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How Long Do The Effects of Cannabis Last in Ohio?

The growth of medical marijuana acceptance in the United States is almost unbelievable. General understanding and literacy regarding even the most niche aspects of the plant are at an all-time high and our knowledge is ever expanding. But, despite being able to name most terpenes, cannabinoids, or strains by name, there are still fundamental questions that some people need answered. 

Are you considering getting an Ohio medical marijuana card? If you have any questions about the steps involved, how medical marijuana can help you, or even about what medical marijuana is, the DocMJ Patient Care Coordinators are here for you! Easily see if you pre-qualify for your Ohio medical marijuana card right now by completing our easy online eligibility survey.

What are the Effects of Marijuana and Why Do They Occur?

This question is the biggest draw of current marijuana research, and most medical research in general to a large degree. Understanding the mechanisms and pathways of a hormone, protein, or other chemical can open up a wide range of possible avenues of attack for various pharmaceutical and medical techniques. For example, understanding the process of bacterial replication allowed scientists to insert human DNA, creating a new form of recombinant DNA and discovering a new way to mass produce human proteins, including insulin [1].

This is why we put so much emphasis on cause and effect compared to correlation. Many people use marijuana to reduce chronic pain, but why? Does it directly affect pain receptors, or is the placebo effect particularly strong in these instances? Well, according to some current research, CBD may actually have an effect on serotonin receptors, which play a role in some types of chronic pain [2]. 

Identifying similar mechanisms for other side effects of marijuana is very important. This knowledge could help people get even more use out of marijuana in the future. Currently, though, marijuana is thought to have many different effects on the body, both physical and mental. Some accepted uses of medical marijuana in Ohio are reducing seizures in those with epilepsy, fighting chronic pain, and increasing the quality of life of those with PTSD. 

It is important to note that these effects are very different, and people can use marijuana for any one of them. As such, these effects can have very different durations. Dosage can change things even further, with concentrations of cannabinoids and other chemicals, and even the method of delivery, adding more complexity. 

What Affects the Duration of Cannabis?

To put it simply, there are many factors that go into knowing how long a certain effect is going to last after ingesting marijuana. Body composition, which form of marijuana is used, how much is consumed, and the concentration of the chemicals in marijuana all play a role to name a few. 

We’ll start with the forms of marijuana and how they can play a role in effect duration. Currently, there are five forms of medical marijuana available in Ohio: full flower, concentrated oils, edibles, tinctures, and topical products. Each form can influence both the effects felt and the intensity of those effects. Topical marijuana products, for example, are much less likely to get you feeling high compared to concentrated oils, but they allow you to help specific areas of the body that may show signs of psoriasis or itching, for example. 

Edibles are one of the most commonly bought forms of medical marijuana, and for good reason. They are easy to ingest, exist in many different flavors and textures, and are very accessible. In this form, marijuana is subject to first pass metabolism. Essentially, the chemicals in marijuana are passed through the digestive system and subjected to all of the mechanical and chemical reactions that occur within it. This results in lower “bioavailability”, meaning that lower amounts of cannabinoids are available after being metabolized, with one study placing it around twenty percent [3]. Despite this, it has been reported that the effects of orally ingested marijuana may last longer than other forms, likely due to slower absorption rates [4]. 

Smoking is another common form of marijuana, known for being accessible and cheaper than other forms. When using full flower marijuana, you are also getting all of the other cannabinoids, terpenes, etc. that are produced by the plant. This allows for the entourage effect, which itself may lengthen the duration of certain effects by allowing cannabinoids easier access to the brain. It is also extremely fast compared to edibles, with the chemicals being absorbed directly into the bloodstream. On the other hand, it is less efficient than other forms, and the unabsorbed smoke is exhaled out, unused. Highly concentrated oils allow for very high quantities of THC and CBD to be absorbed quickly and can last for several hours or more in some users. 

Tinctures are a more recently available form, and likely the least known form available. It can be thought of as a middle ground between oral and inhalation, as it is administered sublingually, meaning under the tongue. This allows for a pleasant and easy dosing experience, but with lower bioavailability than smoking and quicker onset than edibles. The unabsorbed tincture can be swallowed, making its way into the body the same way edibles would. Interestingly, these metabolized versions of various cannabinoids may have their own set of benefits [5].

For a little bit more information on marijuana infused lotions and ointments, we will need to get a bit deeper into chemistry. Cannabinoids are largely hydrophobic, meaning they won’t mix or move around in water very well. It also means they will have a tougher time moving across the layers of the skin [6]. Interestingly, CBD seems to penetrate the skin much more than THC, which may explain the anti-inflammatory effects of the lotions. 

Some other factors that influence the effect duration are much more straightforward, such as body composition and concentration of dose. Larger people will need to ingest more marijuana on average than smaller people to feel the effects and stronger doses will put more cannabinoids in the bloodstream. The frequency with which you ingest marijuana may also play a role, along with your age and gender. 

In Conclusion

Finding the correct dose of marijuana is a very individualized experience and can vary from person to person. Many factors can play a role in how long the effects of marijuana last, including body size and composition, the concentration of the dose, and the form of marijuana ingested. It is always important to speak with your medical marijuana doctor before changing or starting a marijuana regimen. 

Cited Works

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK232052/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6319597/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6309462

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6145762

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5576600/

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12100860