How Long Do Edibles Take To Kick In?

by | Oct 10, 2023 | Guides

Edibles are a tantalizing world within the cannabis universe that intrigues many but elicits much apprehension in some individuals. If you’ve ever dabbled in the world of marijuana-infused treats, you’ve probably found yourself checking your watch and wondering, “When will this kick in?” Or even more daunting: “Will it kick in at all?” Let’s dive into the delightful, sometimes unpredictable, world of edibles.


The Digestive Dance of THC


Unlike smoking or vaping, where THC directly enters your bloodstream, edibles undergo a longer journey through your body. When you consume an edible, THC travels to your stomach and liver before reaching your bloodstream. Here’s the twist: in the liver, THC is metabolized into a compound called 11-hydroxy-THC, which can produce a more potent and longer-lasting high than its original form. So not only do you have to wait for the edible to digest, but also for your body to convert THC, amplifying its effects.


Factors Affecting Onset Time


Metabolism: Just as some people can scarf down mountains of pasta without gaining a pound, while others look at a cookie and feel their pants tighten, metabolism plays a pivotal role. If your body processes food quickly, you might feel the effects of an edible sooner than someone with a slower metabolism.

Stomach Content: Ever notice how alcohol hits harder on an empty stomach? The same concept applies to edibles. Having a full stomach can delay the onset of effects but also provide a more even release of THC.

The Edible Itself: Is it a fat-rich brownie or a sugary gummy? THC binds to fat, so the more fatty your edible, the better the THC absorption, possibly intensifying the effects.

THC Content and Strain: Not all cannabis strains are created equal. The strain type and its THC content can influence the intensity and duration of the high.


Enter, Drinkables


With the cannabis market forever innovating, beverages infused with THC and CBD are making a splash. Drinkables, like teas, sodas, or even mocktails, present an interesting middle ground. They are processed faster than solid food but slower than smoking, often resulting in a quicker onset than traditional edibles but slower than inhaled methods.


Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Experience


Start Low and Go Slow: If you’re new to edibles, start with a low dose. A typical starter dose is around 5mg of THC.

Be Patient: Instead of consuming more because you think it’s “not working,” wait. It’s always better to be pleasantly surprised than uncomfortably high.

Stay Hydrated: Cottonmouth isn’t a myth. Have some water or a non-alcoholic beverage on hand.

Environment Matters: Make sure you’re in a safe, comfortable place, preferably with someone experienced with edibles.

Avoid Mixing: Combining edibles with alcohol or other substances can amplify effects and result in an unpleasant experience.


Navigating Tolerance and Regular Use


One fascinating facet of the cannabis world is the concept of tolerance. Tolerance refers to a user’s reduced response to cannabis after prolonged and regular use. Essentially, if you’re frequently indulging in edibles, you might need a slightly larger dose to achieve the same effects over time. This isn’t your imagination playing tricks on you!

Cannabis leaves resting on a stack of cannabis-infused gummy bears

Tolerance builds up because the body’s cannabinoid receptors, which THC binds to, become less responsive with consistent exposure. If you find yourself in this boat, there are a couple of strategies to consider. The first is a “tolerance break,” which is essentially a short break from consuming cannabis to reset those receptors. A few days to a week might be sufficient for some, while others might benefit from a longer hiatus. The second strategy is simply rotating your methods of consumption. Switching between edibles, vaping, and tinctures, for example, can provide varied experiences and potentially delay the buildup of tolerance.


Conquering the Edible Apprehension


Edibles, with their delayed onset and potent effects, have earned a bit of a notorious reputation, especially among those new to cannabis. Stories of overconsumption and unpleasant experiences have perpetuated a certain fear among users. However, like any cannabis consumption, the key is knowledge and moderation. Start with a low dose, wait at least an hour or two before considering more, and be in a comfortable environment. As with all things, experience brings confidence.


CBD: The Unsung Hero of the Edible World


While THC usually takes the spotlight when we talk about cannabis, let’s not forget about its equally fascinating cousin: CBD. Cannabidiol (CBD) is another primary cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, known for its therapeutic effects without the psychoactive buzz that THC provides. CBD-infused products are steadily rising in popularity in the world of edibles, especially among those seeking relief without the “high.”

CBD edibles can provide many benefits, from pain relief to anxiety reduction, without the sometimes overwhelming effects of THC. Just like with THC edibles, starting low and slow is crucial, even if you won’t get “high” from CBD. The body still needs to process and metabolize it, and everyone’s ideal dose will vary. And here’s a pro tip: Combining CBD with THC (in what’s known as the “entourage effect”) can provide a more balanced, grounded experience. Some users find that this combo reduces the potential paranoia or anxiety that THC can occasionally induce. So if you’re apprehensive about edibles, consider trying one that offers a blend of both THC and CBD for a mellower ride.


The Myth of the Non-Responder


Now, let’s address a common cannabis myth: the idea that some people can’t process THC when they eat it. While it’s true that some might feel less affected by edibles compared to others, it’s unlikely that one is wholly immune. Factors like metabolism, tolerance, or even the enzymes in one’s liver can influence an individual’s response. If you think you’re immune, consider waiting a little longer, adjusting the dosage, or trying a different product.


In Conclusion


The world of edibles, with its vast range of products and experiences, offers a unique way to enjoy cannabis. While the journey might be a bit unpredictable at times, with knowledge and patience, it can be one of the most enjoyable rides in the cannabis universe. Remember, it’s not just about the destination (or the high) but also the journey. So, sit back, relax, and let the edible take the wheel – just make sure you’ve got a few hours to spare and good company to share it with.

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