Elevate the conversation

Sugar and Shwa of Giggles Therapeutics on Edibles

Sugar and Shwa run Giggles Therapeutics, and they have been making organic, vegan (more recently), gluten-free medicated edibles for California’s cannabis community since 2015. Sugar is a Yoga teacher and personal trainer, whilst Shwa is a chef and candymaker with 15 years experience. The two met during a roller derby show and, after a date or several (we don’t know precisely how many – all we know is that Sugar asked Shwa out via email after an awkward incident in a bathroom), Shwa would make Sugar some “Giggle Butter” for her roller derby aches, pains and injuries.

Whilst we often tell people to be careful with edibles, there are advantages to them. Edibles’ effects usually last for a longer duration, which can be of help for those in chronic pain and/or insomnia. Sugar and Shwa give sound advice in that, if you want to avoid smoking cannabis and opt to eat it, it is best to start slow and low. This is especially the case with THC, where even small amounts can have dramatic effects when eaten. Hence, many people start off with a dose of 5 mg THC or less.

One of the questions asked on this show is, “Does tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) – the non-psychoactive precursor to THC – cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB)?” This is an interesting question, as THC does cross the BBB, whilst CBD on its own does not. Therefore, in order for CBD to be truly effective, it is ideal to have at least some THC alongside it. So, does THCA cross the BBB in the same way? After all, there are several reports on THCA’s use as an antispasmodic, so surely THCA does to some extent?

The answer to this question is therefore, “Yes, it may do, but we do not know to what extent.” Cannabinoids are lipophilic, and this also goes for the neutral and acidic cannabinoids. However, we have to say “probably”, as nobody has, as far as we know, radio-labelled the THCA in order to see where it goes and is processed in the body. There is some argument that THCA needs to be decarboxylated into THC in order for it to pass the BBB and be truly effective, but how true this is, we do not know.

Another interesting question one listener posed during the show is (not a direct quote), “How comes edibles do not have an effect on me? I can eat plenty, and I do not feel any psychoactive effects – only smoking/vaping has an effect on me.” The only answer that we could think of is that there is an absorption issue. Some people may not have the ability to process cannabinoids via their gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Whether this is due to a lack of enzymes to catalyse the reaction, a lack of endocannabinoid receptors or an extremely fast metabolism that passes through cannabinoids before they are processed, we do not know, but it is certainly an area that’s worth researching. After all, it’s important to know if edibles, tinctures and suppositories will work and who they will work for. The method of consumption can be just as important as the cannabinoid-terpenoid profile.

Anyway, we hope this particular show is a fun one, and the Giggles’ personality certainly provides us welcome break from all the heartbreaking (but hopeful) stories people often tell us on the show.

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