Edibles offer cannabis consumers with a healthy alternative to smoked forms of cannabis. But is there any truth to the idea that edibles may be damaging to the liver? If you’d like to buy edibles online in Canada, then here we fill you in on the current science.
Do Edibles Damage Your Liver?
There are many different ways of consuming cannabis. By smoking, vaping or administering it sublingually, consumers bypass the digestive tract and hence the liver. The active compounds enter the bloodstream through a direct route meaning that you’ll feel the effects quickly and with the same relative intensity.
When consuming edibles, the active compounds must pass through the digestive tract before then passing through the body’s main detox organ, the liver. It’s these processes carried out in the liver that lead to the notable effects commonly associated with edibles. But just what is it that occurs in the liver? And can marijuana edible consumption lead to liver damage?
The Link Between Cannabis and Liver Damage
In recent times, the link between cannabis and liver damage arose due to an article that appeared on Forbes, where researchers claimed that mice who received high doses of CBD showed signs of liver damage within 24 hours.
It led Martin Lee, the author of Smoke Signals, the well-known book on cannabis culture to label it a case of “scientific fraud.” The reasons given by other cannabis researchers included: the small sample size of 6 mice and the dose they received of 2460 mg/kg of CBD (over 100 times the recommended dose of the CBD-isolate Epidiolex at 20 mg/kg).
The Evidence that Cannabis Protects The Liver
A study published in Liver International investigated the effects of cannabis on the progressive stages of alcoholic liver disease. Researchers found that cannabis consumers “had significantly lower odds than non‐dependent users for developing liver disease.” This led them to conclude that “cannabis use is associated with a reduced incidence of liver disease in alcoholics.”
While the study didn’t indicate how the subjects involved in the study ingested cannabis, the findings certainly don’t raise any red flags concerning cannabis having a negative impact on liver health.
Where the Science Stands on Cannabis and Liver Health
Few studies currently exist on whether cannabis is dangerous to liver health, and even fewer exist on the effects of edibles.
There is currently no credible evidence to suggest that medicinal or recreational cannabis is harmful to liver health. The lack of any credible evidence is what leads almost all researchers involved in the recent studies calling for more investigation on the matter.
While some consumers may experience discomfort after consuming edibles, including bloating, gas, heartburn, or constipation, there’s no evidence to suggest that this is indicative of any form of liver damage.
What Happens In The Liver When You Eat Edibles?
Anyone who has tried smoked or vaped forms of cannabis and edibles will undoubtedly attest to the fact that the effects of each can vary significantly. The reason for this is that the liver plays a critical role in how the THC present in cannabis is metabolized.
When inhaled by smoking or vaping, cannabis enters the bloodstream directly from the lungs, effectively bypassing the liver. This means that you’ll experience a quick and predictable onset each and every time.
Absorption occurs very differently with edibles. Edibles must first pass through the digestive tract and can take significant time to kick in, depending on how much food is currently in the stomach and intestines.
The competition in the intestinal tract for absorption doesn’t explain why the effects of edibles are often substantially stronger than smoked or vaped forms of cannabis. This is due to the role of the liver in how THC is metabolized. When ingested, the THC present in cannabis is in the Delta-9-THC form. The liver then converts it to the more potent 11-Hydroxy-THC. In addition to being more potent, 11-Hydroxy-THC is also more bioavailable, and many scientists claim that it actually crosses the blood-brain barrier more readily.
The Liver and The First-Pass Effect
Sometimes when people consume edibles, they may not feel the effects intensely. This is often due to what’s known as the first-pass effect. This is where an efficient liver breaks down the THC to such an extent that you don’t feel its effects.
If you experience this when consuming edibles, then consider eating a small fat-based meal beforehand to help ensure enhanced absorption and activation.
Cannabis and Our Evolving Knowledge
While there are many respectable scientists investigating the effects of cannabis, there are none who can currently be considered experts like in other fields of medicine. This is because there is comparatively little known about the plant.
Years of prohibition mean that cannabis research is decades behind where it might otherwise be. Given the medicinal benefits of the plant, this is a great shame. As science plays a game of catchup and the cultural stigma slowly wanes, scientists are slowly uncovering many benefits of the plant that treat a whole host of conditions. But while much of the science is positive, this doesn’t mean that cannabis is entirely benign. Only time will tell whether cannabis is 100% safe.
Buy Edibles Online in Canada
If you’d like to buy edibles online in Canada, then why not take a look at our selection of edibles here on My Pure Canna? We have an extensive range of edibles in a variety of delicious flavours categorized into Indica and Sativa, with varying ratios of THC and CBD. This means that no matter what your intention, whether recreational or medicinal, you’ll find just what you need!
The latest science suggests that edibles are quite safe when consumed responsibly at standard doses. However, it’s always worth remembering that edibles are an extremely potent form of cannabis. If you do happen to consume too much, then you may be in for an intense ride. As always, the golden rule with edible doses is to start low and go slow!