While smoking is the most common way to consume cannabis, there’s another way: you can eat it! No, we’re not talking about taking a bud, popping it in your mouth, and chewing (while you can totally do that, you probably aren’t going to like chomping on and getting dried flowers stuck in your teeth); we’re talking about a more appetizing approach. What is it? Edibles!
Edibles have been around for a long time, and due to recent legislation that has legalized pot in many US locations – and around the globe – they’ve become more popular, and they’re popularity will only continue to increase. But what are edibles?
Why should you consider them? How long does it take for them to kick in and how long do the effects last? Read on to find the answers to these questions and more!
What are edibles, anyway?
The most basic definition of an edible is anything that you can put into your mouth, chew, and swallow. In the cannabis world, edibles are any type of food or beverage that contains weed. Marijuana can be infused into pretty much any type of food or drink.
Generally speaking, weed edibles are a tasty way to ingest relatively high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the naturally-occurring compound that causes the psychoactive effect (the “high-like” feeling) that is associated with weed. T
here’s an assortment of cannabis-infused foods and drinks out there, and thanks to the legalization of marijuana in so many locations, the production and demand for edibles has only increased.
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Types of edibles
People have been making pot-infused foods and drinks for a long time; however, thanks to the legalization in so many places, the production and demand for these products have surged, and dispensaries throughout the United States and the globe carry a large variety of options.
While new ways to infuse cannabis into foods and drinks are constantly being explored and created, here’s a look at just a few examples of the different kinds of goodies that are out there.
- Brownies (perhaps the most quintessential edible)
- Candies, like lollipops, hard candies, gummy worms, and more
- Butter (read: guide to making cannabutter)
- Trail mix
- Ice cream
- Salad dressings
- Coffees and teas
- Energy drinks
- Oils (check out his dedicated multi-oil infusion machine!)
- Vegan-friendly vegetable oils
In other words, pretty much any type of food or beverage can be infused with the goodness of cannabis.
How do edibles look?
The manner in which edibles work is pretty simple and straightforward. Instead of lighting up buds and inhaling the smoke through your lungs, you pop the cannabis into your mouth and ingest it through your stomach.
As you digest a weed-infused brown, butter, lollipop, gummy worm, cookie, pop, tea, or whatever type of edible you eat or drink, the contents of the food or drink breaks down and travels throughout your body. There are also super pure forms of THC known as THC tinctures and THC syrups that are more potent variants of traditional edibles.
Since edibles contain cannabis and all of the cannabinoids it contains, like THC and CBD, these compounds travel throughout your bloodstream and central nervous system, including your brain.
How long does it take for edibles to kick in?
When you inhale cannabis smoke, the effects are experienced almost immediately; with edibles, however, it takes longer for the effects to kick in. The amount of time varies and depends on several factors, like what type of edible you’ve consumed, what kind of cannabis was used in the edible, how the weed was infused in the food, and how much you ingested.
Other factors that impact the amount of time it will take for them to kick in depends on your physical nature, including your body weight, whether or not you’ve eaten or imbibed them on an empty or full stomach, and your tolerance level.
Edibles requires patience and planning, you have to consume them 30 solid minutes before you want them to kick in and eating more won’t help speed anything up.
Empty vs full stomach is a big factor not to be under-emphasized. I’ve met multiple budtenders who insist you should only eat edibles with food in your stomach simply because of the smoothness of the high.
With that said, however, research studies have indicated that on average, the onset of effects is between 30 and 60 minutes post-consumption.
However, it’s important to note that even when you start feeling the effects, don’t just pop more in your mouth to enhance the feeling; wait a few hours for the full effects to kick in before you make the decision to eat more. If you consume too much, instead of a pleasant experience, you could end up bugging out.
How long do edibles last?
Just like the amount of time it will take for the effects of edibles to kick in varies and depends on several factors, the length of time the effects will last also varies and depends on several factors. Again, these factors include the type of edibles you ingested, what kind of weed they were made with, how much you ate or drank, your body weight, whether or not ate them on a full stomach and/or munched out post-ingestion, and your prior experience with weed.
Though the amount of time the effects will last totally varies, with bodyweight, tolerance, and food all massively impacting duration, but, for a strong ass brownie on a moderate stomach the high could last up to six hours, on average.
The 2nd, 3rd and 4th hours are usually the peak and things usually taper from there if you didn’t keep eating more edibles after your initial dose. If you DID eat more try to pinpoint the time and just add those additional hours to your trip.
Some edible enthusiasts, however, have bragged that their highs have lasted as long as 12 hours after eating one does of a top-shelf edible. Whether it’s six or 12 hours, the fact is that the high you’ll experience when you eat or drink edibles will be a lot longer than when you smoke buds (with the exception of moon rocks, which are a totally different class of weed).
How long do edibles stay in your system?
As mentioned the psychoactive effects, the feelings you have, are usually within 4-8 hours, sometimes noticeably up to 12 if you are unfamiliar with ingesting THC or if you mega-dosed.
THC will remain in your system long after the noticeable effects have subsided. Depending on how frequently you consume edibles, or if you also smoke pot, the duration will depend.
A new consumer who has never had an edible before and eats a small amount could be THC free (in their urine) within a week.
A chronic user however may take upwards of 1 month for their system to clear itself of THC metabolites that would appear in drug screening.
Long story short, if you’re worried about drug tests then edibles aren’t any less dangerous than smoking weed, either way the active ingredients end up in your urine which can then be picked up on a test. Herb CEO recommends refraining from use if testing is a real potentiality for you.
What to do if you eat too many edibles?
If you scrolled right down to this section because that is the exact thing you Googled then don’t worry, I can’t actually read your mind like a Jedi, but I have experienced what you are experiencing.
Edibles pose a unique danger in that they look so harmless and usually taste so good it is easy to consume too many without knowing until far later, when it’s too late.
Or is it?
If you’ve consumed too many edibles there are two things you should immediately do.
First, try to consume some CBD. CBD balances out the skittish feeling that too much THC can induce. You can smoke your CBD, take a tincture, or drink a CBD-infused drink, whatever it is, try to get some CBD in you as quick as possible to help sprinkle some water on that raging THC fire.
Second, whether you’re able to get some CBD or not, just find your “safe space” and just go lay down and ride the dragon out baby. It’s true, weed itself has never killed anyone, you’re going to be just fine, now it’s simply a matter of mind over body to smooth out the rest of your ride as best you can.
Personally, laying in my bed with some vaporwave music helps chill me out to the point where I usually just fall asleep. If you can fall asleep you’ll be just fine and by the time you wake up (very fog-headed) the worst of the storm will have passed.
Things to NOT do if you eat too many edibles: leave your house, hang out in a busy place, forcing socialization, eating more edibles, drinking alcohol, trying to walk around.
Why do edible highs last so long?
So, why is it that the high caused by edibles is longer than the high caused by smoking? It has to do with science. The path the cannabinoids take prior to reaching the receptors within the endocannabinoid system within your body and your brain, where they begin to kick-in.
When you consume weed in the edible form, the cannabinoids it contains (THC, CBD, CBN, CBG, and so on), make their way into your stomach, travel through to your liver, and then finally, they end up in your bloodstream and travel up to your brain.
Of course, this is a very simplified, watered-down explanation of the process, but that sums it up in basic terms. The entire trip from the mouth to the stomach to the liver to the bloodstream and to the brain, takes a bit of time.
It also doesn’t occur all at once. Relatively speaking, digestion is a slow process; hence why it takes longer for the effects of consuming edibles to kick in, and why those effects last longer.
Herb CEO Summary
All-in-all edibles are a great way to get high without the negative (and stinky depending on who you ask or where you live) effects of smoking.
They can also be massively cost effective, particularly because you can use cheaper weed (shake discounts anyone?) and even vaped flower, or “ABV” which stands for already-been-vaped, which is what I do. I collect all my PAX oven contents in a glass jar and then use that to infuse oil and use that oil to bake, effectively doubling the miles I get out of each gram of bud.
With great power though comes great responsibility and edibles are nothing to fuck with. You think you’ve been high from smoking too much out of a joint or blunt but that’s nothing compared to eating too many edibles..it really is a bad time, at least for most people, and for that reason we emphasize using extreme caution when portioning things out.
If it’s an edible purchased from a dispensary (which is the best way to go if you’re just starting out because you know exactly how much THC is in each dose) then follow the suggestions of your budtender and/or the label.
If you are baking up your own edibles, as excited as you may be to dive right in and eat a whole cookie/brownie, it’s best to start with bites because, it is very possible you make a batch that is so powerful a bite is all you need. I’ve learned this the hard way so you don’t have to.
Other than that, enjoy the exciting new world of edibles!