Cannabis Edibles: How Do They Work?


Effective, long-lasting, and easier on the lungs than smoking, edibles can be a super fun and efficient way to enjoy cannabis. But before you chow down on some tasty THC edibles, let’s discuss how they work and what you can expect along the way. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you need to know about cannabis edibles before your first trip.

How Do Cannabis Edibles Work?

Eating cannabis in edible form can be a pretty different experience than smoking or vaping cannabis. The biggest reason for this is the mechanism by which your body processes an edible.

When you eat an edible, your stomach gets to work processing the cannabinoids, such as THC. Because the digestive process can take some time to play out, it can take anywhere from thirty minutes to two-plus hours to feel the effects of an edible—brands typically list two to three hours as the “kick in” time frame.

It’s important to remember that if you’re eating the edible on a full stomach versus an empty stomach, it will likely take more time for the digestive process to take place—thus it will likely take longer for effects to kick in. We recommend you start low with a very small dose and only eat additional if you desire more effects after waiting at least two to three hours from the time of ingestion and you’re interested in extending the length of the effect.

How Long Do Edibles Last?

It’s important to note that an edible’s effects will span the timeframe of your most recent ingestion, plus the time that has lapsed since your first ingestion. The effects of an edible can typically be felt for anywhere from six to eight hours, though sometimes you may feel mild effects for up to a few more hours.

Let’s Put This in Context

The range for effects to kick in includes the time in which the edible is slowly digested by your stomach, entering the bloodstream bit by bit and continuing to produce effects as it works its way through your body.

Let’s say you’re going to a concert and you want to take an edible before you catch your Uber. You take a small dose (no more than the amount that the packaging says is one dose, but likely less if you aren’t used to cannabis edibles) two hours before the show.

Then, just before leaving your house to snag your Uber two hours later, you decide to take an additional half dose, as you aren’t feeling the effects as strongly as you’d like. The likely total timeline of your high is eight to ten hours, from the time of your first dose to the time the additional partial dose wears off. You may notice very mild effects for up to a few hours past that time.

More Factors to Consider

If you’re sucking on an edible gummy or another kind of infused candy, effects may come on quicker since some of the cannabis extract may get absorbed through the membranes under your tongue before the gummy or candy is swallowed.

We also recommend considering the cannabinoids that your edible contains when trying to gauge what kinds of effects you will experience from it. While a THC-dominant edible tends to be euphoric and somewhat intoxicating, a CBD-dominant edible generally will b be more laid back in nature.

Maybe you’re looking for a more toned-down effect that is still euphoric and uplifting. You might try an edible with a combination of THC and CBD. Talk to your budtender about what experience you’re hoping to have, so they can recommend something that may be a good fit.

Dosing THC Edibles

One of the most important things to be mindful of when consuming THC edibles is your dosage. Eating too much edible cannabis is a common mistake that can result in an uncomfortably strong high. If this happens, just remember that feeling “too high” is uncomfortable, but almost never dangerous. Just try some of those meditation or mindfulness techniques your yoga teacher or HR person recommended. Then, take a lower dose next time.

It’s important to think carefully about what dosage would be best for you before you eat any kind of edible. If you don’t consume much cannabis and have a low tolerance, a lower dosage is probably the way to go. A good rule of thumb is to start low and go slow. Follow the instructions on the packaging, or even half that if you want to be particularly cautious.

If you’ve given the edible enough time to kick in but still feel underwhelmed, then it’s probably okay to take a little more after that two- to three-hour mark. Remember, you can always take more later, but once it’s done, you can never take less.

How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System?

It’s important to know that no matter how you choose to ingest your THC (smoking, edible, tincture, etc.), it will leave your body at the same rate. We often get asked: How long do edibles stay in your system? That varies from individual to individual, and can depend on characteristics such as body composition.

The answer also depends whether you mean, “How long will I stay high?” or “How long will it be until I can pass a drug test?” As we mentioned, feeling the effects will wear off in a matter of hours. THC can stay in your system for much longer, though, even after you’ve stopped feeling the effects. Perhaps consider refraining from edibles if eating an edible if testing in the next month or so is a possible concern.

Cannabis Edibles at Medcare

Looking for some delicious cannabis edibles for your next edible adventure? Drop by our dispensary today or browse our online menu right now to shop an extensive selection of premium cannabis edibles that you’re sure to love. Can’t make it down to see us? Just place an online order for delivery instead!


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