Exploring the Myth: Do Edibles Make Your Eyes Red?


The consumption of cannabis through edibles has gained significant popularity in recent times. Unlike smoking weed, edibles provide a subtle and long-lasting high that many users enjoy. However, one question on many new users’ minds is: do edibles make your eyes red? Here we’ll explore the science and answer this key question.

What Are Edibles?

Before getting into how edibles affect the eyes, it’s helpful to understand exactly what cannabis edibles are. Edibles are any food or beverage infused with cannabinoids like THC or CBD extracted from the marijuana plant. Popular types of edibles include gummies, chocolates, baked goods, drinks, tinctures, and more.

These products provide the effects of cannabis when eaten rather than through inhalation. The cannabis compounds are absorbed through the digestive tract and metabolized by the liver. Edibles provide a distinct high compared to smoking or vaping weed because of the metabolic process.

The effects come on slower, tend to feel more psychedelic, and last much longer – often for 6-12 hours. Now that we understand what edibles are and how they work in the body, we can analyze whether this consumption method causes the archetypal red eyes that smoking weed is known for. Let’s explore how edibles interact with the eyes next.

How Edibles Interact With The Body

When you eat an edible, the active compounds in cannabis (like THC and CBD) are absorbed through the digestive system before being metabolized by the liver. This differs from inhaling, where cannabinoids go straight to the bloodstream and brain.

This metabolic process converts THC into a more potent form called 11-hydroxy-THC. This is why edible highs feel much stronger and last longer.

However, this metabolic process also means slightly different effects on the body, including the eyes.

Do Edibles Cause Red Eyes?

So do edibles actually make your eyes red like smoking weed? The short answer is no. Consuming edibles does not cause the classic bloodshot eyes people get after smoking or vaping cannabis.

There are a few scientific reasons why edibles don’t make eyes red:

  • Edibles do not irritate eyes like smoke does. Smoke contains carcinogens that irritate and dry out the eyes, enlarging blood vessels.
  • Digesting cannabis delays effects on the body, including dilation of blood vessels. This reduces visible redness in the eyes.
  • 11-hydroxy-THC processed by the liver does not act directly on cannabinoid receptors in the eye area that control blood flow.

What Effects Do Edibles Have on Eyes?

While edibles don’t make eyes red, users do report some subtle ocular effects from eating cannabis products. These include:

  • Increased light sensitivity and pupils dilation due to central nervous system changes
  • Dry, irritated eyes from dehydration. Edibles can cause cottonmouth which reduces moisture.
  • Visual changes like enhanced colors and magnification due to psychedelic effects.

So while your eyes won’t turn red, edibles can impact vision and comfort in other subtle ways. Staying hydrated and using eyedrops can help counteract these effects.

The Bottom Line

Unlike smoking, vaping, or dabbing cannabis, ingesting edibles will not cause that quintessential red-eyed look. The main reasons are because edibles don’t irritate eyes directly, have delayed effects throughout the body, and metabolize THC differently than inhaling.

However, edibles can lead to some mild visual changes and dryness. Being aware of these potential effects can allow you to better enjoy the unique edible experience. So consume your cannabis edible without worry of looking obviously high!

FAQ About Edibles And Eyes

1. Why don’t edibles dilate pupils if they get you high?

Edibles cause central dilation of pupils, but this effect is subtle and takes longer to appear. The liver also filters out some THC, reducing its strength on the eyes.

2. Can edibles cause vision changes?

While they don’t make eyes red, edibles can cause minor visual changes related to lighting sensitivity, color perception and dilation. Staying hydrated helps.

3. Is there any eye drop that can hide being high on edibles?

No eye drop can completely disguise being high. But using moisturizing drops can help relieve any dryness and irritation.

4. Does CBD make your eyes less red than THC edibles?

Yes, high CBD edibles are less likely to cause as much ocular dryness or dilation. However, all edibles avoid the significant redness that inhaled cannabis causes.

5. Can you develop red eyes from edibles later, as they kick in?

No, while edible effects take 1-3 hours to peak, they will not cause eyes to become bloodshot red at any point after ingesting like smoking does.

Dr. Jun Ren is a dedicated and experienced registered dietitian and nutritionist who is committed to helping people achieve their health goals through personalized nutrition plans. With a passion for promoting healthy eating habits and preventing chronic diseases, Dr. Ren has been able to assist numerous clients in improving their overall quality of life.

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