Get to Know 11-Hydroxy-THC

Did you know that how you consume THC actually changes how your body processes THC and how THC affects you? Well, it does — dramatically. When you either smoke cannabis or vape cannabis, THC is absorbed directly into your bloodstream. The effects are felt immediately and fade rapidly, typically in under an hour.

But when you eat a cannabis edible, the effects may take as much as 90 minutes to kick in, and they are much more powerful and long-lasting. Sometimes as long as 3-4 hours, depending on the dose.

Why is that?

A woman in a lab coat is holding a bottle of cbd oil.

Because when you eat or drink edibles, your body processes THC differently than when you smoke it. Curious? Read on, friend! We will explore 11-Hydroxy-THC and get to the bottom of how it works within our bodies. 

THC Versus 11-Hydroxy-THC

Cannabis has a rich history of medicinal uses because it contains hundreds of compounds that are beneficial for human wellness. These compounds are known as terpenes and cannabinoids. 

  • THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid and the primary psychoactive component responsible for the euphoric effects of cannabis consumption. 
  • 11-Hydroxy-THC is a THC metabolite produced by the liver when we eat or drink cannabis.

How Does THC Work?

When vaping or smoking cannabis, THC is absorbed by the alveoli in the lungs and passed directly to the bloodstream. This is why onset is so quick.

How Does 11-Hydroxy-THC Work?

When people eat cannabis edibles, they must pass through the gastrointestinal system to the liver, which metabolizes THC into the more potent metabolite, 11-hydroxy-THC. This transformation occurs through a process called hydroxylation, where a hydroxyl group is added to the THC molecule.

Why Does 11-Hydroxy-THC Have More Powerful Effects?

This is where things get interesting, as it really depends on delivery methods.

Edibles Result in Less THC Absorption

When you consume an edible, the THC has less bioavailability. This results in less total THC absorption. Considering that, why do the effects of edibles feel so much more potent than smoking or vaping?

Edibles Produce More 11-Hydroxy-THC

When eating edibles, the body produces more 11-Hydroxy-THC than when inhaling cannabis, and 11-Hydroxy-THC is more efficient at crossing the blood-brain barrier than THC. This is why cannabis edibles feel more potent and longer lasting.

Are There Medicinal Uses for 11-Hydroxy-THC?

There sure are. The potent effects of 11-Hydroxy-THC may offer superior treatment for medical conditions such as pain, inflammation, and nausea. Moreover, the prolonged duration of effects makes 11-hydroxy-THC a better compound for treating conditions that require sustained relief.

What are the Psychoactive Effects of 11-Hydroxy-THC?

While this is purely anecdotal, The psychoactive effects of 11-hydroxy-THC are described as more intense, bordering on psychedelic. The body high is also accentuated, with many users reporting more relaxed and sedative effects. 

These subjective descriptions of the psychoactive effects of 11-Hydroxy-THC are helpful, but they also highlight the complexity of cannabis medicine and the need for more research.

How Do I Medicate yWith 11-Hydroxy-THC?

You know the answer to this one. With edibles! 

What are the Different Kinds of Edibles?

This is where 11-Hydroxy-THC gets fun. Step up to the counter of any dispensary, and there are edibles in every shape, size, color, and consistency you can imagine, including: 

  • Gummies: Cannabis gummies are fun and fruity and offer precise dosing. There are also low-THC options for beginners. The vegan honeydew melon soft lozenges are one of our favorites.
  • Baked goods and chocolate: There’s a lot to choose from in this category, and all of them are delicious. If you like chocolate, Noa Botanicals Dark Chocolate Bar is amazing.
  • Tablets: Tablets are cost-effective, portable, and offer precise dosing. They’re also convenient for patients who need high doses to treat medical conditions. We recommend Noa Botanicals Mint THC Tablets. 
  • Tinctures: Tinctures are slightly different from the other edibles on this list. You can take tinctures sublingually, which means they’re absorbed by the thin membrane under your tongue directly into the bloodstream. But you can also swallow or add them to food; they work like edibles. Noa Botanicals Lemon 1:1 CBD:THC Tincture is the perfect choice for balanced effects. It also makes your edible experience more gentle, as CBD may buffer the effects of THC.

So, whether you’re looking for a mild or balanced experience, there are various options to get your desired experience.

The Benefits of Using Edibles to Medicate with 11-Hydroxy-THC

We’ve already covered some of the potential benefits, but this short list of additional benefits is also worth considering: 

  • Edibles are healthier than smoking. Inhaling hot smoke may be bad for respiratory health. 
  • Edibles have precise dosing. With edibles, you always know exactly how many milligrams of THC are in a package as well as a single serving dose.
  • Edibles are discrete and portable. Edibles are smoke-free, fit in your pocket, and you can use them just about anywhere. 

What’s the Right Dose of 11-Hydroxy-THC for You?

This is a bit of a moving target because not everyone’s liver is the same. This means different people metabolize THC into 11-Hydroxy-THC in different concentrations. That said, these are some good rules to follow:

  • Go slow and be patient: The average adult dose of edibles is 5-10 mg of THC. If you’re new to edibles, start with a low dose of just 2.5 mg or less. If you’re not feeling it after 90 minutes, consider another small dose.
  • Don’t mix edibles with alcohol: Mixing cannabis with alcohol is called the crossfade. We don’t recommend it with 11-Hydroxy-THC. 
  • Eat a meal before you medicate: A full stomach slows things down, so the effects of 11-Hydroxy-THC are more gradual and consistent. 
  • Stay hydrated: This will help your body’s digestive system and metabolize the 11-Hydroxy-THC more efficiently. 
  • Have a plan if you overshoot the mark: If you do consume too much, have a plan to help you get back to baseline. This might mean calling on a friend to keep you company, having snacks and drinks on hand or putting on a calming show or movie to help settle your mind. 


Can eating raw cannabis produce psychoactive effects?

Eating raw cannabis typically does not produce significant psychoactive effects. This is because THC, the psychoactive component, needs to be heated (decarboxylated) to be activated.

What role do drug metabolizing enzymes play in cannabis consumption?

These enzymes, primarily in the liver, metabolize THC into various compounds, including 11-Hydroxy-THC. Individual differences in these enzymes can affect the intensity and duration of cannabis’ effects.

What are the clinical effects of the active metabolite 11-Hydroxy-THC?

11-Hydroxy-THC, being more potent than THC, can produce stronger and longer-lasting effects, potentially beneficial for chronic conditions requiring sustained relief.

How does body mass index (BMI) and liver enzymes affect cannabis consumption?

BMI and liver enzymes can influence how an individual metabolizes cannabis, affecting the intensity and duration of its effects. Higher BMI and variations in liver enzymes can alter the metabolic rate of THC and its metabolites.

Explore 11-Hydroxy-THC (and Edibles) With Noa Botanicals 

11-Hydroxy-THC’s effects differ from THC in ways that may make it a superior method of medicating for many patients. Moreover, the advantages of edibles, such as being smokeless, portable, and dosed, make them a viable option when smoking or vaping is not. 

Visit Noa Botanicals today and talk to one of our friendly and knowledgeable budtenders about how to incorporate 11-Hydroxy-THC into your wellness routine or order online for fast, convenient pickup!

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