Does THC always have an effect when consumed?
April 7, 2006 2:45 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone ever heard of an individual not able to experience the effects of THC after consumption?

A friend of a friend claims he can't feel the effects of cannabis when consumed, only when smoked. How is this possible, is this common?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (18 answers total)
I can only add an anecdotal data point and say that I've eaten THC to no effect.

It doesn't do much, if anything, to me when smoked, either.
posted by Zozo at 2:56 PM on April 7, 2006

Eating it doesn't do all that much for me, either -- I can kinda tell that something's a bit "off," but I don't feel high. And it tends to give me nasty stomach problems.

I get high reasonably easy when smoking it.
posted by occhiblu at 3:03 PM on April 7, 2006

Breathing smoke takes the drug to the lungs, which is then pumped through the body, including the brain, where it is absorbed by receptors and then gives the feeling of the effects. This happens in a matter of up to several minutes, and is why so many drugs are taken via smoke or inhaling.

When consummed by mouth, the drug must be digested which takes much longer. It has to go through the stomach, the digestive tract and otherwise processed. I am going to go out of my knowlegde a bit here, but I suspect that aborbtion is much slower than with alcohol as alcohol is absorbed through the mouth and stomach tissue fairly easily.

It could be your friend of the friend just is experiencing a delay in sensation, and if consuming alcohol along with the pot (or even somewhat after) may be covering the effects because it takes so much longer to feel them.

wife of 445supermag
posted by 445supermag at 3:05 PM on April 7, 2006

I feel differently high if I eat THC rather than smoking it.

That being said, I've also found it's a lot easier to get over-stoned by eating, because it comes on slow and it's easy to think "it didn't do anything, I'll have another brownie."

And then 24 hours later you're stuck on a couch, unable to move, even to change the television channel.
posted by I Love Tacos at 3:13 PM on April 7, 2006

the first time i've ever tried it was from a pot brownie and nothing happened at all except people freaking out that i actually tried it.

the second time i've ever tried it was three years later, also from a brownie. nothing happened until two hours later when i completely forgot about having tried it and was wondering why everything was starting to slow down. the effect lasted about 36 hours.
posted by sammich at 3:14 PM on April 7, 2006

I, uh, I mean a friend of mine recalls that the received folk wisdom of the day - this was about 35 years ago - was that you had to heat pot before orally consuming it, or you wouldn't get high. One would stir it dry in a skillet until it was just smoking, grind it in a mortar and pestle, and then consume it with some honey. I, I mean he, has no idea why this worked, or if it was really necessary, but recalls being ungodly stoned for much longer than if he'd simply smoked a joint.
posted by mojohand at 3:18 PM on April 7, 2006

I've heard the same mojohand. But I think it might also be due to the fact that people tend to cook when they get a big load of leaf and kiff - it makes a lot of nice green butter but it's weak as piss. Maybe if the anonymous poster's friend had a brownie cooked with wicked bud butter, they would feel it (because you'd have to be robot not to).
posted by goo at 3:24 PM on April 7, 2006

As mentioned before, it is very difficult to control dosages when prepared at home and taken orally. If he's only tried it once, he may not have consumed as much as his body is used to, or he may have underestimated how long the effects take to kick in. Or, the THC in the cooked food may have come from an inferior source (cheaper, since so much is needed), which affects the experience.

Alternatively, it's not unheard of for THC consumers to occasionally not feel the effects of their consumption. Anecdotally, I know a girl who often "doesn't feel the effects" when she is stressed out, although people around her notice a change in behavior.

On preview: was that you had to heat pot before orally consuming it, or you wouldn't get high.

That's more or less correct - I won't go into the science of activating THC, but people generally get a little high from eating fresh MJ - the effects are very very reduced, though.
posted by muddgirl at 3:24 PM on April 7, 2006

uh, *a* robot. Sheesh.
posted by goo at 3:25 PM on April 7, 2006

The answer can only be (in my somewhat... *ahem* extensive experience) that either the butter was not made properly (i.e. not heated to release the THC from the plant) or it was made far too weak to feel it. Personally, I prefer smoking because you can regulate dosage far more easily than eating it, and as someone said above, you may find yourself stuck to the couch an hour later without enough energy to even get into bed.
posted by rooftop secrets at 3:29 PM on April 7, 2006

It should be made clear you don't need to 'activate' the THC by heating, as a ganja milkshake works just fine. Or so I've heard.
posted by nomisxid at 3:51 PM on April 7, 2006

Highest I've ever been was after eating a heavy brownie. OMG. Truly, it was not pleasant: I basically sat and drooled on myself while everyone else was dancing their asses off to some great Blues. Whatta waste of a good time.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:52 PM on April 7, 2006

& before Overgrow went down, we'd have had absolutely no problem finding a definitive answer to the "need to activate?" question. A real shame to lose that resource.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:52 PM on April 7, 2006

Aside: My understanding is that THC is not really heat activated. Rather, you need to break down the cell walls prior to ingesting for your digestive system to get at the good stuff. Cooking it in butter is a great way to do this - all the THC comes out of the cells and into the butter, and butter is hella easy to digest.

I've found that it's harder to titrate an oral dose. It's easy to take too much but it's also easy to take too little, and the effect is heavily dependant on what's in your stomach and the general state of your digestive system. Also, I imagine that some people's systems are just not as good at getting the THC into the blood and then hence the brain.
posted by lemur at 4:01 PM on April 7, 2006

THC is fat (and alcohol) soluble, which is why an emulsion of marijuana in butter is a far more potent way to consume the stuff, and allows one to use otherwise wasted parts of the plant (leaves) that would be dreadful to smoke and still extract some THC. You can also make an alcohol tincture.

The highs from eating and drinking also seem to be very different for most people, pretty much as described above. Dosage regulation is definitely an issue with eating the stuff. Smoking is somewhat self-limiting (cough, cough). All kinds of new ways to enjoy the stuff these days too.

Check this out. It seems fairly accurate and comprehensive.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:19 PM on April 7, 2006

Oh, but I didn't then answer the question directly, which is this: as others said, the stuff was probably not cooked correctly, bad pot, or simply not enough was used. If you respond to the stuff when smoked, you will certainly feel it when eaten if the dosage is high enough. I know people who say they get more (or less) "paranoid" (marijuana panic syndrome!) when the eat (or smoke). I myself find the ingested high very lethargic and heavy, and really don't like it. The same exact pot will deliver an airy, euphoric high when smoked. But I think there's some variability in responsiveness for different people. One thing is for sure, though, which is that it is way possible these days to get really messed up on just pot alone if you're getting good stuff. You always wanta be careful when you try a new method (or a new bag) for the first time.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:25 PM on April 7, 2006

I know this guy who smoked 4, 5 times in his 20's in a futile attempt to feel any affects at all. Inhaled deeply, couldn't get high. Never tried the brownies, since smoking wouldn't do it.

Pissed him off, too.
posted by empyrean at 6:29 AM on April 8, 2006

Hehehe, I am somewhat bemused by the idea of people 'trying hard' to get high. It's really not that worth it, folks. Consider youself lucky that you're not trying hard to quit.
posted by lemur at 10:27 AM on April 8, 2006

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