Picture this: you go out and buy a weed edible like a brownie, bar of chocolate, or some gummy bears, but you aren’t exactly sure how long for edibles to kick in.
You can’t wait to get home — anticipating the high you’ll experience the entire journey back. Finally, you get home, and it’s time to eat it!
You enjoy every bite, then sit back, relax, and wait for your high to kick in.
And then…nothing happens.
What gives? The most likely answer is that you underestimated how long for edibles to kick in.
However, before we delve into that, it’s essential to lay down some ground rules about how our bodies process edibles and how they differ from other methods of consuming your favourite icky sticky.
How Long for Edibles to Kick in?
The edible experience differs from other weed products because of how it is ingested.
Smoking and vaping THC delivers the psychoactive cannabinoid directly into the bloodstream, whereas eating it requires it to be broken down by the digestive system and liver before being absorbed into the blood.
In terms of answering the question of how long it takes for edibles to kick in, it can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours to feel the effects. The high itself can last anywhere from 7 to 12 hours.
However, the onset time can be influenced by several factors, including the percentage of THC, your body weight, your gender, and how much you had to eat.
Some products like lollipops, lozenges, and gum aren’t swallowed. However, they’re still being ingested via the mucous membrane in your mouth and under your tongue in a process known as sublingual absorption.
These sublingual edibles will get you high much faster than their chewable counterparts, such as cookies and candies.
Still, if you’re not feeling the effects after two hours, likely, you didn’t take a large enough dose.
Most users with low to medium tolerance levels feel mild effects after eating 3mgs, but if you don’t feel anything, try eating another 2-3 mg and wait another 2-3 hours.
What Affects Edible Onset Time?
There are various factors for how long for edibles to kick in on an individual and specific product level.
For novice tokers, these features are important to note, particularly if you are considering trying edibles for the first time and don’t necessarily have the experience for how long it takes to feel the effects.
Don’t worry, though. We’ve got you!
Below are some factors to keep in mind when learning how long for edibles to kick in:
Your Body, Specifically
The main factors that determine how fast you’ll begin to feel intoxicated are strongly correlated with your physical makeup and lifestyle habits.
These include your metabolism, diet, weight, gender, and individual tolerance level.
People come in all shapes and sizes, which is a lovely sentiment and essential to consider when ingesting edibles as there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to dosage levels and ingesting edibles.
Edibles are much more potent than smoking regular flower. The reason for this is because when ingested through an edible, a metabolic byproduct called 11-hydroxy-THC is created as the THC passes through your GI tract and liver, which is more potent than ingesting THC through other methods.
In a study where participants were given 1mg of regular THC and 11-hydroxy-THC, those given 11-hydroxy-THC reported feeling a faster onset and more intense high than normal THC.
So, it is best to adhere to the start low, go slow mentality when it comes to ingesting edibles and only increase your dosage once you’ve established a comfortable baseline.
The Type of Edible
The bulk of edibles currently available on the market distinctly identify how much THC is in each serving. For instance, most gummy serving sizes are 20 mg of THC per piece, with ten gummies per pack — which is a total of 200 mg.
What makes dosing difficult is when manufacturers list the THC content for the entire package.
Another crucial factor is that different edibles can have varying effects in terms of the longevity and intensity of your high. Depending on your edible of choice, you will likely have a different experience than if you were to try another form.
The THC ingredient in your edibles serves as a key indicator of the intensity of your high.
For instance, Sugar Jack’s gummies contain distillate instead of infused weed butter/oil for better quality, less dank taste, making them more potent than if you were to bake your own edibles at home using cannabutter made from dry flower.
If you’re unsure which form of edible might be best for your particular weed needs, check out our comprehensive guide.
As we’ve already said, edibles take some time to kick in. It’s imperative that you don’t attempt to eat more too soon after taking your first dose. If you think you need a stronger dose, we recommend waiting 2-3 hours to see how it affects you before eating more.
Food You’ve Eaten that Day
Ingesting edibles on a full or empty stomach can significantly impact how edibles will kick in and the overall intensity of the high.
Both ingestion methods are safe. However, the effects will be noticeably different.
If you take edibles without eating anything first, you will feel the effects longer and stronger. Not only that, but the onset time will be much quicker as well.
For more experienced tokers looking to enhance their high, try fasting for a big before ingesting an edible for an extra boost.
However, we would recommend eating a bit beforehand for those new to edibles until you become more comfortable and familiar with this form of cannabis product and your specific tolerance level.
THC blood levels typically peak around three hours after ingestion. If you’re still not feeling anything after your three hours are up, then you should be safe to increase your dose.
The hard part is predicting how long an edible high will last. According to a 2016 study, researchers found that one of the most commonly cited adverse side effects of edible cannabis consumption is the unpredictable high duration.
The silver lining is that it’s impossible to overdose on edibles, and any and all unfavourable side effects will pass.
Read The Labels
As we said before, the majority of edibles currently available on the market distinctly identify how much THC is in each serving. However, some don’t.
Reading the label for specific products is a very important piece of advice for all consumable items, not just weed.
That said, it’s crucial to read all edible product labels carefully before consuming it. Keep your eyes peeled for the THC content per serving, and determine if the serving size is the entire package or only a portion of it.
Even then, you still won’t know how it will affect you or how long it will last. So, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and start low and go slow.
And as we briefly touched on earlier, your edible THC tolerance level is different from your smoking tolerance level.
Don’t just take our word for it; a Colorado Department of Revenue report released in 2015 found that the intoxicating effects from eating 1 mg of weed edibles are the same as smoking 5.71 mg of flower.
Be warned that doses exceeding 30 mg of THC per day is associated with an increased risk of encountering negative side effects and becoming dependent on it.
How Long for Edibles to Kick in – Bottom Line
One of the biggest advantages of eating weed vs. smoking it is that it doesn’t harm your lungs or the respiratory system, and there is little to no risk of being exposed to harmful toxins and carcinogens.
That said, it’s important to know that edibles can interfere with other supplements and medication. If you’re contemplating trying edibles, make sure to speak with your doctor beforehand.
Sometimes a doctor can recommend a particular brand or dose to take alongside your medication safely. Just be sure to wait 24 hours before loading up on more if you want more potency.
Nevertheless, when it comes time to purchase your edibles, the most crucial takeaway is to research and evaluate the company and manufacturer carefully.
Generally, reputable, trustworthy dispensaries are transparent about the THC content, and how and where its ingredients are sourced.
Many factors can help determine how long for edibles to kick in, but it ultimately comes down to the individual, which is why we recommend the start low and go slow method.
Once you’ve established a baseline and are comfortable with a particular dosage, then you can begin to experiment with going up.
As always, stay safe and happy eating!