How Long Do Edibles Take to Kick In?
Edibles are cannabis-based food products. They come in many different forms, from gummies to brownies, and contain either one or both of marijuana’s active ingredients: THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
With the legalization of marijuana, edibles are increasing in popularity. CBD-only edibles have even been found to help treat ailments such as anxiety and chronic pain. As an added benefit, edibles don’t pose risks to the respiratory system — unlike smoking marijuana.
The edible experience tends to differ from that of other cannabis products. The “high” from edibles can feel more intense, and it may last longer than the high you get from smoking.
Edibles also take longer than smoking or vaping cannabis to kick in, although many factors affect the timing.
Keep reading to learn more about edibles, including how long they take to kick in and how long the effects last, along with dosage, side effects, and precautions.
Edibles typically take around 30 to 60 minutes to kick in. However, onset time depends on a lot of factors.
First, it depends on the product’s active ingredients. If the product contains a high dose or concentration of THC, it could take effect faster.
Keep in mind that CBD-only edibles are not psychoactive. They don’t cause the “high” typically associated with THC-infused edibles. As a result, it may be harder to identify when CBD products have taken effect.
For both types of products, onset time also depends on where in the body the edibles are being broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream.
Lozenges, gum, and lollipops kick in faster because they’re absorbed sublingually
Some edible products, such as lozenges, gum, and lollipops, are ingested but not actually swallowed. In these cases, absorption occurs through the mucus membranes of the mouth. This is called sublingual absorption, and the effects are more likely to appear faster.
Chewable edibles take longer to kick in because they’re absorbed through the digestive system
Chewable edibles, such as gummies, cookies, and brownies, may have longer onset times. This is because absorption first occurs in the digestive tract. From there, active ingredients enter the bloodstream and travel to the liver.
In the liver, active ingredients are metabolized before they are released back into the bloodstream and enter the brain, at which point the effects appear.
Other factors affecting onset time
Other factors that can affect how quickly you start to feel the effects of ingested edibles are related to your habits and physical makeup. They include your:
- tolerance to cannabis
Since edibles don’t kick in right away, it can be tempting to take more soon after your first dose. This can lead to taking too much.
You should always wait at least 24 hours before taking another dose.
Edibles don’t kick in right away
Since edibles don’t kick in right away, it can be tempting to take more soon after your first dose. Wait at least 24 hours before taking another dose.
An edible high generally lasts much longer than smoking or vaping, from six to eight hours.
Among edibles that contain THC, peak blood levels occur around three hours after administration. That’s when the effects are likely to be the most intense.
As with onset time, the length of an edible high depends on a variety of factors, including the dose and potency. The high from products that are chewed and swallowed may last longer than the high from products that are absorbed orally.
Individual factors, such as metabolism, weight, and tolerance, also affect duration.
Yet, it may not be possible to predict how long the effects of edibles will last. In a 2016 study , researchers analyzed over one hundred thousand tweets about edibles. An “unpredictable” high duration was one of the most common adverse effects listed.
Edibles come in many different forms, and new products come onto the market almost daily. Common types of edibles include:
- Baked goods: brownies, cookies, biscuits, and waffles.
- Candy and sweets: gummies, chewing gum, lozenges, lollipops and hard candy, chocolate, truffles, fruit bars, and marshmallows.
- Beverages: coffee, tea and iced tea, soda, energy drinks and shots, beer, wine, and alcohol.
- Other products: jerky, butter, sugar, and syrups.
Most edible cannabis products identify how much THC or CBD is in a single serving. For instance, a single gummy typically contains 10 milligrams (mg) of THC.
In some cases, though, the manufacturer lists the THC or CBD content of the entire package or food item. To use the gummy example, a package might contain 100 mg of THC. If the package contains 10 gummies, that’s 10 mg per gummy.
This can be quite confusing with food items such as brownies and cookies. In some cases, it might mean that a single dose corresponds to a fraction of the item.
Be sure to read the label
It’s important to read the label carefully before you consume the product. Look for the THC or CBD content per serving, and identify whether the serving size refers to the entire product or only a portion.
That said, even when you know exactly what you’re consuming, edible dosing isn’t always predictable. There are a lot of variables involved.
It’s best to start with a low dose, and work your way up to a dose that produces the desired effect.
It’s best to start with a low dose, and work your way up to a dose that produces the desired effect.
Here are some general dosing suggestions for THC and CBD edibles.
THC tolerance isn’t the same for smoking and edibles. Edible THC typically produces more intense effects.
According to a 2015 report commissioned by the Colorado Department of Revenue, the behavioral effects of eating 1 mg of THC are comparable to those associated with smoking 5.71 mg of THC.
Even if you’re a regular marijuana smoker, you should start with a low dose. Over time, you can increase the dose until you reach the desired effect.
Doses that exceed 20 to 30 mg per day are associated with an increased risk of negative side effects, including dependency.
|Effect||Limited to no THC tolerance||Some THC tolerance (smoking)||THC tolerance (smoking)||THC tolerance (edibles)|
|mild||> 2.5 mg||2.5–5 mg||5–10 mg||10–15 mg|
|moderate||2.5–5 mg||5–10 mg||10–15 mg||15–30 mg|
|strong||5–10 mg||10–20 mg||15–30 mg||> 30 mg|
Since CBD does not produce psychoactive effects, there’s less risk if you take too much. Still, high doses may cause undesirable side effects, such as fatigue.
As with THC edibles, it’s best to start small. Opt for a low dose between 2.5 and 10 mg, and work your way up to a CBD dose that produces the desired effects.
Since CBD can make you sleepy, it’s best to take it in the early evening until you understand how it affects you.
Cannabis-infused edibles present distinct advantages over smoking. These include:
- No respiratory risk. Cannabis smoke contains carcinogens. In addition, regular cannabis smoking is associated with respiratory issues such as lung inflammation and bronchitis. Edibles do not involve burning marijuana and inhaling the smoke, and therefore do not pose the same risks.
- Longer duration. Edibles last longer than smoking or vaping, which makes them ideal for medicinal users who want long-acting relief from symptoms.
- Accessible. Taking edibles does not require going outside. People who cannot smoke may also find edible products easier to consume.
- Discreet. Much like medication, it’s possible to take edibles without others noticing. Unlike smoking, edibles aren’t associated with odor. This may be helpful for those who use cannabis for medicinal purposes, and need to take it while at work.
Edible side effects depend on the active ingredient.
High doses of THC edibles can produce unpleasant symptoms that persist for several hours up to several days. This is sometimes referred to as “greening out” or a cannabis overdose.
Some symptoms associated with edible cannabis overdose include:
- cognitive impairment
- motor impairment
- extreme sedation
- agitation and anxiety
- increased heart stress
- nausea and vomiting
According to a 2017 review , known side effects of CBD include:
- changes in appetite
- changes in weight
More research into short- and long-term side effects of CBD use needs to be done.
When purchasing edibles, it’s important to evaluate the manufacturer carefully.
In general, reputable edible manufacturers are transparent about the contents of their products and the required dosages. A trustworthy source should take the time to answer your questions without pressuring you to purchase the product.
Still, it’s not always possible to know exactly what you’re getting. A 2015 study evaluated the dose and label accuracy of 75 different products.
After testing the products for THC content, researchers found that only 17 percent were accurately labeled. Among products that were inaccurately labeled, 23 percent contained more THC than stated, and 60 percent contained less THC than stated.
Edibles can interfere with medication and other supplements. If you’re thinking about using them, speak with a doctor. In states where edibles are legal, a doctor may be able to recommend a dose or brand.
Edibles can take up to several hours to kick in. If you’ve already taken a dose, you should wait at least 24 hours before taking more. Taking another dose could cause unpleasant side effects.
When taking edibles for the first time, start with a small dose and work your way up to a dose that produces the desired effect.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.Edibles take longer than smoking or vaping cannabis to kick in — typically around 30 to 60 minutes. However, onset time depends on a lot of factors. Learn what these factors are as well as how long the effects last, dosage suggestions, side effects, and precautions.
How Long Do Edibles Last?
What’s the Deal with Edibles?
When it comes to how long do edibles last, things can get confusing. Last week’s weed gummy may have produced incredibly long-lasting effects, while this week’s weed gummy felt like it only lasted a few hours.
How could there be such a drastic difference in effects if you consumed the same cannabis gummies? The way that our bodies process edibles is complicated, and is much different than the way we process THC or CBD based products that are smoked or vaped. This is also assuming you have a tested and consistent product, and not a homemade edible, as consistency continues to be an issue within the cannabis industry.
In this article, we’ll tell you what you need to know about the not so simple process of how long the effects of edibles last. We want you to have the best experience possible.
The Edible’s Long Journey
“Not until [the edible] reaches your gastrointestinal tract (intestines) will the majority of THC actually start absorbing into your bloodstream.”
To get a good understanding of how edibles are different, we need to understand how our body processes them. When you ingest an edible, such as a weed gummy or other, that gummy needs to travel all the way through your digestive system. You generally won’t start feeling the effects for at least 30 minutes.
Not until it reaches your gastrointestinal tract (intestines) will the majority of THC actually start absorbing into your bloodstream . Once the edible is broken down, the THC is absorbed through the walls and lining of your intestines. The THC is released into your blood directly following, and the liver then modifies the THC and turns it into a compound called 11-hydroxy-THC, which is 3-5 times more psychoactive than THC. Edible highs are also very different in general and everyone’s edible experience is different.
The 11-hydroxy-THC will bind to the endocannabinoid system throughout your body. This is the point when you’ll probably start to notice the effects of the edible you consumed. This lengthy process can be circumvented by taking edibles that can be absorbed sublingually, which bypasses the GI and decreases your wait time. This does not however, get around urine tests or other drug tests.
Now let’s compare the digestion process with that of smoking or vaping. When you combust cannabis or vaporize cannabis, the cannabinoids are inhaled into the lungs. Once there, the cannabinoids will immediately diffuse into the bloodstream. Quickly, the THC binds to endocannabinoid receptors throughout the body. This is why smoking or vaping provides nearly instantaneous effects.
Slow and Steady
“Edibles can sometimes take hours to hit you, and then come in waves that last throughout the day. because of the long journey through the digestive system. and the need for them to get processed by the liver.”
Edibles last so long because they need to be processed in the intestines. Digestion is a slow and complicated process that happens in an inconsistent manner. It’s inconsistent due to a variety of factors, but also because your digestion process depends on what you ate and when .
More than likely, you’ve eaten something before consuming a cannabis edible, and that can also slow down the rate at which the edible is processed. On the other hand, eating foods that are high in fat content can amplify the power of the edible, so proceed with caution and experiment with low doses! Eating edibles on an empty stomach can also provide different effects for different people.
Once the edible makes it to the intestines, the THC is absorbed into the blood and formed into balls called micelles.
THC is hydrophobic , meaning that it doesn’t ‘dissolve’ in water like salt, and instead, it clumps together with itself. Think of a drop of oil in water; it can move through the water, but it stays separated from it. That’s exactly what the THC is doing in the bloodstream.
Once the micelle is formed, the THC travels to the liver via the portal vein and then gets modified into 11-hydroxy-THC. This form of THC is more soluble in water and can be ‘dissolved’, making it move much faster throughout the brain and body.
This is why edibles can sometimes take hours to hit you and then come in waves that last throughout the day. Most people are surprised that an edible can last up to 8 hours! That’s a stark difference from the regular 2- 3 hours associated with inhalation.
Awareness Is Key
Consuming edibles is one of the most enjoyable ways to partake in cannabis. However, it’s essential that you realize that THC from an edible can take much longer to kick in when compared to smoking or vaping.
Most cannabis consumers have had the experience of using an edible and feeling like it didn’t work. They then eat a bit more and before they know it they have majorly overconsumed and are intoxicated for the rest of the day. This is not a surprise most people find enjoyable.
Hopefully, this article provides you with the information you need to avoid being blindsided by a cannabis edible. Keep in mind that they can take up to 2 hours to kick in and last for as long as 8. The best advice is to go low and slow until you know your dose.
Click here to learn about how long edibles stay in your system too!How long do they stay in your system? When will they kick in? How long do the effects last? Everything you need to know about edibles. ]]>