Delta-8 has earned a reputation as a gentler alternative to traditional THC products thanks to its mellow euphoria and lower risk of adverse effects. But not all Delta-8-THC products are made equally, and some people say that edibles products provide a particularly intense kick compared to other dosing styles. So, what's the deal? Are Delta-8 edibles stronger than flower and vapes? And if so, do they need to be dosed differently?
The answer is yes, Delta-8 edibles may hit harder than other dosing methods and some people find that a smaller dose is necessary. Of course, Delta-8-THC edibles are still less potent than Delta-9 edibles, so they may still be a great way to reach that mild buzz that D8 can provide. Before you grab your next Delta-8 edible dose, here’s what to know:Table of Contents
To put it briefly, Delta-8 edibles have more potent effects because of the way they are metabolized. Unlike inhaled doses, like from Delta-8 flower or vapes, Delta-8-THC edibles need to pass through the digestive tract before they can be absorbed. The digestive process changes a number of things about the Delta-8 experience.
For one, it means that Delta-8 edibles take a lot longer to kick in. While inhaled doses can hit you almost instantly, it takes up to 90 minutes for an edible dose of Delta-8 to be absorbed. This obviously impacts the intensity of effects, although you could hypothesize that it would actually make them lessintense.
When Delta-8-THC is taken orally, however, much more of the Delta-8 reaches the liver than when it is smoked or vaped. In the liver, THC is quickly converted into a substance called 11-hydroxy-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the substance that may be responsible for the more robust effects of edible doses. Although THC metabolism is similar regardless of the delivery method, edible doses result in much higher levels of 11-hydroxy-THC than inhaled doses.
11-hydroxy-THC is a THC metabolite that's known for potentially having extremely potent psychoactive effects, although research is really lacking in this area. In fact, almost all of the research regarding 11-hydroxy-THC has to do with the detection of the metabolite. Most drug tests, especially urine tests, actually look for 11-hydroxy-THC instead of Delta-9-THC itself. (Because Delta-8-THC also metabolizes into 11-hydroxy-THC, it could also trigger a positive drug test result, but that's beside the point.)
The fact is, Delta-8-THC is thought to turn into 11-hydroxy-THC in the gut just like Delta-9, and that metabolite is then absorbed by the body and it gets you high. Only it's thought to be much stronger than regular old Delta-9-THC, which means it's significantly more potent than Delta-8. In one study, participants reported experiencing significantly stronger psychoactive effects from an intravenous dose of just 1 mg of 11-hydroxy-THC than they previously had experienced from smoking cannabis.
This evidence is incredibly subjective, of course, but it's really the only research we have to help us understand the potency of the THC metabolite. However, most anecdotal reports support the claim that edibles are in fact stronger than inhaled doses, and they also claim that they provide a different psychoactive experience.
In addition to being stronger, the effects from a THC edible are just different. There's really no research to describe how or why and the effects are different, but many people report that traditional edibles provide a hard-hitting, “couch-lock” sort of high, especially at higher doses.
It's uncertain whether Delta-8-THC edibles do the same thing since Delta-8 is already much less likely to produce sedative-like effects than Delta-9. Still, keep in mind that Delta-8 edibles’ effects may be a little different than what you experience after smoking Delta-8 flower.
Now that you know why Delta-8 edibles may have more intense effects than other dosing methods, you may be wondering if you need to take smaller edible doses to avoid overdoing it. While some people do find that smaller Delta-8 doses get them to the level of "lift" they desire, others simply describe the edible experience as being different, even at lower doses. Unfortunately, there's no research to help us understand the true intensity of the effects of Delta-8 edibles (or other dosing methods for that matter). In other words, you may need to do some experimenting to figure out what Delta-8-THC edible dosage you need. It's also true that you may find smaller digestible doses to be as potent as larger inhaled or sublingual doses.
Some people can start with doses as low as 5 mg while others enjoy potent edibles doses at 50 mg of Delta 8. It really depends on unique factors like your tolerance to THC, your body weight, and the level of intensity you desire.
Still, if you're a new Delta-8 consumer, it's probably best to start with small doses and work your way up. For most people, a 10 mg Delta-8-THC gummy is a perfect starting point that provides a mild to moderate euphoric experience. Be sure to wait at least 90 minutes to monitor the full effects of each dose before you decide whether your dosage needs to be increased.
To learn more, read “How Much Delta-8 Should I Take?”
Delta-8-THC edibles are not only stronger than other dosing methods, but they also have longer lasting effects. Again, it's because of the way that edibles are absorbed. Because they are processed by digestion, which can take well over an hour, it takes much longer for Delta-8 edibles to kick in, but also longer for Delta-8 to leave the body.
The effects from Delta-8-THC edibles can last anywhere from 3 to 8 hours, and most people experience effects for around 5 to 6 hours after an edible dose kicks in. Of course, the intensity and duration of effects depends heavily on how much Delta-8-THC you consume.
The duration of the effects also depend on your metabolism, what you've eaten, or how much physical activity you do. Being physically active speeds up your metabolism, which can mean Delta-8 exits the body faster and has shorter lived effects. Taking your edible with a meal can slow down digestion and make the effects take effect more slowly and last longer.
So, most traditional edibles will hit hard and last a while, but that’s not the case for all Delta-8-THC edibles. Sublingual edibles, a unique dosing style where a Delta-8 edible melts in your mouth and is absorbed sublingually, are able to bypass a lot of the digestive process. This method will still produce somewhat higher levels of 11-hydroxy-THC than smoking flower, but there are a few key differences to consider.
First, sublingual edibles take effect quickly because Delta-8 is immediately absorbed into the bloodstream through the mucous membranes in the mouth. The experience may also be more similar to the “usual” euphoria since most of what gets absorbed is actually Delta-8 and not a THC metabolite.
Still, some of a sublingual product is swallowed and processed by digestion, leading to effects that hit a little harder and last a little longer. In other words, a sublingual product is a great “middle ground” between traditional edibles and fast-acting dosing methods like smoking or vaping Delta-8.
Sublingual-style edibles are a fan favorite because they can take effect in as little as half an hour and make Delta-8 dosing convenient and delicious. We recommend our 10 mg Delta-8 Caramels for beginners, or check out our 25 mg Delta-8-THC Chews for a heavier dose. Or, check out our Elev8 Collection to see our full edible lineup. No matter what you choose, our Delta-8-THC edibles can take you on a smooth lift through time and space, just be sure to adjust your dose accordingly.
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