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Understanding Cannabis Physiology: Absorption Part 1

July 28, 2016 / 0 Comments

Oils and edibles are absorbed differently than inhaled cannabis. Human lungs are designed to allow what is inhaled to wash over a swath of blood vessels, providing ample opportunity for THC and CBD, among lesser-known cannabinoids, to enter the blood stream. When cannabis is inhaled, the active ingredients enter the blood stream without being metabolized by the liver. The route the cannabinoids need to travel is, thus, quite short and the result is almost instantaneous.

When cannabis is ingested, the path cannabinoids take to the blood stream is much longer. Although the compounds can be absorbed in small amounts through the upper digestive tract, the bulk of the work is done beyond the stomach. In place of the 60,000 microscopic “terminal bronchiole” tubes found in the lungs, the intestinal tract is a long, thick and slow-moving journey for the cannabinoids. Not only does this absorption method impact the endocannabinoid system more progressively, it also takes much longer for it to make its way through the body.

When edible cannabis products are consumed, many patients find the effects are more powerful than when inhaled. It’s important to dose low and go slow. Always read and follow the instructions provided or contact our support team for guidance. Safe and legal products are required to be labeled with substantial warnings, so be extremely wary of unlabeled products.

When cannabis is inhaled – ideally with a vaporizer – the effects are immediate: 60 to 90 seconds for most people. It’s important to remember that the amount needed to medicate depends more on biology than condition or strain. When ingesting cannabis, that timeline changes drastically! The effects will begin more subtly because the cannabis is taking longer to find its way to the blood stream. Please remember, it can take upwards of two hours to set in and, for some people, last up to eight hours.

How cannabis takes care of symptoms and how well it helps manage them varies and will depend mostly on physiology. When in doubt, or if there any questions regarding this topic, contact the Customer Care Team or speak to a doctor.

In our next post, we’ll look even further into absorption and try to answer some of the many questions on the topic. Stay tuned!

- Team Bedrocan

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