The cannabis world can be a bit confusing for some. Between all the different strains and cannabinoids, the complexity of cannabis extends further than some newcomers are ready to digest. Many users begin their cannabis journey without knowig the exact differences between the multiple methods of ingestion. Smoking cannabis is the most common way to consume cannabis. But how does this process exactly work? It starts with decarboxylating the cannabis, this means heating your flower or oil in order to convert the psychoactive THC. This is achieved by simply using a lighter or vaporizer. Once the cannabis is inhaled, the THC goes directly into your lungs. From here on, THC is absorbed into your bloodstream which then transfers all the cannabinoids into your endocannabinoid system.
While eating raw cannabis is known to have several health benefits of its own, it still must be heated to help fully activate its compounds. Once ingested, THC and other cannabinoids’ path into your blood stream also work a bit differently. Instead of being absorbed by your lungs, the compounds are gathered from your stomach, where they’re then transferred to the liver. Here, your body metabolizes the THC, converting most of it into 11-hydroxy-THC, which researchers estimate to be five to ten more times more psychoactive than the delta-9-THC found in smoked cannabis. From the liver, compounds are transferred throughout the rest of one’s body via the bloodstream, where it usually reaches the brain in one or two hours. Effects of orally ingested cannabis are known to usually last between five and 10 hours.
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