Edibles. Quick, easy to use, often shelf-stable, and available in various flavors and strengths. But what would happen if you were to eat those edibles on an empty stomach?
It’s true that when it comes to efficient management of THC or CBD, edibles often offer one of the best ways to keep track of your doses and stock.
Edibles have quickly established themselves as a staple product in most dispensaries. The public demand for them has made it clear they are here to stay.
For some, the ability to measure their doses and keep to a schedule is the most important factor for edibles. Other people may have problems with smoking or vaping, making edibles the most obvious path of use. Regardless, edibles offer a convenient and tasty way to enjoy cannabis without combustion.
For those new to the concept of cannabis edibles, you should know a few things about them. Before we get into the finer details, let’s cover some basics to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
What are Edibles?
First off, let’s cover the most important questions. What are edibles? Edibles are food with THC, CBD, or any other cannabinoids within them. Edibles come in a large variety of forms and flavors. These foods include everything from brownies to gummies and even some drinks.
Before cannabis was as widely accepted as it is now, the main forms of THC edibles were usually baked goods. More often than not, the product would be a homemade batch of cookies or brownies offering an intense and long-lasting high made by an amateur enthusiast.
But the market for edibles has come a long way, and more often than not, you can find the extract type of snack you are looking for when shopping for a cannabis-based edible.
How Edibles Affect the Body
As a general idea, Edibles are not too different from other forms of THC use. They enter the body and the bloodstream, giving the user a strong and noticeable high. That is not to say that how your body uses and reacts to edibles is the same as smoking cannabis.
While the end goal may be the same, the feeling and experience can be noticeably different between the two. Sometimes, with enough of a difference, it changes how someone uses cannabis moving forward.
Furthermore, some factors affect how edibles impact you. They can differ even when concerning the exact same edible.
Some of these things include:
- Your metabolism and body’s physiology
- The time of day
- If you have eaten one on an empty stomach
- How long it’s been since you have had THC (i.e., tolerance breaks)
- The THC strength in the edible
- Edible type
- THC to CBD ratio
- Additional ingredients
Down below, we are going to take a deeper dive into what edibles offer. We’ll also look at what you can expect when you decide it’s time to try one out.
Difference Between Smoking and Eating Edibles
The differences between smoking cannabis and eating it are notable. This is important for many factors, such as activation time, how long it lasts, and how your body processes it.
When discussing the difference between smoking cannabis and using edibles, let’s start with activation time. Usually, when smoking cannabis, you will feel the effects come on within the first few minutes. However, some people can experience it in less than 30 seconds after the first hit. This method is the fastest for feeling the full effects of cannabis.
Edibles, on the other hand, offer a much slower onset. The effects of cannabis edibles can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to set in. As a result, the ramp-up to the peak effect is much slower, and many consider it much more manageable. Without the sudden rush of THC that smoking offers, edible users often enjoy the slow build and don’t experience as much anxiety.
Another key difference between smoking and edibles is what your body is metabolizing. THC is transferred directly into the blood through the lungs with smoking or vaping. The chemical chain remains unaltered and quickly gets to the brain and endocannabinoid system. This is why you feel the effects almost immediately.
Conversely, edibles must pass through your GI tract and be processed by your liver. The chemical chains that make up THC are altered a little through this journey. The new form, 11- Hydroxy-THC, is more potent than baseline THC. The effects seem to last considerably longer, even if the onset of the full effects also takes longer.
How long your high lasts also depends on your choice of consumption method. With the more traditional smoking, you can expect to have an experience lasting around 2 to 4 hours. This is much shorter than edibles which can range up to 12 hours. Residual effects can reach up to 24 hours after eating, giving some people an unexpectedly long journey.
What Happens When You Eat Edibles on an Empty Stomach?
Believe it or not, something as simple as having eaten beforehand can impact how an edible interacts with your body. Not to say that it makes it less safe or more daunting; it just changes how your body processes the THC.
Having already eaten or not helps determine how long it takes to get into your blood and when the liver can convert the THC. This may not sound like much but small differences can add to a noticeable difference in experience.
Understanding the difference can be important for someone new to edibles. The changes can cause a new user to experience unexpected results regarding how long the high lasts or how long it takes to kick in.
For everyone curious about edibles, it’s good to understand what exactly you are getting into. So let’s look closer at how what’s already in your stomach may affect your edibles experience.
Increased Absorption Rate
How quickly the THC can get in your system is one of the most important things to consider when deciding whether to eat edibles on an empty stomach. This one is pretty linear in its reasoning.
If food is already in your GI tract, the THC edible will be disseminated through your system slower. The food helps ensure a slower onset of the THC effects. When you eat edibles on an empty stomach, your body begins processing the THC as soon as it moves past your stomach.
The empty GI tract also lets your body focus fully on the edible, absorbing the THC contents much more quickly.
If you are new to edibles, it isn’t a bad idea to ensure you have something on your stomach beforehand, as the onset becomes much smoother and more manageable.
Stronger and Faster Effects
This point goes hand in hand with the absorption rate. When your stomach is empty, your body will push new material through your GI tract much faster than if you had already eaten.
Since there’s nothing else for your body to focus on, more of the THC in your edible will be processed through your liver faster. The higher concentration will give you a faster, more intense high since more is making it into your bloodstream at once.
Put simply, an empty stomach means the onset of the edible’s effects will happen faster.
If you are new to edibles. This might not be the best idea. The quicker onset means you have less time to adjust to the high than if you had a meal on your stomach.
Possible Negative Effects of Eating Edibles on an Empty Stomach
Eating edibles isn’t only a net positive experience. THC can still produce anxiety and unease for those unfamiliar with it or not used to heavy doses.
If your stomach is empty, the effects of the edible can come on much more quickly; this is not always a good thing. THC hitting the unprepared is a huge source of feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
Cannabis edibles can also cause things like:
- Impaired concentration
- Lack of coordination
- Impaired reaction time
- Increased heart rate
It’s always best to start with a low dose and see how you react to edibles the first time, especially if you don’t plan on eating beforehand. The ride will last longer than smoking cannabis, and it’s best not to put too much on your plate until you are more experienced.
Conclusion on Eating Edibles on an Empty Stomach
In conclusion, eating cannabis edibles on an empty stomach can lead to a more intense but potentially uncomfortable experience for some. The effects may be felt more quickly and/or intensely due to the absence of food in the stomach to slow down the absorption of the cannabinoids.
It’s important to start with a low dose and wait for the effects to fully kick in before eating more, regardless of whether you have eaten or not. Additionally, it’s important to remember that everyone’s body reacts differently to cannabis. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and consume edibles responsibly.