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How long does it take before you begin to feel the effects of edibles?

Edibles are foods or drinks containing cannabis extract. They come in many forms, including baked goods, gummies, and hard candies, while some people may also prepare them at home. Edibles, made with marijuana leaves or higher potency cannabis extracts, are a popular, less-detectable alternative to smoking marijuana. Edibles contain either one or both of marijuana’s active ingredients: THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). At a very basic level, everyone’s body is different. That’s why it’s difficult to state how THC is going to impact a given consumer. But edibles can lead to trouble if you’re not careful but when unwrapped the product may look like and be mistaken for normal food.

They may look like common baked goods, candies, and beverages and are often designed in a way that appeals to young people. Package labeling may indicate THC-laden contents. While edibles may help patients with medical problems like pain, they’re not a good choice for recreational users, especially for novices who haven’t used weed or tried edibles in the past. In addition, edibles can cause scary symptoms like a racing heart, anxiety, and hallucinations for some people.

THC is the compound responsible for the “high” that people associate with the drug. Edibles are slower to kick in but last longer compared to inhalation. This is because compared to smoking, where cannabis is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and distributed rapidly in the brain, edibles first need to enter the digestive system. Oral ingestion of THC requires 30–90 minutes for effects to begin. Consumption under the tongue, also known as sublingual absorption, is theoretically faster since it bypasses the digestive system and absorbs straight into the bloodstream. Therefore, items such as lollipops or tinctures held under the tongue may have quicker effects.

How Long Do Edibles Last
Marijuana use disorder becomes an addiction when the person cannot stop using the drug even though it interferes with many aspects of his or her life.

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Effects of Edibles

Your body processes cannabis in various ways, depending on the consumption method. The effects are pretty similar, differing in intensity and duration. When consuming edibles, there are two possible scenarios: When the cannabinoids are ingested directly and orally (especially sublingually, i.e. under the tongue) in more or less liquid form, they find their way straight into the bloodstream. This usually takes about 20 minutes. If the edible doesn’t dissolve in the mouth, it needs to be digested in order for your body to process it. More precisely, it needs to reach the small intestine and the liver.

As soon as it has arrived there, the fats in the edible are broken down and finally passed into the bloodstream to supply the body with nutrients, cannabinoids, and other substances. This process can take 2 to 3 hours. The effects of a regular-strength edible are experienced more intensively than for any other type of cannabis absorption. The intensity of these effects largely depends on how much cannabis the edible contains and the form in which it occurs.

Some of the beneficial effects of cannabis edibles include:

Relaxation and anxiety relief

  • THC is the chemical responsible for the psychoactive effects of edibles and other forms of cannabis. A study suggests that THC can cause feelings of relaxation and euphoria. Cannabis also contains the compound cannabidiol (CBD). CBD has anti-anxiety effects.

Pain management

  • CBD may also work as a pain reliever, as well as having anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it a popular treatment among those who experience chronic pain.

Muscle spasm control

  • Research suggests that people experience significant improvement in muscle spasticity and other types of pain when they take cannabis.

Antiseizure effects

  • CBD has also demonstrated antiseizure effects, which suggests it could be a potential treatment for epilepsy. Edibles may be one way to ingest cannabis to reduce seizures. However, more research is necessary before people with epilepsy consider treating the condition with cannabis.

How Long Do Edibles Last
Marijuana dependence occurs when the brain adapts to large amounts of the drug by reducing the production of and sensitivity to its own endocannabinoid neurotransmitters.

Edibles affect individuals in different ways. It can take up to four hours for the high from an edible to take effect. The biggest mistake new users make is continuing to ingest edibles if they don’t feel high right away. Then, the high hits hard and can last for several hours, leading some people to feel sick or anxious and seek help in ERs. Recreational use of this drug is not recommended, but if adults, are trying them they should start with no more than 2.5 to 5 mg. and see how they respond before eating or drinking more. Never mix edibles with alcohol or other drugs.

The negative effects of edibles can be scary. The symptoms of those who have a negative reaction to edibles include a racing heart, excessive sweating, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions. They can cause people to freak out. Clearly, edibles have more severe toxicity than inhaled forms and the effects are psychiatric in nature.

Kids and dogs accidentally ingest edibles. Safe storage is essential. Both toddlers and canines are notorious for popping whatever they find into their mouths. And edibles are designed to taste and smell good. They come in a variety of forms from brownies, cookies, and candies to drinks and popcorn. Users should keep edibles locked up and out of reach from children and pets.

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How long do edibles last?

While edibles take a long time to take effect compared with vaping or smoking, they also tend to last much longer. The average dose from an edible can last 6 or more hours, with the strongest effects occurring about 3 hours after intake. Again, this will vary depending on different factors, such as metabolism, dosage, and tolerance levels. Taking a dose with very potent THC levels may cause a longer and stronger high, as the body takes time to process the THC out of the system.

Individual tolerance levels will also play a large part here. Individuals who are not used to cannabis products may feel the effects for much longer and more strongly than an individual who regularly uses cannabis products if they take the same dose. Tolerance levels will also fluctuate depending on how much cannabis a person has smoked or ingested within a period. Again, metabolism may also play a role, and a person with a very fast metabolism may not feel the effects for as long as someone with a slower metabolism.

How long do edibles last in bloodstream?

The process when ingesting an edible is not so simple or so quick. With edibles, THC is absorbed into the bloodstream through the digestive tract, where it must undergo a metabolic pass through the liver before it can even enter the bloodstream for the first time. 

THC then converts to a different type of THC called 11-Hydroxy-THC, which is why people experience different highs when consuming edibles compared to smoking a joint. It can take up to 60 minutes for that to take place, making the onset of the high much more gradual and often lasting much longer than a traditional high. 

THC leaves the blood faster than any other type of body fluid or material. But this will still be dependent on the amount of THC consumed regularly. Typically, THC from edibles will be traceable in the blood for 3-4 hours, peaking at about 3 hours after consumption.

Dosage

It isn’t easy to pin down the dosage of edibles, as multiple manufacturers make a different range of products. Additionally, the potency of the edibles will differ not only on the THC content and the type of strain but also on factors such as cooking time and temperature. Edibles can come in doses as low as 0.5 milligrams (mg) THC. However, many consider 2.5–5 mg of THC to be the lowest effective dose and will recommend starting with this dose if the individual has never tried edibles.

The average edible will contain 10–15 mg of THC. These doses are generally effective for someone who is used to cannabis and wants to feel the effects of the drug for a few hours. A very high dose starts at about 20 mg of THC. Doses this high is generally not a good idea, as they may increase the risk of some unwanted effects from taking in too much THC at once.

THC effects of edibles can appear in some individuals at doses as low as 2.5 mg, while others need doses of 50 mg to experience any of the effects of THC. This range is very wide, reinforcing the idea that individuals should start with a low dose.

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Common Forms of Edibles

Space cakes

  • “Space cakes” and other edibles consumed via the gastrointestinal tract are probably the most common type of edible. This includes all types of cakes, pretzels, cookies, biscuits and anything else that can otherwise be mixed, cooked or baked with cannabis (and not simply covered with it).

Lollipops and other sublingual edibles

  • “Cannabis lollipops” and other sublingual edibles don’t show an immediate effect either, as you might expect from smoking, but they do act faster than space cakes. This includes lollipops and products consumed in a similar way, such as bonbons.

How much should you take?

Here are some basic guidelines to help you find the right dose, measured in milligrams (mg).

1 – 2.5 mg THC edibles

  • Effects: Mild relief of symptoms like pain, stress, and anxiety; increased focus and creativity
  • Who it’s for: First-time consumers or regular consumers looking to microdose

5 mg THC edibles

  • Effects: Stronger relief of pain and anxiety symptoms; euphoria; may impair coordination and alter perception
  • Who it’s for: Standard recreational use; persistent symptoms not addressed by smaller doses; people looking for a good night’s sleep

10 mg THC edibles

  • Effects: Strong euphoric effects; significantly impaired coordination and perception
  • Who it’s for: High tolerance THC consumers (both recreational consumers and medical patients); unaccustomed consumers may experience negative effects

20 mg THC edibles

  • Effects: Very strong euphoria; likely to impair coordination and alter perception
  • Who it’s for: Consumers with significant THC tolerances; patients with a decreased GI absorption

50 – 100 mg THC edibles

  • Effects: Seriously impaired coordination and perception; possible unpleasant side effects including nausea, pain, and increased heart rate
  • Who it’s for: Experienced, high-tolerance THC consumers; patients living with cancer, inflammatory disorders, or conditions that necessitate high doses

Consuming more than 100 mg of weed edibles and extremely high dosages such as 150 mg, 200 mg, or even 500 mg, greatly increases the risk of negative effects, such as nausea and paranoia, even for consumers with very high tolerances.

Health Benefits

Edibles are a simple way of adding cannabinoids such as THC and cannabidiol (CBD) to the body. FDA has not approved cannabis for any medical use but has approved pure isolates of cannabinoids for limited specific uses.

The body of research into cannabinoids is growing as cannabis becomes decriminalized in many parts of the world. Anecdotally, people find that cannabinoids help treat a range of conditions, including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Inflammation
  • Opioid addiction
  • Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Glaucoma
  • Epilepsy
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Sleep issues, such as insomnia
  • Symptoms resulting from cancer therapy

Researchers must continue to study the medical effects of marijuana to prove its safety and effectiveness as a treatment.

Side Effects of Edibles 

Edible side effects depend on the active ingredient.

THC edibles

High doses of THC edibles can produce unpleasant symptoms that persist for several hours up to several days. This is sometimes referred to as “greening out” or a cannabis overdose.

Some symptoms associated with edible cannabis overdose include:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Motor impairment
  • Extreme sedation
  • Agitation and anxiety
  • Increased heart stress
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Psychosis

CBD edibles

Known side effects of CBD include:

  • Tiredness
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in weight

More research into short- and long-term side effects of CBD use needs to be done.

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Risks of Taking Edibles

Perhaps the most prominent difference between eating edibles and smoking marijuana is the delayed onset of effects associated with edibles. Whereas the effects of smoking marijuana usually happen within minutes, it can take between 30 minutes to 2 hours to experience the effects of edibles. This delay can result in some people consuming a greater than intended amount of drug before it has taken effect.

A marijuana overdose is also referred to as acute marijuana intoxication. Research has shown that edibles are the form of marijuana consumption most likely to lead to emergency room visits for marijuana overdose. This is due to the failure of users to fully understand the delayed effects of these products.

One of the consequences of taking in too much of the drug too quickly is users can become violent or unaware of their actions. These individuals may exhibit self-harming behaviors or hurt others while in this state, behaviors that they likely never would have engaged in while sober.

Treatment Options

The consumption of marijuana can easily turn into a serious problem, regardless of the preferred form of consumption, whether by smoking or eating. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) [1] estimates that 3 in 10 marijuana users will continue the use of the drug despite clinically significant distress or impairment, a condition that is known as a marijuana use disorder. Other studies report that at least 1 in 11 people who abuse marijuana will develop an addiction to the drug over time.

People with marijuana use disorders, often also suffer from other mental health disorders (comorbidity). They may also use or be addicted to other substances, such as alcohol or cocaine. Studies indicate that effectively treating the mental health disorder with dual diagnosis treatments involving medications and behavioral therapies may help reduce marijuana use, particularly among those involved with heavy use and those with more chronic mental disorders. 

What are edibles doing to you? If you are unsure, seek out help from an addiction treatment center. We Level Up NJ team can offer THC addiction treatment and help a person overcome the adverse side effects of overconsumption of edibles. We Level Up NJ provides world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope. We work as an integrated team providing information about edibles and other aspects of treatment. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists to help you answer questions such as “how long do edibles last?”. Our specialists know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

how long long do edibles last
Some research suggests that marijuana use is likely to precede the use of other licit and illicit substances and the development of addiction to other substances [2].

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Sources:

[1] [2] NIDA – https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictive