How Long for Edibles to Kick In?

Want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis but aren’t interested in lighting up? Edibles may be the answer. Forgoing the traditional rolled joints that have long been the go-to method of experiencing the TLC of THC, edibles are becoming increasingly popular as recreational use of cannabis becomes more normalized. 

But if you’re planning on making the switch from doobies to brownies (or any of the other variations of edible cannabis), there are a few things you should know. Specifically, how long does it take for edibles to settle in, and how can you speed up the process without overdoing it?

But first things first, what exactly are edibles

What Are Edibles?

As the name suggests, edibles are edible products — either in the form of food or drink — that contain cannabinoids. When consumed, these edibles allow THC to enter your body through your digestive tract rather than through your lungs. Generally, the cannabis is infused into a fat-soluble medium such as butter and then used to make the desired edible (which is one reason why cannabis baked goods are so common). Alternatively, cannabis may be infused with alcohol or glycerine to create a tincture or cannabis beverage

The end result? A range of edible-cannabis possibilities, including gummies, cookies, candies, coffees, teas, mints, alcoholic beverages, and more! Many people prefer edibles to smoking or vaping because they can be taken discreetly and without affecting others. 

But before you pop that THC gummy, you should be aware that edibles don’t deliver the same near-instantaneous effect as smoking. Simply put, an edible’s high comes on slowly and can take a while to manifest, depending on several factors.

How Long Do Edibles Take to Kick In?

When you smoke or vape cannabis, the THC takes the fast lane into your bloodstream, absorbed through the alveoli in your lungs. Ingested edibles, on the other hand, follow a much more roundabout path — first chewed and swallowed, then absorbed in the digestive tract, then sent through the liver where the active ingredients are metabolized, at which point the effects finally become noticeable. In other words, if you’re looking for a high that comes on fast and strong, edibles may not be the best option. On the other hand, it’s widely recognized that highs from edibles are often more potent and last longer. 

OK, so how long does it take for edibles to kick in? In most cases, you will begin to feel the effects of the edible within about 30–60 minutes. But that number is hardly set in stone. As mentioned above, there are several factors involved in determining the onset and duration of the effect. These include: 

Whether You’ve Eaten Recently

If you’ve recently eaten, your digestive process slows to deal with your stomach contents so that the food can be processed correctly. This means that the edibles have to ‘get in line,’ resulting in a longer wait before you can start to feel the impact. So, if you want to speed up the effects of consuming an edible, then you should do so on an empty stomach. 

Your Metabolism

As with anything else you consume, the THC in your edibles has to be broken down before it can be used by your body. This depends on natural chemical reactions that occur as part of the digestive process — your metabolism. Unfortunately, some people have a faster or slower metabolism than others, which means that their digestive processes are naturally more or less efficient. A person with a fast metabolism will feel the effects of THC more quickly, while someone with a slow metabolism will have to wait longer to get high. 

THC Potency/Dosage

It’s a pretty simple equation: More THC means a shorter wait time. As such, edibles with a higher THC potency or taken in larger doses can mean a faster onset. Just be aware that they can also mean a much stronger or longer-lasting high, possibly even past the point of being enjoyable. In most cases, it's better to wait things out than to risk nausea, anxiety, paranoia, or the other negative effects of taking in too much of a good thing all at once. 

Your Tolerance

Everyone has different body chemistry, and some people are just naturally more tolerant to THC than others. At the same time, if you’re a veteran cannabis user, you may have a built-up resistance to THC that will impact how long you have to wait, as well as the duration and intensity of the high you experience. 

What Kind of Edible You Consume

Although most edibles follow the digestive route outlined above, some kinds can circumvent the stomach and get into your blood through the mucus membranes in your mouth through sublingual absorption. Lollipops, lozenges, and other edible products that are made to be sucked on rather than swallowed usually provide a faster high than those that have to take the long way around.

What about CBD Edibles? 

It’s also worth recognizing that some cannabinoid edibles will not get you high, no matter how long you wait. CBD edibles are non-psychoactive and are instead used for medical purposes to treat a variety of issues (such as high blood pressure, chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, and cancer). CBD edibles are fantastic at what they do, but they don’t offer all that much to recreational users who are just looking for a good time. 

Understanding the difference between THC, CBD, and the other cannabinoid compounds will help ensure that you have the right expectations before you get started. 

How to Make Edibles Kick in Faster

Although edibles follow a slower process, they can be a great option for those who want to feel better for longer, and who enjoy the convenience of eating their THC instead of smoking it. Still, if you want to speed things up, there are some steps you can take:

Try Sublinguals

As previously stated, sublingual cannabis products are absorbed through your body’s mucus membranes instead of through the stomach lining. This can cut down your wait time significantly, potentially allowing you to experience the effects within minutes of consumption. Tinctures are another kind of sublingual edible—just squeeze a few drops of the liquid under your tongue.

Don’t Eat Beforehand

One of the easiest ways to regulate the onset, duration, and intensity of your high is to manage how much food you already have in your stomach. Consuming an edible on an empty stomach will likely result in the edible kicking in faster than it otherwise would. Just be aware that the high itself may also be more extreme, and that isn’t always a good thing. 

Take a Break

If you regularly use cannabis products, your body’s tolerance may be getting in the way of your high. Take a break for a few days, and then see if your edibles take effect more quickly once your resistance has had a chance to pull back. 

Up the Dosage

As a final option for speeding up the process, you can always increase the dosage or potency of the edibles you consume. Be warned, however, that too much THC taken all at once can be extremely problematic. It’s generally better to take things slow and gauge your reaction; this will help you find the right THC amounts for the optimal high, without going overboard.

Put Your Cannabis where Your Mouth Is

For many people around the world, edibles offer the best option for enjoying recreational cannabis. But not all edibles are created equal. For top-quality edible cannabis products, shop Caliva today, and get ready to experience the joint-free high you’ve always wanted.

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