Randomly ingesting cannabis could turn out to be a bad idea, which is why it is important to understand how it worksEating cannabis and its derivatives is something that intrigues many people. And if it interests you too, you may have already heard about food and marijuana as if its consumption is evil in some cases or without consequences in others.
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Let’s cut to the chase: is it possible to eat cannabis?The answer is yes. You can eat it. If you think about it, cannabis products have been part of our ancestors ‘diet’ for thousands of years: marijuana was also used in Chinese and Indian medicine and only reached the West in the 1800s. In particular, it was used to treat various ailments, such as physical pain, stress, anxiety and digestive problems. But in addition to being a powerful medicine, marijuana was also consumed in various forms: a case in point is bhang, a drink made from hemp flowers and leaves, typical of religious festivals. Today, it is possible to consume edible cannabis products legally, but, at this point, the question arises: what are the consequences and effects on the human body?
Eating cannabis: a solution that tends to be less harmful than smokingAlthough most people only think of smoking weed when it comes to consuming cannabis, this is not the healthiest option, especially for patients who use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Let me explain. Inhaling hot smoke has been shown to affect the respiratory tract negatively and can be particularly problematic for people with asthma. Eating cannabis products, on the other hand, offers an alternative for those who want to avoid the potentially harmful effects of weed inhalation while still enjoying all the medical benefits that cannabis can offer. Moreover, for some, edibles are easier to consume because they leave little or no trace, which makes them a discreet and easily transportable method of enjoying cannabis, compared to smoking or vaping. How? Smoking requires specific tools (such as a lighter), while blowpipes and complex dabbing equipment can be intimidating for novice users. Finally, there is another aspect to be considered. When cannabis is smoked or vaped, cannabinoids quickly enter the lungs and go through the bloodstream, first to the brain and then to the rest of the body. In contrast, edible THC enters the digestive tract and is metabolised in the liver before reaching the rest of the body. Why is this important? THC is processed in the liver and, to some extent, ‘enhanced’: this form of THC is known as 11-hydroxy-THC and takes between 30 and 90 minutes to enter the bloodstream, while the effect lasts between six and eight hours. However, the onset time and duration of the effect depend on many factors, such as:
- the size of the dose
- the general tolerance;
- the unique metabolism of the user and the endocannabinoid system.
Cannabis and digestion: what are the consequences?There is no doubt that the relationship between cannabis and the human body is complex. Given that the interactions between cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system are primarily responsible for how we react, there is clear that there is much to discover about the effects of cannabis. However, one aspect that is attracting much interest is the effect of marijuana on the digestive system. As already mentioned, marijuana interacts primarily with the endocannabinoid system, which consists of receptors throughout the body, particularly in the brain, central nervous system and digestive system. By observing the interaction of cannabinoids with the body, it was concluded that the effects could be positive and negative in people and vary depending on the individual and their reaction. So, given the presence of receptors in the digestive tract, one has to ask: can marijuana cause digestive problems? Although it seems that marijuana may have some potential to stimulate digestion, it has shortcomings and can cause some short- and long-term side effects. Of course, these are not severe or life-threatening, but marijuana consumption may not suit everyone, especially regarding digestive problems. Remember that THC-rich marijuana can increase the release of ghrelin, a hormone that can stimulate appetite. But it may also have the opposite effect. Everyone reacts differently to cannabis: in addition to being stimulated, appetite can also be suppressed by the herb. As we have said, this may seem like a contradiction. But we have reiterated that the effects are entirely subjective and depend on several factors, such as:
- nausea associated with consuming large amounts of marijuana;
- the anxiety and nervousness associated with THC consumption.
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