Have you ever been perplexed by the fact that smoking cannabis feels so dissimilar to ingesting it? You’ve most likely never heard of 11-hydroxy-metabolite, also known as 11-OH-THC.
Because of this, 11-hydroxy-metabolite, also known as 11-hydroxy-THC and 11-OH-THC, is the fundamental difference between smoking or vaping cannabis and eating cannabis gummies.
So, what exactly is it?
What is 11-Hydroxy-Metabolite? (or 11-OH-THC, 11-Hydroxy-THC)
Do you know what pharmacokinetics is? It’s a term used in science to describe the path that various substances traverse inside our bodies before being digested.
In a nutshell, the method we ingest cannabis affects the type and concentration of cannabinoids produced in our bodies, which affects the intensity of the drug and our experience.
When we smoke cannabis, for example, cannabinoids and other compounds pass via our lungs, then through the bloodstream to the brain, and eventually to the rest of the body.
Cannabinoids are absorbed by the bloodstream, unlike marijuana edibles. It then travels through the bloodstream to the liver and the rest of the body, where it is further digested by the digestive system.
And the important part – when you ingest cannabis, THC is converted into 11-hydroxy-metabolite, producing a significantly more intense experience.
How THC Turns Into 11-Hydroxy-Metabolite
THC goes via the gastrointestinal tract after being consumed, where enzymes break it down before it reaches our liver.
By adding more enzymes to the equation, the body continues to metabolize the food and various cannabis compounds.
THC enters the bloodstream and is digested within the central nervous system, triggering a few final steps in the digestion process.
It’s visually shown in the diagram above. THC (also known as Delta-9-THC) is transformed to 11-OH-THC (11-hydroxy-metabolite) by the liver and subsequently stored as THC-COOH in our fat cells shortly after THCA.
It’s also worth noting that THC doesn’t exist in dry marijuana plants; instead, THCA exists.
Isn’t it a lot to take in?
Here are the distinctions between THCA, THC, and 11-hydroxy-metabolite to make things easier to understand.
Differences Between THCA, THC and 11-Hydroxy-Metabolite
THCA is actually the precursor to THC
It’s probably best to think of THCA as the show’s lead-in, or opening act.
THC in the form of THCA is non-psychoactive and cannot be smoked.
This chemical changes to THC as raw cannabis plants dry in warmer conditions or when heated to higher temperatures. When you smoke or vape dry marijuana, you’re speeding up the process of decarboxylation (a fancy phrase for turning THCA to THC via heat) to achieve your high.
What’s more, there’s even better news. It’s one of our little miracle plant’s most abundant cannabinoids.
11-OH-THC is stronger than THC
The major difference between edibles and smoking or vaping is that edibles deliver more Delta-9-THC (THC) to the liver, where it is metabolized to 11-hydroxy-THC. When you smoke, the ratio of 11-hydroxy-THC to Delta-9-THC is fairly low, however it is significantly higher when you eat an edible.
Subjects were given 1mg of THC and 11-OH-THC intravenously in one trial comparing the two. Subjects felt the effects of straight 11-OH-THC very immediately, with a peak experience two to three minutes after consumption.
It was obvious after three rounds of 1mg THC and 11-OH-THC doses that the 11-hydroxy-metabolite had a stronger and faster overall effect than its THC (Delta-9-THC) counterpart.
So, why is any of this important? Why is it important to understand the variations between each type of THC?
Two main reasons:
1) The Effects Feel Different
There are far too many components and variables in this equation for the human body, and with such a wide range of edible items, from tinctures and gummies to hummus and guacamole, no two user experiences will be identical or completely predictable.
Take into account your weight, age, tolerance, amount of physical activity, and even what you ate or drank earlier that day. This means that you may encounter ‘symptoms’ that last longer than four hours or, on the other hand, a really pleasant experience.
When smoking, you can expect fast-acting effects. There are millions of alveoli b in the lungs, making it very easy for chemical compounds to enter the body, thus being experienced faster.
2) The Onset Time
You may have to wait anything from 30 minutes to almost two hours to enjoy an edible, which is quite unpredictable. However, once the 11-hydroxy-metabolite enters the brain, the psychedelic effect might continue up to 8 hours.
However, consuming or vaping cannabis reduces the amount of time spent in flow to approximately two hours at most.
11-Hydroxy-Metabolite Puts the Power in Edibles
So, given that eating cannabis edibles causes your body to produce 11-hydroxy-metabolite, which is significantly more potent than THC, how can you reap the benefits of eating cannabis without going overboard or incurring negative consequences?
Getting informed is, of course, the ideal solution. Because of their discreet nature, medical users have always preferred edibles to smoking. Furthermore, it is gentler on the lungs and eliminates the need to inhale potentially harmful toxins.
Given its potency on its own, it’s not completely safe, so keep an eye out for a more comprehensive edibles guidance for first-timers.
Thank you for taking the time to read! POTENT PEAK will keep you updated on the latest cannabis news.
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