Saturday October 25th 2014

Do you get high if you eat weed?

Yes. You get high when you eat marijuana. But it usually takes longer and is not as intense as inhaling marijuana smoke.  But the high lasts longer, and is highly detectable in urine after eating it.

Marijuana is usually smoked in a pipe or cigarette but can also be mixed in baked goods and ingested orally as a pill or capsule (dronabinol or oral THC). Weed and brain damage effects are currently be investigated by scientists, and may be equally damaging after chronic use whether you are smoking or eating marijuana.  Here, we present information on bioavailability of eaten marijuana, issues in drug testing, as well as how to quite marijuana if you think that you have a problem.  Please feel free to ask your questions about weed below. We’ll be happy to respond with a personal answer ASAP.

Marijuana bioavailability

Bioavailability is the the degree and rate that drugs like marijuana are absorbed into the body or are made available at the site of physiological activity.  The bioavailability of marijuana is different when you eat it versus when you smoke it.   In other words, how fast, how long, and how intensely you feel the effects of marijuana depend on how you use it. There are three main points that we’d like to explain here about HOW marijuana administration affects euphoric sensation (the feeling of being high).

1. Onset – If you breathe in marijuana smoke, euphoric effects occur within seconds or minutes of inhalation (although smoking weed and lung damage risk increases). If you eat foods containing weed, effects occur after a longer period of time (30 -60 minutes) because delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) must first be metabolized by the digestive system.

2. Length - If you eat marijuana, the duration of euphoric effect (feeling high) tends to last longer than if you inhale marijuana smoke, although the intensity may be less.

3. Drug testing - Eating weed increases amounts of cannabinoids in urine, making drug detection more likely.

Why it takes longer to get high when you eat weed

When cannabis is ingested by mouth, there is a low (6%–20%) and variable oral bioavailability. Why does this happen? Well, basically, bioavailability of cannabinoids is reduced after oral ingestion due to extensive first pass metabolism. Orally administered drugs must pass through the intestinal wall and then are metabolized by the liver before they reach systemic circulation. And it is this process of slower absorption into the bloodstream that is associated with more delayed peak levels of THC in the body.

By contrast, inhaled marijuana smoke bypasses the body’s digestive system and therefore the effects are more intense and occur more rapidly than oral ingestion. When inhaled, cannabinoids enter the bloodstream quickly from the lungs to the left side of the heart, where they enter the arterial circulation that carries them to the brain. When inhaled, cannabinoids like THC reach a peak concentration in 2 to 10 minutes, declining rapidly for a period of 30 minutes and with less generation of the psychoactive 11-OH metabolite.

Eating weed decreases your high, but it lasts longer

Peak plasma concentrations of THC occur 1 to 6 hours after you orally ingest marijuana and remain elevated with a terminal half-life of 20 to 30 hours. So not only do cannabinoids take longer to act, but the body begins to metabolize them before they can act on the brain. Enzymes in the stomach, intestines, and liver begin breaking down the drugs so they can be cleared from the body.  Therefore, eating weed results in lower THC concentrations than after inhaling marijuana smoke.

Still, some cannabinoids do not lose their potency as a result of being ingested. Dronabinol and THC-COOH are present in equal concentrations in plasma and concentrations peak at approximately 2-4 hours after either oral or inhaled smoke dosing.

Is eating weed more risky on drug tests?

Yes. Oral ingestion of marijuana in cooked brownies during clinical trials has led to excretion of highly concentrated amounts of cannabinoid in urine. Although marijuana smokers can potentially measure and adjust the balance of weed effect and thus their amount of marijuana exposure, the effects of oral ingestion of marijuana are slow in onset and do not allow you to adjust dosage. Therefore, the amounts of 9-carboxy-THC in urine after oral ingestion were, at times, substantially higher than those observed after smoking equivalent doses.

Do you have a problem with weed?

If you think that you have a problem with weed, you probably do. If you want to cut back your weed intake, or stop taking weed completely…there are people and programs that can help you. Please let us know by email or here in a comment if we can help you find treatment for weed problems. We’ve been there and you are not alone!

Reference sources: Medline Plus topic on drug abuse
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration drug facts on cannabis
National Cancer Institute: Cannabis and Cannabinoids
Marijuana Effects and Urinalysis After Passive Inhalation and Oral Ingestion

Photo credit: boodoo

Leave a Reply

16 Responses to “Do you get high if you eat weed?
Colin Moore
7:43 pm October 31st, 2011

It is a common misconception that ingesting “weed” is better for your health than inhalation. The bottom line is, is that it still effects the brain in the same way, ie; prohibiting growth in the brain, ect. It is important not to undermined the significance of an individuals addiction to “weed” it can be just as debilitating as other drugs. Please contact a professional if you have a loved one or family member that struggles with this substance.

Laurel
11:19 pm December 30th, 2011

@Colin Moore. And what data and clinical trials exactly are you basing your “common misconception” on?

You couldn’t be more wrong!!! Inhalation damages your lungs, ingestion does not. There’s a huge amount of clinical research out there to corroborate this.

Marijuana itself is not addictive, but people with addictive personalities may develop a psychological addiction, which yes, can be debilitating.

But please don’t go making wide sweeping statements on something so important just based on hearsay.

know your facts
7:27 am May 5th, 2012

@Lauren I couldn’t agree with you more. The chemicals in marijuana themselves aren’t addictive. Its all about self control.

People, take a step back and hear me out. Consumption of weed is similar to consumption of alcohol. Neither of them have addictive qualities, yet many people know somebody who is a pothead or an alcoholic. The reason for this is that its all in the mind. If people are able to practice self control when using these substances then there would essentially be no problems.

12:28 pm May 10th, 2012

People become addicted to the euphoric effect of THC. Although tolerance and withdrawal are not as pronounced in marijuana addiction as in opiate addiction, they are still clinically identifiable.

Kitty
7:36 pm October 2nd, 2012

“People become addicted to the euphoric effect of THC”

That is still a sweeping statement because the broad term “people” includes everyone. It should read “Some people who have a tendency to become addicted become psychologically dependent on cannabis.” Looking through this website, from what I can tell, you are relying on fear, assumptions, broad statements that you don’t back up by linking to clinical studies and literature…. Also, this particular page doesn’t mention anything about the known medical benefits of cannabis, such as its proven ability to reduce nausea and increase appetite, and to lessen painful muscle spasms. Just like many other substances that can be used as medication, there is a potential for some people to become psychologically dependent on cannabis. That does not mean that all people who use cannabis, whether for medical purposes or not, will become psychologically dependent or physically addicted to cannabis. To state otherwise is presumptuous and false.

Real Facts
8:15 pm October 6th, 2012

@know your facts
Alcohol is very addictive. The withdrawal from it can actually kill you, unlike opiates which will just make you feel like you are dying. Marijuana on the other hand produces no physical withdrawal symptoms.

tina
11:18 pm October 24th, 2012

what if someone puts marijuana in your food and you don’t know it? what are the systems?
Do you get fever, wanting to throw up, uncontrol shaking?

tina
11:19 pm October 24th, 2012

and light headed

1:42 pm October 30th, 2012

Hi Tina. If you’ve been dosed with marijuana without your knowing, there are a number of possible symptoms: relaxation, lightheadedness, sleepiness, and mild euphoria (getting high) are possible. Other signs of ingested marijuana and resulting intoxication include: red eyes, dry mouth, impaired perception or motor skills, and decreased short term memory. Nausea is not often present when you eat marijauana, but uncontrollable shaking may be a sign that another pharmaceutical such as a stimulant has been added. If you suspect drugging, you can always seek drug testing using a hair sample at a laboratory. This way, you don’t need to be tested within the few days JUST AFTER possible drugging, but can be tested weeks to months later.

m fazal
10:08 am April 8th, 2013

hi
i have been smoking good premium quality marrijuana from 1993 regularily to now .i am now 43 and want to stop along with smoking normal cigs although i only smoke when i either stop working or in the eveningtime only.i smoke 2/3 spliffs ,but they are built strongly.
now i want my old life back where i can sleep without it at night and my life does not revolve around the weed
in the past i have tried to give it up by cold turkey and the longest i get to is about a month and the i get back on it with a vengeance !
HELP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11:14 am April 8th, 2013

Hello m. Stopping smoking and STAYING stopped is often more about psychological treatment than physical. Get to a psychologist and explore the REASONS you smoke so that this self-understanding and learning new techniques for stopping can get you through the cravings.

wesley
10:35 pm April 26th, 2013

I’m against smoking pot, but i’m interested in pot brownies. What is your personal opinion regarding wether I should try pot brownies?

wesley
10:36 pm April 26th, 2013

How can I tell real marijuana from synthetic marijuana?

8:33 am May 9th, 2013

Hi Wesley. My opinion about eating marijuana in a pot brownie would be to examine what compels you to seek psychoactive states of consciousness in the first place…when reality is…well, reality. The only well to tell the difference between synthetic and real marijuana is a 3rd party laboratory analysis.

Jim Tan Tong
7:48 am June 10th, 2013

Heh, and what is the only way to tell between ‘reality’ and ‘what we perceive as reality’ seeing as our very ‘meta-observations about reality’ are largely neurotransmitter (chemically) dependent?

Could it possibly make sense to alter your neurotransmitter levels to see what effect it has on your perception?
Our emotions inform our view of the world and only with controlled drug experiments can one begin to understand the chemical nature of perception and the perception-altering nature of emotions.
This is how one obtains a functional, working understanding of neurotransmitter-action and the underlying processes informing emotionally-coloured perception.

There is no shortage of disgusting, self-serving, numbskullian, airy-fairy ‘potheads’ out there. This is a case of people judging the Sin and not the sinners. People make mistakes and will abuse a euphoriant if they think their life sucks or they have a victim-complex.
You might have seen kids spinning round really fast so they get a dizzy headrush and fall down. I see no difference – a behavior that alters physiological and psychological homeostasis, possibly to the individuals detriment.

Otherwise, cannabis has hundreds of medically valuable compounds, each with dozens of symptom-relieving applications, custom-preparations of and synthetic adaptations of various cannabinoids will one day be the medication par excellence for just about every complex symptomatology suffered in coming years.
Pain and symptom-relief are quite archaic at present. With addictive opiates and synthetic, side-effect riddled medications.
While Law and Science are playing catch up, a good method for medical relief has been developed. If you have a moderately strong pot brownie right before bed it will make you rest well, stimulate immunity, disrupt virus-replication cycles, relieve nausea, relieve pain etc ad infinitum and leave you only a little bit vague/low blood pressure in the morning. Without having to experience the psychological bliss that the world seems so scared of embracing.

Non-THC preparations have been developed for many conditions. Go research the science for all the exciting potentials of non-psychoactive relief. Low-THC preparations have found to be good for most types of pain. Having a strong CBD, CBN component for physical pain relief and sedation and a small THC component for psychological relief/relaxation (rather than balls-to-the-wall tripping) has proved ideal for many pain sufferers (many of whom had gravitated to cannabis strains with the perfect CBD:THC ratios for their condition out of trial and error decades ago).
This said, pure synthetic THC (not loved by many/any recreational users) such as the marinol medication look to be ideal for disrupting certain hepatic viruses (EBV, HVS, KSHV). Individuals using this medicine try and sleep through the psychoactive effects that they don’t desire in the slightest because it is the ONLY option for some diseases. For them, ‘getting high’ is an unwanted side-effect. Lets keep some medical perspective and empathy for sufferers without bringing up prejudice against cannabis use.

Oh and nevermind all this ^ must just be the rantings of an idiotic stoner, right?

Ashley
5:47 am March 1st, 2014

Would it be detected in a drug test longer if you ate weed instead of smoking it?

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