Dosing cannabis edibles is a mystery, with thousands of tokers asking “how long for edibles to kick in” almost every day. Whether you’re enjoying a chewy weed gummy or a piece of weed chocolate, how long it takes for the high to actually kick in feels like it’s seemingly up to chance.
Unlike smoking weed flower, which lets you feel the effects almost instantly, edibles take a slightly longer time to start working. For those who don’t like waiting, this long delay can spur us to take a double dose to feel the effects, which inevitably leads us to greening out, turning many away from edibles forever after going through the negative experience. This is a shame because weed edibles provide an accurate, reliable and tasty way to get your THC kick!
Fortunately, you can employ a few tips and tricks to get a more accurate prediction on when your edibles will start to deliver their psychoactive effects. But before we get into that, let’s explore how cannabis edibles actually work and why they take longer to kick in than smoking!
Why Do Edibles Take So Long to Kick In?
What is it about weed edibles that make them so long to deliver their effects? A large part of it is because they’re edibles!
While we can eat ‘raw’ weed, it won’t get us high. Weed that hasn’t been dried, cured or processed actually doesn’t have any THC at all. Instead, it’s filled with a compound known as THCA, the acid form of THC. While THCA has its own host of benefits, it produces no psychoactive effect. The secret behind getting high has to do with a little-known process called decarboxylation.
Decarboxylation transforms the THCA into THC by removing a carboxyl group. This process makes THC easier to be absorbed by our bodies. And while decarboxylation sounds extremely scientific, it really just means exposing weed to heat. In other words, it’s done through smoking and/or vaping weed!
So, when we smoke or vape weed, we’re simultaneously decarboxylating it and circulating the THC-infused smoke throughout our bodies’ endocannabinoid system (ECS). Once the THC, CBD and other cannabinoids bind to our ECS, we get high, and the story’s done.
Edibles, on the other hand, work through a completely different mechanism!
We already know we can’t eat weed since it doesn’t have the THC that we need to get high. Instead, edibles are infused with cannabis extracts or concentrate such as weed oil or THC distillate. Since edibles are eaten, they don’t travel through our lungs as weed smoke does, but through our digestive system!
Sometimes, our digestive system and our metabolism work so slow that we might end up asking ourselves “why don’t edibles get me high,” but more on that later!
When our digestive system breaks down the edible, our liver steps in to change the THC compound into a completely different compound known as 11-Hydroxy-THC.
While this compound is still THC, it has a few changes to its molecular structure that causes it to behave differently in our bodies. One of the biggest changes is its ability to bypass the blood-brain barrier with much greater ease compared to regular THC.
In other words, 11-Hydroxy-THC can get us higher with greater speed and potency, as long as we digest it fast!
However, if this is the case, why do edibles take so long to kick in in the first place? Here’s a few reasons why.
How Long For Edibles to Kick In? 3 Tricks to Know
The amount of time it takes for edibles to kick in can range anywhere from half an hour to multiple. Anything from your age, your sex, and even your metabolism can affect how long it takes weed edibles to activate and how long they last. Current science places the duration at anywhere from 7 to 12 hours!
However, not all edibles are the same. Depending on the types of edibles you eat, the time it takes for the effects to activate and how long they last can vary widely.
However, the types of edibles we eat aren’t the only determining factor when it comes to figuring out how long edibles last and how long they take to kick in. Here are 3 more things to keep in mind when you’re trying to predict when the edible high will kick in!
Since edibles work through our digestive system, your metabolic rate will heavily influence how long it takes for edibles to kick in. If you have a fast metabolism, chances are you’ll feel the effects faster than someone with a slower metabolism.
The difference in metabolism between different people is why double dosing on edibles is never a good idea. It might seem like a good idea to take another bite or dose of an edible but doing so can lead to disastrous results.
If you have a slow metabolism and want your edibles to kick in faster, the best thing you can do is to avoid having a large meal before dosing. Doing this can reduce the time it takes for your stomach to digest and break down the edible. However, we don’t recommend eating an edible on an empty stomach since the effects will hit much much faster and harder.
Your Cannabis Tolerance
Your cannabis tolerance isn’t just tied to smoking weed! Since our body’s endocannabinoid system controls our body’s response to all things cannabinoid related (including THC), how often you smoke or eat edibles will directly affect the onset time of your edibles. In fact, you might eat a low dose (1mg or less) and not even feel the effects due to your high tolerance!
If your high cannabis tolerance is negatively affecting your edible experience, you can experiment with a higher dosage by first consuming your regular dose, waiting a few hours for the effects to activate, and then consuming another dose. Dosing this way lowers the likelihood of you greening out out from double dosing
Your Choice of Edibles
We already touched on this above, but the types of edibles that you choose to enjoy can also affect your edibles experience. Edibles that are in the form of baked goods or hard candies such as brownies, lollipops and cakes will take a much longer time to kick in than liquid edibles such as tinctures and beverages.
However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Tinctures might work faster on some users since they’re dosed sublngually under the tounge, which allows them to be absorbed into the body faster, but this isn’t always the case.
At the end of the day, it’ll take some time and experimentation to find out which edibles work best for you!
How Long For Edibles to Kick In – No Easy Answers
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers when it comes to figuring out the exact time it takes for edibles to kick in. The best thing that any edible user can do is employ the above tips and tricks to get a more accurate prediction instead of just guessing.
Edibles affects everyone differently and while it’s hard to predict exactly when they’ll kick in, they also provide a more reliable and longer-lasting cannabis experience than other forms of cannabis consumption. We hope this article has helped shed some light on some of the factors that affect the onset time of edibles and helps you enjoy edibles better!