How Long For Edibles to Kick In? 3 Things to Consider

13 Dec 2021
how long does it take for edibles to kick in

How long for edibles to kick in? For cannabis users, both new and experienced, planning around your edible’s onset time and figuring out the right dose are almost impossible questions. Unlike smoking cannabis or vaping cannabis, cannabis edibles take a considerably longer amount of time to kick in, and the dosage size can vary depending on several factors.

From the type of edible and the dosage to whether or not you have an empty stomach and your unique physiology, figuring out how long edibles take to kick in can be almost impossible for many edible users. Eat too small of a dose, and you won’t feel anything. Eat too much, and you’ll suffer from a cannabis overdose (green out).

With so many variables at play, cannabis edibles almost seem like it’s more trouble than its worth!

While many factors affect the onset time for the effects of edibles, there are some tips, tricks and techniques that you can do to ensure you’re not waiting until the cows come home for the effects to activate. Before we dive into what factors affect how long it takes for edibles to kick in, let’s explore how cannabis edibles work in the first place.

How Do Edibles Work?

how do edibles work

THC works by acting on our endocannabinoid system, a natural bodily system that controls everything from our energy levels to our libido. When weed is smoked or vaped, the decarboxylated THC enters the bloodstream through the lungs before binding to the cannabinoid receptors throughout the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

This diffusion and binding usually happen within seconds, which is why we feel the psychoactive effects of smoking weed so fast.

On the other hand, THC edibles take a much longer time to activate. Since cannabis edibles have to be digested, the THC enters our digestive system instead of our bloodstream. From there, the THC is metabolized into a different compound entirely, 11-Hydroxy-THC.

Also known as 11-OH-THC, 11-Hydroxy-THC is a metabolite of THC and can bypass the blood-brain barrier with greater ease, which is why edibles tend to hit so much harder than other forms of cannabis consumption.

However, since 11-OH-THC also works through the digestive system, how long it takes to feel the effects will vary depending on your body and metabolism, among other things.

How Long For Edibles to Kick In – 3 Factors to Consider


We’ve touched on this above, but the most significant factor affecting how long edibles take to kick in is your own metabolism. As we’ve said, edible cannabis consumed through oral ingestion works through 11the digestive system and not through your lungs; how fast your system metabolizes food and, by extension, THC edibles will affect your onset time.



Although there aren’t any peer-reviewed studies or strict sourcing guidelines for the ingredients used in most edibles, the type of weed infusion will affect the edible dosage and the onset time.

For example, cannabis tinctures, while technically an edible, work through sublingual absorption and not our digestive system. When dosed underneath the tongue (sublingually), the tincture can absorb and activate faster compared to other cannabis edibles.


On the other hand, fatty infusions such weed butter, weed oil or any kind of fatty foods will take a few hours to digest properly. For example, it might take 2 hours following cannabis brownie administration before you can begin to feel the effects kick in.

Another popular ingredient in edibles is THC distillate, which on average, takes a shorter time to “activate” than fatty infusions. Used in hard candies and other edibles such as gummies, distillate is flavourless and potent, making it the perfect ingredient to give your food a tasty THC kick without imparting too heavy of a weed taste.

These medicated hard candies and lollipops kick in faster than baked goods, taking 45 minutes to an hour compared to the 1 to 2 hours of other cannabis products, but this isn’t a fast rule. There’s no ingredient standard yet within the cannabis industry, so how long edibles take to kick in will vary depending on the ingredients used.

Some edibles, such as the ones made by Sugar Jack’s, use nano-emulsified THC to produce faster effects. These so-called “nano gummies” activate much faster than traditional gummies by making the THC compounds smaller and more bioavailable for our bodies!

If you want a faster onset of effects, consider purchasing nano gummies made by Sugar Jack’s!

how long do edibles take to kick in

The Dose

Cannabis edibles are great for medicinal and recreational users since they offer both a low dose and a high dose option, depending on your dosing objectives and desired effects. However, the THC levels of your edibles will have some impact on the onset of the impact.

The more THC or TC content there is, the longer it’ll take for your edible products to “ramp up” to the full effect. However, this is not to say you won’t’ feel the effects at all, but there’ll be delayed effects from a higher dose that might take hours to activate fully.

So basically, if you take a higher dose edible, you’ll be slowly getting higher until the effects “max out.” With a lower dose edible, your desired results will kick in fully in a shorter amount of time.

How Long Does it Take For Edibles to Kick In?

how long does it take for edibles to kick in

So, now that we better understand the factors that affect the onset time of edibles, we can dive deeper into how long it takes for an edible high to kick in.

It’ll take most edible users 30 minutes to a full hour for the effects of a low THC content (5 to 10mg) edible to activate.

For high-dose THC edibles (25 to 100mg and above), it’ll take anywhere from 1 hour to 3 hours for the desired effect to kick in.

However, as we’ve outlined above, these aren’t hard and fast rules.

Have a fast metabolism? The active ingredients in your edible will break down and be absorbed faster compared to our slower-metabolizing counterparts.

Taking edibles on an empty stomach? Unlike smoking or vaping, edibles affect the stomach directly, so the THC will metabolize in an hour or less if you’ve eaten absolutely nothing before dosing. While this sounds like a good idea, it’s not recommended since the risk of greening out is so high.

Concluding Thoughts

Many academic research institutions are breaking new ground in scientific research for all things cannabis, but is still a lot of uncovered ground in terms of what we know and don’t know about THC. How much THC to take for the best results, how long THC lasts in our bodies and its potential for therapy are all still being investigated.

So, while there are no hard-and-fast rules for dosing with edibles, you can still get an accurate estimate of how large of a dose you should consume and when to help you plan out your edible journey! If all else fails, just remember to start with a low dose and go slowly!

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