Cannabis, also known as marijuana, has been used for centuries for its medicinal and recreational properties. With the growing acceptance and legalization of cannabis in many parts of the world, understanding the science behind its effects on the body becomes increasingly important. This article aims to delve into the scientific aspects of cannabis, focusing specifically on cannabis edibles and how they interact with the human body.
What is Cannabis and Its Compounds
Cannabis is a plant that contains more than 100 different chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids. The two primary cannabinoids found in cannabis are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis use, while CBD is non-psychoactive and is being studied for its potential therapeutic properties.
The Endocannabinoid System
To understand how cannabis edibles work, it’s crucial to grasp the concept of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex cell-signaling system found in the bodies of all mammals, including humans. It plays a vital role in regulating various physiological processes such as mood, appetite, pain sensation, and sleep.
The ECS comprises three main components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. Endocannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds in the body that bind to cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) to initiate cellular responses. Enzymes are responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids once their actions are complete.
Interaction of Cannabis Compounds with the Endocannabinoid System
When cannabis is consumed, the cannabinoids, particularly THC and CBD, interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the ECS. THC has a high affinity for CB1 receptors, mainly located in the brain and central nervous system, leading to its psychoactive effects. CBD, on the other hand, has a lower affinity for these receptors but can modulate their activity, potentially providing therapeutic benefits.
Absorption and Metabolism of Cannabis Edibles
Cannabis edibles, such as cookies, gummies, or brownies, contain cannabinoids that are absorbed differently than when cannabis is smoked or vaporized. When ingested, cannabinoids are processed through the digestive system and liver before entering the bloodstream. This process can result in delayed onset and prolonged effects compared to inhalation methods. It is important to note that when consuming edibles, it is crucial to determine the appropriate dosage based on individual weight, as it can vary for each person.
The liver metabolizes THC into a compound called 11-hydroxy-THC, which is more potent and has a longer duration of action. This transformation contributes to the delayed and sometimes unpredictable effects of cannabis edibles, as it takes time for the body to metabolize and distribute the cannabinoids.
Onset, Duration, and Variability of Effects
Unlike inhaled cannabis, which can produce effects within minutes, cannabis edibles typically have a delayed onset. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours for the effects to be felt, as the cannabinoids are absorbed and processed through the digestive system. The duration of the effects can also be prolonged, lasting up to several hours.
The variability of effects with edibles is a significant consideration. Factors such as individual metabolism, the dose consumed, and the composition of the edible itself can influence the intensity and duration of the experience. It is important to start with a low dose and wait for the effects before considering additional consumption.
To conclude, cannabis edibles provide an alternative method of cannabis consumption that offers unique characteristics and effects. Understanding the science behind how cannabis edibles work in the body is crucial for both recreational and medicinal users. The interaction between cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system, and the digestive process contributes to the delayed onset, prolonged effects, and variability of experiences with edibles. It is important to approach edibles with caution, starting with a low dose and allowing sufficient time for the effects to be felt before considering additional consumption. With further research and advancements in our understanding of the science behind cannabis, we can continue to unlock the full potential of this remarkable plant. If you’re in Canada and looking to try cannabis edible, shop it on BC Weed Edible website.