So you tried eating an edible, and it is the next day, and you still feel a bit out of it and slow.
While this is entirely normal, especially at higher dosages, keep reading for my top tips for handling a weed hangover and how to recover from edibles.
But, first, let’s answer a common related question:
How Long Does An Edible Last?
Eating edibles is most discreet as you do not have to smoke them nor leave a lingering odor.
Yes. It’s often known as a safer method of consuming delta-9 THC, where smoking or vaping may cause health problems associated with the harms of smoking weed.
However, the effects of an edible can be more challenging to manage if you’re not used to it or if you are unaware of your dosage sweet spot.
How long an edible lasts depends on the following factors:
- How much THC is in the edible
- If you have a meal with high-fat content just before
What works for some people is not the same for others.
On average, you should start feeling the psychoactive effects of eating edibles within 90 minutes, and the buzz should usually last four to six hours.
The peak response to edibles is approximately three hours, and the intoxicating effect can sometimes last as long as six hours.
Although, as with anything, those with a higher tolerance may find that their buzz from cannabis products lasts a much shorter period.
Personally, I have had experiences that lasted up to eight to ten hours, but how long edibles last varies from person to person.
Just remember the golden rule – start low and go slow. Then, you can always top up and have more!
Related Read: How Long Do Edibles Last
Cannabis Edibles: The Science
Edibles hit you differently than when smoking or vaping cannabis products due to something called pharmacokinetics. This simply refers to the way the body metabolizes the delta 9 THC molecules.
When smoking or vaping cannabis, delta-9 THC enters the lungs and then into the bloodstream, providing rapid and easy access to the brain. It then crosses the blood-brain barrier, an additional filter made up of a membrane of cells.
While on the other hand, when delta-9 THC is eaten in an edible form, it has to pass through the entire digestive system.
This results in a buzz that takes longer to kick in but has more punch and staying power, providing you with a longer-lasting and stronger high.
The reason for the longer high is that in the liver, delta 9 THC is broken down by liver enzymes into a smaller metabolite called 11-hydroxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or 11-OH-THC.
This metabolite is then broken down further into THC-COOH, which is excreted through your urine and feces.
The THC-COOH is what they try to detect when you take a drug test for THC, and it sticks around for quite a while, depending on your metabolism and other factors like how much body fat you have. It is also what is looked for in drug tests like oral fluid screening devices.
What makes this breakdown of the edible through the liver so essential is the 11-OH-THC metabolite.
It is about 4 times more potent than delta-9 THC than the initial delta-9 THC and makes the edibles kick in with a different level of intensity.
This 11-OH-THC metabolite can cross the blood-brain barrier easier than a delta-9 molecule, and it is also more prevalent in blood.
This results in a more intense buzz as more psychoactive metabolite enters the brain more readily through the bloodstream.
It is important to note that some people have problems digesting cannabis edibles because the liver functions too well and breaks down the metabolites and molecules during what they call the first-pass effect.
It results in feeling like the edible hasn’t kick in. This is a topic researchers are still exploring.
You can partially mitigate this by eating a meal before taking cannabis edibles, though this will result in a more extended waiting period before the edibles activate.
Start Low & Go Slow: 5-10MG Is Often Enough
An episode of a severe cannabis-induced impairment is often experienced by those new to eating cannabis infused goodies. Too many edibles at once can result in heightened but temporary anxiety and panic, and should be avoided.
This is why starting with small amounts of edibles, about 5 mg once or twice daily, is enough to get you started.
Older individuals (age >65) are more prone to stronger effects and should consider a starting dose between 0.5 – 2.5 mg once or twice daily.
To many people, five milligrams is a low dose, but it is sometimes all you need, but for a heavy user with a high tolerance level, it would only be a microdose. The goal is to find the lowest possible dose to feel effects and minimize side effects.
Personally, I take twenty milligrams throughout the day—a small dose of ten mg of THC in the morning and another ten at night.
Sometimes I take more if I am having a bad day, but I don’t recommend going over that amount for newbies.
But, if you’re newly medicating or recreating with weed daily like me and you take the same dose, it will probably send you directly to couchlock.
Instead, if you are new to cannabis edibles, you should start on the lower end for dosing and work your way up until you find your sweet spot.
Begin with five milligrams, wait at least an hour and a half or up to three hours, and then take an additional five if you don’t begin to feel the effects you desire.
But remember, an edible high will compound based on dosage, with the potential to produce effects much stronger than you might desire if you take too much too quickly.
Work your way up slowly and be patient because 5-10 milligrams is an average dose, especially if you are new to edibles.
Older individuals (age >65) should start somewhere between 0.5 – 2.5 mg once or twice daily to avoid side effects.
Sometimes, the way that edibles will affect you has to do with whether it is a lozenge, lollipop, tincture, gummy or a chocolate bar.
Personally, I find the milk chocolate bars hit harder than a gummy or hard candy might, but this too depends on your metabolism. Edibles like lozenges or lollipops that are partially absorbed through the mouth may work a bit faster since they partially avoid the “first pass” effect.
It can also depend on whether you are buying commercial edibles or making your own, where you may not know if the edible cannabis is a large dose or not.
Remember slow and low, and you should be fine.
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Don’t Do This: 600MG THC Is A Lot
Whoever you are, do not just jump into the deep end and eat a 600 milligram edible as this discussion on Reddit alludes to.
You are only setting yourself up for a mental time-warp which could go on for much longer than the usual average of four to six hours.
Remember, I’m a medium to heavy user. Consuming edibles daily along with regular dabs. Still, I would never consider taking more than 100-200 milligrams in a short period. I’d certainly green out and not enjoy it.
You are just wasting a delicious edible that should have been taken in smaller increments.
The peak effects of marijuana can be very uncomfortable if you overdose on cannabis. Too much THC can lead to:
- Cognitive impairment
- Motor impairment
- Extreme sedation
- Anxiety and panic
- Digestive tract issues like vomiting
In most cases, these effects only last as long as the duration of intoxication, but in some instances, these symptoms can last for several days.
An observational study conducted at a hospital in Colorado found that the percentage of people entering the Emergency Room for acute psychosis is over 70% higher for those using edibles versus other consumption methods like smoking and vaping.
Intoxication was also higher, with 48% of edible users being seriously impaired, compared to 28% for smoking or vaping.
Remember this next time you consider a large dose. You will not have a good time if you overdo it!
The Day After Edible Hangover From THC
Some people even claim to have psychedelic experiences where they lose touch with reality when they ingest a THC edible. This isn’t typical but could be possible in high doses.
The high may be very intense and cerebral, and you may feel waves of euphoria and actually can enjoy yourself.
But afterward, there may be a lingering edible hangover that you can get from taking too many mg of THC.
Nonetheless, whatever happens, it will pass.
No one has ever died from a direct result of a THC overdose, though they can have increased anxiety, panic attacks, sleeplessness, headaches, nausea, and more.
It is entirely normal to feel this way, and many people have overdone it and are still around to share their stories.
All you have to do is check forums, and you’ll find a whole bunch of people claiming to be overly intoxicated.
If you feel like you have a weed hangover, the best thing you can do is chill out. Don’t fight how you feel because that will just cause tension in my experience.
Don’t take strong edibles the night before having to work and avoid working or driving while intoxicated.
If you are afraid, that is understandable, but just remember that fears are no more than your thoughts.
You can change the way you think by telling yourself you will be okay and trying relaxation techniques like meditation or repeating affirmations.
Other common symptoms of an edible cannabis hangover can include feeling pressure behind the eyes or an intense headache.
You may also feel paranoid, have racing thoughts, heart palpitations, severe agitation, and overstimulation. Other symptoms include lethargy, brain fog, dry eyes, and dry mouth.
If you are a heavy user and feel like you may have a weed hangover, it actually maybe that you are going through withdrawal symptoms. It may still be unpleasant, but there are other ways to prevent this from happening again.
Cannabis withdrawal would require a heavy tolerance and prolonged usage, it is not something that happens to beginners.
Overall, the typical very high dose begins at 50-100 mg of THC. Most regular and tolerant users prefer between 10-50 mg of THC through oral ingestion is generally effective and find the edibles last five hours.
High doses are more likely to trigger an edible hangover, so the best advice you can take is to eat your THC edibles like baked goods, fruit bars, energy drinks, hard candy, and gummies in titration.
Why Weed Hangovers Occur
Despite mass legalization worldwide, there is surprisingly little research as to whether or not a weed hangover even occurs. Furthermore, the studies (1, 2) found were either outdated or were limited to smoking, not eating THC edibles.
In fact, the reason you may be feeling unwell may not have to do with an edible hangover at all. If you drank alcohol or consumed other drugs than weed, it may be due to that.
But if you indeed have a hangover from edibles, some evidence suggests that weed hangovers may be a real thing.
In older studies, test subjects were first given tests like sorting cards or judging time intervals, and they were then given either cannabis or placebo cigarettes. The following day they went through the same trials, and it was found that they judged time intervals slower.
In another test, groups of test subjects were given either marijuana to smoke or a placebo and were then run through various subjective and behavioral tests. This test concluded that weed didn’t seem to have any effect the morning after.
So there are mixed reviews as to the existence of an edible hangover. But, if it doesn’t exist, why do so many people claim they are having an edible hangover?
The science is still not there to firmly prove or disprove it, and more research is needed.
How to Recover The Next Day From Weed Edibles
If you feel like you have an edible hangover from a very high dose, try to get some rest.
CBD by itself has also been shown to counteract the adverse psychoactive effects of THC intoxication, and may be worth a try if you’ve over consumed THC.
Lay in a comfortable bed in a dark room. You can use a damp washcloth over your eyes and take an over-the-counter pain reliever if you have a headache.
Most importantly, remember to hydrate. You can relieve symptoms like headaches, dry eyes, and dry mouth by maintaining a good hydration level with electrolytes and fluids.
Showering helps your whole body be hydrated, and the heat can soothe any tension you may be holding. So hop in the shower, and you should start to feel a little less hungover.
If you are feeling nauseous, you can either make ginger tea (according to science, ginger is great for nausea) or attempt to eat a nutritious meal.
This meal should include a serving of whole-grain carbohydrates and a source of lean protein and healthy fat. A hard-boiled egg and a piece of wholegrain toast with a bit of butter may be just the trick.
How to Prevent A Hangover From Weed Edibles
- Don’t take an edible on an empty stomach. Have at least a light snack before consuming cannabis edibles.
- Look out for the edible potency, and keep it at a low dose. Unlike smoking, edibles typically take a few hours to reach peak effects. Keep in mind that it can cause intense effects if you aren’t used to higher THC levels.
- Don’t use cannabis on a daily basis. Your continuous weed use may hike up your tolerance and cause you morning withdrawal symptoms.
- Avoid over consuming by limiting your edible dose.
- Be wary when trying new products since you will not be sure how you may react to each new product.
- Smoke lower THC cannabis like that which contains less than 15% of THC
- Don’t drink alcohol or do other drugs at the same time.
- Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any potential reactions cannabis may have with other medications you take to ensure you don’t have a bad reaction. Avoid taking sedating medications at the same time.