October 19, 2023

Unveiling the Science behind Cannabis Metabolism: How Our Bodies Process THC


Unveiling the Science behind Cannabis Metabolism: How Our Bodies Process THC


Cannabis, also known as marijuana, has been used for centuries for its medicinal and recreational properties. However, it wasn’t until recently that scientists started to uncover the mysteries behind how our bodies metabolize the key psychoactive compound in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The Role of THC

THC is the primary compound responsible for the euphoric and psychoactive effects of cannabis. When cannabis is consumed, THC enters the bloodstream and is carried to different parts of the body, including the brain, where it interacts with specific receptors in the endocannabinoid system.

How THC is Metabolized

Once THC is in the bloodstream, it is quickly metabolized by the liver, where it undergoes chemical transformations to become a more water-soluble compound. The liver primarily converts THC into a metabolite called 11-hydroxy-THC (11-OH-THC), which is believed to have stronger psychoactive effects than THC itself.

THC Metabolism Variability

The rate at which individuals metabolize THC can vary greatly from person to person. Factors such as age, genetics, liver health, and frequency of cannabis use can influence the speed at which THC is processed. This variability explains why some individuals experience the effects of cannabis for longer periods compared to others.

Effects of Metabolism on Cannabis Consumption

Understanding how our bodies metabolize THC is crucial for determining the dosage and timing of cannabis consumption. The speed at which THC is metabolized can impact the onset, duration, and intensity of its effects. Ingesting cannabis through edibles, for example, leads to slower absorption and a delayed onset of effects compared to smoking or vaporizing.


For further reading on cannabis metabolism:

Categorized as Science
Avatar photo


We’re everything you need to know about marijuana – your #1 source of important marijuana-related information. From the plant and its benefits to its place in culture and society, TWB has you covered! News. Culture. Science. Cooking. Growing. Industry. Advocacy. You can find this and so much more.