Which Hits Quicker: THC Beverages or Edibles?

There are plenty of options for those who love cannabis but prefer not to smoke. Thanks to widespread legalization, the choices are vast, and these days it’s just a matter of personal preference. Some people might be shopping for a form factor, like a gummy or baked good. Others might want something drinkable, or in tincture format. No matter your preference for how you consume your cannabis, knowing how long THC takes to kick in is often an important consideration.

People cheering with Wynk Cannabis Seltzer

THC Beverages vs Edibles

Cannabis infusions have come a long way. In the early days of dispensaries, most cannabis goods were made with cannabis butter. It’s an easy infusion where you simply need to soak the dried herb in heated butter, allowing the cannabinoids and terpenes to bind to the butter fats and become decarboxylated through the heating process.

There are still plenty of cannabis butter-infused edibles out there, but most now rely on extraction to produce highly concentrated oil. Sometimes the edibles still taste a bit like weed, and other times, you can’t even tell it’s an infused product.

Beverages are a bit different. Because THC is a fat-soluble molecule, it doesn’t exactly blend perfectly with most liquids. Some of the first attempts at making cannabis beverages were not very potent at all, despite the oil being rather strong. This is because the active ingredient wasn’t emulsifying into the drink, meaning you couldn’t rely on the potency. Or worse, all of the active cannabinoids would stick to the sides of the can or sink to the bottom.

Nowadays, beverage producers have this process fully dialed through something called nanotechnology. This process alters the size of the molecules and makes them water-soluble so that THC and other valuable compounds will fully emulsify, ensuring a product with reliable, consistent dosing every time.

How Long Do Edibles & Beverages Take to Kick in

Understanding how edibles and beverages are made leads us to our main question. How long do edibles take to kick in? What about beverages? If you guess that beverages might kick in much faster, then you’d be correct. Here’s what you need to know.

How Long Do Edibles Take To Kick In

Cannabis edibles pass through the digestive system. The timing varies based on a variety of things like whether or not you ate them on a full stomach, how fast your individual metabolism is, and many other biological factors. You may begin to feel effects within the first half-hour, but full effects take anywhere from 90 minutes to two full hours to take hold.

How Long Do Beverages Take To Kick In

Cannabis drinks skip the digestive system, and begin to enter your bloodstream soon after you take a drink. The soft tissues in your mouth, esophagus, and stomach quickly absorb the water-soluble THC, leading to a faster onset time. This is much different than waiting for a gummy to kick in after it’s been fully digested. The rapid onset is one of the main reasons why people love cannabis drinks. You typically feel effects within 10 to 15 minutes, with full effects peaking 45 minutes to an hour.

Why Do THC Beverages Work Quicker than Edibles

When you eat a cannabis edible, the active compounds first enter your stomach before being processed and metabolized by your liver. Here, the THC becomes a more highly potent form of THC called 11-hydroxy-THC before it is processed into the intestines. This whole process can take a while, hence the reason it takes so much longer for edibles to kick in.

On the other hand, the nanotechnology used to emulsify THC into a beverage has a double purpose. It also allows absorption to begin inside your mouth. However, unlike a tincture that you hold under your tongue for sublingual delivery, a beverage has several chances to enter the body’s soft tissues. As soon as you swallow, water-soluble THC has a chance to absorb through your esophagus. And then, as the liquid hits your stomach, the remaining THC is fully absorbed.

Beverages are a highly effective delivery system. The molecules are made much smaller through nanoemulsion, allowing them multiple access points for absorption through soft tissues the minute you start sipping.

Cans of Wynk cannabis-infused seltzer

How Long Does a Beverage High Last?

This largely depends on how many milligrams of THC you consumed. A few milligrams of THC may only offer a slight buzz for an hour, whereas 10-20 milligrams may have you stoned for several hours. Generally speaking, the sooner the buzz begins, the sooner the buzz ends. This is part of the appeal of cannabis drinks.

For example, if you drink a microdose of THC--like our Wynk drinks with 2.5 mg THC and 2.5 mg CBD--you should feel the effects in 10 to 15 minutes. Yet, the whole of the experience will subside within an hour to 90 minutes. Then you can decide if you’d like to have another one. The beauty of beverages is that you also sip slowly, as opposed to eating a whole edible at one time. This offers a slow come-up and easy come-down as the cannabinoids work their magic.

How Long Does an Edible High Last?

Again, it depends on how much you’ve had. In some cases, edibles will take up to two hours to fully kick in, and the peak effects can last anywhere from four to six hours. If you’ve taken a large dose like 30-50 milligrams of THC, the effects may last eight to 10 hours. This all depends on each person’s metabolism and tolerance, so there is no one rule for everyone.

Start Sipp’n

Whether you opt for a cannabis drink or a bite to eat, just remember to go slow and start with a low dosage. That’s why we created our perfectly dosed Wynk sparkling seltzers. Each can contains either 2.5 mg THC and 2.5 mg CBD, or 5 mg THC and 5 mg CBD (for medical marijuana patients).

With effects that come on quickly and gently, you can reach for a second can if you’d like to amp things up a bit. Or, wait an hour for the buzz to subside and then try another flavor. Find a Wynk retailer near you and check out our sparkling seltzers in Lime Twist, Juicy Mango, and Black Cherry.


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