When consuming cannabis edibles, one of the most common questions asked is, “how long do edibles last?” While inhaling marijuana by smoking or vaping produces a high that comes on quickly but fades within 1-3 hours, the effects timeline for edibles can seem extraordinarily long in comparison.
After ingesting a cannabis-infused edible, many users are surprised to discover they can feel high for 8 hours or sometimes longer. The duration of edibles depends on key factors like the dose, your metabolism, weight, and more.
So, if you’re wondering, “How long do edibles last in your system?” read on to learn the answer. We’ll explore how edibles work differently in the body compared to other consumption methods and cover the typical duration of effects that determine how long users can expect to feel high based on common experiences. Whether you’re about to try THC edibles for the first time or you’re already a regular user curious to know, this article will walk you through what to expect.
How Edibles Work in The Body
When you smoke or vape cannabis, THC rapidly reaches the bloodstream and travels to the brain, delivering effects almost instantly. However, when cannabis is ingested as an edible, THC takes a different journey through the body first before reaching the brain. After being metabolized by the liver, THC converts to a more potent compound called 11-hydroxy-THC, which easily crosses the blood-brain barrier. This is why edibles produce much more intense psychoactive effects compared to other methods of cannabis consumption.
Once 11-hydroxy-THC reaches the brain, users begin experiencing the pleasurable high edibles are known for. Effects set in around 30 to 90 minutes after ingesting an edible. However, the duration of these effects varies significantly from person to person.
Factors That Influence The Duration of Edibles’ Effects
Many different variables can impact how long a cannabis edible’s high will last, including:
- Metabolism and Digestion Efficiency – Some people’s bodies digest and absorb edibles much faster than others. Those with relatively rapid metabolism of edibles tend to report effects wearing off sooner. On the flip side, slow metabolizers feel stoned for far longer. Digestive issues can also slow the onset and elongate effects.
- Body Mass and Weight – THC binds to fat cells in the body, so edibles last longer in heavier consumers with higher body fat percentages. Conversely, slimmer figures or lower body weights speed up the metabolism of edibles.
- Dose Amount – Higher THC doses lead to more intense and longer-lasting effects compared to microdosing edibles. Consuming excessively high doses can greatly prolong the duration as well as risk uncomfortable levels of impairment.
- Frequency of Use and Tolerance Levels – Those with zero cannabis tolerance who rarely or never consume will have radically different duration windows compared to everyday edibles enthusiasts. Frequent users quickly build high tolerance, shortening the duration of the effects of edibles.
- Genetics and Biology – Some people are genetically predisposed to experience either shorter or longer durations of edibles’ effects due to differences in enzyme levels that process cannabis compounds.
- Type and Form of Edible – The high from oils, sprays, and tinctures wears off quicker than THC infused into fatty solid foods. Beverages also metabolize faster. Manufacturing quality impacts duration, too.
Common Timeframes for Edibles’ Effects
Although effects vary, here are some general time windows for both the onset and duration of an edible high based on common experiences:
First 30 to 90 Minutes – Users do not feel impaired as the body still processes THC.
1 to 2 Hours After Ingesting – Euphoric and relaxing effects start setting in as THC absorbs into the bloodstream.
3 to 4 Hours After Ingesting – Effects peak, with users reporting various degrees of impairment during this time frame.
6 to 8 Hours After Ingesting – Most residual effects taper off, but some users still feel slightly high.
Within 24 Hours – For nearly all users, edibles’ effects wear off completely by this point.
Of course, these time frames serve only as reasonable estimates. The exact duration can accelerate or delay based on the individual and dosage factors discussed earlier.
Tips for Managing An Edibles High
Edibles can last much longer than anticipated, especially for first-timers. Here are some tips to make the long experience more enjoyable:
- Start Low and Go Slow – Begin with very low doses, even as little as 2.5mg THC, until you learn your personal tolerance over multiple sessions. This prevents intense or unpleasant side effects from too large an initial dose.
- Be Patient After Consuming – Remember, effects take much longer to begin than smoking since edibles must be digested first. It can take 30 minutes to 2 full hours before the real fun starts. Wait at least 2 hours before considering safely taking another dose.
- Stay Properly Hydrated – Drink plenty of fluids while using edibles to maintain energy, stabilize effects, and reduce cottonmouth. Dehydration can worsen side effects.
- Eat Healthy Snacks – Hunger can trigger anxiety or amplified impairment while on edibles. Nourishing your body prevents blood sugar crashes.
- Get Cozy and Prepare Activities – Pick comforting environments since you may feel heavily stoned for many consecutive hours. Having snacks, music, and movies ready makes activities easier.
- Don’t Panic – If effects become overly intense, remind yourself anxiety and paranoia are temporary side effects even if they feel overwhelming at the moment.
- Ask For Sober Help If Needed – Don’t hesitate to seek medical assistance if side effects like dizziness, rapid heartbeat, or vomiting occur. Having a sober guide on standby provides reassurance.
Do Edibles Last for A Long Time?
In summary – edibles last a long time, typically 6 to 12 hours. For most first-timers, edibles last 8+ hours before coming completely down. Even experienced users feel effects for 4-6 hours. Factors like your metabolism, body weight, dosage, and cannabis tolerance impact the precise duration. But no matter your experience level, anticipate an extended timeline far longer than smoking.
The duration and intensity are why proper dosage with edibles is so important. Consuming cannabis edibles is a marathon high rather than a sprint, so settle in comfortably, understanding you may feel stoned for many continuous hours once they kick in. Being prepared for that lengthy ride leads to better, safer experiences.