, private, protected and safe.
Once you have received your results, you can log in to LoboJane.com using that same email address, and we will recommend cannabis products based on your Cannabis Genetic Profile and preferences.
Still curious about Cannabis Genetic Testing? Head to lobogene.com/FAQ
Ready to shop for legal, Canadian cannabis edibles? Click here to head to LoboJane.com and Shop by Format – Edibles.
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- Bonnet, C. (n.d.). Methods of Consumption. https://ocs.ca/blogs/facts-about-cannabis-consumption/methods-of-consumption
- Sachse-Seeboth C;Pfeil J;Sehrt D;Meineke I;Tzvetkov M;Bruns E;Poser W;Vormfelde SV;Brockmöller J;. (n.d.). Interindividual variation in the pharmacokinetics of Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol as related to genetic polymorphisms in CYP2C9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19005461/
- Martis, S., Peter, I., Hulot, J., Kornreich, R., Desnick, R., & Scott, S. (2012, April 10). Multi-ethnic distribution of clinically relevant CYP2C genotypes and haplotypes. The Pharmacogenomics Journal. 13: 369–37. https://www.nature.com/articles/tpj201210
- Wiley, J., & Burston, J. (2014, July 25). Sex differences in Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol metabolism and in vivo pharmacology following acute and repeated dosing in adolescent rats. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4106361/
- Canada, H. (2019, June 14). Cannabis: Lower Your Risks. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-medication/cannabis/resources/lower-your-risks.html