Why Don’t Edibles Get Me High?

There’s no shortage of compelling reasons to enjoy your marijuana in the form of cannabis-infused edibles, rather than smoking or vaping it. The full-body high you can get from edibles and the fact that many people find these tasty treats easier to consume have got to top the list, along with concerns over lung health.

All the benefits of edibles go right out the window if they don’t do what you want them to — get you high — though! 

You might just have had one single underwhelming experience with cannabis-infused edibles. If you’re really unlucky, you might even have tried to get high from edibles more times than you can count, without success each time. 

If this is you, you want to know why. Are the edibles defective, or are you doing something wrong? 

edibles meme

Types of Cannabis Edibles: An Overview

The name “edibles” is a little deceptive, as the term covers marijuana-infused foods as well as drinks, and it usually refers specifically to high-THC strains that aim to get you high. As the liberating wave of cannabis legalization continues to sweep the globe, edibles aren’t just gaining in popularity.

New and exciting options are also rapidly entering the commercial market, and more and more exciting recipes are easily found online for folks who like to do a little home cooking. 

Among the types of edibles you can try out today are:

  • The classics — marijuana brownies, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, and other baked goods. 
  • Marijuana-infused chocolates, best enjoyed from commercial sources unless you are a master chef
  • Cannabis gummies and hard candies
  • Cannabis ice cream
  • Weed peanut butter, a highly versatile spreadable edible!
  • An endless selection of savory edibles that can include pizza, chips, casseroles, weed popcorn, and much more — the sky is the limit, or rather, your imagination is
  • Weed-infused beverages containing THC syrups that range from energy drinks to tea, coffee, and sodas

There’s an edible for everyone, but not all edibles are made in the same way. 

Cannabutter forms the basis of most marijuana-infused baked goods, like cookies and brownies. This cannabis-infused butter can be made at home quite easily with buds and an appliance like the Magical Butter Machine or the Ardent. Baked goods made with cannabutter are also available commercially.

Cannabis-infused oil can also be used in many of the same cases, but it’s more versatile — allowing you to cook savory dishes with a high THC content or to make things like salad dressings or a nice THC maple syrup to add to your pancakes. Vegan? No worries, there are coconut oil-based vegan canna-oil infusions for you too!

To create edibles like drinks and gummies, you need cannabis extract, which is a tincture. This is also the key “fun” ingredient in commercially available THC syrups as well.  

In today’s world, many of these products are commercially available from legal dispensaries — while those who are feeling adventurous can get to work on creating new recipes in their own kitchens. 

Making edibles is actually quite simple, all you need is cannabis and some way to decarboxylate it, which is the process of heating it enough to active all that THC goodness. This can be done with a dedicated decarboxylation oven or you can do it in a slow-cooker and mason jar on the cheap if you don’t want to buy a new appliance.

making your own edibles

How Does Your Body Process Edibles?

When you smoke or vape weed, the cannabis and all its glorious active components first meet your lungs, and then enter your bloodstream soon after. Consuming cannabis edibles sets you up for a bit of a detour, and this is why edibles are known to take longer to kick in — while simultaneously rewarding you with a more intense high that lasts longer. 

When you eat or drink a cannabis-infused treat like a brownie or some candies, the cannabis will have to get past your mouth, into your esophagus, and rest in your stomach for a bit until it reaches the intestines. From there, your liver will take charge, processing the active components (THC, CBD, terpenes, flavonoids…). You’ll feel the high you were after only when the cannabis reaches your bloodstream. 

Experienced cannabis enthusiasts will know that this process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. Novices? Well, you certainly wouldn’t be the first to think “wow, this is doing nothing for me”, eat more, and be hit by the most intense high of your life hours later. 

That doesn’t always happen, though. If your edibles don’t seem to be getting you high, there’s something wrong. 

Diagnosing the issue can be tricky, so our “hemp help desk” is here at your service. 

1. You’re Simply Impatient

On the off chance that you’re reading this right as you’re waiting for your edibles to kick in, you might simply not have given it enough time. The golden rule is that you probably won’t get high if it hasn’t happened after three hours. Before that time, there’s still a chance. If you’ve had a decent dose, make sure to wait it out, or the effects may get too strong for your liking. 

2. You’ve Used Ground Buds

For the DIY crowd, it’s crucial to know that you can’t just grind your cannabis, add it to any recipe, and expect to get high. You first need to decarboxylate (or activate) the active components. This can be done with edibles machines or even in a Mason jar, but it does have to be done. Otherwise, your “edibles” won’t get you high. The cannabis is in there, but it hasn’t been activated. Try again, and achieve better results.

3. Your Dose Was Too Low

For the record, the standard dose for edibles is 10 to 15 milligrams of THC per serving — and this can be a helpful starting guide if you are new to edibles. Some people need much less to get high, and those lucky folks may get away with adding only 5 or so milligrams to their edibles and still get a nice high. Others need much more, even as much as 30 milligrams. That’s because everyone’s body responds slightly differently. 

You know the old saying. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. If you’re not getting high, you might need to up your dose. 

Remember this — if you smoke or vape weed, you’ll get about 50 to 60 percent of the active components, like THC, into your bloodstream. With edibles, that percentage drops to 10 or 20, because your body filters some of that stuff out with every step in the digestive system. That’s why you cannot eat the same amount of weed as you’d smoke and still expect to feel the effects.

Take it slow. Add a little more each time, until you get the desired effect.

4. You Took CBD Edibles

While high-THC cannabis is still slightly harder to come by, CBD has taken the world by storm in all its various forms. Available legally in a wide variety of places, CBD edibles might prominently feature cannabis plants on the packaging — potentially “tricking” people into thinking that they are buying edibles that will get them high.

CBD edibles will offer you many of the medicinal benefits of cannabis — like relief from chronic pain, insomnia, or anxiety. They won’t, however, get you high. In some cases, the reason you’re not getting high from your edibles really is this simple. You might not have consumed THC edibles at all.

On a related note, people who are buying ready-made edibles from, ehm, creative sources might not know what they’re actually getting. Doing this has two potential drawbacks. Your high could be different and more intense than what you were going for, to be sure. More often, though, the edibles won’t be nearly as potent as advertised. Try making your own edibles next time, or instead buy your cannabis-infused edibles from a legal dispensary to be sure you’re getting exactly what you asked for.

5. You’re Consuming Edibles on a Full Stomach

You know the deal with alcohol — everyone’s warned to not drink on an empty stomach because that causes them to get much drunker, much faster. The same thing goes for edibles. If you’ve enjoyed weed brownies on a bursting stomach after scooping up a four-course meal beforehand, your edibles will take longer to kick in. The effect will also be significantly weaker, to the point where you might not feel much at all. 

The regular trope would be to halve your dose if you’re planning on eating (or drinking) edibles on an empty stomach to get the same effect. If you’re not getting high at all after eating edibles on a full stomach, though, you might want to add a little more weed and then enjoy your edibles on an empty stomach. 

eating homemade edibles

Herb CEO Summary

Some people will ultimately discover that they simply prefer to smoke or vape their cannabis to get a consistent and fast high. In most cases, however, the problem of not getting high from THC edibles can be fixed. 

The problem might be with you — your body needs a higher dose for the effects to be felt, or you have been eating edibles on a full stomach, reducing the bioavailable cannabis that will actually reach your bloodstream. 

It might also lie with your edibles. The dose you took was too low for your body to process and get that high, or you might have been consuming regular weed or even CBD edibles. 

The potential effects of edibles are worth some experimentation, and you might well discover that your issue is easy to fix!

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