Explore & Learn

The Waiting Game: How Long Does It Take For Edibles To Kick In?

We all know that marijuana can be fun. And the many different ways you can consume marijuana contribute to the fun factor. Beyond smoking and bongs, edibles are also a trendy way to get your kicks in. 

Unfortunately, dosing for edibles can be a little complicated. How much should you take? Why doesn’t it kick in immediately? How long should you wait before increasing your dose?

While there is a lot of confusion, we’re here to guide you through edible onset time, dosing, and safety measures to ensure you have a good time every time. 

two guys smoking cannabis and waiting for edibles to kick in

Why Edibles Don’t Kick In Right Away

Edibles are cannabis food products. While you can make edibles with pretty much anything, popular iterations include gummies, brownies, and other baked treats. 

Unfortunately, edible onset durations are notoriously unpredictable. 

Smoking or vaping cannabis has a much faster effect than eating it. The THC gets into the bloodstream through the lungs almost immediately. There are no metabolizing processes that need to happen.

Eating cannabis works differently. The edible needs to make its way to the stomach, where it is broken down by stomach acid. It must be metabolized, which can take an average of 30 to 60 minutes. 

The type of edible, dosage, metabolism, and body competition can also affect how long it takes for the edible to kick in. 

Type Of Edible

There are two main types of edibles: chewable and sublingual edibles. 

Chewable edibles are the ones you eat. They’re available as baked goods, gummies, chocolates, etc. They’re metabolized in the stomach and take longer to take effect. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to metabolize and enter the bloodstream. 

Sublingual types come in the form of candies like lollipops and gummies. The marijuana is broken down and absorbed in the mouth, usually under the tongue. Like smoking, it’s much quicker for the THC and CBD to reach the bloodstream. 

Sublingual edibles can take effect immediately. Longer onset times range from 2 to 15 minutes. 


The dosage has a direct effect on onset time. The more potent or higher the dose of THC or CBD, the quicker the marijuana will take effect. 


Everyone’s body metabolizes compounds differently. Some people have faster metabolisms, meaning they feel the effects of edibles quicker than those with slower metabolisms. 

Certain medications can also affect how well the metabolism works. 

Body Composition

Similar to metabolism, our bodies’ composition, which differs from person to person, also affects edible onset time. 

  • Diet: Some foods, especially fatty foods, can slow digestion and increase the onset time. 
  • Weight: People who weigh more tend to take longer to metabolize and feel the effects of edibles. 


There are two types of tolerance when it comes to weed. The first is innate tolerance, which varies among individuals. Some people naturally possess a higher tolerance for substances they ingest.

The second is tolerance, which is built with consistent use. The body adapts to what we give it and does the same with weed. People who frequently consume edibles or use marijuana will have a higher tolerance. 

For example, if you give a 5 mg edible to two individuals, one who never uses cannabis and another who uses it regularly, the non-user would experience the effects more rapidly than the frequent consumer due to their differing levels of tolerance.

How To Figure Out The Right Edible Dose

The packaging of an edible should list the dose amount. However, it’s essential to read carefully. 

Some edibles will list the total amount of THC or CBD on the front of the package, but not how much there is per serving. For example, it’ll say it contains 200 mg of THC, but there are 20 servings per package. That works out to 10 mg of THC per serving. 

So, before you purchase any edibles, ensure you know how much it contains per serving. 

When you know how much it contains, choose the option you’re comfortable with. Start small with 2 to 5 mg if you’re new to edibles. You can always increase your dose in the future if the effects aren’t as great as you want them to be.  

You’ll have a clearer idea of your tolerance if you’re a regular smoker. Depending on your usual THC and CBD doses, you can try a 10 mg or higher option. 

Staying Safe: Avoiding Overdoing Edibles

Because edibles can take a while to kick in, people tend to overdo it. Who can blame them? If you expect to feel the effects of a potent gummy but don’t feel anything 60 minutes later, the temptation to take more is strong. 

The problem is that the edible is still in your system. It could be taking a little longer to take effect. So piling more cannabis on top of it with another dose can cause some unpleasant side effects. 

If you take edibles and don’t feel any effect, don’t take more. Instead, wait a day and try again with a higher dose. 

Minimizing Edible Side Effects: What To Know

When people think of overdosing on cannabis, they compare it to overdosing on hardcore drugs. While cannabis overdosing isn’t nearly as severe as other forms, it can still cause unpleasant issues if not handled responsibly. 

Common side effects of consuming too much cannabis include: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Headaches 
  • Heart palpitations
  • Anxiety 
  • Motor function disturbances 
  • Cognitive impairment 
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Mental fog
  • Full body sedation

These side effects can last for hours and can be very unpleasant. 

Minimize the risk of cannabis overdosing by being mindful when consuming edibles. Give the edibles time to kick in, and take it slow. 

It’s also important not to drive or handle machinery when you’re high or feeling any of the above symptoms. Reduced cognitive function and motor skills increase your chances of an accident, which puts you and others at risk. 

Edibles are enjoyable as long as you handle them and yourself responsibly. 

Common Myths About Edibles Unveiled

Even as the stigma around cannabis is challenged, myths persist. Let’s debunk some popular myths about edibles:

All You Need To Do Is Add Weed To Your Batter 

This is, unfortunately, not true. Edibles take some skill to make. To digest the THC in cannabis, it must be baked in fat. THC is lipophilic, meaning it needs fat to be absorbed through the gut in the digestive system. You then use this weed-infused fat, like cannabis cooking oil or cannabutter, and bake with it like usual. 

If you don’t infuse the weed in fat, you’ll be left with a weird-tasting edible without any of the fun effects. 

You Need To Eat The Entire Edible

Many people feel pressure to eat their entire edible, especially if it is their first time. But here’s a secret: you can eat only a bit and leave the rest for later. 

This approach is much better. People often underestimate the potency of edibles and consume much more than they should. So, take your time with your edible, and don’t hesitate to just take a bite here and there. 

Edibles Are Dessert Items 

Pot brownies are the go-to for edibles, which is fine – pot brownies are great! But pot brownies and dessert items like lollipops and gummies aren’t the only things you can put cannabis in. 

Many variations include lesser-known items like tea, jerky, hummus, wine, etc. Your options are virtually endless. 

When Edibles Start Working: What To Expect

After you consume your edible, sit back and relax. It’ll take some time. Until then, you’ll feel the same as you usually do. 

When the edible starts to kick in, you’ll feel relaxed. Tension should leave your body. Some people experience tingles along their bodies and a head high. As time goes by, the feeling will intensify until you’re left feeling relaxed and euphoric. 

Mixing Edibles With Other Medications: What You Should Be Aware Of

Marijuana is safe to take with most medications. Still, if you take any prescription medications, it’s best to check with your healthcare provider to prevent any adverse interactions. 

That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to consuming edibles while on medication. 

First, edibles, especially indica strains, can exacerbate medication that causes drowsiness. So, if you’re already taking medications that make you sleepy, be prepared for some added-on drowsiness. 

Second, marijuana may cause low blood pressure. On its own, it’s not a big deal. But if you’re taking blood pressure medication, be mindful of how it affects you. 


As cannabis becomes more accessible, exploring other forms of consumption becomes more common. 

One popular way to try weed is edibles, i.e., cannabis-infused food products. However, it can take a little longer to feel the effects of edibles. This is because digestion takes longer to metabolize the cannabis. 

Other factors like sex, weight, diet, metabolism, and tolerance can also affect how long it takes for edibles to kick in. Because of these factors, it takes an average of 30 to 60 minutes for edibles to have an effect. 

For top-tier edibles and high-quality weed for your next batch of homemade edibles, visit your nearest Embarc location. We provide cannabis, community, and culture for all.