The Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis Edibles

Cannabis-infused edibles are one of the most popular ways to consume the plant, especially for new consumers who don’t want to smoke or dab. 

If you want to learn about edibles, you’ve come to the right place. Ingesting cannabis in food or drink form is a great way to enjoy the benefits of the plant without inhaling smoke, but it’s important to be aware of how differently the body responds to this form of consumption.

From live resin and ice water hash to distillate and water soluble powder, there are plenty of ways to infuse the plant into ingestibles, depending on the level of potency and flavor you’re looking for. But in general, consuming tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in edibles is a much more potent and long-lasting way to experience the effects of cannabis compared to smoking or vaping.

Edibles Benefits

Eating marijuana is a great way to enjoy the plant’s psychoactive effects for a long amount of time (and typically higher potency than other methods allow for). There are also quite a few recognized medical benefits that accompany this method of consumption.

They are healthier than smoking

The most obvious reason to opt for consuming an edible over smoking marijuana is the aspect of health. 

While cannabis has never been known to do any serious damage to a consumer’s health, smoking any substance will result in the inhalation of carcinogens, and a subsequent strain on your respiratory health.

With edibles, the negative effects of smoking can be avoided entirely through the digestive system, which is especially important for medical patients aiming to focus entirely on the plant’s potential wellness benefits and health effects.

They are discreet for consumers to use

Although cannabis is more destigmatized than ever before, it remains federally illegal in the United States, and in some cases, consumers are still highly interested in masking their habit from the general public.

That being said, the effects of edibles can be enjoyed without anyone being the wiser, as they are quite easy to consume without a trace. No smoke, no fire, no dabbing torches – not even a little puff of a vape to give your consumption away.

Their effects are longer lasting and more potent

When asking yourself, “How long does an edible last?”, keep in mind that while smoking cannabis allows the cannabinoids to enter your bloodstream through your lungs at a quick pace, eating an edible works a little differently.

With this method, the main active ingredient – a.k.a., the cannabinoids in edibles such as THC – enters the body via your digestive tract, metabolizing in the liver before making its way to the rest of your body. 

Not only does this process take longer to kick in, but it generally processes the THC differently than via smoking, transforming the cannabinoid into 11-hydroxy-THC, which is significantly more potent and longer lasting. It’s important to note that edibles expire, so be sure to check the label of cannabis products to ensure consistent results.

Their dosage is more consistent

While marijuana edible products might be more likely to contain high doses of THC, they’re also undeniably easier to dose consistently, which is a big plus for consumers and producers alike.

The early days of cannabis edibles were often accompanied by horror stories – people who got way too high and had a terrible, paranoid, anxiety-fueled time as a result. However, well-needed restrictions on the edible market were put in place to avoid these unfortunate incidents from happening and to ensure consumers are getting exactly what they’ve signed up for.

As a result, all legal brands come with a cap on how many mg of THC are allowed per serving (typically anywhere from 2.5mg to 10mg), and consumers are much less likely to have to strap themselves in for a paralyzingly powerful high.

Potential side effects of edibles

As with any form of cannabis consumption, edibles come with a risk of unsavory side effects if you happen to overindulge or pick a form of edible that doesn’t jive well with your body. It’s always important to look for lab-tested or medically-reviewed products from a legal cannabis supplier. 

Here are some of the major potential side effects to prepare for when consuming edibles:


Cannabis is known for its anti-insomniac properties, meaning it can help you get to sleep when you’re struggling the most.

However, there’s a possible negative to this, especially if you’re aiming to be productive or have high energy after you’ve consumed the plant. Since edibles are longer lasting, these anti-insomniac properties can be more intense and potent than they are when you smoke the plant, which might result in a pretty intense couch-lock if you aren’t careful.

Anxiety or paranoia

As we mentioned earlier, having too much cannabis at once can have a negative effect when it comes to anxiety or paranoia.

While reasonable amounts of cannabis are recognized for soothing anxiety or stress, too much at once can have the opposite effect, resulting in an anxious state of paranoia that doesn’t subside until your edible experience has.

Impaired mobility

Another possible risk with taking on too strong of an edible is impaired mobility. Keeping couchlock and possible paranoia in mind, dealing with these ailments can make it difficult to perform regular tasks, especially if you need to be productive or highly focused on your day.

Too long of a high

The effects of an edible can last up to 12 hours or even longer, depending on the edible type and how much you’ve consumed. If this is more than you’re willing to sign up for, you may not want to go the edible route.

Common forms of cannabis edibles

In today’s legal market, there is a wide variety of cannabis food prodcuts with varying THC levels or amounts of THC from which to choose, including:

  • The classic pot brownie
  • Cookies
  • Gummies 
  • Hard candies
  • Mints
  • Savory snacks (like popcorn, pretzels, or hummus)
  • Beverages
  • Basically, anything you can ingest

How long do edibles last?

As we mentioned earlier, users can feel the effects of cannabis food products for to 12 hours, with the residual effects lasting as long as 24 hours or more (again, depending on how much you’ve consumed). 

The onset or when you begin to experience the effects of THC — is much more delayed than it is with smoking, though. While the effects of THC will begin to hit almost instantly after inhaling cannabis, an edible high won’t kick in for about 30 minutes — one hour, which is why so many people tend to overconsume in the beginning.

However, even this can vary slightly, depending on what type of edible you’re consuming:


Sublingual edibles are those that are absorbed within the mouth and under the tongue, inside the cheeks, and on the gums. This method is sort of an in-between of smoking and ingesting regular edibles – while the onset will be a bit quicker than typical edibles, the high will also be more potent and longer-lasting than with smoking.

Conventional edibles

Pretty self-explanatory, but to recap, regular edibles will take anywhere between 30 minutes – one hour to kick in, and the effects can last up to 24 hours.

Other factors that affect onset

There are definitely other factors that can affect the onset time of an edible, including:

  • Your body weight
  • Your metabolism
  • When/what you last ate
  • Other ingredients in the edible (like mango, which contains a high amount of myrcene and could work to intensify your high)


Ingesting cannabis edibles might require a bit more thought and foresight than other forms of consumption, but as long as you know your limit and what you’re hoping to accomplish with consumption, this is an incredibly enjoyable and healthy alternative to smoking.


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