Edibles are one of the healthiest ways of getting the cannabinoids from cannabis into your system, and besides offering a healthy way to get high, they also have a prolonged duration compared to other consumption methods.
Knowing how to consume edibles and how long does it take for edibles to kick in is very important, since taking too much can result in a very unpleasant experience.
Before we get into the main chapter of this article, we first need to define what types of edibles are available on the market, since different kinds of weed edibles require a different amount of time to kick in.
Main Types of Edibles
There are several different classes of cannabis edibles, so let’s check them out.
Sublingual Edibles (Concentrates)
All products that require holding a cannabinoid-infused liquid in your mouth for a specified period of time shouldn’t be considered as regular edibles.
With these oral products, THC and other cannabinoids directly enter the bloodstream through the mucous membrane in the mouth. This results in a very rapid onset of effects, somewhat similar to smoking a joint or vaporizing cannabis, typically within 30 to 120 minutes.
Cannabis products taken sublingually have a very rapid onset time and their effects last longer than other orally consumed edibles.
The duration of their effects lasts for up to 12 hours.
A good example of this category of products are THC and CBD-infused oils.
These products are not the same as “classical” edibles like brownies, cookies and gummies, mainly because they don’t have to pass through the digestive system in order to start working.
All cannabis products that require ingestion can be viewed as regular edibles.
Weed brownies made with cannabis butter (and other forms of similar weed edibles) require a longer period of time to start working, since they have to be dissolved by our digestive system.
Another feature that makes “chewable” edibles special is that when they’re swallowed, the THC passes through the liver, where it is metabolized into a different type of THC.
When we vape or smoke cannabis (or consume sublingual edibles), the THC that enters our brain and causes the high is known as Delta-9-THC (Δ9-THC).
But, when we consume “chewable” edibles, the Delta-9-THC enters the liver. There it is metabolized into 11-Hydroxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (11-OH-THC), commonly known as 11-hydroxy-THC.
This metabolization is also one of the main reasons why “chewable” edibles require a longer period of time to kick in.
The transformation from Delta-9-THC to 11-hydroxy-THC is also responsible for the prolonged duration of edibles, and the intense high they produce.
Beverages infused with cannabinoids are quite similar to “chewable” edibles, both in the effects that they produce, but also that they require a similar amount of time to start working.
Since they are liquid, THC-infused drinks can be processed by our digestive system slightly quicker than solid-food edibles, which means that you’ll likely get high a bit faster with such products.
How Long Does It Take for Edibles to Start Working?
Edibles typically require anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours to kick in, but the first effects are rarely noticeable before an hour has passed.
How quickly you’ll start feeling high is dependent on two important factors:
- How fast is your metabolism
- How busy is your digestive system (what you ate before taking the edible)
The “agility” of your metabolism plays a capital role. Since people have different metabolisms, it’s possible that if you’ve taken an edible with someone, they will start feeling the effects faster than you.
How quickly an edible will kick in also depends on what you had to eat. If you had a substantial lunch prior to taking an edible, it’s safe to assume that your digestive system will require more time to process the edible.
On the other hand, if you’ve eaten an edible on an empty stomach, the effects will occur much more quickly, since the edible doesn’t have to “compete” with any other food in your stomach.
Another important feature of edibles is that they require a prolonged period of time to peak. Unlike with joints, blunts or vaporization (where peak levels happen quite rapidly), an edible high usually requires a long time to peak.
What this implies is that if you begin feeling the first effects of an edible high after (let’s say) 90 minutes, the high will become much more intense two or three hours after you’ve taken the edible.
It’s crucial to keep this in mind when you’re deciding whether you should take another dose.