If you're eyeing your Delta-8-THC Gummies and wondering "Can I take Delta-8 on an empty stomach?" you should know that the answer is yes, you can take Delta-8 without food...but should you?
Some reports suggest that taking cannabis edibles on an empty stomach can result in fast-acting effects, which sounds enticing. It may even be true, but the general consensus is that you should always eat before consuming THC, especially if you plan to take a THC edible.
Of course, most of the anecdotal (and science-based) evidence surrounds traditional Delta-9 products. How does Delta-8-THC compare? And is it really necessary to take it with food?
Here, we dig into the science to find out. Here's what we know:
Table of ContentsTaking Cannabis Edibles on an Empty Stomach
Many reports suggest that eating an edible on an empty stomach will make you feel its effects quicker, and that the effects will be even more potent. Both of these things are likely true, but taking an edible on an empty stomach is an ill-advised tactic.
Well, the effects areknown to be stronger, but generally in the paranoia-inducing kind of way. Taking edibles on an empty stomach often leads to an unpleasant experience where the euphoria comes on fast and hard, which can be overwhelming for some people. THC edibles are already thought to be a “stronger” dosing method because 11-hydroxy-THC, the primary THC metabolite created as THC is digested, is thought to have stronger euphoric effects than THC alone.
Of course, it's becoming well known that Delta-8-THC is not nearly as likely to cause paranoia or anxiety as Delta-9-THC. So, will Delta 8 cause the same harsh effects as Delta-9 when taken on an empty stomach?
The truth is, we don't actually know, but there still may be benefits to taking Delta-8-THC with food. Let’s discuss:
Generally speaking you may want to take Delta-8 with food for the same reason you take any medication with food. Having food in your stomach reduces the chance of certain side effects, like stomach irritation, indigestion, or nausea.
Another important point is that Delta-8-THC is fat soluble, which means taking them alongside a meal containing healthy fats can help your body absorb the Delta-8-THC more efficiently.
Mostly, though, you may want to take Delta-8-THC with food because it provides more consistent, less overwhelming effects, which can really maximize your Delta-8 experience. It may even make your Delta-8 experience last longer. We’ll break it down by explaining how Delta-8 absorption is impacted by the food (or lack thereof) in your stomach:
In general, drug absorption doesn't happen in the stomach, but in the small intestine. The stomach only digests the food partially, and then passes it into the small intestine to be digested further.
Eating a meal before taking an edible will slow the rate at which the stomach empties the THC-laced edible into the small intestine, which essentially slows the rate at which THC is converted into a THC metabolite and absorbed into the bloodstream. Studies show that THC alone can slow the rate of gastric emptying by half, but this of course doesn't apply until the THC is already absorbed.
By pairing your Delta-8 edible with a stomach full of food you’re essentially “pacing” the rate at which THC is passed from the stomach to the small intestine, which leads to more consistent effects like we described above. This way, Delta-8-THC won’t hit you all at once and make you feel overwhelmed.
Furthermore, Delta-9-THC and other cannabinoids have low solubility in water, which means that they are broken down and absorbed slowly. It's believed that Delta-8-THC reacts the same way as Delta-9, but more research is needed in this area.
The gallbladder is responsible for releasing bile, an acidic substance that helps to break down components that are otherwise insoluble, like cannabinoids. Of course, the gallbladder only releases bile as needed, and bile is not released in sufficient amounts when the stomach is empty.
That means that taking Delta-8-THC or any other cannabinoid after eating may result in increased bile release, which in turn can result in increased solubility and a faster rate of absorption for THC. Contrary to the popular belief that taking Delta-8 with food will slow absorption, it actually can help make absorption more efficient and consistent.
All of this describes the way that Delta-8-THC interacts with an empty or full stomach, but let’s turn to some research to understand the impact of food on THC absorption a little better.
To better understand the impact of eating a meal alongside your Delta-8-THC dose, let’s look at a related study regarding the impact of food on the absorption of Sativex, a prescription drug containing THC and CBD in a 1:1 ratio.
First, we’d like to point out that this research looks at Delta-9-THC and CBD, and there are currently no equivalent studies concerning Delta-8. Still, Delta-8 is thought to metabolize in a similar manner to Delta-9, which means it becomes 11-hydroxy-THC (a THC metabolite) in the gut. That means that this research can still give us clues to explain how Delta-8-THC reacts to food or to an empty stomach.
In this study, participants were separated into two groups: fed and fasted. The “fed” group contained subjects who had eaten a high-fat meal within 30 minutes before taking a 4-spray Sativex dose. The “fasted” group had not eaten at least 10 hours prior to taking the same dose, and did not eat for at least four hours after dosing.
The fasted group experienced rapid absorption, where they reached peak plasma concentration of the cannabinoids in only 1.5 hours. Alternately, the fed group did not experience peak concentrations until around the 4-hour mark.
The study revealed something else of importance—the fed group experienced higher bioavailability from the same Sativex dose, meaning the total amount of cannabinoids that were absorbed was higher. In fact, THC absorption was observed to be 2.8 times higher in the fed group than in the fasted group.
The results from the Sativex study show that there are significant advantages of taking traditional THC alongside food, and it’s safe to assume that the same is true for Delta-8-THC. This is especially true for Delta-8 edibles, which tend to hit hard and fast when taken on an empty stomach.
Other types of Delta-8-THC products, like flower and oils, may not necessarily be impacted the same way by food because they are not typically absorbed in the gut. Of course, eating consistent, healthy meals can have other advantages that improve your Delta-8 experience, like keeping your blood sugar consistent and avoiding stomach irritation.
Either way, if you’re planning on taking a Delta-8-THC edible, we definitely recommend taking it alongside (or after) a balanced meal, even if it's a small one. And if you’re looking for powerful and potent Delta-8-THC edibles you can buy online, we recommend checking out our Elev8 Collection.
Not sure where to start? Check out our Delta-8-THC Edibles Buyer’s Guide.
Comments will be approved before showing up.