This Is What Happens When You Eat Weed

The science behind edibles


By Scarlett Wrench |

Cannabis contains over 100 chemical compounds called ‘cannabinoids’. The best known are CBD and psychoactive THC, which is ‘the one that gets you high’, says researcher Dr Amir Englund. Here in SA, it’s legal to grow your own and put it to work in the kitchen (space cakes, anyone?). Let’s take a look at what happens when you eat weed:

At First Bite

When you smoke cannabis, its THC enters your bloodstream and quickly reaches the brain, explains Dr Englund, “it takes about five minutes for you to feel the effects”. Edibles, such as gummies or truffles, hit differently. “First it needs to reach the gut, where it’s released slowly.” Edibles can take an hour or two to kick in, but the effects last up to eight hours. Clear your iCal, in other words.

All Systems are Go

‘THC interacts with the brain’s endocannabinoid system,’ says Dr Englund, which regulates everything from memory and appetite to pain relief. It also influences two key neurotransmitters, GABA and glutamate, which affects relaxation. Light intoxication “can make you feel euphoric, make you enjoy food and music more”, says Dr Englund. It also promotes creative ‘tangential’ thinking.

Not so Dope

Dose too high, however, and you’ll start to feel uneasy and anxious. About 10mg of THC is standard, but individual tolerance varies. “A dose that hardly affects one person can make another feel nauseous, with a drop in blood pressure,” says Dr Englund. There’s no hangover, as such, but users can report feeling sluggish the next day. Chronic overuse can lead to paranoia.

Feel the Strains

There are two common strains of cannabis: sativa and indica. Sativa is considered more stimulating. Indica – jokingly referred to as ‘indicouch’ – is mellow. But this is anecdotal, not scientific, says Dr Englund. (As for CBD edibles, he’s sceptical of their de-stressing properties.) Most importantly: never buy from an unlicensed seller. A visit to A&E is not the kind of trip you want.

This article originally appeared on Men’s Health UK.

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