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Why You Shouldn't Take Edibles On An Empty Stomach?

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By Author: Stephen Robert
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Should you take marijuana edibles on an empty stomach? If you ask an expert this question, they will most definitely say no. You should only take them if you eat first, unless you want to experience bad effects like paranoia and anxiety. This is indeed considered universal advise. Cannabis taken on an empty stomach will hit you too hard and give intense effects.

Edibles and Cannabinoid Absorption

Why does this happen? Is it because of THC or is there another deeper, more viable reason? We should consider that there are factors that affect cannabinoid absorption.
In order to understand the absorption of cannabinoids from marijuana edibles, it is important to first understand some basic concepts of drug absorption and how it is affected by food.

First off, drug absorption happens in the small intestine, and not in the stomach as many people wrongly perceive. The stomach is merely a reservoir which slowly and steadily releases partially-digested food into the small intestine. When you eat a meal, gastric emptying is slowed, limiting the drug’s movement to the small intestine where it is absorbed.

Drugs should be in a solution for it to be absorbed; absorbing them in a solid state is not possible. A drug with low solubility will take longer to get absorbed. Because they are lipophilic, cannabinoids have low solubility. When you eat a meal, the gallbladder releases bile acids that help solubilize molecules which then increases the absorption rate and extent.

Permeability is the term for the ability of a drug to cross the lipid membrane. It depends on several things like molecule size, lipophilicity and charge. A high permeability is good for drug absorption. There are drug transporters in the intestines that affect the absorption of cannabinoid, but this is a whole new story.

Food and Cannabinoid Absorption

A study was performed to test the effect of food in the absorption of a cannabis extract. This extract is called Sativex, which has a 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC. Although it is an oral spray, the researchers assumed that its results should be typical to marijuana edibles since sprays end up getting swallowed anyway.

The subjects were administered four sprays that contained about 10 milligrams of CBD and 10 milligrams of THC under two conditions. The first is that subjects had no food 10 hours before the administration and 4 hours afterwards. Second is subjects had a high-fat meal 30 minutes before the dose is administered.

Results of the study showed that CBD and THC were quickly absorbed into the subjects who faster, with peak plasma concentrations at just 90 minutes. Those who were fed took longer to absorb the cannabinoids, with peak plasma concentrations four hours after dosing. Also, subjects who ate a meal prior to dosing had more cannabinoids absorbed.

The best takeaway from this all is to follow the advice of the experts when it comes to consuming edibles. Start out slow and go slow. Always take the edibles after a good meal, preferably one that contains fat to stimulate bile acid increase. Peak concentrations should be reached in four hours, but this can be different on everyone.

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