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Why Don't I Feel Anything from THC Gummies? Understanding Ediblocking

Why Don't I Feel Anything from THC Gummies? Understanding Ediblocking


Have you ever wondered why your friends get rocked with a 10mg THC gummy, but you don't feel anything unless you eat a couple hundred milligrams? You're not the only one. This phenomenon, known as "ediblocking," is a lot more common than you might think. If you're prone to ediblocking, you know how frustrating it can be to split an edible and not feel the same effects as your friends. 

The cool thing is that there's some science behind it and a couple of things you can do to combat it. Researchers believe that ediblocking may be linked to genetic variations, particularly involving the CYP2C9 gene— which produces the enzyme that helps metabolize THC. Some people just make enough of it to make it nearly impossible to feel the effects of THC. But we'll touch more on that later. 

In this article, we'll explore the science behind THC metabolism and ediblocking and offer practical solutions if you find yourself dealing with this genetic quirk. 

Understanding Edibles and THC Metabolism

The reason you can smoke a joint and still feel high versus eating an edible and feeling nothing is all thanks to the way different forms of THC are metabolized, or broken down, in your body.  When you smoke or vape, you absorb THC through your lungs and metabolize it in your blood, allowing you to feel the effects almost instantly. This method also breaks down pretty quickly, which is why smokers have to keep smoking to maintain a high. 

On the other hand, you have edibles, which take a lot longer for your body to break down. That's part of the reason most people feel them for as much as 8-12 hours, depending on how much they ate and their natural physiology and metabolic speed.  

Lots of people prefer THC edibles, like gummies, chocolates, brownies, baked goods, and even beverages, for their longer-lasting effects. However, edibles are also a lot more convenient since they're measured and they're as discreet as they come— especially compared to smoking or vaping. 

But when you eat THC, things are a bit more complicated. In order for edibles to work, they have to be absorbed through your digestive system and hit your liver for metabolization, which is where it transforms into a form of THC that makes you feel high. Digestion can be quite a lengthy process, which is why it usually takes at least a half hour to start feeling them, and sometimes as much as 2 hours depending on whether or not you ate before taking them or how fast your digestive system naturally works. Let's take a look at what happens when you eat a THC gummy. 

How Edibles Are Metabolized

The journey of THC edibles in the body is a lot different than other methods. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of how THC is metabolized:

  1. Ingestion and Digestion: First things first, you'll eat the edible. When you eat a THC gummy, it travels through your digestive tract.  Once it hits your stomach, the gummy is broken down by your digestive juices, and its psychoactive contents are released.

  1. Absorption into the Bloodstream: From the stomach, THC is absorbed into the bloodstream through the walls of the intestines. This process is relatively slow compared to inhalation methods, which is why the effects of edibles can take longer to kick in.

  1. Metabolism in the Liver: Once THC enters the bloodstream, it is transported to the liver for processing and cleaning. Here, it encounters a group of enzymes known as the cytochrome P450 family, with CYP2C9 being particularly significant. These enzymes are responsible for breaking down THC into various metabolites that are either active or inactive. The efficiency of these metabolic enzymes, particularly CYP2C9, plays a crucial role in determining how much active THC reaches the bloodstream and exerts its psychoactive effects.

  1. Conversion to Active and Inactive Forms: In the liver, THC is converted into 11-hydroxy-THC, a metabolite that is actually more potent and psychoactive than THC itself. This is why the effects of edibles can be more intense and longer-lasting than those from smoking or vaping. However, THC is also rapidly converted into inactive forms that do not produce psychoactive effects.

So, What is Ediblocking? 

Ediblocking is a term used to describe the sensation when your body processes THC so effectively that you can't really feel it unless you take a heroic dose. For people who have more efficient enzymes in their livers, a normal dose just won't cut it the way it would for most people. If you think you might be ediblocking, you likely have to eat an entire chocolate bar when someone else might only eat half of a square. 

It can be frustrating, to say the least. Medical patients prone to ediblocking struggle since other consumption methods are less discreet and don't provide such long-lasting effects. People just enjoying a good recreational high might also be frustrated knowing they have to take more than everyone else since it can get pretty pricey. 

Common symptoms of ediblocking include:

  • Not feeling high after consuming standard doses of THC gummies or other edibles.
  • Needing to take a very large dose to feel mild effects from THC edibles. 
  • An inability to experience a few desired effects, like pain relief or relaxation.
  • Frustration and confusion over why higher doses do not produce stronger effects.

What Causes Ediblocking? 

First thing first: edibles affect everyone differently as it is. Some people are extremely sensitive to them and can only take about 5-10mg, which is a microdose for most people. On the other hand, some people have to take much more. There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to how effective edibles are, and they are mostly related to your metabolism and physiology. Your weight, metabolic speed, and body composition all affect how much you'll need to take, how long they'll last, and how long you'll feel them. 

For example, a smaller person with a faster metabolism may feel edibles faster and get rocked with a smaller amount. On the other hand, larger people with a fast metabolism may still take longer for the effects to kick in and may need to ingest more. Slower metabolisms make edibles take longer to kick in. The biggest factor is usually going to be dose. 

But ediblocking is a little different. The primary culprit behind ediblocking is believed to be genetic variations, particularly involving the CYP2C9 gene. This gene produces an enzyme that plays a significant role in the metabolism of THC.

The CYP2C9 Gene

The CYP2C9 gene is part of the cytochrome P450 family of enzymes, which are responsible for metabolizing drugs, toxins, and other substances. When you eat THC gummies, the enzyme produced by the CYP2C9 gene helps break it down into metabolites, including the active 11-hydroxy-THC and other inactive forms.

Not everyone has the same version of the CYP2C9 gene. Some people possess genetic variations that result in an enzyme that works more efficiently than average. For these people, the enzyme rapidly converts THC into inactive forms before it can make you feel high. Ultimately, if you have that genetic variation, you won't experience the same high as someone without it because the active THC will be metabolized too quickly.

More or less, if you have this genetic variation, your metabolism is just too good. The enzymes break it down so quickly that you'll experience lower concentrations of the active 11-hydroxy-THC in the bloodstream— meaning the high is diminished or completely absent. 

Why Can't I Feel Edibles: Research and Studies 

Scientists have been working to understand the ediblocking phenomenon for a while now, and it seems like a lot of it comes down to your genetics. 

A study published in the journal Pharmacogenomics found that variations in the CYP2C9 gene significantly affect how people metabolize THC. Those with certain variations metabolize THC more efficiently, leading to rapid conversion into inactive forms, thereby reducing the psychoactive effects. Another study highlighted that people with the CYP2C93 variant metabolize THC at a much faster rate than those with the more common CYP2C91 variant, leading to reduced efficacy of THC edibles.

A review article explained that the efficiency of THC metabolism can be linked to multiple genetic factors, not just the CYP2C9 gene, suggesting a complex interplay of genetic influences on cannabinoid metabolism.

However, your metabolism also plays a role. One study confirmed that the CYP2C9 enzyme is crucial in the biotransformation of THC. The enzyme's efficiency varies from person to person, directly impacting the duration and intensity of THC's effects. That's why some people only need a little while others need a lot. 

What Can You Do If You're Ediblocking?

While this genetic predisposition might seem like a hurdle, there are ways to work around it and find methods that are more effective for your case. But the key thing to remember here is that there isn't much you can do about ediblocking, since it's a genetic thing. 

If you're not feeling anything from edibles, the best thing you can do is switch up your consumption method. You might find smoking, vaping, or sublingual absorption with tinctures works better for you since these methods don't involve digestion, and your liver enzymes won't be able to mess with your high. Alternatively, if you like edibles for their discretion and aren't as interested in the high, you can use topicals. While you won't feel high absorbing THC through your skin, they may help with targeted support for areas where you're in pain. 

You could also just eat copious amounts of edibles at a time, but that can get pretty pricey, and edibles aren't exactly healthy. They're meant to taste good, so they're rich in fat and sugar most of the time. 

If all else fails, talk to a pro. Doctors may be able to help you find something that works a bit better for you. If you suspect this genetic variant, a doctor can help you understand your genes and how it affects your response to THC. They may even suggest that cannabis doesn't fit into your lifestyle and help you pursue other options to help target pain relief or other issues you might be trying to soothe with cannabis. 

On the other hand, a solid budtender might be able to provide insight and recommendations that are more aligned with your personal needs. There are many different cannabis products out there, and if convenience and discretion are your go-to, they may help you find a good strain or other product to help you reach your goals. They can even help with guidance on the appropriate dosage and timing for alternative methods to achieve your desired effects.

Exploring Different Products

Experimenting with different types of THC products or formulations can help you find what works best for you.

  1. Sublingual Products:
    • Sublingual tinctures can be a more effective way to experience the effects of THC for those who experience ediblocking.
    • These products are absorbed quickly and bypass the liver, providing a more direct route to the bloodstream.

  1. Transdermal Patches:
    • Transdermal patches deliver THC through the skin and into the bloodstream over an extended period.
    • This method provides a steady and controlled release of THC, which can be beneficial for sustained therapeutic effects.

  1. Inhalable Products: 
    • Inhalable products include cannabis flower, concentrates, and vape cartridges and bypass digestion, making them good options for people who might be ediblocking. 
    • Inhalable products like vapes can be discreet, but if you're looking for something that matches the potency of edibles, you might try dabbing concentrates instead. 

  1. Different Strains and Formulations:
    • Exploring different strains of cannabis with varying THC and CBD ratios can also be helpful.
    • Some people might find that certain strains or cannabinoid combinations are more effective than others.

Understanding and addressing ediblocking requires a personalized approach. By exploring alternative methods, consulting with professionals, and trying different products, you can find the most effective way to experience the benefits of THC. 

Cannabis and Genetics Into The Future 

While there aren't a lot of options for people with ediblocking genes quite yet, there's a lot of ongoing research exploring what to do with this information. As our understanding of how our genes affect THC metabolism grows, so does the potential for personalized cannabis products.

Think about getting a simple genetic test that tells you exactly how you metabolize THC. Companies are already offering kits that analyze your DNA to reveal whether you have variations in the CYP2C9 gene, which is crucial for THC metabolism. This information can help you understand why edibles might not work for you and guide you toward products that will.

Research in this field is expanding rapidly. Scientists are conducting larger, more diverse studies to understand the genetic factors influencing how we experience cannabis. These studies aim to identify additional genetic variations beyond CYP2C9 that could affect cannabinoid metabolism.

Interdisciplinary collaboration is driving these advancements. Geneticists, pharmacologists, and cannabis researchers are working together to translate these genetic insights into practical, real-world applications. 

Looking ahead, the integration of cannabis into precision medicine is on the horizon. Innovations in delivery systems, like nanotechnology, could further optimize how cannabinoids are absorbed and utilized by your body.

As these technologies become more accessible, consumer education will be key. Understanding your genetic profile and how it affects your cannabis experience could become as routine as knowing your blood type. 

The era of one-size-fits-all cannabis is ending. With the integration of genetics, your cannabis experience can be tailored to suit your unique biology, making every sesh all the more enjoyable and beneficial.


Ediblocking is a phenomenon where genetic variations lead to rapid metabolism of THC, reducing its psychoactive effects. Understanding this can help you explore alternative consumption methods, consult with professionals, and try different products to find what works best for you. As research advances, the future holds exciting possibilities for personalized cannabis experiences tailored to your unique genetic makeup. 

In the meantime, if you think you might be ediblocking, try experimenting with different products and see how you feel. And don't forget to share your experiences! Your insights might help someone facing the same problem. 

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