Although there are more infused foods more available than ever, it’s important to note that eating (or drinking!) an edible is different from smoking a joint or taking a hit from a bong. While a big enough inhale can certainly cause a strong psychoactive effect, edible cannabis is significantly more potent (you can even overdose on edibles).
Cannabis edibles are processed differently when the herb is ingested rather than inhaled. When inhaled, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is quickly absorbed by the lungs and into the bloodstream. THC is the compound that causes the famous cannabis “high.”
From there, the fat-soluble molecule quickly travels to fatty areas like the brain where it works its psychoactive magic.
When cannabis is eaten, however, something different happens. The food good partially broken down by the upper digestive system before it makes its way to the small intestine. In the small intestine, tiny THC molecules are absorbed through the intestinal walls and transported to the liver.
Much to the surprise of many, the liver converts THC into a stronger, more psychoactive compound called 11-Hydroxy-THC. 11-Hydroxy-THC is thought to be more bioavailable and has a stronger psychoactive effect than plain ol’ THC.
Further, because the food good must first travel through the digestive system, the cannabis product is released more slowly over time. Simply summarized, eating an edible gives you a stronger, slower high that lasts significantly longer than smoking.