THE KEY POINTS
The 5 most-influential factors that impact how long your THC high from edibles will last:
How many mg of THC you ate
Your THC tolerance
Your Metabolism and Body Weight
The type of THC edible you consumed
Whether you ate edibles on an empty stomach or not
The average time THC edibles take to reach their peak effects is 2.67 hours.
The average duration of an edible high is four to six hours.
This article is about how long the effects of edibles last. If you were interested in how long edibles last in regards to shelf-life, then the following article would be more fitting, Do edibles expire, go bad, or lose potency?
In the key points above, I answered the question, “how long do edibles last?” Now, I will navigate you through the entire edible high journey and the science behind the duration of edible high effects.
What are edibles?
Edibles refer to any food product (food or drink) that is infused with Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is a psychotropic and psychoactive cannabinoid (cannabis extract/compound) naturally found in cannabis and industrial hemp plants.
You can learn more about THC here.
Unlike smoking or vaping, which delivers THC directly into the bloodstream through the lungs, edibles take a longer route.
Navigating The Journey: The Duration of an Edible High
Here is a step-by-step looking into the entire THC edible digestion process that will give you a vivid understanding of THC’s journey inside your body:
An edible enters your digestive system the moment you put it in your mouth.
The edible must go through your stomach to reach your liver to go through enzymatic reactions in order to process THC into metabolites of THC.
Once step 2 occurs, the metabolite of THC enters your bloodstream. Steps 1-3 are the lengthier digestion process that causes the 30-90 minute time frame when edibles kick in.
Now that THC is in your bloodstream, it will be able to bind and interact with cannabinoid receptors in your brain, specifically named CB1 receptors. These receptors work for your body’s Endocannabinoid System, which is perhaps the most vital biological management system in your body.
This interaction between THC and CB1 receptors causes a range of psychotropic and psychoactive effects, including an edible high.
The range of psychoactive effects from edibles and their extremes
The range of edibles’ psychoactive and psychotropic effects and how strong these effects are depends on the following:
the type of cannabinoids infused into the edible
the amount of THC consumed
Common types of cannabinoids infused into edibles include:
From this list, we know that pure Cannabidiol (CBD), no matter how much you consume, will never cause a psychotropic effect (mind-altering high) after it interacts with cannabinoid receptors in your body. However, Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC will almost always produce a psychotropic high.
Something that’s worth noting:
The words “almost always” from the previous sentence are strictly used because if a person doesn’t consume enough THC, the effects won’t be noticeable.
The possibility to over or under-consume THC has a direct impact on how long edibles last and the overall edible experience from ingestible cannabis products.
Importance of understanding THC edible dosing
If you’re consuming cannabis edibles, whether it be for recreational or medical purposes, understanding how long the effects will last is essential for managing your experience.
Unlike smoking or vaping marijuana, where effects can wear off within 2-4 hours depending on how much you smoke, edibles may last up to eight hours, sometimes even longer.
What An Edible High Feels Like When You Eat Too Much
increased heart rates
couch-lock or “in da couch” from indica gummies
psychosis (a loss of connection with reality)
What An Edible High Feels Like When You Hit Your THC Sweet Spot
The high effects of an edible when dosed perfectly is known as the “THC Sweet Spot,” and the high is often described as the following:
blissful sensations of euphoria
stress relief and lightheartedness
altered perception of reality
relaxation and sedation
I’m positive you now understand the importance of edible dosing. Having an enjoyable THC experience is on the chopping block if you don’t. For more info on this, please check out our edible dosing calculator and guide for beginners.
Now that the foundation is laid, here is what you came for.
How Long Edibles Last: A Thorough Overview
With edibles, the high can usually be felt in 30-45 minutes after consumption, but it can take up to four hours for the full potency of its effects to be felt.
The duration of effects of cannabis edibles can vary significantly depending on several factors.
Unlike the high effects of smoking cannabis, which typically can be felt within minutes, the intoxication effects of marijuana edibles take much longer.
Average Duration of an Edible High
According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, the average duration of an edible high is four to six hours. However, research has found that the intoxicating sensations of edibles can last as long as twelve hours, with drowsiness being felt for 24 hours.
After your initial edible consumption and the average of 30-45 minutes until it kicks in, the edible effects will continue heightening until it reaches their peak effects.
Average Time Edibles Take To Reach Their Peak Effects
Based on two studies and an article published by a notable MD (listed below), we can educatively presume that the average time it takes edibles to reach their peak effects is somewhere between 2-4 hours after ingestion, with more data pointing to 2-3 hours after ingestion.
Here are the two studies and the article, and their findings for your reference :
Study – reported that peak THC effects felt after 2–3 hours.
Study – THC levels peak in the blood about 2-3 hours after eating it.
Doctor Suggested – peak effects of THC from edibles are felt 3 to 4 hours after eating it.
Based on these three findings, we can calculate the average amount of hours for these three references. We’ll add up the hours and divide by the number of instances.
- 2-3 hours
- 2-3 hours
- 2-4 hours
Now, let’s calculate the overall average:
(2.5 + 2.5 + 3) / 3 = 8 / 3 ≈ 2.67 hours
Have more data to share? Email [email protected] for tips and suggestions.
The Half-life of THC & How Long Edibles Last In Your System
Half-life is a term that scientists use to explain how long it takes for the amount of a certain substance in your body to decrease by half. So, if you took 20 mg of THC, the half-life would be the moment only 10 mg of THC is detectable.
According to one study on the Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of cannabinoids, THC has a half-life of 20-36 hours.
I could go into a lot more detail on this, but since this is a bit off from the main topic, you can learn everything you need to know from this article, How Long Do Edibles Stay In Your System?
You’ll learn the length of time with deep-dive answers based on how long THC is detectable in your system via your urine, hair, saliva, and your blood.
10 Factors That Impact The Duration Of Edible Effects
Metabolism & Body Fat
Type of Edible
Eating Edibles Vs. Drinking
For a quick summary of the information to come, please see the data table below.
|THC Dose||The dosage and potency of the edible play a significant role in determining how long the high will last.|
|THC Tolerance||Individual tolerance to THC affects the duration of the high.|
|Gender||Sex differences, including hormonal variations, body fat percentage, metabolism, and tolerance, impact the duration of THC's effects.|
|Age||Age can influence how THC affects cognitive functions and the duration of the high.|
|Metabolism & Body Fat||Metabolism affects THC absorption, while body fat can store THC, prolonging its release and extending the high.|
|Health Conditions||Digestive system health, liver health, and mental health conditions can affect THC absorption and the duration of the high.|
|Prescription Medications||Certain medications can interact with THC, potentially altering its duration and effects.|
|Unique Ingredients||Fats in edibles facilitate THC absorption, making the high feel more potent.|
|Type of Edible||Different types of edibles have varying onset and duration of effects.|
|Eating Vs. Drinking Edibles||Consuming edibles through eating or drinking can impact the duration of the high.|
1. THC Dose
The dosage and potency of the edible play a significant role in determining how long the high will last.
A higher dose or more THC content consumed in a single dose will almost ALWAYS result in a longer-lasting high.
Why is that?
Consuming larger quantities of THC will lead to higher THC levels in your bloodstream, and more THC in your bloodstream allows for more opportunities for the THC molecules to interact and bind with your CB1 receptors.
FYI, there are millions of CB1 receptors in your body.
“Some people have reported peak effect at 90 minutes and others will feel peak effect at three or more hours. The dose can play a role in the onset and intensity of the peak effect,” says Eloise Theisen.
2. THC Tolerance
Everyone is different, so individual tolerance also comes into play when determining how long an edible high lasts. Those who have never consumed cannabis before may be much more sensitive to its effects than those who use it regularly.
Avid cannabis consumers build up a tolerance over time and require higher doses to achieve the same effect.
Research has shown that THC highs vary depending on your sex (male or female).
Hormonal Differences: Estrogen, a hormone more prevalent in women, is believed to enhance the effects of THC. As estrogen levels fluctuate throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle, it’s possible that the effects of THC might be more potent during times when estrogen levels are high, which might potentially affect the duration of a high.
Body Fat: THC is fat-soluble and can be stored in body fat, which can impact the duration of a high. On average, women tend to have a higher percentage of body fat than men, which could potentially influence how long THC and its effects last.
Metabolism: Metabolic rates can differ between men and women, which might influence how quickly THC is metabolized and excreted from the body.
Tolerance: Some research suggests that women might develop a tolerance to THC more quickly than men, which could potentially influence the duration and intensity of a high over time.
One study found that older people aren’t as affected by THC as younger adults. Basically, young adults can have a harder time learning and thinking quickly when they use weed.
Another study suggested that teenagers using weed might have more trouble making decisions and controlling their actions than adults.
5. Metabolism & Body Fat
Metabolism affects how quickly THC is absorbed into your bloodstream, and your body fat impacts how long THC stays in your system.
Body fat can affect the duration of a high from THC due to the lipophilic nature of THC (attracted to/can be stored in fat cells).
This THC storage in fat cells can lead to a prolonged release of THC into the bloodstream, potentially extending the duration of the high.
6. Health Conditions
Digestive System Health: For edibles, the health of a person’s digestive system can impact how quickly and efficiently THC is absorbed. Conditions that affect digestion, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), could potentially affect the duration of a high from edibles.
Liver Health: The liver plays a crucial role in metabolizing THC, converting it into various metabolites, including 11-hydroxy-THC, which is particularly potent. People with liver conditions might metabolize THC differently, which could affect the duration and intensity of a high.
Mental Health: While not a direct influence on the duration of a high, mental health conditions can affect a person’s perception of time and their subjective experience of a high. For example, individuals with anxiety may feel that the high lasts longer due to increased anxiety or paranoia when using cannabis.
7. Prescription Medications
Medications that Affect Metabolism: The liver metabolizes THC, and this process involves specific enzymes, particularly from the cytochrome P450 family. Medications that inhibit or induce these enzymes could slow down or speed up the metabolism of THC, respectively, which could prolong or shorten the duration of a high.
Sedatives and CNS Depressants: Medications that depress the central nervous system (like benzodiazepines, some types of painkillers, and certain sleep aids) could potentially enhance the sedative effects of THC. This might not change the duration of the THC high, but it could intensify the overall experience.
Antidepressants: Some research suggests that certain antidepressants might interact with the endocannabinoid system, the same system that THC acts on. This could potentially influence the effects and duration of a THC-induced high, although more research is needed in this area.
Other Psychoactive Medications: Other medications that act on the brain, like antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, or stimulants, might also interact with THC in complex ways that could influence the duration or quality of a high.
8. Unique Ingredients
The way in which fats and cannabinoids bond so well together is also why an edible high can feel much more potent than the effects of smoking. While the common misconception regarding THC edibles is that people want them in the form of sweets (because they’re stoners with munchies), there’s actually solid evidence about why sugary treats are chosen.
The reason is that fats, such as those found in baked goods and sugary snacks, are the ideal vessel to bind with and carry THC across cell barriers and membranes that line the walls of our stomach and intestines.
9. Type of Edible
The type of edible definitely impacts the effects of the edible. Here are the three basic types and how each could impact the duration of how long your edible high will last:
Leave In-Mouth Hard Candy: This type of edible is often meant to be absorbed through the lining of the mouth, a process called sublingual absorption. Sublingual absorption can lead to faster onset of effects because the THC is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system. However, the duration of the high might be shorter compared to other edibles because of this faster absorption.
THC-Infused Beverages: Like hard candies, THC-infused beverages can be absorbed both sublingually and in the stomach. The onset of effects might be slightly quicker than food edibles but probably slower than hard candy. The duration of the high is likely to be similar to other types of edibles that are digested.
Food Edibles: Food edibles (like brownies, cookies, or gummies) are typically processed by the digestive system. This means it can take longer (usually 30 minutes to 2 hours) for the effects to kick in, as the THC has to be absorbed through the stomach and then metabolized in the liver. However, once the effects do start, they can last longer (often several hours) compared to other types of edibles.
10. Eating Edibles Vs. Drinking
The method used to consume an edible can also affect how long the high lasts. Eating edibles versus drinking edibles tends to produce longer-lasting highs because they take longer for digestion and absorption into the bloodstream.
Liquid edibles are usually hydrophilic (attracted to water), while food edibles are hydrophobic (don’t like water).
When cannabis is ingested orally, it must first travel through the digestive system before being metabolized by the liver into a more potent metabolic of THC.
However, drinking cannabis-infused beverages like tinctures or teas typically has a faster onset time compared with eating edibles since they can bypass digestion and are absorbed more readily into the bloodstream through mucous membranes in your mouth before you even swallow them.
Manufacturers are now using nanoemulsion water-soluble technology to break down the THC molecules into smaller particles and wrap them in molecules, allowing for faster absorption.
Factors That Can Extend or Shorten How Long The Effects Of Edibles Last
Several factors can prolong or shorten an edible high beyond just dosage and consumption method.
One factor that plays a significant role in extending an edible high is whether you have eaten before consuming it.
1. Empty Vs. Full Stomach
If you eat an edible on an empty stomach, you may experience stronger effects that last longer because there is no food present in your stomach, slowing down digestion.
Another factor that may extend or shorten the duration of an edible high is hydration level. Drinking water before consuming edibles can help dilute them in your bloodstream, preventing extreme high, while not drinking enough water can prolong the effects of THC.
3. Combining THC Consumption Methods
Combining different cannabis products can affect the duration of an edible high. For example, if you smoke weed or vape THC distillate while eating an edible, the combined effects may last longer and be more intense than either product individually.
4. THC Blend Products
The edible industry has now entered into the world of THC blend products like THC Blend Gummies.
THC blends come to life when manufacturers blend several different types of THC and add them into one edible. These one-of-a-kind THC blends with varying cannabinoid potencies are popular amongst avid cannabis users because they offer unique THC experiences.
Validating The Importance Of What We’ve Covered So Far
Understanding how long an edible high lasts is important to be able to manage your THC experience, and ultimately, being responsible with this knowledge is key to enjoying all that cannabis has to offer without overdoing it.
Now, let’s talk more about giving you the tools, resources, and information on how to combat over-consumption.
Ways to Mitigate Uncomfortable Edible High Side Effects
Although cannabis is generally safe, consuming too much THC can cause unwanted side effects like paranoia, anxiety, dry mouth, and eyes, or even hallucinations in some cases.
If your last edibles dose hit harder than expected, here are several ways you can lessen these side effects:
Hydrate & Drink Water – The first thing you should do is drink water and plenty of it. Hydrating yourself will help blood flow, keep your body balanced, and reduce symptoms like dry mouth. Also, you can experiment by adding ground black pepper, lemon zest, shredded ginger, and mint leaves, as they’ve shown efficacy in reducing the psychoactive effects.
Go for a Grounding/Earthing Walk Outside – New research suggests that grounding, also known as earthing (bare skin contact with the earth), maybe a powerful way to fight against everyday stress, body function issues, inflammation, pain, bad sleep, heart rhythm problems, thick blood, and health issues like heart disease. Plus, getting your body moving and changing up the scenery can help you increase blood flow and work through anxious thoughts and bad energy, respectively.
CWI (Cold-water immersion) – CWI is basically a super cold bath. There was a cold-water immersion study conducted in February 2023 that found that people felt more energetic, focused, proud, inspired, and less upset and nervous after a cold bath. Further, the study mentions the following CWI studies and the benefits found:
Breathing Exercises With Fresh Outdoor Air – Getting some fresh outdoor air and being in nature can help calm your nerves if you’re feeling too overwhelmed by the high. Couples that benefit from “belly breathing” will help you breathe slower, take in more oxygen, lessen feelings of worry, and slow down your heartbeat.
Take a high dose of CBD – CBD can help balance some of the effects of THC. Research shows that:
CBD can lessen the mind-altering effects of THC when taken together.
CBD can reduce the anxiety caused by THC in healthy people.
CBD can trigger the production of certain stress markers in cells, which might help protect the brain under stress.
These are only five quick tips on how you can reduce a high THC. For the full list, check out the 15 ways to recover from edibles.
For a beginner, the effects can last up to 12 hours but usually last between six and eight hours. For edible cannabis connoisseurs, the effects usually last 4-5 hours.
The effects of an edible may last up to eight hours, however, some people may feel the effects up to 12 hours. If you have a higher tolerance, the effect might only last for 4-5 hours.
All-in-all, the length of how long an edible will last for you generally involves the amount of THC consumed and the THC tolerance of the consumer.
Only the drowsiness and lowered activity levels are usually associated with delta-9 and delta-8 edible cannabis products 24-hours after consumption. However, THCP-infused edibles seem to offer effects lasting in the 24-hour range when coming 2 mg or more of THCP.
By being responsible with edible cannabis use, you will naturally become more aware of your THC limits and gain more control over your THC experience.
So next time you’re planning on indulging in some weed-infused brownies or medical marijuana THC gummies, make sure you keep these tips in mind:
Start with a low dose of THC (2.5 mg to 5 mg), and go slow.
Follow the product label instructions.
Wait at least two hours before taking another dose.
Drink lots of water.
Create a safe space where you’d feel the safest and most comfortable.
Don’t panic, and enjoy the ride!
The peak effects of consuming too much cannabis, also known as “greening out,” usually go away in a few hours.
It’s important to know that if you eat too many mg of THC by accident, no one has ever died from using too much cannabis. So, even if you’re feeling really scared or sweaty, you won’t die from THC-edible intoxication.
PSA: This is not a challenge; I just want you to know that even if it your current THC experience royally sucks, you will feel better soon!