Dosing edibles is notoriously tricky. Everyone’s body chemistry is different and many other factors contribute to the intensity of an edible experience.
Two people may respond to the same dose of weed edible differently: If two people eat a 5 mg weed gummy, one could get completed stoned and the other not very stoned at all.
Learn more about the many factors that contribute to how weed edibles affect individuals, and how long they take to kick in.
Why do edibles take longer to kick in than smoking?
When cannabis is smoked or vaporized, that inhaled smoke or vapor goes into the lungs and then the bloodstream, and the consumer will feel the effects of weed within minutes.
When eating edibles, weed has to be digested and metabolized in your stomach and liver before you feel effects. This takes a bit longer than smoking or vaping, and leads to a more potent experience.
Because this process takes much longer, we recommend people “start low and go slow” when consuming edibles—take a low dose of edibles and wait until the effects kick in, at least 45-60 minutes, or even longer. If you want more effects after that time period, then take more edibles.
If you are new to cannabis or have a low tolerance, start with 2.5 mg of edibles or even less. If you want stronger effects after an hour, try another 2.5 mg or less.
If you take more edibles before waiting for the initial dose’s effects to kick in, both doses will kick in later and you could potentially feel too high.
Factors that can impact how long edibles take to work
Several factors are involved in how strong the effects of an edible will be.
Type of edible
Edibles such as gummies, baked goods, drinks, and others are digested in the stomach and liver and usually take 45-60 minutes for effects to kick in.
Certain edibles such as mint strips, lozenges, and lollipops are absorbed sublingually, under the tongue. Effects will occur within minutes this way, as THC is directly absorbed into the bloodstream.
Edibles with a high dosage, such as 10 mg or more, may kick in more quickly than ones with a low dose.
Read more in: Edibles dosage chart: How strong is your weed edible?
How much cannabis you consume on a regular basis will greatly affect how potent an edible is for you. If you smoke weed every day (high tolerance), 5 mg of edibles might not feel that strong; if you rarely smoke (low tolerance), 5 mg may feel like a lot.
Body weight and metabolism
How quickly or slowly your body processes or metabolizes food and edibles will affect how long it takes to kick in, how long it lasts, and how strong it will be.
How to make edibles work faster
If you like the benefits of edibles but not how long they take to kick in, here are a few options to speed up the onset of effects.
- Sublinguals: Try tinctures, mint strips, lozenges, lollipops, or any other edible that is absorbed sublingually; THC is absorbed much more quickly under the tongue and effects will kick in within minutes
- Empty stomach: How full you are can affect how quickly an edible kicks in and consuming edibles with little food in your stomach can lead to faster effects—just be sure to have some munchies around when the effects do kick in
- Tolerance break:Taking a break from consuming cannabis for a day or two beforehand can make the effects of an edible kick in quicker and feel stronger
Pat Goggins contributed to this article.