When we inhale smoked or vaped cannabis, cannabinoids such as THC and CBD are absorbed close to instantly through our lungs. But with cannabis capsules, because our bodies metabolize them through the liver instead, the cannabinoids take much longer to take effect. It also tends to last a lot longer. This is one key factor that makes them a great choice for those needing steady, long-term relief from symptoms like chronic pain, anxiety, or digestive issues.
How long exactly? In general, you can expect cannabis capsules’ average onset time—they time until the cannabis takes full effect—to be around 90 minutes. How long does it last? The average duration is from 5 – 12 hours. That’s not to say you’ll feel the full psychoactivity of THC for the entire time, but it does tend to stick around in our systems about twice as long as inhaled cannabis.
Know also that these times are averages, influenced by such factors as your age, your cannabis experience, what you recently ate, and any other medications. For instance, consuming fatty foods or beverages around the same time as a cannabis capsule can reduce the onset time and increase the medicine’s duration. For that reason, we always recommend you wait at least 3 hours before taking another dose.
What’s more, the effects of cannabis capsules tend to be somewhat stronger than with inhaled cannabis. Especially if you’re sensitive to THC, you should be aware of this and plan accordingly.
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