Have you noticed that eating the same edible can make you feel different? Could the effects of edibles be influenced by the other foods you eat? Yes! Learn more about whether or not edibles work better on a full or empty stomach and how to decide which option is right for you.

Text stating: do edibles work better on a full or empty stomach?

Features

  • Empty stomach = the experience comes on quickly and goes away sooner
  • Full stomach = the experience takes longer to hit, but the effects last longer
  • Review the other factors that will impact how edibles make you feel

Why You Will Love This Guide

Supplements and medications usually come with instructions on how to take them, when to take them, and whether or not to take them with a meal.

Some perform best on an empty stomach, while others should be taken with or immediately after food to boost absorption or prevent nausea.

My Well With Cannabis Community knows that cannabis edibles are no different. One common question from first-time consumers is always, how long do edibles last?

I tell them that there are a lot of factors that determine how long an edible high lasts based on when they are consumed and how they are consumed, and how much.

In this guide, we will look at how the body reacts to edibles when the stomach is both empty and full and discuss the most important thing, which method provides the optimal experience for your needs. 

Note: In this article, we are talking about THC edibles. CBD products do not produce the same psychoactive effects or high as THC. Ultimately, your experience will depend the most on how many milligrams of THC is consumed.


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The Empty Stomach Approach

Edibles are so popular in the cannabis industry because they produce a long-lasting high that can be wonderful at making the body feel good.

They can also produce an intense high if the active ingredients include THC.

Many people believe that the effect of THC and the THC metabolite 11-OH-THC (which can produce stronger effects) will be greater if the edibles are eaten on an empty stomach.

While the effect is not always stronger, many cannabis users do report that edible products hit faster when consumed on an empty stomach.

This is due to the fact that there is little competition in the body from regular food, so in a fasted state, the cannabis-infused treat is quickly passed through the digestive system.

This quick digestive process means faster absorption of THC, so the effects of cannabis edibles can then be felt rather quickly, as soon as 20 to 30 minutes.

The downside is that the experience may be short-lived. With a quick digestive process also comes a faster overall experience, with peak concentration at about 60 minutes. 

Eating edibles on an empty stomach comes quickly, can hit harder in some cases, and goes away sooner. 

If you want a rapid high that doesn’t linger, having edibles on their own without eating something else first may be preferable.  

The Full Stomach Approach

Edibles can be very effective at taking away pain, stimulating the appetite, and fostering a good night’s sleep.

Medical marijuana edibles provide a discreet way to enjoy your medicine that is also delicious.

Edibles consumed with a full meal or when the stomach is full take longer to digest; this means the THC takes longer to reach the bloodstream.

Many people report that the effects of THC are slower to kick in but tend to last for a much longer time.

The initial impact may come around 60 minutes and peak at about 120 minutes or longer. 

The THC binds to fat from a meal and increases the absorption and bioavailability of cannabinoids resulting in a holistic, pleasurable experience.

Eating edibles on a full stomach takes longer to work, can hit harder in some cases, and lasts a long time. 

If you want to enjoy a longer, more relaxed high, the best practice would be to choose to have something to eat along with your infused product.  

Other Factors

While there is very little research on the topic of cannabis consumption and how edible cannabis products work in the body, we do know that there are some other important factors that can influence how you feel the effects of edibles.

  • Mg of THC – How much cannabis you consume is the main thing that will affect how you feel
  • Cannabis strain each strain will affect you in different ways
  • THC to CBD ratio – combining different cannabinoids will produce different experiences. You can manipulate the ratio of THC to CBD to get your desired outcome
  • Type of edible – infused edible with fat, like chocolate bars, may take longer to digest, while edibles like an energy drink may be digested more quickly
  • Additional ingredients – different ingredients in different food products can influence the effects of an edible
  • Consumption method – while a treat like hard candy may seem like an edible, it does provide the added benefit of sublingual absorption
  • Physiology – your unique body make-up, from your small intestine through to the bile acids in your digestive tract, will all play a role in the rate of absorption of CBD and THC and can alter effects from one day to the next
  • Body composition – excess THC is stored in the fat cells of the body

The Best Option for Consumption

Deciding whether to consume edibles after you’ve already eaten, as maybe a dessert, or when your stomach is empty depends on the experience you want to feel.

An empty stomach promotes a quicker high from the edible without long-lasting effects.

When you have the stuff to do later, this may be the best route.

An edible on an empty stomach can also act as an appetizer.

If you are having trouble keeping food down due to illness or any medicine you are required to take, having an edible first can be of help.  

When prolonged relief is needed, such as overnight, having an edible on a full stomach is preferable.

The resulting high comes on slowly and sticks around for several hours.

This is especially effective for those suffering from acute or chronic pain or inflammation.

Because every individual’s metabolism is different, how quickly the desired effect takes place will alter.

Size, weight, age, and previous experience should all be taken into account.

Those new to cannabis may want to try having edibles on a full stomach at least until the effects are better understood.

The best method involves taking things slowly to determine how your body reacts to edibles on both a full and empty stomach to find the correct dosage and method of consumption. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long for edibles to hit on an empty stomach?

While it is different for everyone, it could be as little as 30 minutes.

How long for edibles to hit on a full stomach?

While it is different for everyone, it could be as long as 60-90 minutes.

How should I consume cannabis for a fast effect?

Consuming edibles on an empty stomach will likely produce faster effects.

How should I consume cannabis for a longer-lasting effect?

Consuming edibles on a full stomach will likely extend the entire process and offer longer-lasting effects.

How can I avoid the negative side effects of cannabis?

Unpleasant side effects can include rapid heartbeat and elevated heart rate, high blood pressure, low blood sugar, and more. The best way to avoid this is to be mindful of how much THC you are consuming and start with a low dose. It is always a good idea to keep the first dose a small dose and increase it to higher doses as needed next time. Remember, a little bit of THC can go a long way!

What if I have a higher tolerance?

That’s OK; many people have a high tolerance or don’t feel the intense effects of THC at all. It’s OK to steadying increase the THC content as needed, as long as it is working for you.

Should I get my medical marijuana card?

Yes, I always think it is the best thing to have a medical card because you can access more products and have greater legal protections. They also have medical marijuana doctors available that can help guide you with recommendations for your specific medical conditions.

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About Emily

Hi, I’m Emily Kyle and I teach people just like you how to use cannabis to find joy, enhance productivity, improve relationships, and naturally support your overall health and wellness.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Inderjeet Bedi. Generally speaking, it is not recommended to mix THC and alcohol. While there are no known adverse health effects directly linked to the combination, the effects of THC tend to be enhanced when taken with alcohol, which can lead to an unpleasant experience. It’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid taking any THC products before or after drinking alcohol.