MAR 24, 2017 1:05 PM PDT

Is Edible Marijuana More 'Bang for the Buck'?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Marijuana use is commonly associated with bongs and brownies. But did you know that smoking versus eating the marijuana affects how the chemicals are processed? This means that the mode of consumption also affects when the high takes place and how long this sensation lasts.

As it turns out, digesting marijuana gives more "bang for the buck," thanks to the liver. This organ converts the chemicals in pot into two forms of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC): 11-OH THC and delta-9 THC. Of the two, the 11-OH THC is more potent because it can more easily cross the blood-brain barrier.

In effect, ingesting marijuana leads to a more intense high because two different types of THCs are produced in the body. So, while it takes longer to feel any effects of those brownies, the high will be more intense and last for longer. As another fringe benefit, eating the marijuana bypasses exposures to carcinogens produced when smoking the substance.
About the Author
I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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