Smoking is arguably the most popular way of using cannabis. The practice has been around for millennia, and avid smokers see no reason to change things up. But in states like Utah, where smoking cannabis is illegal, medical cannabis users can dry heat flower or use a vaping product. Either way, they enjoy the same immediate effects as smokers.
Have you ever wondered why that is? It has to do with how THC enters the bloodstream. The faster it gets in, the faster you start feeling the effects of the drug. Inhalation works so well because it delivers THC very quickly. The only other methods that works nearly as fast are dabbing and using a tincture.
A Pathway Through the Lungs
The lungs are somewhat unique in that they are designed to offer a direct pathway to the bloodstream. As you breathe, oxygen passes into your lungs, through the alveoli, and into blood vessels that carry it right to your brain. It turns out that your lungs are literally covered in alveoli. They offer a tremendous amount of surface area to capture oxygen molecules.
Guess what? THC molecules from smoke or vapor can travel through the alveoli just as quickly and easily as oxygen. Because the pathway is so direct, inhaled THC hits the bloodstream almost instantly. Then it is off to the brain at breakneck speed.
As THC flows through the bloodstream, it attaches to cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. Most of those receptors are in or near the brain, but there are others found in a variety of other locations. For example, there are cannabinoid receptors in the digestive system. That is why some medical cannabis users say the drug helps control nausea and vomiting.
Other Delivery Methods
THC’s effects are felt almost instantly when you inhale. But what about other delivery methods? They all have their own activation times based on how they get THC into the bloodstream. This post has already mentioned dabbing and tinctures, so more detail on them is appropriate:
- Dabbing – Dabbing is a method of flash vaporizing a THC concentrate using high heat. While it is technically not the same as smoking or vaping, you are still inhaling when you practice dabbing.
- Tinctures – Tinctures are concentrated oils taken orally. You just put a drop or two under your tongue and away you go. This is another method for delivering fast affects because the gums absorb THC pretty quickly.
If you are not into inhaling smoke, vapor, or the results of dabbing, your best bet for fast-acting delivery is a tincture. If you are looking for something that acts more slowly but lasts longer, consider an edible product.
Slow and Steady
The people behind Beehive Farmacy, a Brigham City, UT medical cannabis pharmacy, say edible products can best be described as a slow and steady way to use cannabis. Utah regulations allow for edible products like gummies, capsules, and tablets. They do not allow cannabis-infused beverages, cookies, brownies, etc.
At any rate, the effects of an edible product can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to kick in. That is because the body has to begin digesting the food before THC can be absorbed through the stomach and carried into the bloodstream. However, the effects can last up to three hours or more. By contrast, the effects of inhaling usually wear off in 30 minutes or less.
Now you know the secret to how inhaled THC makes you feel so good so quickly. It is all about getting the drug into the bloodstream in the fastest and most efficient way.