If you’re returning to the world of cannabis after many years, you’ve probably noticed that much has changed. In addition to entirely new classes of products such as vaporizers, concentrates, and topicals, the world of cannabis-infused edibles has been turned into a confectionary powerhouse.

If you grew up thinking “cannabis edibles” meant inconsistent (and often dry) marijuana brownies, you’re in for a surprise: From infused honey to mouth watering chocolates to chewable lozenges and discreet capsules, there’s a wide and truly impressive variety of cannabis-infused edibles on the market. If you’re curious about edibles but haven’t known where to begin, you’re in the right place. This post will answer such important questions about ingestible cannabis, such as:

  • What are cannabis edibles?
  • How long does it take cannabis infused edibles to work?
  • How long do cannabis edibles last?
  • What’s the right dosage of cannabis edibles?

Are you ready? Let’s dive in.

cannabis ediblesWhat are Cannabis Infused Edibles?

At the most basic level, a cannabis edible is a food or beverage infused with cannabis or its major active ingredients, natural compounds called cannabinoids. The two most prevalent cannabinoids are THC and CBD. THC is the cannabinoid most directly responsible for cannabis’ distinctive “high.” By comparison, CBD imparts—at most—a gentle cerebral “buzz.” That’s why CBD on its own is legal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to their subjective effects, both THC and CBD deliver a wide range of medical potential, from reducing several types of pain to helping treat certain seizures to reducing anxiety and stress.

In part because cannabis itself can be processed into so many forms—from fresh, fragrant flower to the aforementioned concentrates and tinctures—there’s practically no limit to the number and types of foods and beverages that can be transformed into cannabis infused edibles. But while many of them take the form of familiar (and delicious!) infused chocolates, cereal treats, and other sweet snacks, others take a more straightforward approach.

A capsule may not seem the likeliest format in which to take cannabis, but that’s an increasingly preferred choice for many people. Especially popular with those new to cannabis medicine, capsules offer a portable, shelf-stable, and discreet way to access a consistent and precise dose of cannabis. Needless to say, this is especially useful when the goal is to address chronic symptoms and conditions such as pain, anxiety, and the side-effects of chemotherapy.

One of the most popular forms of cannabis infused edible is the lozenge or troche (pronounced “trow-kee”). Smaller and more shelf-stable than infused cookies or chocolate bars, they provide a carefully measured dose of cannabis medicine along with a burst of juicy flavor.

For all the variety and choices offered by cannabis edibles, though, it’s important to understand the ways they function in our bodies in comparison to inhaled cannabis. That’s a great excuse to dive into our next topics: “How long do cannabis edibles take to start working?” and “How long do cannabis edibles last?”

How long do cannabis edibles last?How Long Do Cannabis Edibles Take to Start Working?

When we ingest cannabis by smoking it or inhaling it through a vaporizer, we feel its effects quickly, typically within about ten minutes. That’s because the cannabinoids are rapidly absorbed through the lungs.

With edibles, by comparison, the cannabinoids are processed by the liver. Among other things, this means that it takes much longer for the cannabis to take effect. Apart from such factors as an individual’s age, weight, metabolism, and recent food intake, you can typically expect an edible to take between 45 minutes and 2 hours to begin taking effect.

Perhaps the most common issue around cannabis edibles is that inexperienced users—believing the product simply “didn’t work”—will take more. But when the double dose of edibles finally kicks in, the effect can be much stronger than anticipated.

That is why we always counsel our clients to “start low, go slow.” Knowing that it may take up to 2 hours for an edible to take effect, you’ll be better prepared for a predictable, positive, and fruitful experience.

How Long Do Cannabis Edibles Last?

Just as cannabis infused edibles take longer to reach their full effect, they also last much longer in our bodies. Whereas you can expect the effects of smoked or vaped cannabis to last from around 1 to 3 hours, the effects of edibles often last from 5 to 8 hours—and in some cases, up to 24 hours.

That’s a wide range, and again, several factors influence its duration. As we mentioned earlier, THC is the cannabinoid most directly responsible for the cannabis plant’s distinctive “high.” If you’re concerned about excess psychoactivity, we recommend you try a cannabis edible with either a balanced THC:CBD ratio, or one that contains very little THC. Especially if you’re new to edibles, this is a good way to mitigate effects that might otherwise feel slightly overwhelming.

With that in mind, we’ll share some dosing guidelines.Cannabis Edibles Dosage

What’s the Right Dosage of Cannabis Edibles?

Every package of cannabis infused edibles we sell is labeled with the precise dosage of THC in each individual unit, denoted in milligrams (mg). Here’s what you can expect in terms of subjective effects.

THC Dosage of 1 mg to 2.5 mg

Expected Effects: Mild relief of symptoms including pain, stress, and anxiety; heightened focus and creativity.

Recommended for: First-time consumers, or more experienced consumers looking to microdose cannabis.

THC Dosage of 2.5 mg to 15 mg

Expected Effects: Stronger symptomatic relief; euphoria; slightly impaired coordination and perception.

Recommended for: Stubborn symptoms not affected by smaller doses; treatment for insomnia.

THC Dosage of 30 mg to 50 mg

Expected Effects: Strong euphoria; significantly impaired coordination and perception.
Recommended for: Those consumers with a high tolerance for THC, or those whose GI systems don’t tend to absorb cannabinoids effectively.

THC Dosage of 50 mg to 100 mg

Expected Effects: Seriously impaired coordination and perception; possible unpleasant side effects including nausea and increased heart rate.

Recommended for: Experienced, high-tolerance THC consumers; patients living with inflammatory disorders, cancer, and other serious conditions.

Cannabis Infused Edibles: Other Considerations

These guidelines provide a useful starting point, but because everyone’s individual physiology is unique, you may respond a bit differently. Again, that’s why we urge you to “start slow, go low.” Begin with a low dose, and remember to wait at least 2 hours before taking any more.

If at any point the effects of cannabis feel too strong, don’t panic. Though the sensations—which could include nausea, paranoia, or a racing heart rate—may feel unpleasant, they’re rarely dangerous. Try watching a show, snuggling with your animal, or stepping outside for some fresh air and to take a gander at a nearby tree. That said: If you suffer from pre-existing heart conditions or other serious medical issues, please consult with a cannabis-informed physician before trying infused edibles.

What Are Cannabis Edibles: Wrapping Up

As the District’s first and longest-running medical cannabis dispensary, we’re grateful that so many Washingtonians turn to Takoma Wellness Center. Check out our edibles via our online menu or stop by. If you have any further questions about cannabis edibles, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help!