As cannabis becomes legal in more and more states, weed edibles are growing in popularity. In fact, they’re now the most commonly reported exposure to THC in kids under 12—mostly through baked goods and candies that look like regular treats. That’s why it’s important to know how weed edibles work, what they’re made of, and how they can affect you before trying one.
The way that you feel from consuming marijuana edibles can depend on a few factors, including what you eat before eating it, your metabolism, and the dose you consume. Generally, it takes 30 to 90 minutes for the effects of an edible to kick in and then can last up to two hours. Because ingested cannabinoids must pass through your digestive system, they take longer to get into your bloodstream than smoked marijuana.
What kind of THC is in the edible can also have a big impact on how you’ll feel. THC in cannabis is fat-soluble, so when it’s infused into a butter or oil, for example, the body absorbs the THC more quickly. In edibles that use a hydrophobic fat, such as a chocolate brownie or cookie, the THC binds to the fat and can’t be absorbed.
Edibles that are infused with a water-soluble substance, like gummies or capsules, are absorbed more slowly, as the THC dissolves in the mouth and stomach. That’s why it’s a good idea to start with a small amount of an edible and then move up to a higher dosage once you know how the product will affect you.
When you’re buying an edible at a dispensary, it’s best to make sure that the THC content is clearly labeled in milligrams and the size of the dose. Alaska regulations require that all regulated edibles include this information. It’s important to pay attention to this information because it can be easy to accidentally ingest more THC than you intended when consuming edibles.
THC metabolites can stay in your system for up to 12 hours after you’ve consumed an edible, even after the euphoric effects have worn off. That’s why it’s important for anyone who consumes edibles to be in a safe, calming environment and not at work or driving a car until the high wears off.
In addition, it’s always a good idea to keep any edibles out of the reach of children. Stolbach says that “many companies are overstepping in their marketing in a way that puts children at risk.” If you have young kids in your home, make sure you store your edibles safely and in child-resistant packaging to prevent them from getting into them. It’s also a good idea to talk to your pediatrician if you have questions about consuming edibles.