How Long For Edibles To Kick In? How Long Do They Last? A Helpful Beginner's Guide
By Dante Jordan
Edibles are great for people who want to enjoy cannabis, but don’t actually want to smoke or dab.
If you’re looking to try edibles for the first time, you might find all of the options in cannabis dispensaries to be a little overwhelming. You’ve got cookies, mints, pretzels, brownies, gummies, and they’re all from a variety of companies. On top of that, the experiences from each could vary so much that you end up feeling more anxious than when you walked into the store.
We get it, and to help ease the process of shopping for, and consuming edibles, we’ve tackled some of the questions you may have about the best types of edibles, how long it takes for edibles to kick in, and how long edibles last.
This is The Bluntness guide to consuming edibles.
What Types of Cannabis Edibles are Available?
There are THC-dominant edibles, CBD-dominant edibles, and some that have a 1:1 THC:CBD ratio.
- THC edibles: THC-dominant edibles will produce the psychoactive high that you associate with cannabis consumption. Their potency can vary by product, and also by state, as each legal cannabis market has its own set of THC limits on edibles.
Most edibles come in 2.5mg, 5mg, or 10mg THC doses per serving with 10 servings in each unit. This helps consumers dose out their experience, and dial in their relationship with edibles.
The more you learn how edibles affect your body, and at what specific amounts of cannabinoids, the better your experience will be when getting high off of edibles.
- CBD edibles: The best way to explain CBD is to say that it’s cannabis that won’t get you high, but still will make your mind and body feel good. Sans that buzzed euphoria that THC produces, CBD may bring about: improved moods, physical relaxation, stress relief, and a plethora of cannabis’s many other benefits.
With 1:1 THC:CBD ratios, consumers are able to still feel that buzz, however the CBD helps mitigate some of THC’s intensity. As a rule of thumb, the higher the CBD:THC ratio, the less intense of a psychoactive high you will feel.
What are the Best Ways to Consume Cannabis Edibles?
There are many different forms of cannabis edibles. If you break them into categories, they tend to fall under three umbrellas: baked edibles, candy edibles, and beverages.
Examples of baked cannabis edibles include:
- Sugary treats like rice krispies
Examples of candy edibles:
- Hard candies
- Flavor belts
Examples of cannabis beverages:
Each of the aforementioned confections produces their own subjective experience. Whichever is the best depends on what you’re looking for in terms of edible type, potency, flavor, and experience.
If you struggle with health issues, it may be best to avoid cannabis edibles with added sugars.
How Long Does It Take for Edibles to Kick in?
Getting high is all about getting THC into your bloodstream. When choosing consumption methods, know that edibles are often the slowest way of doing this. That is because smoking joints and using tinctures puts the THC directly into your bloodstream through inhalation and oral ingestion; but edibles are processed through the stomach, digestive system, and finally liver to put THC into your bloodstream.
The biggest issue with edibles is onset time i.e the length of time it takes for them to kick in. Many studies suggest that you should feel an edible hit within 30-60 minutes of consuming it, however the exact answer to how long it takes for a cannabis edible to take effect after consumption depends on a variety of factors. These include: the type of edible you ate, how it was absorbed, diet, metabolism, and how experienced you are with cannabis i.e. your tolerance.
How long it takes for an edible to hit starts with how it was consumed, and the different ways THC can be absorbed. For products like cookies, brownies, and gummies where you chew and swallow them, it will take longer for them to hit because the THC has to go through the body, not mouth. Because of this, the food will be processed in the order that you ate it, so if you’re coming off a full dinner and you want an edible nightcap, it might take a while for that weed brownie you ate as dessert to take effect.
Edibles that are absorbed through the stomach/liver:
Recommended for You: How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System?
How to Make Edibles Kick in Faster?
If you don’t want to wait hours to feel your edible’s effects, there are a couple of ways to accelerate onset time.
Pairing your edibles with fatty foods is one of these ways. The body has an intestinal lymphatic system that makes cannabis compounds available to the body. This system makes the THC and CBD available to your body through dissolving fats.
Because of this, consuming THC and CBD through fatty foods, or with fatty foods, is likely to reduce onset time, and perhaps even increase the intensity of your cannabis edibles. Try consuming them on an empty stomach followed by fatty food like peanut butter, cheese, or yogurt if you want to get right down to business.
If you want your edibles to hit faster, hard candies, lozenges, and lollipops may become your new favorite way to enjoy cannabis. These edibles are dissolved and absorbed through the mouth, and entered into the bloodstream in a more direct, and immediate fashion. Products like hard candies, lozenges, lollipops, and breath strips fall under the category of sublinguals.
Edibles that are absorbed through sublingually:
- Hard candies
- Breath strips
If you don’t feel your edible hit, be wary of taking another dose. With delayed effects, you may find that taking a double dose over a short amount of time may lead to eventually feeling way too high i.e. the dreaded “bad edible trip.” If you’re new to cannabis, you may want to wait at least 24 hours before trying a larger dose.
Additional factors that change how long it takes for an edible to hit:
- Your tolerance
Physical characteristics play a huge role in how you respond to cannabis. Your diet, speed of metabolism, age, tolerance, and general experience with cannabis will influence how long it takes for your edibles to take effect.
Each person’s digestive system is different. Some people have stomachs that empty fast, others take much longer to clear the body out. This is why you know people that can eat a whole chocolate cake without gaining a pound versus others who broke the scale just by reading the word chocolate. The same applies to how edibles digest, and the way THC metabolizes through the body.
As the cannabis industry evolves, producers are beginning to experiment more with nanoemulsions, which are molecules that help increase rate of THC absorption, and accelerate the onset time of cannabis edibles.
Still, there is a lot of scientific research left to do on cannabis edibles and how long to make them hit faster, before claims can be made with concrete certainty.
How Long Do Edibles Last?
If you're asking how long edibles last in terms of storage and shelf life, the answers vary. Hard candies and gummies tend to last longer than chocolates as they don’t melt up and ruin. Baked goods tend to have a shorter shelf life than candies, as well. If you’re concerned with buying edibles in bulk that store well so you don’t have to return to the storage anytime soon, your best bet is to buy some hard candies or gummies.
If you’re talking about how long edibles last in terms of THC, and the high you feel after eating them, that answer too varies. The experience is much different than inhaling cannabis in that smoking or vaping brings almost immediate effects.
With smoking, one study suggests that the psychoactive effects and peak THC blood levels occur in minutes, and the effects last approximately one to four hours. Eating cannabis on the other hand is a much longer lasting experience that requires attention to detail and precision. That same study suggests that edibles onset time is within an hour, the THC levels in the bloodstream peak after approximately three hours, and the high itself can last over six hours.
Another study done in 2003 suggests the same as far as onset time, and peak high expectation, but that the high can be up to 12 hours long. Two more studies follow suit, in which you can read here and here.
Additionally, the process of sending the edibles through your digestive system to your liver changes the type of THC you’ve consumed from Delta-9-THC, what we smoke/dab/vape, to 11-Hydroxy-THC. 11-Hydroxy-THC differs from Delta-9 in that it is a much more potent, sedative, and longer-lasting form of the psychoactive molecule. This is why edibles are the go-to for consumers with physical pain and sleeping disorders.
Dosing Changes How Long Your Edible High Lasts
As mentioned earlier, cannabis edibles tend to be dosed out into 2.5mg, 5mg, or 10mg servings. With smoking cannabis, a Colorado study concluded that the amount of THC in your flower or concentrate does not actually result in your feeling “higher.”
This is not the case when eating edibles.
Eating a chocolate bar with 100mg of THC versus just a piece of it with 10mg of THC will undoubtedly get you higher.
In the end, the clear truth is that there is no 100 percent accurate answer on how long it will take edibles to hit you or how long the edibles high will last. Instead, there is just speculation, based on averages and a few select studies.
The answer will vary from person to person depending on what type of edibles you ate, your physical high, metabolistic rate, THC/CBD tolerance, and most importantly, dosing. The only thing we know for fact is that if you eat too many edibles at once, you’re in for that over-six-hours type of high, so always practice responsible cannabis consumption.
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