How Long Do Edibles Take To Work?

by Emjay

If you’re reading this because you took an edible and nothing is happening, don’t take another one. At least until you’re sure that you understand how edibles work and you know you’ve been patient enough. Ideally, your edible will kick in before you hit the bottom of the article. If it doesn’t, you’ll understand why and know what to do about it. 

Edibles can be a fun time, but they require more patience and preparation than other forms of cannabis. This unique experience can vary significantly from person to person. Your metabolism, digestive system, and tolerance for THC all play major roles in the way edibles will affect you.

What is an Edible?

In the broader sense, an edible is anything that you eat. That’s also true in this case, with one exception. An edible is anything you eat that contains cannabis. Cannabis can be incorporated into candy, chocolate, desserts, and butter to use when cooking or baking. It can be added to sparkling water or juice beverages, or infused into olive oil and used as a garnish for almost any food.

There’s a huge difference between THC edibles and CBD edibles. CBD edibles are made from hemp. Hemp plants are cannabis sativa plants that contain less than 0.3% THC. Their resulting extracts are extremely low in THC and very high in other cannabinoids. These kinds of edibles won’t get you high. 

THC edibles, on the other hand, are designed specifically to get you high. That’s the entire point. THC is measured into doses and edibles are divided into serving sizes. In addition to the calories, sugars, and proteins of your snack, you’re also getting a giant kick of weed.

What Happens When You Eat an Edible?

Edibles are processed no differently from any other food you eat. You chew them up, they enter your stomach, your stomach processes them, and they make the journey from your small intestine to your large intestine and eventually out of your body. Along the way, your body is digesting everything it finds in the food and attempting to use it. That’s where something special happens.

As your body is processing the nutrients of the edible, it’s also processing the cannabis. THC will slowly release into your bloodstream throughout the entire time your edible makes its digestive voyage. 

When Do Edibles Kick In?

A lot of factors will affect when an edible will kick in. It depends on how full or empty your stomach and digestive system were before you ate the edible, the pace at which your digestive system moves, your metabolism, and how many milligrams of THC you took. 

The most concise answer is that it isn’t unusual for an edible to take a long time to kick in. If you find yourself waiting about an hour and a half to feel the high coming on, that’s normal. If an entire group of people enjoyed edibles together, they’d experience the effects anywhere from half an hour to 90 minutes after they took the edibles. Everyone’s going to start having fun according to their body’s unique metabolism. 

Why Do Edibles Take So Much Longer Than Smoking?

Smoking weed leaves fewer variables at play. While everyone’s body might digest and metabolize things differently, everyone’s lungs are more or less exactly the same. When you smoke or vape weed, you’re giving it instant access to your bloodstream through the tissue of your lungs. Your body doesn’t have to break it down first — it just has to use it.

That’s why weed starts to kick in within a minute and peaks very quickly. It goes directly where it needs to go without any hesitation or delay. If you’re an impatient person, edibles probably aren’t going to work out well for you. You can’t control when or how they kick in as easily as you can when you smoke your weed instead.

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How Long Does the High Last?

Edibles take a long time to work, but they also work for a long time. 

Your body takes a minute to start breaking down and using the THC you ate, but when it does, expect a sustained high that lasts anywhere from 4 to 12 hours. The effects of edibles are less predictable, and the only way to know how long they’ll last is by trial and error. Expect an average of somewhere around 6 hours.

It’s important to remember that what you feel like when edibles start working isn’t what you’ll feel like an hour after that point. Edibles have an effect similar to an escalator. Levels of THC will slowly continue to rise until they peak, and the effects at that point are different from the effects of smoking cannabis. The escalation isn’t always predictable. 

When Should I Take More Edibles?

If you aren’t feeling any effects from your edibles, you might just be impatient. If you’re used to smoking cannabis, it’s very unusual to wait more than a few minutes to feel it kicking in. Your first instinct might be to take more edibles, but before you do that, you need to be sure it’s a good idea. 

If you ate an edible with 5mg THC or less and you’re a regular cannabis user, there’s a possibility that your edible isn’t impacting you enough. If you have a high tolerance for THC, a small amount isn’t likely to produce a significant high. 

If you took a potent edible, you should know after about two hours whether or not it’s going to hit you. At that point, you can take another edible or smoke the cannabis instead. 

What Happens If I Eat Too Many Edibles?

First and foremost, there is no clear definition as to how much pot is too much pot. There is no known amount of cannabis that can cause a fatal overdose. This is the most important thing to remember when you feel too high. 

Some people have a negative reaction to large amounts of THC. They might feel anxious or paranoid when their edibles kick in. The best solution is to remove yourself from a crowded space and put yourself somewhere comfortable. Dim lights, comfortable clothes, and familiar surroundings will help you unwind. Find a comfortable position, either sitting or laying down.

Playing familiar music at a low volume or watching a movie you love that you’ve seen dozens of times before will help to bring your mind to a familiar place. Drink lots of water and find a calming breathing rhythm to help mitigate any feelings of anxiety. 

If you have broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate, this is a great opportunity to use it. Research shows that CBD can take the edge off of THC just a little bit. If your body is still processing the THC from your edibles, the CBD may prevent the THC from working as efficiently.

CBD is also naturally calming. If you’re having a hard time relaxing and waiting it out, CBD can help you manage your anxiety levels while encouraging your body to relax. Just make sure you’re using a CBD product made from hemp. CBD products made from other kinds of cannabis will contain THC, and you don’t want to throw any more of that into the mix.

The Takeaway

You need to be patient with edibles. This patience includes waiting for them to work and waiting for them to wear off. Edibles aren’t a great choice for a brief gathering because they involve such a lengthy process that takes up a significant portion of the day. If you don’t have anywhere to go or anything to do, you might appreciate the longevity of edibles. 

There’s always going to be a little bit of trial and error involved. Remember that it’s smarter to take too little and see what happens than it is to take too much and hope for the best. Once the THC has reached your system, there’s nothing you can do about it. A really mellow high is always a better time than an intense high you can’t control.

Slowly graduating to larger doses of THC in your edibles will help you find the perfect amount. Once you know how your body responds, it’s easy to take the perfect amount every time. From there, edibles are more likely to be a pleasant experience.

Emjay is here to help you enjoy your weed any way you want it. We offer pre-rolls, whole flower, edibles, distillates, and wellness products made from cannabis. You don’t even need to get up off the couch. We’ll deliver them to you, along with any accessories you might need to use, in about half an hour. 

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