Three Reasons Your Edible Isn’t Working — And What to Do If It’s Working Too Well

Edibles are a wild frontier of cannabis. With so many variables, flavors, and combinations, they can be hard to resist. But what if you rush home with that tantalizing bar, nom down the recommended dose, and then… nothing happens? Or, on the flip side, what if effects kick in hard and it’s all just too much? Don’t panic. Here are three reasons your edible isn’t working — and what to do if it’s working too well.

Understanding the Process

First, it’s important to understand how our bodies process ingested cannabis. It’s different than other consumption methods that are absorbed into the bloodstream via the lungs. That brings about a fast, fairly predictable reaction. Ingesting is a whole new ball game, because the active ingredients are metabolized via the digestive tract. That means cannabinoids are absorbed through the intestines, where they move into the liver, and then into the bloodstream to spread across the body. In the liver, something special happens. THC is converted into an entirely new compound — 11-hydroxy THC, which is wildly intoxicating.

This is why the name of the game with edibles is start low and go slow. The process as a whole takes time, and letting your impatience get the best of you can set you up for a high that’s so heavy, it’s not even fun anymore.

Let’s look at the three most common culprits that lead people to believe their edibles aren’t working.

    • You haven’t waited long enough. Patience is a virtue, and that’s definitely true when you’re consuming an edible. Depending on when you last ate (before the edible), it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours to start feeling anything. So just get comfy and wait it out.
    • Your dose was off. Let’s say you wait patiently for hours and you’re still not feeling anything. In that case, your dose might have been too low — even if you followed the recommendations on the packaging. It’s a bummer, and it boils down to the variability inherent to edibles. Different people are going to have different reactions, and that’s just prt of the experience. It’s still important to start low and go slow. If you don’t feel anything after a few hours, take another small dose — think two to three mg — and see how it goes.
    • You ate your edible on an empty stomach. It’s a common misconception that downing an edible on an empty stomach is going to mean a faster, strong high. Nope! Cannabinoids actually have pretty poor bioavailability (a fancy word that describes how much of the compound your body actually processes) when you eat them. But pairing them with fatty foods can improve that. So if you’re really going for it, enjoy that edible alongside something like a nut butter, cheese, avocado, or full-fat dairy.

Too Much, Too Much

Now, if impatience got the best of you or that bar was just so good that you couldn’t stop at one square as recommended, you might be dealing with effects that are way too much. Try not to panic. Remember that this too shall pass, and your best bet is to drink some water, chew on black peppercorns if they’re handy (definitely rough, but the caryophyllene can help temper your high), or take some CBD if you have it. Otherwise, look for an easy distraction, like a funny movie. And let that be a lesson! Respect the edible next time, all right?

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