Cannabis compounds like cannabinol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), delta-8 THC, etc. have been gaining much traction in the past few years, leaving us wondering about various questions like-
- What are the benefits of these compounds?
- How and where can I get them?
- What forms are they available in?
- How long do edibles take to work?
- Do they even work?
These and many more questions flood our minds. This is especially true for people who are new to the world of cannabis products. First of all, let’s make clear the meaning of the term “edibles”- these are foods or drinks containing cannabis compounds. Edibles may be of several types, they may contain all the cannabis compounds (full-spectrum), they may contain all other cannabis compounds other than THC (broad-spectrum), or they may have only CBD (isolate or concentrate). Based on your individual needs and taste, you’ll have to choose from these three types of products. Now, a lot has been said about the benefits and uses of cannabis products but a lingering question still remains about their efficacy. Time is the most valuable thing for most of us and we want to know how quick or slow any particular activity or effect takes to complete. So, even in choosing a CBD product, the time taken to show full effect will play a crucial role. To give a short answer to this, it depends on the product, your body metabolism, and your tolerance level. And generally, edibles take longer than smoking/vaping to show the results. Let us now look at the longer answer.
How long does it take for edibles to hit?
As mentioned above, the onset time will depend on several factors. On average, edibles usually take somewhere between half an hour to ninety minutes to show full impact.  However, it may take up to two hours to kick in depending on certain other factors. Products with a higher concentration of the cannabis compound will take slightly less time to start showing effect. Also, the full-spectrum edibles will be quicker to take effect and will be more noticeable because of the high created by the THC present in them. Lastly, the way these compounds are absorbed in the body also affects the working time.
There is a range of edibles available in the market- gummies, oils, tinctures, capsules, chocolate, etc. Each of these will have a slightly different absorption time and hence, their onset time may also vary slightly.
How long does it take for gummy edibles to kick in?
Gummies are probably the most popular product when it comes to CBD edibles. This is because gummies are a beginner-friendly, discreet way to consume CBD and are perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth as well. As a beginner, you can pop half of a 400 mg gummy into your mouth and just chew on them to get the goodness of CBD. Later, you can increase the dose to 500 mg gummy, based on your need. However, it takes a little longer to kick in because the product has to travel a long way from the mouth to the stomach where it gets absorbed. The active ingredient will then enter the bloodstream and end up in the liver where the metabolization is complete. Finally, it will enter the brain via the bloodstream and show the desired effect. The same process will also hold for edibles like brownies, chocolates, and cookies.
How quickly do lozenges, lollipops, and tinctures work?
Lozenges and lollipops work faster than gummies because they are mainly absorbed sublingually. Tinctures are the fastest edibles because of their fully sublingual way of getting in the bloodstream. Sublingual absorption occurs when the product is slowly dissolved in the mouth and enters the blood vessels present beneath the tongue. Tinctures take the definition of fast action to another level because of the oil/ alcohol carrier base that is used to make them. This further increases their absorption rate and hence shortens the time of action. Additionally, tinctures are highly versatile, so you can mix a drop of 1000 mg tincture into your food or beverage and get the required CBD dose. Just like with gummies, you can increase the dosage of tincture too. There are several concentrations available in tincture form for you to choose from. In moderate cases, one can take a drop of 1500 mg tincture. For a stronger effect, try the 2500 mg tincture.
Some other factors that affect the onset time
Every individual is unique in the combination of their age, sex, metabolism rate, weight, and tolerance to the specific cannabis product(s). So, the way one person’s body will react to any edible will differ from the way another person reacts to it. This is why it is generally recommended to wait for at least 24 hours after taking a dose of any product. One must not increase the dose immediately if one fails to see the result in a few hours.
So, now you know that the question, “how long does it take for CBD edibles to kick in?” has more than one answer. If you are wondering whether it would be safe to consume edibles on an empty stomach, you should know that although it is safe to consume edibles on both empty and full stomachs, the impact varies. When you take edibles after a meal, the onset time will be greater because your body will have to digest the food as well. On an empty stomach, edibles will work considerably faster. 
Why should you prefer edibles?
When a lot of other options (some even quicker) are in front of you, the natural question to ask will be why you should go for edibles. It is for these few reasons that edibles are preferable-
- Unlike smoking or vaping, they don’t put you in danger of contracting respiratory diseases like inflammation and bronchitis. It also saves you from the carcinogens present in the smoke.
- If you want the effects to stay for a longer duration, edibles are the ideal way of consuming cannabis.
- Edibles are highly discreet as they have no odor and are barely noticeable because of their outer form (gummy, chocolate, etc).
- You can easily consume them anywhere at any time unlike vaping which can’t be done at all places and times.
Risks associated with edibles
We have looked at all the benefits of using edibles but there are a few drawbacks as well. First and foremost, one needs to be extremely careful in not consuming more than the required dose at a time. It is easy to get carried away because the edibles are tasty but an overdose will make you dizzy, increase your heart rate, and can even cause hallucinations.  Vomiting, sudden weight loss, diarrhea, and motor impairment are some other side effects of CBD.  One should take only the required dose to avoid these issues. Lastly, if you’re just starting, take a small dose and gradually increase it to find the best dosage for you. The higher concentration products like 5000 mg tincture or 1000 mg gummies should only be taken when your condition is extreme and/or the lower doses are ineffective.
In answering the question, “how long does it take edibles to work?” we saw that there is no single answer that is correct for all. Depending on the type of product you are taking, the dose and concentration of the product, your age, body metabolism, tolerance level, and weight, etc., the onset time will vary. Generally, the time taken to see the effects is pegged between 30 minutes and 2 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Are edibles better than smoking/vaping? How long does it take for edibles to kick in?
Ans. If you are looking for a safer, discreet way of consuming cannabis, edibles are your best bet. They are also good for newbies as they make CBD and THC more palatable. The onset time for edibles is a little slower than that for vaping but the effect of edibles will last longer.
2. Does it matter if I take it on an empty or full stomach?
Ans. Yes, consuming edibles on an empty stomach renders them more easily absorbable. Taking it after a meal will delay the onset time by a few minutes to an hour depending on the type of food you ate.
3. How long do edibles last in the body?
Ans. Generally, edibles tend to last for about 4 to 12 hours which is considerably longer than the lasting time for vapes.  It is during the third hour after intake that the effect will be the strongest and then it will start fading slowly.