Edibles are a popular way to use cannabis. But, edibles don’t work for everyone. Have you ever eaten an edible and felt nothing? Was it too strong for you? Both can happen, and an explanation is coming. Multiple factors from dosage to purity and your body’s own chemistry all play a role in whether or not edibles will work for you. You also have to take into account what type of edible you’re selecting. We’ll cover it all and make it easy to understand.
A Little Thing Called Bioavailability
We’re not going to throw a word like this at you and not tell you what it means. The definition of bioavailability in simple terms is – the amount of a substance that actually becomes available/usable to your body. The scientific definition, according to Merck Manual, is: “Bioavailability refers to the extent and rate at which the active moiety (drug or metabolite) enters systemic circulation, thereby accessing the site of action.”
When it comes to pharmaceuticals, their bioavailability is calculated via clinical trials and studies. From here, appropriate doses are determined based on how much the body will actually receive.
This is a big factor when it comes to edibles. Different types of edibles have different bioavailability levels. For example, beverages and hard candies will have a higher bioavailability than a baked good. Different edibles have different absorption rates. Every person’s body has an individual metabolism. These two factors are big players in bioavailability.
Here are some of the absorption rates of common edibles:
- Baked goods, crackers, cookies (foods in this category – solid foods) – 4-12%
- Hard candies, beverages, lozenges and some gummies – 50-75%
This means that if you have a cannabis cookie and it contains 10 mg of THC, and you consume the entire cookie – your body is only getting 0.4 mg – 1.2 mg of THC. If you have a 30 mg cookie or brownie, your body is only getting a maximum of 3.6 mg of THC and other cannabinoids. For most, this just isn’t enough to even make a difference. So, this is why you may not feel anything at all if you have some type of baked good, bread or other solid cannabis edible.
Edibles that you actually have to chew and require digestion have a lower bioavailability because there is a longer process of getting the cannabinoids to your bloodstream. First you have the digestion process itself. Then you have to factor in the multiple organs that the cannabinoids have to travel through to get to your bloodstream. The longer it has to go in to reach your bloodstream, the more of the cannabinoids you are going to lose.
If you’ve ever had a hard candy, lozenge or beverage that nearly incapacitated you – it’s because it has a higher bioavailability than other types of edibles. It is very important to pay attention to the number of servings in cannabis beverages and the total number of milligrams of THC as well. Most cannabis beverages are designed to be more than one serving. If you’ve picked one up that’s 100 mg THC in the entire container and down the whole thing – you’re getting 50 mg – 75 mg of THC and well – for most people that’s just too much at one time.
Non-solid edibles (beverages, candies, lozenges and tinctures) enter the bloodstream faster since sublingual glands in your mouth (mostly under your tongue) start to absorb the contents of the liquid. It’s a rather quick absorption method.
THC Purity and Potency
Purity and potency are other factors in whether an edible may or may not work for you. It’s important to make sure that the THC or cannabis extracted liquid used to make the edible comes from a company that has third-party testing completed. You’ll want to go to that manufacturer’s website and look at their lab test results.
Make sure the manufacturer has a separate lab results sheet for THC oil or cannabis oil. Look specifically for the volume of the sample. Then look to see how much THC was actually in that sample. Ensure that all other sections of that lab report pass. You’ll want to look for <LOQ – this means less than the limit or level of quantification. If something is under the LOQ that a lab must test for, it’ll be marked as <, N/A or some other indicator. A limit or level of quantification is the smallest amount of a compound or substance that a lab can or does look for in a substance. You can also think of it <LOQ as a limit of detection.
You will also notice something called an action level on lab reports. Action levels are amounts of a chemical that has been deemed unsafe. You want every section of the test to have results that are under action levels.
Do you know your personal tolerance? Tinctures are a great way to determine what is too much. Edibles aren’t the best test for this.
If you use cannabis flower and go through 7 grams or more a week, you likely have a decent tolerance, so a 10 mg edible probably isn’t going to do anything for you unless it’s mostly absorbed sublingually.
If you are a microdoser, you likely have a lower tolerance. This means that a 10 mg edible might work just fine for you.
Those that use cannabis concentrates more frequently likely have higher tolerances in general. Cannabis concentrates have much higher potencies. Since the vapors from concentrates are inhaled, they also have a higher bioavailability since the cannabinoids can enter your bloodstream through your lungs. Inhaled cannabinoids have a bioavailability of 34% – 56%. Why such a large range? The size of the hit, the potency and how long you hold it in are all factors.
You and a friend can have the same portion size of an edible and have two entirely different experiences. One of you might not feel anything while the other is sitting there laughing at everything.
How fast your body processes food is a factor. For some, a faster metabolism might mean that the cannabinoids metabolize faster through your body so you might not feel the effects strongly, for an extended period of time or even at all. Those with slower metabolisms are more likely to lose more of the have the cannabinoids in their bodies a little longer. It’s not known whether this plays a role explicitly in the strength of the effects of bioavailability of edibles.
Tips for Safe Edibles Use
It’s true that edibles work wonders for some and do nothing for others. From the factors in play that we mentioned above, it’ll be easier for you to gauge if edibles are right for you or not. They aren’t cheap, and the more THC and/or CBD they have in them – the more expensive they are.
Here are some tips for having the most positive edibles experience possible:
- Be mindful of the serving size
- Pay attention to the total milligrams in the entire package
- Look for the dose per serving
- Know your tolerance
- Keep the type of edible being consumed in mind (liquids and candies will hit you harder and faster)
- Start small – if you are new to edibles, it’s best to start with half of the suggested serving size. While you aren’t getting every milligram of cannabinoids mentioned in that dose, it’s important to really understand what your body needs and can handle.
- Wait at least 90 minutes before consuming another serving – edibles typically take 45 minutes to an hour to take effect unless it is a liquid or sublingual edible (beverages, lozenges, hard candies, etc.). Liquid and sublingual edibles can start to show effects within minutes. Other edibles require digestion and distribution. If you have a serving and don’t feel anything in 30 minutes, your body hasn’t fully digested the edible yet.
- Don’t use another cannabis product while waiting for the effects to kick in, including CBD. CBD might lessen the intensity or effects of THC, which might make you think that you don’t feel anything at all. Using another cannabis product while waiting for the effects of the edible to kick in might leave you having a very unpleasant experience since the combination of THC from both sources might be too much and might leave you feeling overwhelmingly high.
- Always make sure your edibles are kept where your children and pets cannot reach them!
We hope that this guide, and these tips, help you better understand how edibles work and why they might not work for you. It doesn’t mean that they’ll never work, but now that you know what the factors in how edibles work in the body are, it might be easier for you to understand how much THC and other cannabinoids your body really needs.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Edibles Don’t Work for Everyone – Here’s Why? ›
The simplest reason someone might say, “edibles don't work for me,” is due to their THC tolerance and physical factors like body size. The edible you've consumed might just not contain enough THC to match your physical factors and tolerance to cannabis.How do you get edibles to kick in? ›
Empty Stomach - One of the best ways to make edibles kick in faster is to consume them on an empty stomach. This will help the edible to be absorbed into your bloodstream quicker. This is because when you have food in your stomach, it slows down the absorption process.Is a 10mg edible too much for a beginner? ›
The accepted recommendation is to start with an edible that has no more than 10 mg of THC, with most experts advising a dose of 2.5 to 5 mg the first time out of the gate. Almost every bad edibles experience follows a similar pattern. Beginners may start slow, with just a tiny nibble on that lemon square.Should I eat more edibles if I dont feel anything? ›
Wait at least 30 minutes to 2 hours for your first dose to kick in. If you still don't feel anything at that point, go ahead and try the second half. But, again, give it time to take effect. As tempting as it may be, don't start snacking on your edibles because you don't feel the effects right off the bat.What foods make edibles hit harder? ›
The omega-3 fatty acids found in things like nuts and eggs can enhance the high of THC edibles. These healthy fats bind to the cannabinoid receptors in our brains and help THC pass through the blood-brain barrier quicker. This can help your edibles hit faster and last longer.What is the average time for edibles to kick in? ›
This is because compared to smoking, where cannabis is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and distributed rapidly in the brain, edibles first need to enter the digestive system. One study indicates that oral ingestion of THC requires 30–90 minutes for effects to begin. These effects reach their peak after 2–3 hours.What mg is best for first edible? ›
The standard “dose” of an edible is 10 mg of THC. But if it's your first time, it's better to go with less than 5 mg. If you don't feel anything, don't up your dose for the first two hours. If you do choose to have more, increase your initial dose by 5 mg.Does weight affect edibles? ›
It's more dependent on your brain, metabolism and tolerance. I've known heavier-set people who experience very strong effects, and also the opposite, thin people who need higher doses to achieve the same high.How many mg is a common edible? ›
Low dose edibles, which contain 2.5mg THC or less per serving, are becoming more popular and are increasingly available on dispensary shelves. 5mg: This common serving size is often said to be the amount to try if you're new to edibles.Why don't edibles work until I eat? ›
You can safely eat your edibles whether your stomach is full or empty. It's just that the effects will likely be much more intense than if you had food in your stomach. If you are eating edibles on a full stomach, the Delta-8 wouldn't absorb as quickly and the effects may not be as strong as if your stomach was empty.
Do edibles work better on a full stomach? ›
When you eat edibles on an empty stomach, the effects are going to hit you harder and faster than on a full stomach. When you eat an edible when you're full, it takes longer to kick in, and the effects will be more mild in comparison to doing so on an empty stomach. The high will last for longer as well.Why are my edibles suddenly not working? ›
The Dose Was Very Low
If you've had sufficient time after ingesting your cannabis edible and still have no effect, maybe you consumed a low dose. People may have different effects when consuming edibles because of their body sizes, age, sex, etc. Therefore, your dose may have been very low for your body.
If the edible is a candy, drink, or capsule, you can ingest your edible an hour after your last meal or with a spoonful of healthy fats like peanut butter or MCT oil to help increase absorption.Do edibles make eyes red? ›
Yes, edibles can make your eyes red, if they contain THC. It doesn't matter how THC gets into your body. Whether through a vape, joint, drink, edible, or other smoking apparatus, cannabis will make your eyes red if it has THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Redness happens because of the effect THC has on your eyes.How long do edible highs usually last? ›
With edible cannabis, the intoxicating effects or “high” do not kick in for about 30 minutes to two hours and peak at about four hours. The effects can last up to 12 hours after use and residual effects can last up to 24 hours, so you could be affected into the next day.Is 100mg edible a lot for the first time? ›
If it's your first time trying edibles, take it easy. If you eat 1mg of THC, you may not even feel it. But if you eat 100mg, you'll have an experience that could be very overwhelming and scary.What are the cons of eating edibles? ›
Unlike smoking cannabis, consuming edibles does not generally result in rapid relief. The length of time it can take for edibles to take effect is the major caveat against this method of administration. If you need immediate relief, the best option is typically to smoke.How many grams of edibles is strong? ›
Cannabis edibles that have about 20 or 30 mg will provide a strong euphoria or high that is much more potent than standard dosing practices, which can be ideal for those that are consuming cannabis to help manage pain or those that may have higher tolerances.What makes edibles feel stronger? ›
Edible cannabis travels first to your stomach then to your liver before getting into your bloodstream and brain. The liver converts THC into a stronger form and this combined with the THC from the original product adds to the intensity of the high.How strong is 100mg gummy edible? ›
100 mg of an edible can produce a wide range of effects depending on the type of edible, the method of consumption and the individual's sensitivity level. Generally, edible effects are much stronger than those of smoking or vaping cannabis due to the way it is processed in the liver.
Can you eat a 600 mg edible? ›
A 600 mg edible is a high dose and should only be consumed by those with a high tolerance or under the guidance of a medical professional. The effects of a 600 mg edible can take up to 2-4 hours to fully kick in and can last for 8-12 hours.Why do I get hungry on edibles? ›
Cannabis increases your appetite because it contains the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC can make food taste better and trick your brain into thinking you're hungry, even if you've recently eaten.What to do if you don t feel good after eating edibles? ›
- Edibles. ...
- Stay calm and relax. ...
- Drink some water. ...
- Eat a big meal. ...
- Take a shower and freshen up. ...
- Use eye drops. ...
- Remedies that have no proven effect. ...
- Don't hesitate to call for help.
By contrast, fast-acting weed edibles are usually made with smaller THC molecules, which means it doesn't take as long for the cannabinoids to be broken down and you feel the effects faster.Do you sleep better on edibles? ›
Can edibles make you sleep? Absolutely! It's perfect for sleep and for those who require long-lasting effects. Plan to eat your edible at least 30 minutes before going to sleep, some people require up to two hours before it's fully absorbed and feeling the full effects.Should you lay down after eating edibles? ›
You really should be fine to sleep even if you are feeling a bit high after consuming an edible. Sleeping is actually one of the most recommended things to do when someone gets too high from an edible.Do edibles work after a big meal? ›
Eating edibles on a full stomach takes longer to work, can hit harder in some cases, and lasts a long time. If you want to enjoy a longer, more relaxed high, the best practice would be to choose to have something to eat along with your infused product.How long do weak edibles last? ›
Edibles generally last between six and eight hours, though again, this depends on factors such as the concentration of the cannabinoids, the potency and type of edibles – chewable edibles typically last longer than sublingual edibles – and individual factors, such as metabolism, recent meals and your personal tolerance ...At what point should you eat more edibles? ›
Until you know how edibles will affect you, wait at least 2-4 hours after the first serving before consuming more.How do you know when to take more edibles? ›
Since edibles don't kick in right away, it can be tempting to take more soon after your first dose. This can lead to taking too much. You should always wait at least 24 hours before taking another dose.
Is it normal to not feel an edible 2 hours later? ›
It Takes Time to Feel the Full Effects
With edible cannabis, the intoxicating effects or “high” do not kick in for about 30 minutes to two hours and peak at about four hours. The effects can last up to 12 hours after use and residual effects can last up to 24 hours, so you could be affected into the next day.
30-50 Milligrams and Higher
For those accustomed to edibles, though, 50 mg doses can be in the sweet spot. Many cannabis users find comfort, relief, insomnia relief, and even euphoria with higher doses as experienced patients.
Many people who find that edibles aren't getting them high either aren't waiting long enough, are using the wrong kind of weed to make edibles, or are using edibles that aren't intended to get them high. In some cases, absorption issues may impact the way edibles work with your body.