So, you have eaten some of those tasty treats. 10 minutes have passed and nothing. Usually, you start to feel high a minute or two after taking a few puffs. Not for canna-food, though, as it’s going to take at least 30 minutes before the euphoric buzz. Or, it could take up to two hours. Once the high kicks in, you will know what’s so great about edibles as you experience how long the effects last.

Onset30-120 minutes
Peak Time2-5 hours
Comedown6-12 hours

Why The Slow Onset

The delay in the onset can be problematic for people who are impatient or naive to the nature of edibles. In the past, there have been cases of individuals who end up consuming more, thinking they had not ingested enough. Eating more, obviously, could lead to overwhelmingly nightmarish effects.

In the case of smoking, THC makes its way to the bloodstream through the lungs. It takes a short time for the cannabinoids to reach the brain and bind to the receptors, causing psychedelic effects and others. For edibles, it takes a longer time as the weed has to pass through the gut and stay where it is slowly digested.

Store-bought or homemade, the general recommendation is to wait for at least two hours before eating some more. For most people, and as per research, the onset time is actually between 30 minutes to an hour. The two-hour waiting period is for safety purposes.

Why Edibles Are More Potent

Numerous factors affect the digestion of food – beginning with gut health. Others include food already consumed as well as the type of canna-edible and amount of THC.

Cannabinoids are lipophilic. That is why most preparations involve the use of fats – such as canna-butter. Once THC binds to fats, it becomes a vessel that carries THC, CBD, and other compounds through the cell barriers and membranes in the stomach and intestine.

Edible Weed Cookies
Marijuana Edible Cookies

In the case of smoking weed, THC enters the lungs where there is little metabolism occurring. Most are distributed and absorbed by different body tissues, leaving only a few in the blood. These are then transported to the liver where it is metabolized, producing 11-hydroxy-THC (11-OH-THC).

With edibles, most of the cannabinoids go to the liver. Comparatively, the amount of 11-hydroxy-THC produced is significantly more than in the case of smoking.

As everyone knows, THC is the psychoactive constituent of cannabis. 11-hydroxy-THC, a metabolite of THC after being processed by the liver, is much more potent – some estimates peg it at 10 times more. At least one study, however, pegs it at 2 to 3 times more. It explains why, after digestion, which delays the onset, the intensity of the effects is much higher compared to smoking.

Why Edibles Last Long

It is impossible to predict how long edibles last down to the exact minute or even hour. From the start, the overall health of a person and metabolic rate play a most crucial role. A person who already has eaten other food before ingesting an edible will take a longer time to digest than someone with a near-empty stomach. And then, consider too other physiological factors that affect tolerance. In other words, the effects can vary even if the same person consumes the same type of edible on different days.

After 2 to 3 hours from the time of ingestion, the high reaches its peak and stays on for the next 2 to 5 hours. One of the reasons for the long-lasting high is that only some of the THC metabolites enter the bloodstream to be transported. The rest of 11-hydroxy-THC is absorbed by body fats and stored, to be released slowly.

Compared to smoking, the total duration, from the onset until the comedown, lasts approximately 4 hours. That is because most of the THC enters the bloodstream, and fewer are absorbed and stored in fat cells.

After 2 to 5 hours at peak intensity, the high starts to subside. Instead of being “gone in 60 seconds,” this process takes several hours – 6 to 12 hours.

Why The Long-Lasting Potent Effects Are Great

First, let’s get the one glaring disadvantage out. Because of the extended time that it takes for the onset of the effects, medical edibles are not suitable if fast relief is required. On the other hand, the duration of the high makes it ideal for a long-lasting reprieve from stress, pain, and many other ailments. Not only that, it can be more effective than smoking as it is much more potent.

Weed Cookie
Weed Edible Cookie

One thing that needs to be mentioned is that everyone should exercise due caution and good judgment when ingesting cannabis-laced edibles. Consuming more than what one could handle may lead to overbearing effects that include anxiety and paranoia, among others. Once that happens, it is going to take several more hours before the feeling of dread subsides.

How Long Edibles Last Is Both Good And Bad

Because there is indeed a risk of consuming too much, the best place to eat edibles is at home. Furthermore, it is best to have documentation available on hand – with instructions on handling or dealing with the symptoms of adverse effects. Having someone from the household acquainted with the signs of a “bad trip” is helpful in case of an emergency. No one has died of overdosing from marijuana, but the extreme adverse reactions are anything but pleasant.

Consuming well within the established limits is the key to harnessing the medicinal benefits of weed – or recreational. Be mindful not to even reach the limits of your tolerance as, on any given day, a dosage that you usually could handle might actually be overwhelming. The more conservative you are, the better the experience will be.