If you’re looking for a smoke-free option to consume cannabis, edibles first come to mind. It’s fun, discreet, and does not disappoint. How? Well, ask any cannabis enthusiast out there, and they’ll tell you the same thing. Edibles’ high hit differently.
If you’re curious, read further and learn more about edibles, how long it takes to kick in, how long the high lasts, and more.
The answer here depends on many different factors. It depends on the food you’ve eaten, the type of edible you consumed, dosage, tolerance, and your digestive system or metabolism.
Generally, the process takes anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours and peaks after 3 hours. When you eat or drink an edible, THC first passes through your digestive system. Only then it enters your bloodstream and reaches your brain, hence the delayed effect. Unlike smoking, it doesn’t go straight to the bloodstream through your lungs. This only takes a few minutes.
With edibles, the speed you digest your food is a significant factor. The faster your metabolism, the earlier the high kicks in, and vice versa.
How Long Do Edibles Take To Hit On Full Stomach
Another factor affecting the onset of the high or effect is whether you consumed the cannabis on an empty or full stomach.
As mentioned, your stomach digests the THC first. Consuming cannabis with a full stomach slows down or delays the effects. THC is absorbed more slowly and typically takes up to two hours to take effect. When consumed after a meal, the effect could be less intense and potentially shorter than when consumed with an empty stomach.
This might not sit well if you’re after immediate high. Slower onset times, however, reduce cannabis’ adverse effects, such as nausea.
How Long Do Edibles Take To Kick in Empty Stomach
The opposite happens when you consume edibles with an empty stomach; you experience the high faster. An empty stomach absorbs THC more quickly and reaches the brain faster. The result is a faster onset time—around 30 minutes to an hour.
Because of this, you might experience a more intense and potentially overwhelming high. Better wait more than 30 minutes to eat another batch of edibles (if your stomach is empty) to avoid uncomfortable highs.
Meanwhile, it doesn’t matter if you have a full or empty stomach if you consume cannabis sublingually. This means placing the cannabis under your tongue like when you consume tinctures or cannabis-induced candies. This way, THC enters your bloodstream directly and not through your digestive system first. Hence, the result is an even quicker reaction and effect on your body.
Read Also: What Are Cannabis Edibles? Benefits and Effects of Consuming Cannabis Edibles
Factors Affecting How Long an Edible Takes to Kick In
Here are just some of the factors that affect the onset time of cannabis edibles:
Generally, the higher the potency, the stronger and long-lasting the effects of the edibles will be. If you consume a low-potency edible, it will take longer to absorb and produce effects than a high-potency edible. For example, a 10mg THC gummy may take longer to kick in and have less intense effects than a 100mg THC brownie.
Method of Consumption
Most edibles, such as brownies and gummies, pass through the digestive system, so they have a longer onset time. However, other ways to consume cannabis, such as the sublingual method, have different onset times. It takes effect more quickly because your bloodstream absorbs the THC directly through under your tongue.
Your metabolism plays a role in how fast the edibles’ effect takes to kick in. If you have a faster metabolism, you will feel the high sooner than those with a comparably slower metabolism. Metabolism refers to the rate your body breaks down and processes substances.
The same with metabolism, weight plays a significant factor in this matter. THC is fat-soluble, meaning—it can be stored in your fat cells. It will take longer for the THC to circulate through your bloodstream, but you will be high for much longer if you have more body fat. Those with less fat feel the effects more quickly.
Tolerance refers to your body’s ability to become accustomed to a substance, like, in this case, THC. If you’ve been used to higher levels or doses of THC, it may take longer to feel the effect. However, if you’re a novice and trying out edibles for the first, you most likely have a lower tolerance yet and will get high with lower levels of THC.
Why Do Edibles Take Longer to Kick in than Smoking?
Both methods absorb THC in different ways, which accounts for their differing onset times.
You already know that most edibles pass through your digestive system before reaching your bloodstream. This takes anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the factors mentioned before this.
Then, the THC is metabolized in your liver into a more potent THC called 11-hydroxy-THC. This form crosses the blood-brain barrier more easily. Still, the whole process is longer than when you smoke cannabis which takes effect immediately.
Smoking and vaping don’t send the THC to the stomach but through the lungs. Here, it quickly enters your bloodstream and reaches your brain in literally minutes.
How Long Do Edibles Last
Now that you know how long you should wait for the edibles to kick in, your next question is on how long does an edible high lasts.
Edibles may require 30 minutes to 2 hours of your patience to kick in, but the duration it stays in your system is also way longer. It doe snot wear off easily, and keeps you high for up to 4 to 12 hours.
Although this still depends on factors such as the specific edible and your tolerance or metabolism, this reminds you to mind your dose and the time between taking edibles. The duration varies per person, but it’s better to lean on the safer side of things, especially if you haven’t built up a tolerance to THC.
How to Make Edibles Hit Faster
It’s common knowledge that edibles almost take forever to kick in, that’s why many cannabis users prefer smoking or vaping. However, there are ways you can accelerate the process and experience the high faster. Here are some of them:
Consume edible on an empty stomach.
As mentioned earlier, this can help speed up your stomach’s absorption of THC and deliver the effects more quickly. The THC has less to compete with and is absorbed more efficiently. Just remember to be cautious since consuming edibles before a meal increases the occurrence of negative effects.
Consume edible with a hot beverage.
Heat can help speed up the absorption of THC as it increases the blood flow to the digestive system. Hence, consuming it with hot tea or coffee helps to speed up the absorption. Additionally, the warmth of these drinks helps soothe any digestive discomfort caused by the edible.
Consume edible with high-fat food.
High-fat food such as those with oil and fat help speeds up the effect as they metabolize THC more quickly. This leads to more potent and faster effects. Just be careful not to overdo your consumption to avoid stomach discomfort.
Consume edible sublingually.
Other than the popular gummies and brownies, you can try lollipops, min strips, or tinctures. These edibles don’t pass through your stomach so they don’t need to be digested. Instead, they go straight to your bloodstream through the thin lining of your mouth or under your tongue. The result is an even faster onset time.
Take tolerance breaks.
Consider taking a day or two breaks from taking cannabis before consuming edibles. This way, your body can rest, and you may be able to experience edibles the next time more quickly.
Edibles certainly offer a unique experience and a long-lasting high. However, it’s important to understand first how they work and how long they take to take effect. By being mindful of the factors that can affect its onset, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable edible experience. Take note of the edible’s potency and your metabolism and tolerance, among other factors.
Remember to start with a low dose and give the edible plenty of time to kick in before consuming more. Patience is key; the edibles may take longer to effect than smoking, but they definitely last way longer.
However, if you’re looking for a fast-acting edible, you can try consuming the edible on an empty stomach, with a hot beverage, or with a fatty food. Edibles have different effects on different people, so adjust your consumption and consumption method accordingly for the experience that you prefer.
Always approach edible and other cannabis products with caution and a high understanding of their potential side effects. It’s also a good idea to have a trusted friend or family when consuming edibles for the first time. With a bit of safe experimentation and patience, you can find the right dose and method for you.