“Do you feel it yet?” A question anyone who has ever taken a cannabis edible has asked. Whether you are using THC or CBD, the wait may seem like it takes forever to get the cannabis in your system. Why does it take so long for cannabis edibles to work? Why aren’t cannabis edibles as fast acting as vaping or tinctures? The reason behind edibles taking their time to kick in is your digestive system.
Edibles take so long to work because the medicine has to travel through your digestive system. There are many obstacles that cannabis has to face while it slowly seeps the compounds into your system. The amount of the chemical that you absorb through your body is called bioavailability. Edibles have a lower bioavailability because of the harsh journey it has to go through involving your stomach acid, intestine gasses, and your liver. There are also many factors when it comes to absorption like the person’s metabolism speed, what type of edible they are taking, the potency, and what they are taking their edible with.
The Journey Through The Digestive System
First Stop, The Mouth
When you eat an edible, you’re going to chew it a little bit before you swallow it probably. Your saliva is going to soak the food and bits of the chemical will be absorbed sublingually. When you take CBD sublingually, you can expect to feel the effects in minutes. However, with edibles, you aren’t soaking in enough of the compound for it to make a significant impact on you feel.
The next place your food is going to go is down your throat. Your esophagus will push the food down into your stomach using muscle contractions as well as gravity. Once again, the chemical in the edible is being absorbed through the walls but not enough for it to make a huge difference because the food is in your throat for such a short period. Unfortunately, you still won't be feeling it yet.
This is when the real magic happens. Your stomach is an incredible organ that uses acids to break down the food you’ve eaten. Your stomach will mix the food with the digestive juices and slowly release the new mixture into the small intestine. At this point, the medicine is also being absorbed in the stomach and being sent to the hepatic portal system, where the liver will process it.
This is the last stop for the food before it reaches its exit point. While your CBD infused food is traveling through your intestines, they cannabidiol that is still in your food is absorbed through the intestinal lining. This is wonderful for people who have gastrointestinal issues because there are CB2 receptors in our organs. When it is absorbed, it helps reduce the pain and inflammation that many people experience with Crohn’s, IBS, and more.
The liver is one of the most important organs involved in digesting CBD oil. While the food is being processed through the intestines, CBD is being metabolized by the liver. This is also where you lose the majority of the bioavailability. What CBD does in the liver is the main reason you should be talking to a doctor before using CBD oil when taking other medications.
Cytochrome P450 is a family of liver enzymes that break down at least 60% of the medications on the market. When CBD interacts with these enzymes, they essentially cancel each other out. CBD replaces these enzymes, blocking them from metabolizing other compounds.
Once the CBD has been filtered through the liver, it goes into your bloodstream and gets distributed throughout the body. When you smoke or vape cannabis, you are skipping this whole process and getting the CBD into your bloodstream more quickly. But this slow process also means slow release throughout the day. So taking edibles is beneficial when you need long lasting relief over a quick fix.
Factors That Come Into Play
The digestive system is the main reason it takes so long for edibles to kick in, but why might it take long for you specifically? If you find that it takes more than an hour for your medication to kick in, there are some factors you need to keep in mind.
Have You Eaten?
If you take CBD on a full stomach, it’s going to take longer to go through the digestive process. The digestive juices are at the bottom of the stomach. If it’s occupied the CBD edible has to wait in line. If you find that it takes too long, try taking CBD before you eat so it can be the first one to get metabolized.
Do You Have A Slow Metabolism?
When you have a slower metabolism, it’s going to take longer for the CBD to go through your system. If your metabolism isn’t as fast as it should be, you’ll notice these following symptoms:
- Weight Gain
- Hair Loss
- Dry or Cracked Skin
- Difficult Losing Weight
- Difficult to Stay Warm
- Inflexibility or General Stiffness
- Head Aches
- Sugar Craving
- Difficulty Concentrating
If you have a slow metabolism, CBD can help. CBD elevates the level of mitochondria which helps the body use more energy. CBD also helps brown fat cells to make them burnable for energy and lowers the levels of proteins that create new fat cells. By helping the body burn energy more efficiently, CBD helps improve your metabolism.
How Potent Is The Edible?
If the edible is taking too long to kick in, how much did you take? When making your CBD edibles, you would need to have more cannabidiol in them than you would a vape or tincture because of it’s lowered availability. If you feel like it’s just not working, you might want to try adding more.
Is Your Edible Solid or Liquid?
You can make CBD infused coffee or tea and get some of the same benefits that you would if you were to have cannabis brownies. The brownies are going to take longer to get into your system because the liquid is digested much faster. When you use CBD infused drinks, you also absorb more cannabidiol sublingually than you would chewing up food.
Why Are People Using CBD Edibles?
If edibles take so long to work, why do people use them? Considering that tincture work quickly and have a higher bioavailability, it would seem like that is the best option. There are actually benefits to your medication taking longer to enter your bloodstream. Because the CBD edible takes so long to digest, the relief lasts longer because the chemical is being absorbed over a more extended period. Many people who need healing throughout the day choose the oral method instead because of that slow release.
Who Can Benefit From CBD Edibles?
For individuals who experience inflammation or discomfort in their digestive system, taking CBD edibles can help tackle the pain at the source. All through our intestines, we have CB2 receptors that help control the immune system. When you take CBD, it elevates the endocannabinoid 2-AG which reduces inflammation. Because CBD is being absorbed through the intestinal walls, it can help treat the pain quickly.
Mental Health Disorders
CBD elevates the endocannabinoid anandamide which binds to the CB1 receptor in control of our neurological system. By taking CBD edibles, you can help regulate your mood throughout the day. Just like taking anti-depressants, CBD slowly releases itself into the bloodstream giving you long-lasting relief. CBD edibles have shown they can work wonders for anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, and even mood disorders.
When you have a disease like fibromyalgia, you can’t just put cream on it. You hurt everywhere. Some patients can have arthritis, but not in an area they can reach with a lotion or cream. The endocannabinoid anandamide that is elevated when taking CBD also helps with your sensitivity to pain. If you have constant pain for seemingly no reason, CBD can help your brain stop firing off those pain signals. If your pain comes from any inflammation, CBD will also be working on reducing that as well.
How Much CBD Should Be In My Edible?
The answer to this is not easy to find because everyone has a different brain attached to a different body. While your friend may feel perfect at 60 milligrams a day, you might see that 80 milligrams works better. It also depends on what you are taking the CBD for. It’s always a good idea to start very low when learning your CBD dose and gradually raising the level. You don’t want to miss what is called the Goldilocks Zone, which is the perfect dose where CBD is the most effective.
If you take CBD already through a tincture or vaping, using that dose won't be as effective. Since CBD loses potency through the digestive process, you will need to up the dose a few milligrams to continue having the same effect. For beginners, it is suggested to start off with a 5-milligram dose with a gradual incline.
You should always consult a doctor before consuming any medication, even one as safe as CBD. If you are taking medicine that is metabolized with Cytochrome P450 enzymes, you could make your symptoms worse. If you have never taken CBD before, having someone monitor your health is always something to take advantage of. Many doctors might still not be on board with CBD just yet, but there are plenty of medical professionals that would love to help that you can seek out online.
Stop by our shop today to get your CBD isolate to start making your own CBD edibles. If you don’t want the hassle, taking pills and capsules have similar effects when taken with food. We have such a wide variety of options when it comes to how to take CBD; you’ll find something that suits your comfort level.