How long does it take for edibles to kick in?

How Long Does It Take for Edibles 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 main active ingredients: THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).

Edibles have been growing in popularity since the legalization of marijuana. CBD-only edibles can even treat anxiety and chronic pain. Unlike smoking cannabis, edibles are not harmful to the respiratory system.

These treats are different from other cannabis products in that they offer a unique experience. The effects of edible cannabis may be more intense than from smoking and can last for significantly longer periods of time.

Although edibles take longer to kick in than smoking or vaping, many factors can affect this timing.

Continue reading to find out more about edibles, including how long it takes for them to kick in, how long the effects last, and what dosage to use, as well as side effects and precautions.


How Long They Take to Kick In

The onset of edibles usually takes 30-60 minutes for the average person. The onset of edibles depends on many factors including but not limited to tolerance, body weight, body fat percentage, gender, and individual body chemistry. Another factor to consider is if the product contains high levels or concentrations of THC.

CBD-only edibles do not usually contain psychoactive properties (unless they also have a high THC content. CBD is not psychoactive and doesn’t produce the high that is associated with THC-infused edibles. It may be difficult to determine when CBD products are in effect unless you suffer from chronic or debilitating pain.

Cannabis Lozenges, Gum, and Lollipops Kick in Faster

Some edibles such as lollipops and gum can be ingested, without being swallowed whole. These products absorb through the mucus membranes in the mouth. Sublingual absorption is the name of this phenomenon, and it’s more common to see results faster, especially when placed under the tongue.

Chewable Edibles Take Longer to Kick In

Some chewable edibles like cookies, gummies, and brownies may take longer to onset. This is because absorption begins in the digestive system and may take longer to reach your bloodstream. Active ingredients then enter the bloodstream and travel to the liver.

The liver is responsible for the metabolism of active ingredients before they are released into the bloodstream. Once they reach the brain, the effects begin to appear.


How Long the Effects Last

An edible high can last for a longer time when compared to vaping or smoking and can last from four to eight hours with the associated hangover lasting potentially much longer.

Peak blood levels for edibles containing THC occur approximately three hours following administration. This is when the effects will be most intense.

The duration of an edible high is dependent on many factors. These include the dosage and potency. Products that are swallowed orally may give a longer-lasting high than those that are chewed.

Duration can also be affected by individual factors like metabolism, weight, tolerance, and other personal factors.

It may be difficult to predict the duration of edible effects. Researchers analyzed more than one hundred thousand tweets related to edibles in a 2016 study. The most frequent adverse effects were those that had a high duration and were “unpredictable” in their concentration and resulting effects.


Common Forms of Edibles

Cannabis Edibles come in a variety of forms, with new products hitting the market almost every day. The following are examples of common edibles:

  •       Baked goods (brownies, cookies, biscuits, and waffles)
  •       Candy and sweets (gummies, chewing gum, lozenges, lollipops, edible weed candy, chocolate, truffles, fruit bars, and marshmallows)
  •       Beverages (coffee, tea and iced tea, soda, energy drinks, shots, beer, wine, and other types of alcohol)
  •       Other products (jerky, butter, sugar, and syrups)


The Right Dosage for You

Most edible cannabis products indicate how much THC and CBD are in one serving. A single gummy usually contains up to 10 mg (mg) THC.

However, in some cases, the manufacturer may list the THC or CBD content of the whole package or food item. A package may contain 100mg of THC, as an example in the gummy category. If there are 10 gummy edibles in a package, they will contain 10 mg of THC.

This can be extremely confusing with foods such as cookies and brownies. It might be that a single serving corresponds to only a small amount of the item.

Make Certain to Read the Label. Before you consume the product, it is important that you carefully read the label. You should look for the THC and CBD content per serving. Also, identify whether the serving size is for the whole product or a small portion.

Even if you know what you are eating, edible dosing can be unpredictable. There are many variables. Start with a low dose and increase your dose as you go.

Dosage of THC. THC tolerance doesn’t usually apply to edible cannabis when compared to smoking. The effects of edible THC are typically more intense, longer lasting and generally lead to a longer “weed hangover”.

A 2015 report by the Colorado Department of Revenue shows that the behavioral effects of eating 1 mg of THC are equivalent to smoking 5.71mg of THC.

Even if you are a regular smoker of marijuana, it is a good idea to start slowly. You can gradually increase the dose until the desired effects are achieved. Doses exceeding 20-30 mg/day are linked to a higher risk of side effects including turning into a temporary couch zombie.

Dosage of CBD. There is less risk of CBD producing psychoactive effects if you take too much. However, excessive CBD can cause fatigue and other side effects.

It’s best to begin small with edibles containing with CBD as well. Start with a low dose of 2.5 to 10 mg and then increase your CBD dosage until you get the desired effects.

CBD can cause sleepiness, so it is best to take CBD in the evening or nighttime until you have a proper understanding of how it affects you.


Benefits of Edibles

Marijuana-infused edibles have distinct advantages over smoking. These are some examples:


  •       No Respiratory Risk. Cannabis smoke contains carcinogens. Carcinogens and tar are found in cannabis smoke. Regular cannabis smoking can cause respiratory problems such as lung inflammation and Bronchitis. The risks associated with edible cannabis are not the same as those that involve inhaling marijuana smoke and burning it.
  •       Longer Duration. The shelf life of edibles is longer than vaping or smoking, making them an ideal choice for patients who need long-lasting relief.
  •       Accessible. You don’t have to be as careful when eating edibles in public places. Some people who are unable to smoke might find it easier to eat edibles.
  •       Discreet. It’s possible to eat edibles, much like taking medication. Edible cannabis doesn’t have an unpleasant odor, unlike smoking. This is a benefit for people who use marijuana for medical purposes or need to take it at work.



Possible Side Effects

The active ingredients determine the edible’s side effects.

THC Edibles. THC edibles in high doses can cause unpleasant symptoms that last for several hours to a couple days. This is also known as “greening out” or a cannabis hangover.


Some of the symptoms of edible cannabis overdose include:


  •       cognitive impairment
  •       motor impairment
  •       extreme sedation (couch zombie)
  •       agitation and anxiety
  •       increased heart stress
  •       nausea and vomiting
  •       hallucinations
  •       delusions
  •       psychosis


CBD Edibles. According to a 2017 review, CBD can potentially have the following known side effects:


  •       tiredness
  •       diarrhea
  •       changes in appetite
  •       changes in weight


Other Issues to Consider

It is important to carefully evaluate the manufacturer before purchasing edibles.

Reputable edible manufacturers will be open about the ingredients and dosage requirements of their products. Trustworthy sources should be able to answer all your questions and not pressure you into buying the product.

It’s sometimes difficult to know what you are getting. A 2015 study compared 75 products to determine the label accuracy and dose.

Researchers found that only 17% of the products were correctly labeled after testing them for THC. The research found that 23 percent of the products had more THC than was stated and 60 percent had less THC.

When You Should See a Doctor

The use of edible cannabis can cause side effects to medication and other supplements. Talk to your doctor if you are considering using them. A doctor might be able to recommend a brand or dosage that does not conflict with your current medication.

Is It Possible to Overdose on Edibles?

You can’t “overdose” on marijuana edibles the same way as you could from hard drugs. However, taking too much can have some adverse side effects as mentioned previously.

How Do the Effects of Edibles Compare to the Effects of Smoking?

Smoking cannabis produces quicker-acting effects. Edible cannabis is slower and lasts longer. You may not get the full effect for as long as four hours.

Consuming edibles has a lower chance of you getting lung irritation or coughing than smoking. Edibles don’t have the same strong smell as cannabis joints.

In terms of the high, edibles generally cause much stronger sensations thank smoking. Most people report being higher than they have ever been from smoking with their first edible experience.

How Can You Tell How Much CBD or THC You’re Taking?

The answer will vary depending on what kind of edible you’ve chosen. The exact concentration of CBD or THC should be stated on the package label if you’re eating a pre-packaged edible.

You can make your base for edibles (e.g., butter), but the exact amount of THC or CBD will depend on many factors, such as the type of bud, how much you add to the recipe, and the amount of each ingredient.

To get better results on the level of cannabinoids in your cannabutter, make sure you test it. This figure is usually determined by major edibles manufacturers who test their products regularly to ensure precision and accuracy in reporting.


Should I Refrain from Engaging in Certain Activities After Consuming Edibles?

Cannabis experts advise against engaging in certain activities while under the influence. Driving, using sophisticated machinery, and carrying heavy objects are all recommended to avoid. To perform any of these activities, you should wait until the high has completely subsided.

It can take edibles several hours for their effects to kick in. You should wait at least 12 hours after you have taken your first dose before performing any of the activities mentioned above. 

Start with a low dose of edible cannabis and increase it gradually until you get the desired effects. If an any activity requires a high degree of focus, concentration or has the potential to be dangerous, definitely avoid it until the effects have dissipated.

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