The Complete Edible Timeline for Beginners

If you’ve ever been curious about what Edibles are like - and how the mystical edible timeline actually goes - this article is for you.We will help you understand how edibles are different from other cannabis consumption methods, how soon you can feel the full effects from the crowd favorite magic brownies, and how you can properly dose your edibles for a safer and more enjoyable edible experience:

What Are Edibles?

Edibles - otherwise known by their government name, “edible cannabis products” - are foods containing cannabis, whipped for the express purpose of getting people high.Some examples of edibles include chocolates, gummies, baked goods, and even beverages that are infused with cannabis. Although smoking is the prevalent method for consuming marijuana, edibles are fast becoming a popular choice for many because, well, who doesn't want to get high while munching on a delicious brownie? 

How are Edibles Made?

Edibles are made almost exactly as you would your treat of choice with the notable addition of the infusion process where you incorporate the cannabis into the recipe. After all, the cannabis content is the point of an edible and not simply the cherry on top.Here we’ll dive deeper into the methods involved in making edibles so you can get to know this up and coming cannabis product that’s changing the way we consume THC. 


The key to making good Edibles is the decarboxylation of weed. Otherwise known as “decarbing,” this is a process designed to bring out the potency of your cannabis product by altering its chemical composition to maximize its intoxicating components. If it sounds terrifying, feel free to skip the high school chem lesson and head straight to your oven because decarbing is just heating the cannabis flower to make it strong.

Does this mean you can just put cannabis chunks into your brownie batter and pop it in the oven like normal? Not if you want to get high. Cannabis flowers must be decarbed separately before they’re incorporated into the recipe because the heat and time it takes to make treats are not enough to make it potent even on its own, much less when it's mixed with other particulate matter, i.e., your food.

How Long are Edibles Good For?

The presence of cannabis makes no difference to the food’s shelf life. Normal brownies and cookies are generally only good for a week, and so are cannabis brownies and cannabis cookies.

The main thing to look out for is the food itself. Cannabis doesn’t really go “bad,” it just goes useless (with a long shelf life of up to two years, in the right conditions). So while consuming edibles beyond their best-before date might not get you high, it might get you food poisoning. Either way, we don’t recommend you risk it.

If you ever find yourself with more munchies and not enough mouths to feed, you can preserve them like any regular food. Baked goods like brownies and cookies can be frozen to extend their shelf life for a few more weeks. Gummies should be kept out of direct sunlight and stored in dry, airtight containers.

The Full Edible Experience

The Edible experience can vary greatly from person to person, depending on several factors. That being said, having a good understanding of the general edible timeline is important to ensure you have a safe and satisfying experience, especially for your first time.

How Long Before Edibles Take Effect?

Edibles are not a hit-and-high. When you eat cannabis, it has to first pass your digestive system before your body starts to process it, together with the other foodstuff you consumed. Studies have found that it generally takes around one to three hours for the cannabis in Edibles to really hit you, compared to smoking them, which takes as little as fifteen minutes.

Add to that, factors like the flower’s potency (see: our lesson on decarboxylation), the amount of cannabis incorporated into the food, your metabolism, and your natural tolerance to intoxicants all affect how quickly (or slowly) it takes to get you buzzed.

How Long Do The Effects of Edibles last?

edible effects timeline

The high can peak at around two to three hours after eating Edibles. That peak can last as long as two to five hours before the effects start wearing off. It takes around seven to twelve or more hours for the high to completely dissipate, so you may still feel the symptoms until the next day.

In a nutshell, an Edible timeline looks roughly like this:

Start / onset:                        30 minutes to 1 hour after consumption

Rise to peak/waiting time:  2 hours

Peak hours:                         2 to 5 hours

Come down:                        7+ hours

How long do Edibles Stay in the System?

It’s important to note that while weed gets you high for only a few hours, the actual psychoactive compound, THC, can stay in your body for several days longer. THC can still be found in your saliva three days after you’ve had your munchies. In your blood, it’s traceable for around three to four days on average but can sometimes last twelve days. In your urine, that counter goes up to one month. And in your hair follicles, you’re looking at 90 days or three whole months.

4 Common Types of Edibles

types of edibles

Technically speaking, any food can be an Edible, as long as you have the ingredients. But just as popcorn goes best with soda, certain foods go better with weed.

Baked Goodies

Brownies are the undisputed Edible munchie of choice, with cookies a close second. They’re natural comfort foods, and they’re super easy to make. The cannabis can also be easily incorporated into the recipe, and the flavorful ingredients can easily balance, even completely mask the earthy bitterness of the weed. The distinctive taste of cannabis is usually an acquired taste, so baked goodies are perfect for the uninitiated.


Chewables like gummies and other similar gelatin-based Edibles are great for bite-sized highs you can take on the go. Plus, they’re easier to store and have a longer shelf life, so you can whip up one batch once, and be set for some time. Just be mindful not to snack too much on these particular gummies.

Sublingual Edibles

If you’re not familiar with this fancy word, “sublingual” is Latin for “under the tongue,” and these items are just mints, lollipops, and other kinds of hard candy. That’s also exactly how you consume them - just pop these minted goodies into your mouth and let them do their magic. On average, sublingual edibles can get you high faster than other munchies, though the effects do last shorter.


For those who want the best of both worlds, cannabis-infused drinks and drink mixes are the way to go. From teas and juices to seltzers and cocktails, the sky’s the limit on mixing your own Edible tinctures. They’re perfect whether you’re relaxing at home or partying it up with friends, as long as you take care of the dosage. Like sublingual edibles, weed-infused drinks hit your system faster.

How To Dose Edibles?

Dosing the cannabis content of your edibles generally depend on the compound you’re after - THC, CBD, or both. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the part that gets you high. CBD (cannabidiol) is a depressant, largely used to help reduce pain and inflammation and make you relax. In this article, we’re looking at dosing THC.

FDA’s Recommended Dosing

The FDA has an exhaustive guide to consuming cannabis if you’re looking for an afternoon read. In general, it is safer to go with less when consuming THC.

First-time users are recommended to start at an Edible dosage of 5 mg or less, with the recommended sweet spot of 2.5 mg. It’s enough to get you buzzed, bring mild pain relief, and help calm anxiety, but still leave you with enough awareness of your surroundings.

At 5 mg, you get a stronger sense of euphoria, and you may start to feel noticeably disoriented. At 10 mg, those sensations get amplified. At 20 mg and up, the euphoria will be seriously strong, and your coordination and perception will be seriously limited. At this high, you may also experience considerable negative side effects like elevated heart rate, nausea, or even pain. In general, the FDA recommends lower amounts.

Microdosing vs Macrodosing

Microdosing cannabis means taking it in small quantities (around 2.5 mg or less) - only enough to get specific effects for a short period, instead of the full Edible experience. Many users microdose with an itinerary in mind: watching a movie or concert to feel the sounds and colors more vividly. Sipping tea with only a whiff of cannabis to wind down after a tiring day. Popping one or two weed gummies before dealing with a stressful situation. And so on.

Opposite this is macrodosing - consuming large quantities of weed in one go for the express purpose of, well, getting stoned. If microdosing is dipping your toes into the pool, macrodosing is cannonballing straight in. Veteran cannabis users can go to town at 150 or more milligrams’ worth of cannabis content (full potency), or the more humble 20 to 100 mg (medium potency). Whatever gets you high.

Like alcohol, you can build up your tolerance to marijuana. But whether you want to take things slow with microdosing or get the full experience right away with macrodosing, the important thing is to be safe. One last thing! Only get your edibles from trusted licensed dispensaries (like us here at Dreams!) to ensure you are getting premium flower and products. 

The Side-Effects of Edibles

Multiple studies can attest to the benefits and wonders marijuana can do for you - as well as its pitfalls. In this section, we’ll look at the more immediate side-effects of eating Edibles.

Positive Side Effects of Weed

Weed can temporarily alter the way you perceive reality, but that's not all it does. There are potential health benefits that you can experience with cannabis use. 

States of Euphoria

Eating Edibles can get you high. For many users, that comes in the form of a euphoria that makes them feel relaxed and carefree. 

Reducing Pain

The CBD in marijuana also helps reduce pain, inflammation, and tension in the body, calming you down and helping manage restlessness or anxiety.

Also, you get a delicious treat. That’s always a nice bonus.

Negative Side Effects of Weed

Some users have reported experiencing various negative side effects, from milder symptoms like agitation and confusion, rapid heart rate, and feeling nauseous, to more intense effects like panic attacks, hallucinations, and paranoia.

With prolonged, improper use, one can get addicted to marijuana, leading to bigger complications like overdose and mental and physical health problems.

Cannabis can influence your appetite. Depending on what your diet is like, this can be a good or bad thing. It can also dampen your senses, which is great if you need a break from the world. Not so great if you still need to get home or do anything that requires bodily coordination and perception.


The Health Benefits Between Edibles vs Smoking Weed

Inhaling Weed

Smoking marijuana gets you high faster, for a shorter time, so the cannabis isn’t in your system for long. When you consume medical marijuana, you can expect therapeutic effects like reduced chronic pain, nausea, and vomiting. As of writing, several studies are also underway to prove the health benefits of marijuana in treating and relieving symptoms of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, or even cancer. 

Risks of Inhaling Weed

Smoking is one of the most popular ways to use weed, but it's also the method of consumption that exposes you to many of the same irritants and toxins present in tobacco smoke. Thus, frequent use can pose risks to your lung health. For this reason, many are starting to lean towards alternative methods of cannabis use that don't involve smoke. 

Ingesting Weed

Eating Edibles gives you all the benefits of cannabis, without the risks that come with smoking. Oral consumption also makes cannabis more potent and longer-lasting, so you can get more with less. 

The Final Word on the Edible Timeline

In conclusion, Edibles are 100% worth the shot. They give all the benefits of cannabis. They’re safer to consume. And they taste great. For anyone curious about the cannabis experience, Edibles are an excellent way to go. Find a reputable dispensary. Whip up a batch of your favorite treats and infuse them with (properly decarbed) cannabis. And experience the magic of the Edible timeline for yourself.

Have fun!

Dreams Wellness DC Logo