Much like alcohol, cannabis edibles are best taken with food. Not doing this can result in anxiety and a paranoia freakout. But why?
Some believe the Rate of Absorption Hypothesis that states edibles cause increased anxiety when taken on an empty stomach because THC is absorbed at a quicker rate.
But according to the Prof of Pot, who broke down some recent studies on the issue:
I call bullshit because compared to either fasted or fed, the absorption is 100 times faster when cannabis is smoked. Furthermore, plasma concentrations of THC after a meal don’t lag the fasted state by that much – the time to peak plasma concentrations is only much later after a meal because so much more is absorbed.
Others think that formation of the 11-OH-THC metabolite is responsible. Prof of Pot says though 11-OH-THC is probably more potent than THC:
It is true that 10 times more 11-OH-THC can be formed after taking cannabis edibles than any other route such as smoking. However, the peak concentration of 11-OH-THC in the fasted state is only 25% higher than in the fed state. That is not a big enough difference to convince me that 11-OH-THC is the culprit.
Prof thinks the extra anxiety is due to the ratio of THC to CBD under fasted conditions:
Because the activity of 11-OH-THC is at least as strong as THC, I summed the levels of THC and 11-OH-THC for a measure of ‘total THC’. I then examined the ratio with CBD and the results were surprising.
After a meal, the ‘total THC’ to CBD ratio was about 3 at the time of peak blood concentrations. This is already on the high side (no pun intended). However, this ratio after fasting was almost 9 – nearly 3 times higher than after a meal.
So eating a cannabis edible on an empty stomach, even if it contains a 1:1 ratio, is the equivalent of smoking a cannabis strain with a 9:1 THC to CBD ratio!
Prof surmises that anxiety is “due to the relatively low absorption of CBD compared to THC when you haven’t eaten” and suggests taking edibles after a solid meal (preferably one with some fat to stimulate bile acid release), especially if you are taking edibles with CBD.