Are Marijuana Edibles Available In Ohio?
Updated: Jan 15
The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program allows for cannabis in a variety of different forms, from flower and concentrated oils, to tinctures, supplemental capsules and edibles, to patches, lotions, creams and ointments. Over the weekend, Ohio made another step forward in cannabis history as edibles were sold for the first time to qualifying patients!
With two products available in ingestible form, it is important to discuss the rumor of "do edibles get you higher than normal?" While to some this may just seem like a psychological trick, edibles DO elicit an increased psychoactive response as the process of metabolization differs from the vaporizer method.
Gastrointestinal Uptake vs. Oral Uptake
Let's start with the different types of edibles that might be available! While some may not be familiar with the different types of edibles, the effects from each are respectively much different experiences, both in onset time and overall length of time the effects last:
According to Columbia Care Illinois, edibles are most commonly designed for GI absorption in forms such as brownies, cookies, pill capsules, snacks and many other food types. These edibles tend to take longer to activate within the body - sometimes as long as two hours for onset - and produce a longer-lasting effect of up to eight hours. Cannabis-infused food products tend to release the effects in waves as the cannabinoids are processed by the stomach and digested over a 2 - 6 hour period.
In contrast, edibles designed for oral uptake can take effect almost immediately but tend to wear off within 2 - 3 hours. Oral uptake edibles are typically those that you hold in your mouth to absorb, such as suckers, lozenges, and tinctures.
What is the Difference Between Edibles and Flower?
Edibles seem to be ubiquitous with a few different associations such as the delay in the onset of effects and the subsequent longer duration high, harder-hitting effects, and lack the predictability that is often enjoyed with vaporization. But why are edibles so different? It turns out that THC that has been orally ingested takes a much different path through the body than if vaporized, transforming THC into a significantly more potent psychoactive molecule.
While vaporization elicits the effects of cannabis via the lungs and subsequent absorption into the bloodstream, edibles require the THC to travel through the digestive tract where THC is absorbed and gradually transported to the liver. It is here that the real changes happen, as the liver metabolizes THC into its derivative, 11-hydroxy-THC. From there the 11-hydroxy-THC travels through the blood-brain barrier and elicits the compounded psychoactive effects.
Vaporization vs. Edibles
As described above, when marijuana is vaped the THC is sucked into the bloodstream, however THC is an oil-soluble compound meaning that it doesn't break down well in blood. As a result, the THC looks to bind with the endocannabinoid receptors in the body giving the immediate effects, but also never realizing the opportunity to be metabolized by the gastrointestinal tract.
In contrast, when cannabis is ingested the process of breaking down the THC begins immediately with your saliva, converting into 11-hydroxy-THC once it hits the stomach and liver. According to Leafly's principal research scientist Nick Jikomes, "Now it's bound to a glucuronide compound, so it's much 'happier.' It could diffuse much, much easier across your blood-brain barrier. [Once it's metabolized] it can actually go faster into your brain and faster all the way throughout your body."
This journey explains why, although it may take longer to feel the effects of edibles, the high will last longer and feel stronger.
Effects of Edibles and What Should I Use It For?
Generally, the expected length of effects from edibles can last in the range of 6 - 8 hours. These types of products can be advantageous and preferred for patients that require a more significant period of symptomatic relief, especially when it comes to chronic pain and sleeping issues.
The high levels of THC found in edibles allow for the ideal treatment for many disorders and health conditions, including chronic pain, muscle inflammation and spasms, autoimmune disorders, nervous system disorders, insomnia, and nausea. According to Medical Jane, patients suffering from Crohn's Disease find this method of medicating extremely beneficial; most believe this is due to the fact that Crohn's Disease occurs in the GI tract which is precisely where edibles distribute cannabinoids!
Decarboxylation: Making the Product Active
While some patients might picture edibles being made directly with the flower to give it the medical benefits, the raw form of flower is not going to make a very effective product. This is because raw flower does not have activated THC present until it has been heated - this usually takes place when a patient vaporizes the product. For edibles, the THC needs to be activated through a different process as to keep the integrity of the cannabinoids and terpenes in tact.
In the raw cannabis flower, THCA - the precursor to THC - is among the most common cannabinoid available. THCA does not become bioavailable until heat converts it to its psychoactive form of THC, as described above. While this is naturally done in the process of using a vaporizer, edibles must be made using THCA that has already been converted to THC using a process is called decarboxylation. This is the difference between trying to eat the raw cannabis flower versus an activated edible.
How To Dose Marijuana Edibles
It is always recommended that, due to the more intense nature of edibles, patients start small and increase the dosage relative to your tolerance increase. There is no real set dose for a patient as the effects can vary significantly between different individuals based on body weight and BMI, metabolization rates, among several other variables.
Generally, most states such as Washington have designated 10 mg of THC as the single serving size of marijuana-infused products. However for patients beginning their cannabis journeys, it is suggested to start even smaller - somewhere around 2.5 mg - 5 mg.
As the founder of cannabis edibles company The Goodship Jody Hall states, "We're really big on micro-dosing. We really encourage people to start slow. The ongoing battle against 'edible Roulette' is real and we want to put the training wheels on that experience, the ability for people to dial in their 'zone.'"
What If I Have a Bad Experience from Marijuana Edibles?
It might be helpful to explain what a negative experience can consist of, as this idea of a "bad trip" causes understandable hesitation for patients - especially those susceptible to anxiety attacks. Possible symptoms include a numb feeling on your face, sweating, shortness of breath, and a pale look. With similarities to an anxiety episode, variables that can affect the edible experience are based on your mood and surroundings, and these psychological feelings can transform into physical symptoms of nausea and stomach pains.
Ultimately, this is why most, if not all, cannabis professionals will recommend a slow build-up of dosing. While many have suggested that CBD can be utilized to dampen the effects of the psychoactive experience, there is a possibility that CBD can actually prolong how long the THC is in the bloodstream as the entourage effect can create a synergy that boosts the efficacy of the cannabinoids.
Most importantly - drink water, lots of it. Due to THC being oil-soluble, the introduction of water can help dilute the bioavailability and ease the breakdown of the THC in your system. Make sure you find yourself in a comfortable and relaxing environment, and do something that you enjoy! A lot of these feelings are going to be psychological - there is virtually no risk of overdose - and therefore it is best to find something you love that can take your mind off of these feelings.
If you are an Ohioan suffering from one of these 21 medical conditions you may be eligible to treat your ailment with medical marijuana, which includes both THC and CBD products.
Click here to learn more about what Ohio Marijuana Card's state-certified medical marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at (1-866-457-5559) and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process, and set you up with an appointment.