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Can a marijuana edible act as a sublingual?

Most people think of the stomach when it comes to an edible high, but what really makes the magic happen is the liver.  When decarboxylated or activated D9-THC is digested by the stomach, it is then sent to the liver.  The liver metabolizes D9-THC into 11-Hydroxy-THC and this new form of THC (which isn’t found naturally in the cannabis plant) is a lot stronger and more intoxicating than D9-THC, the primary compound that makes you feel high from inhaling marijuana.

cannabis sucker

When you are enjoying an edible like a lollipop, mint, lozenge, or other food product that you would keep in your mouth until it is mostly dissolved, it is also acting as a sublingual.  As your saliva dissolves a lollipop, for example, the active cannabinoids are mixed with your saliva, slowly being pulled into your bloodstream via capillaries in your mouth.  The longer you hold your saliva without swallowing, the more cannabinoids will be sublingually delivered.  Sublingually delivered THC bypasses your liver, which prevents the metabolism of 11-Hydroxy-THC.  Since you are eventually going to swallow your saliva that’s filled with delicious flavor and cannabinoids, you will then be putting your liver to work in form of a traditional edible.

In order for a sublingual product to be effectively delivered into your bloodstream, it must be held in your mouth for 1-3 minutes.  Since most people aren’t holding their saliva in their mouth for 1-3 minutes while enjoying a lollipop, the sublingual delivery of cannabinoids will be low.  However, once you’re done with your lollipop, you’re still going to have a different ratio of D9:11-Hydroxy-THC in your system in comparison to eating a normal edible.  This explains why some people feel a different sensation from eating different edible products, like a brownie versus a lollipop.

cannabis cookie

Try this!  Purchase two identical lollipops from a dispensary in your legal state.  On one night eat the lollipop immediately by chewing and swallowing it like any other edible.  On another night take your time with the second lollipop by sucking on it and try not to swallow as often as you normally would.  Take notes on how you feel from each high and see if you notice any difference between the two experiences.  Be sure that the setting, time of the day, your mood, and time from last meal, are all the same to minimize variables that could alter your experiences.  

cannabis candy