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Top 3 Reasons Cannabis Edibles Are So Inconsistent

Cannabis edibles have gained significant popularity over the years due to their discreet and convenient nature, allowing users to consume them on-the-go without attracting unwanted attention. However, one of the most significant drawbacks of edibles is the inconsistency in their effects, even when consuming products from the same brand. 

In this article, we explore the top three reasons why cannabis edibles are so inconsistent.

Inaccurate Dosing

One of the primary reasons for inconsistency in cannabis edibles is inaccurate dosing. Cannabis edibles are infused with a specific amount of cannabinoids (measured in milligrams). These are supposed to be consistent throughout the entire product. However, many edibles are still made by mixing cannabis-infused oils or butter into food items. This decision can often save on cost of goods. But, it can also lead to an uneven distribution of cannabinoids throughout the product. 

Even nano emulsions can have a similar issue, commonly referred to as Ostwald ripening. This is when small crystals dissolve and attach themselves to larger ones within the mixture. As a result, some parts of the edible may contain more cannabinoids than others, leading to that dreaded inconsistent experience.

Manufacturers may also use different extraction methods. Different extractions can result in different levels of cannabinoids being present in the final product. For example, a distillate will only contain THC. While a live rosin will have THC, minor cannabinoids, and a full terpene profile. Depending on specific circumstances like what you’ve eaten or the makeup of your Endocannabinoid System (ECS) your body will interact differently with a fuller spectrum product. Additionally, variations in the quality of the raw materials being used (trim vs flower) can affect the potency of the finished good as well.

Variations in Metabolism

cannabis edibles, macro shot of red and yellow gummies

Another reason for the inconsistency of cannabis edibles is the variation in metabolism among individuals. When consuming edibles with an oil-based infusion, the active compounds are metabolized in the liver during first-pass digestion. The liver converts tetrahydrocannabinol into 11-hydroxy-THC, the main active metabolite of THC, which is formed in the body after Δ⁹-THC is consumed. Not only is this a different molecule, it is also nearly 10 times more potent than Δ⁹-THC, resulting in a more intense and longer-lasting high. 

The rate at which individuals metabolize THC can vary significantly based on several factors, such as age, weight, and genetics. Some people may metabolize THC much faster, resulting in a weaker high, while others may metabolize it slower, resulting in a more intense and longer-lasting effect. Additionally, consuming edibles on a full stomach can slow down the metabolism process, resulting in delayed effects and longer-lasting highs. This can make it challenging for manufacturers to create edibles with a consistent potency that will affect everyone the same way.

Tolerance Building

Finally, tolerance is another reason why cannabis edibles can be inconsistent with their effects. Regular users of marijuana may have developed a higher tolerance for THC, meaning they need more of it to feel the same effects. As a result, someone who consumes edibles regularly may not feel the same effects as someone who is consuming them for the first time, even if they consume the same dose.

Moreover, people’s tolerance can vary over time, which can lead to inconsistent experiences with the same brand’s products. This can be frustrating for users who are trying to achieve a specific effect and rely on edibles for consistent dosing.

Cannabis Edibles: A Popular Choice, If an Inconsistent One

Cannabis edibles are an attractive option for many people due to their convenience and discreet nature. However, the inconsistency of their effects can be frustrating for users, even when consuming the same brand’s products.

Inaccurate dosing, in addition to variations in metabolism and tolerance are the top three reasons for this inconsistency. Manufacturers strive to create products with consistent potency and it’s important for users to be aware of these factors. Always start with a low dose to avoid an unexpected and potentially overwhelming experience.

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