The high produced by edibles is much more powerful than the high produced by inhalation. When edibles are consumed, THC transforms to the metabolite 11-hydroxy-THC in the liver after it has passed through the stomach. This produces a more powerful and longer high in the body when compared to inhalation as 11-hydroxy-THC is more effective at crossing the blood-brain barrier. But because the edibles have to be processed first by the stomach and then by the liver before it hits the bloodstream, it creates a longer time frame before the effects are felt within the body. Whereas when cannabis is inhaled either through smoking, vaporization or dabbing, the effects of THC are felt immediately as it travels instantly through the bloodstream from the lungs and then to the brain. Though the high from inhalation comes on the fastest, it also has the shortest duration in the body.
How fast edibles are processed in your body depends on a lot of factors. These factors include: How much food you ate before the edible, if you ate the edible on an empty stomach, your body chemistry and how fast your liver processes the THC. Patients who are sensitive to medications or THC have felt very subtle effects in as little as 15 minutes, which then increased in intensity at 30 minutes, and then by 60 minutes, the full effect was felt. For most people, effects can be felt as early as 30 minutes or as long as two hours depending on different body factors. Once edibles have crossed the blood-brain barrier, the effects generally last four to six hours at low and moderate dosages. If someone has consumed a much higher dosed edible, the high can last considerably longer. For example, I personally consumed a high-dosed shatter reclaim edible that produced an 18 hour high. So it is very important to start with the correct dosage and allow the right time frame in your schedule for the effects. The effects of inhalation, on the other hand, are an immediate onset that will last anywhere from 30 minutes to 60 minutes depending upon how much was inhaled, the mechanism of delivery and if it was a concentrate or flower.
Photo credit: Thomas Morris.