Detailing The Metabolism of Edible Cannabis in Humans

Detailing The Metabolism of Edible Cannabis in Humans

Detailing The Metabolism of Edible Cannabis in Humans

Certainly, let’s delve into a more detailed process of the metabolism of edible cannabinoids in the human body, focusing primarily on delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC):

1. Ingestion and Absorption:
– When you consume an edible containing THC, it first enters the gastrointestinal tract.
– The edible is broken down in the stomach, and THC, along with other compounds in the edible, is released.

2. Absorption in the Small Intestine:
– THC is absorbed into the bloodstream primarily in the small intestine.
– This absorption process can be relatively slow, leading to a delayed onset of effects compared to smoking or vaping.

3. Distribution:
– Once in the bloodstream, THC is carried throughout the body.
– It can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the central nervous system, leading to its psychoactive effects.

4. Metabolism in the Liver:
– The liver plays a critical role in the metabolism of THC. It contains enzymes, particularly cytochrome P450, that break down THC into various metabolites.
– The primary metabolite produced in this process is 11-hydroxy-THC, which is more potent than THC itself and can contribute to the overall effects.
– Other metabolites include 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC (THC-COOH), which is not psychoactive and is often used in drug tests to detect cannabis use.

5. Metabolism Pathways:
– THC metabolism follows two primary pathways:
– Hydroxylation: THC is converted into 11-hydroxy-THC.
– Oxidation: THC is transformed into THC-COOH, which is water-soluble and can be excreted more easily in urine.

6. Duration of Effects:
– The effects of edible cannabinoids can last longer than those from smoking or vaping due to the slower absorption and extended metabolism in the liver.
– The duration of effects can vary widely depending on factors like the dose, individual tolerance, and the presence of other cannabinoids in the edible.

7. Excretion:
– After metabolism, THC and its metabolites are excreted from the body.
– THC-COOH, the non-psychoactive metabolite, is primarily eliminated through urine. This is why drug tests often look for the presence of THC-COOH to detect cannabis use.

It’s important to note that individual variations can significantly impact the metabolism of cannabinoids. Factors such as genetics, liver health, and other medications a person might be taking can influence the rate at which THC is metabolized. This variability can result in different experiences and durations of effects among individuals when consuming edible cannabinoids.

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