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  • Olivia Castro

Taking Medical Marijuana Edibles on an Empty Stomach Vs. a Full Stomach

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

Can I take edibles on an empty stomach?

When you get a medical marijuana card in Virginia, you can purchase marijuana gummies and other forms of edibles from legal cannabis dispensaries across the state. Medical marijuana edibles are becoming increasingly popular among patients who are looking for natural relief from a variety of symptoms including pain, muscle spasms, nausea, insomnia and anxiety.

Learning how to use edibles, however, can be an intimidating task. For medical marijuana beginners, this guide to edibles in Virginia is a good place to start.

Our patients at Virginia Marijuana Card often want to know how to get the most out of their edibles, and they wonder if edibles work less on a full stomach.

Other patients are nervous about getting overwhelmed, especially when taking medical marijuana edibles for the first time. They want to know how long it takes for edibles to kick in, what the effects of cannabis edibles are, and if it's safe to take edibles on an empty stomach.

Keep reading to get answers to your questions about how eating can affect the way marijuana edibles work.

Should I Eat Edibles on an Empty Stomach?

Drug effects can change drastically when you take them on an empty stomach versus a full stomach. Some compounds must be taken with food to avoid an upset stomach, while others should be taken without food to ensure proper absorption.

So, what about cannabis edibles? Is it okay to take them on an empty stomach, or is it better to eat first? Much like with most medical cannabis products, the answer to this question will vary depending on your personal tolerance to THC, your level of experience and comfort with marijuana, and the effect you are going for.

How Marijuana Edibles Work

THC acts differently in your body when it is absorbed through the digestive tract, resulting in stronger and longer-lasting effects. The potency and longevity make edibles incredibly valuable for times when you need prolonged relief, and this is what makes them popular among people with more severe symptoms.

However, it can be incredibly uncomfortable if you accidentally consume too much THC—a common issue among first-time users of edibles. With too much, you can experience paranoia, a rapid heartbeat, or sweating for hours on end. Although you cannot overdose on cannabis, this experience can be unwanted and uncomfortable.

To avoid getting too high from edibles, regardless of whether you've eaten or not, remember the number one rule for medical marijuana beginners: Start low, go slow.

Check out this medical marijuana dosing guide for more basic tips on where to start with your first edibles dose.

Edibles on an Empty Versus Full Stomach

When you eat edibles on an empty stomach, the effects are going to hit you harder and faster than on a full stomach. When you eat an edible when you’re full, it takes longer to kick in, and the effects will be more mild in comparison to doing so on an empty stomach.

The high will last for longer as well. This experience is generally preferred over the shorter, more intense high that is associated with taking edibles on an empty stomach. However, keep in mind that if you eat a large meal and then take a high dose of THC in the form of edibles late in the day, you run the risk of getting what's known as an edibles hangover.

Unlike alcohol hangovers—which are mostly a result of dehydration—edibles hangovers happen when your body is still processing the THC in your system the day after eating edibles. Essentially, you are still a little bit (or a lot) impaired when you wake up, and you need to get moving, drink some water, and maybe eat a little bit in order to clear the last of your edibles out of your system. Anything you can do to move the digestive process along will help.

Positives of Edibles on an Empty Stomach

There are times when you might want to feel the effects of your medication faster, or you need intense relief. If this is the case, know you are safe to have an edible without eating! Just remember that the effects are likely to be stronger, so you may want to decrease your dose by 50%.

Fortunately , if you take too much THC on an empty stomach, you can at least relax knowing that the negative feelings won't last as long.

How Long Do Edibles Take to Kick In?

As you are experimenting with medical marijuana edibles, remember to start low and go slow. One of the reasons it can be difficult to get your dose right, is that the effects are not immediate. So make sure you are giving yourself at least 90 to 120 minutes between taking your first dose and taking more. When you don't give your cannabis edible time to take effect, you may end up taking higher amounts of THC than you intend.

Stay in touch!

If you are a Virginia resident living with a medical condition you think may benefit from cannabis, you're likely eligible for medical marijuana treatment.

Give us a call at (888) 633-5808 and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process and schedule you for an online medical marijuana evaluation appointment.


Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.

At Virginia Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to MMJ. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (888) 633-5808, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Virginia Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Virginia!

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