While smoking cannabis is usually the go-to method of consumption, not everybody enjoys inhaling smoke into their lungs but at the same time, it can be hard to determine how long do edibles last if you’re a novice user. Fortunately, for non-smokers, edibles exist as an alternate form of consumption and can be a great alternative when consumed responsibly, assuming you get the dosing down correctly!
If you’re new to THC infused foods, we’ll be answering some frequently asked questions such as how long do edibles last, how potent is the edibles high, and how our bodies metabolize and absorb THC.
Let’s get started!
The Basics of THC Absorption – How We Process THC
Before we get into differences between smoking and ingesting cannabis, it’s important that you have a firm understanding of how the human body processes and absorbs THC. Whether you’re smoking or ingesting weed, the end result is that the THC consumed will end up circulating through your bloodstream and eventually reach your brain. However, the method of ingestion dictates the route that the THC takes to your brain.
When inhaled, THC is able to reach the bloodstream extremely quickly. This is why you can experience the high just seconds after your first puff. When marijuana is smoked, the THC directly enters your lungs where they are lined by several millions of alveoli. Alveoli are the tiny air sacs in your lungs that allow for rapid gaseous exchange.
The massive amount of surface area that the alveoli take up ensures that the THC is absorbed into the bloodstream in the most expedient way possible. Once the THC is in the bloodstream, it then makes its way to your brain, and then the rest of your body where it is slowly distributed and broken down over time.
When orally ingested, your body takes a slightly different approach. The THC travels through the stomach to the intestines where it is actually absorbed through the digestive tract and then metabolized by your liver. Once the THC has passed through your liver, it enters into your bloodstream.
This is called first-pass metabolism. The chemical composition of THC is also changed while being metabolized in your liver. The THC itself becomes a slightly different version called 11-hydroxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (11-OH-THC) through the process of oxidation.
It’s important to note that inhaled cannabis also undergoes oxidation in the liver, as the blood containing THC absorbed from the lungs circulates throughout the body and ends up in the liver. The main difference between the two is in the amount of 11-OH-THC relative to the ratio of THC present in the body.
THC that is absorbed via the lungs is absorbed by your brain and fatty tissue before entering your liver as well. As a result, less THC reaches your liver. When ingested, a much larger quantity of THC goes directly to your liver, leading to a more balanced ratio of THC to 11-OH-THC.
With that said, research suggests that 11-OH-THC has better capabilities of entering the brain and crossing the blood-brain-barrier more efficiently.
It’s important to note that some estimates suggest that 11-OH-THC carries a potency of anywhere between three to seven times that of THC. This is why edible cannabis tends to have a much more intense effect.
How Long Does It Take For Edibles To Kick In?
Edibles can take anywhere between 30-120 minutes to kick in. Whether you’ve eaten any food prior to your session also plays a factor in the timing of your high.
In general, the less food you have in your stomach, the faster the edibles take to kick in. To be safe, consume your dose in a single sitting to prevent any chance of a surprise green out.
How Long Do The Effects of an Edible Last?
Typically the effects of an edible will last for upwards of 8 hours. If you have consumed a large quantity in one sitting, you can expect the edibles’ effect to last upwards of 12 hours, the high may sometimes last even longer depending on the amount consumed.
How long an edible lasts also depends on how much food you’ve eaten prior and your tolerance to cannabis. Everyone’s physiology is different so 8 the hours is a liberal estimate. If you’ve never done an edible before, it’s best to take it slow with a microdose lest you get too high and green out!
Edible dosage chart
Due to edible cannabis’ high potency, it’s prudent to gauge your doses accordingly. Here is a brief guide on how to gauge an edibles’ dosage and what to expect at each level:
1-2.5mg THC. Slight relief of pain, anxiety, and stress, and enhanced focus and creativity. Great for first-time users or those who are looking to microdose.
2.5-15mg THC. Very similar to a microdose albeit with stronger effects and slight euphoria. May alter perception and impair coordination. Great for recreational users or people with chronic symptoms of pain, anxiety, stress, or insomnia.
15-30mg THC. May produce unwanted effects. Feelings of strong euphoria, may alter perception and impair coordination. Great for seasoned cannabis veterans and medical patients who have developed a tolerance to THC.
30-50mg THC. May cause discomfort. Very intense feelings of euphoria. Likely to alter perception and impair coordination. Great for users who have poor GI absorption of cannabinoids or consumers who have developed a high tolerance to THC.
50-100mg THC. May cause extreme unwanted side effects like elevated heart rate, paranoia, and anxiety or nausea. High chance to alter perception and impair coordination. Suitable for cancer patients or those who are highly experienced with THC.
Final Thoughts on How Long Edibles Last
Hopefully, you’ve come out of this with some newfound knowledge about the workings of THC and the human body. We hope this article will help you in your cannabis journey. Enjoy safely and responsibly!