THC edibles have long been popular among cannabis users. Dating back to Indian “bhang” as early as 1000 BC to the more recent “Hashish Fudge,” published in The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book by the writer of the same name in the 1960s, edibles, like the rest of society, have come a long way since their early days.
You may be familiar with the popular pot brownies of stoners past, but nowadays, with the cannabis market in full bloom, THC edibles have evolved in unimaginable ways. From THC-infused cannabis drinks to THC-heavy savory snacks, you no longer need to slave over the oven for hours in order to catch a big buzz. One of the most popular—and most effective—ways to eat THC today are THC gummies. But what exactly are these tiny treats? And how can they benefit their users?
THC gummies are exactly what they sound like: edible gummy products infused with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. Other types of edibles containing THC may include chocolate bars, candies, cookies, brownies, and even some types of drinks! Because THC gummies look just like any other gummy, it’s important to keep them in a safe and private place, especially if there are underaged children in the home.
THC gummies have several benefits and positive effects, some of them being unique to edibles and absent in other THC products like vapes or flower. Before we get into the actual benefits of THC, let’s go over some of these unique characteristics that make THC gummies a desirable and popular product among users.
First things first, let’s briefly break down the way our bodies break down THC gummies. When you smoke or vape THC, you feel its effects almost immediately, as the THC is absorbed into the bloodstream through the lining of the lungs, allowing the compound to reach the brain within a few minutes. The road for gummies, on the other hand, is a little longer and takes a few additional steps.
When you eat THC, it must undergo the digestive process before reaching the bloodstream and therefore the brain. First, your edible must travel down the esophagus and reach the stomach, where it is broken down into compounds. From there, the THC reaches the liver, where it is metabolized as 11-hydroxy-THC, a metabolite much more potent than regular THC. 11-hydroxy-THC isn't actually found in cannabis at all—it isn't an ingredient in your cannabis edible. Rather, it is a medicinal chemical created by your body as it breaks down THC. Some researchers estimate the effects of 11-hydroxy-THC to be around four times stronger than THC when it comes to psychoactive effects.
This conversion from THC to 11-hydroxy-THC makes the effects of the THC last longer and feel stronger than other methods of ingestion. Users commonly report feeling psychoactive effects for upwards of eight hours when ingesting edibles. That said, because they need to first be digested, your THC gummies won't kick in right away. You’ll need to give your body some time to break the edible down before the THC can reach the bloodstream, so be prepared to wait over an hour for it to kick in—a worthwhile sacrifice, considering the potency and longevity of the high that will result from it.
Additionally, THC gummies aren’t just a favorite among users, but also among manufacturers. Because making gummies requires precision and a uniform process throughout, these products are among the most accurate and easy to dose. When you hit a vape pen, you don’t know exactly how much THC is in each puff. You can take a big hit or a small hit, so dosing can be somewhat difficult. In a THC gummy, you know exactly how much THC you get per piece, making dosing much easier and more accurate than other methods of ingestion.
Now that we’ve covered some THC gummy-exclusive benefits, let’s dive into the general wellness effects of THC. Remember, although you can get these beneficial effects from other THC products, reaping them in the form of THC gummies will amplify them and make them last longer, making THC gummies the primary candidate for those looking for long lasting relief.
THC is able to benefit us in many different ways because almost every part of our brain and body is highly sensitive to the molecule. The endocannabinoid system balances bodily health all throughout our entire body, including the brain, gut, skin, bloodstream, and immune cells. The CB1 receptors, some cannabinoid receptors in the system, are THC’s target, and the compound binds to them in order to produce its effects, psychoactive and otherwise.
As a result of its binding affinity for CB1 receptors, which occurs because THC has a similar shape to a natural molecule produced by our own brains called anandamide, THC is able to positively impact several bodily functions.
Among many other things, the endocannabinoid system helps the body regulate pain and inflammation. The introduction of THC into the body can help relieve pain and swelling, whether these conditions come from chronic illnesses or are temporary states. This means that THC can help relieve symptoms of arthritis, as well as soothe sore muscles after a long session at the gym. Although THC by no means cures any diseases, it can certainly help ease the pains caused by them.
THC is widely known to help its users relax. The compound has been known to help users manage anxiety, improve relaxation, and relieve panic attacks. This is because the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in signaling the brain and body to determine fear, stress, and anxiety levels. Therefore, THC is an excellent way to relieve these mental stresses in an all-natural way.
THC has been used as a natural sleep aid for centuries, and how can it not be? As previously mentioned, the compound relaxes the mind and soothes the body, creating the perfect conditions for deep and restful sleep. In fact, many people use cannabis to self-treat insomnia. A study conducted on individuals with insomnia found that many participants did find relief from their symptoms when using cannabis, but its effectiveness remains ambivalent. Additionally, cannabis appears to improve sleep in cases of people with chronic pain, PTSD, and MS; ingesting THC helps people with these conditions fall asleep faster, wake up less during the night, and improve overall sleep quality.
One of the best-known effects of THC are the infamous munchies. When portrayed in movies and TV shows, you see the typical stoner shoving whipped cream directly into their mouth or creating dubious combinations and loving every second of it. While you likely won't be convinced to dip a pickle in peanut butter when high on cannabis, your appetite will certainly be stimulated. THC has been known to make food taste better, making you more likely to eat it, and it can also trick your brain into thinking you’re hungry, even if that’s not the case.
Although this may sound like a nightmare for people looking to lose weight, it can actually be extremely beneficial to those struggling with low appetites, especially those with medical conditions like HIV. Additionally, cannabis is also commonly used to lessen nausea and stimulate appetite for those going through chemotherapy.
THC gummies are much more than what they seem. They may be small, but they certainly pack a huge punch, especially considering what we’ve learned about the way the body digests edibles and metabolizes THC when taken in gummy form. THC gummies can give you all the benefits of THC, including pain and inflammation relief, stress and anxiety management, better sleep, and appetite stimulation, in a longer lasting and more potent way than other methods of ingestion.
They’re easy to dose, easy to take anywhere, and inconspicuous enough to be used wherever and whenever. All in all, THC gummies are the easiest, most delicious way to reap the amazing benefits of THC in a long lasting and intense way. But remember, they look just like any other type of gummy, so be sure to store them in a safe and private place to avoid any unwanted highs, especially with children or teenagers in the home. THC gummies are undoubtedly amazing for adult use, but that doesn’t mean just anyone should take them!