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The Issue of Onset Time When it Comes to Delta-8 THC Edibles

Not everyone enjoys puffing the herb, but that's alright. As many cannabis connoisseurs will know, the leafy, green plant harbors an incredibly versatile consumption profile that makes it possible for just about anyone to indulge. For the non-smokers out there, edibles present an odorless, convenient and delicious way to get a powerful hit of THC/Delta-8.

Crammed with potent cannabinoids, edible cannabis products (A.K.A. "edibles") are enriched with cannabinoids for the sole purpose of eating or drinking and, well, enjoying the plant's full-bodied effects. The range of cannabis edibles currently circulating the legal market is varied, from gummies and chocolates to cakes and candies.


Perhaps one of the most important things to pay attention to when consuming edibles is the type of cannabinoid contained in the product itself. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabis compound that triggers feelings of euphoria and intoxication, while CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-intoxicating compound that harbors widespread medical benefits.

In this article, we'll be focusing on the up-and-coming cannabinoid Delta-8 THC — a psychotropic isomer of Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol. While this cannabinoid will get you high, the experience won’t be as couch-locking or sedating as it would with regular THC.

Nonetheless, it’s equally as important to consider the issue of onset time when it comes to eating D-8 cannabis edibles as it is when consuming D-9 THC edibles.

The Problematic Side to D-8 Cannabis Edibles

When consumed in its edible form, cannabis does not release its effects for 30 minutes to two hours, with the peak creeping in at around four hours. It's important to note that the effects may last for 12 hours post-consumption and could even linger for 24 hours; meaning that you might still be affected the following day.

This is a far-cry from other methods of ingestion, such as smoking or vaping, which results in the effects being felt within a few seconds or minutes; with a peak typically at around 30 minutes. Why? Because ingesting the stuff means that your body first needs to digest the THC through the stomach, before it ventures to the liver, bloodstream and brain.

Delta Effect

Since many individuals are uncertain as to when they will experience the maximum effects from edibles, it's likely that the uninformed may wander into an unexpected psychotropic abyss. After all, it can take up to four hours for the effects to fully kick in. Plus, anything extra that is consumed within this window might cause over-intoxication.

Some of the less desirable effects of over-intoxication include anxiety, panic, nausea, vomiting and symptoms of psychosis, such as paranoia. Want to avoid this? Start low, with 2.5 mg of THC and go slow. To put it simply, be patient and work your way up.

Why Traditional Smoking/Vaping Methods are Faster than Edibles


Scientists have started unraveling the truth about the ways in which various methods of cannabis consumption can influence onset time. A 2018 study carried out by a team at the Johns Hopkins Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit in Baltimore saw 17 study subjects smoke and vape the plant. The investigation was funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

All of the participants had consumed cannabis before. However, they had not been exposed to weed in the 30 days prior to the study commencing; on average, participants smoked once in the last year. During each session, which lasted for 8.5 hours, participants got high on 0 milligram, 10mg or 25mg cannabis doses of the psychoactive compound THC.

It’s important to note that, to avoid bias results, each participant was unaware of precisely how much THC they were consuming during each of the six sessions. The self-reported questionnaire-style results showed that vaporized weed induces a much stronger high than smoking.

“Vaporized cannabis produced significantly greater subjective drug effects, cognitive and psychomotor impairment, and higher blood THC concentrations than the same doses of smoked cannabis," wrote the researchers.

In order to come to this conclusion, participants underwent a number of physical and cognitive tests. Over the course of eight hours, the heart rates and blood pressures of smokers/vapers were measured a total of 10 times. Additionally, study subjects underwent a series of computerized tasks to determine more precisely how intoxicated they were.

What does science say about the onset time for cannabis edibles?

A growing body of research shows that, when compared to inhalation, edibles may take longer to produce their effects. The reason for this is because cannabis must first be digested before the plant's active components can be distributed into the brain.

One study suggests that oral THC ingestion requires 30–90 minutes for the effects to surface. By the time two or three hours have passed, effects will have met their peak.


Examples of some factors that can influence a person’s high after consuming edibles include:

  • The type(s) of non-cannabis ingredients contained in the product
  • Body weight
  • Gender
  • Metabolism
  • Tolerance
  • What time the person last ate something.

Someone who consumes cannabis sublingually (under the tongue) can expect to get high faster. The reason for this is because the active cannabinoids bypass the digestive system and are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. With that being said, you can expect to get more “stoned” if you indulge in a tincture or suck on a cannabis-infused lollipop.

Tips to Help Manage Onset Time When Using Cannabis Edibles


As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." This saying is relevant considering the subject of consuming cannabis edibles, since many inexperienced consumers may plummet into a state of paranoia and anxiety if they do too much too soon.

Starting with a low THC dose of around 5mg and waiting 30-80 minutes for edibles is the best way to avoid an unpleasant experience. Conversely, it's advisable to wait at least 15 minutes for inhalation and 5-20 minutes for sublingual.

Don’t forget to stay well hydrated, plan your day sensibly to avoid being under the influence in an uncomfortable surrounding and, of course, choose your setting wisely. You wouldn't want to trip out in a strange place, right? D-8 won't get you too trippy, but if you're a first-timer, it's best to stick to a familiar setting.

Additionally, you should avoid mixing other substances! Cannabis compounds are capable of working synergistically with other substances, including alcohol and the psychoactive compounds contained in various types of drugs, meaning that you could get seriously intoxicated if you consume edibles – not to mention other types of weed – carelessly. Synergy isn’t always good, and the effects of multiple substances together can work against you. Be smart about using any cannabis products, and remember, moderation is key. If you are ready to experience the future of what legal cannabis edibles looks like, visit here.