Cannabis is a complicated plant. This means there are many factors that can affect your experience.
When you consider the countless number of strains, the various terpenes, the combinations of cannabinoids (there are 113!), it comes as no surprise that no two highs are the same.
This is especially true when you consider the high from weed-infused versus smoked or vaped weed. Why are these highs so different?
How Does Cannabis Get You High?
The most common cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), both interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a series of receptors located within the immune system, the central nervous system, and the peripheral nervous systems.
THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis; this is what gets you high!
This high occurs when THC interacts with the cannabinoid receptor system in your brain. THC enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain, upon which areas of the brain, including the hypothalamus, release large amounts of dopamine, the ‘feel-good’ chemical.
But how long does it take for these effects to kick in?
Weed-Infused Edibles vs. Smoking a Joint
In both historical and modern cultures, we can see that smoking a joint is the most common way to consume cannabis. When smoked, the THC and other supportive cannabinoids (such as CBD) make their way into the bloodstream through the lungs and quickly reach the brain.
Concentration in the plasma peaks at approximately three to five minutes. This means that the psychoactive effects are felt almost immediately or, at most, 20 to 25 minutes after smoking.
When consuming weed-infused edibles, however, the THC undergoes a different process to reach the brain.
When ingested, the cannabinoids mentioned above are absorbed first through the digestive system. This is the start of a process that is referred to as the ‘first-pass effect.’
The cannabis compounds are absorbed through the digestive tract, then the stomach’s lining, and are eventually metabolised in the liver. This lengthy process is why edibles take longer to kick in than smoking a joint.
So how long do weed-infused edibles take to kick in? The onset of the effects of edibles varies between 30 minutes to upwards of two hours.
Why DoEdibles Last Longer?
You may hear that weed-infused edibles are more intense. Or the effects last significantly longer than with other ways of consuming cannabis.
One of the reasons for this is the varying strength of edibles on the market. For example, Sour Keys contain 150mg of THC; Peach Candies contain 150 to 300mg, and edibles such as Extreme Edible Candies contain up to 1,000mg of THC. Cannabis flowers tend not to have this many mg of THC per joint or bowl.
Another reason that edibles are a more intense, longer-lasting experience is that once absorbed through the stomach and into the liver, the metabolic process that occurs converts THC into 11-hydroxy-THC. This compound has much more potent and long-lasting effects that can last upwards of six hours.
Weed-Infused Edibles Take Longer to Kick in, But Last Longer Overall
Despite the differing strength of weed-infused edibles, they can all take over an hour to kick in. Expect an onset between 30 minutes to two hours, depending on your metabolism and even what you had for lunch. The good news? The effects often last longer and are more intense because of the way the body metabolises cannabis.