What is the onset and duration of effects of cannabinoids?

Onset and duration of effects of cannabinoids

The onset effects of cannabinoids can vary depending on their presentation or form of consumption. Here are some common presentations of cannabinoids and their associated onset effects:


1. Smoking:

• Onset: When cannabinoids, particularly THC, are smoked, the effects are typically felt within minutes, often as quickly as a few seconds to a couple of minutes. This is because the inhaled compounds are rapidly absorbed through the lung tissue and quickly enter the bloodstream.

• Duration: The effects of smoking cannabinoids can last for about 1 to 3 hours.


2. Vaping:

• Onset: Vaping cannabinoids involves heating the material to a temperature that vaporizes the compounds without combustion. Like smoking, vaping provides a fast onset of effects due to the rapid absorption through the lungs.

Duration: The duration of vaping effects is like smoking, lasting around 1 to 3 hours.


3. Oral Ingestion (Edibles, Capsules, Oils):

• Onset: When cannabinoids are consumed orally, as in edibles, capsules, or oils, the onset of effects can be significantly delayed. It may take 30 minutes to 2 hours or even longer before the effects become noticeable. This delay is due to the time required for digestion and absorption in the gastrointestinal tract.

• Duration: The effects of orally ingested cannabinoids tend to last longer, often for around 4 to 6 hours or more.


4. Sublingual Administration (Tinctures, Sublingual Sprays):

• Onset: Sublingual administration involves placing cannabinoids under the tongue, where they are absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the sublingual mucosa. This method offers a faster onset compared to oral ingestion, typically within 15 to 45 minutes.

• Duration: Effects can last for 4 to 6 hours.


5. Topical Application (Creams, Lotions):

• Onset: Topical applications of cannabinoids are primarily intended for localized effects. While the onset can be relatively quick, it can also vary depending on the product and the specific area of application. Effects are usually felt within 15 minutes to an hour.

• Duration: The effects are often localized and can last for several hours.


It’s important to note that the specific effects and duration of action of cannabinoids can be influenced by factors such as the type and concentration of cannabinoids, and individual’s tolerance, metabolism, and overall health. Additionally, THC is the psychoactive component responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis, while CBD is non-psychoactive and is known for its potential therapeutic properties. When using cannabinoids, especially products containing THC, it is crucial to be aware of local laws and regulations, start with a low dose, and monitor your body’s response closely.