On every legal marijuana edible in Colorado, you'll find a warning stating that the onset of effects can take as long as four hours. But that warning, mandated by the state to stave off freakouts, doesn't make much sense on a growing number of treats these days.
That's because manufacturers have homed in on creating edibles with faster, more consistent effects.
Our livers process THC in traditional edibles, with bloodstreams then absorbing the THC at a slower, stronger rate. These newer edibles bypass the liver and go directly into bloodstreams, providing a faster, shorter high similar to one experienced with smoking. To see how these fast-acting products check out, we put five of them under time trials.
Wana's line of fast-acting gummies debuted last year, and has since branched out into seven flavors, including one with added CBD. Wana claims the technology used to make the gummies allows THC to bypass our livers, creating effects closer to those with smoking. The company also says that users will feel the high anywhere from five to fifteen minutes after consumption, and that the effects will wear off faster than they do with traditional edibles.
I popped a 10-milligram limoncello gummy in my mouth at 4:20 p.m., ironically, and then ate three more to reach a normal dosage for my tolerance. A slight, hashy taste lingered, but it was disguised effectively by the limoncello flavor (smart choice), and the aftertaste disappeared after the first gummy. Ten minutes went by, and I felt nothing. Another ten minutes went by, and I was still effectively grounded, so I walked to check the mail. By the time I returned, my mouth was dry, my eyes were red and a cake-eating grin was on my face. I was burnt to a crisp by 4:50 and making a Crumbl order by 5:05. The high lasted longer than smoking, but I'm not mad about that.
One of the first edibles on the scene to go after the fast-acting high, Ripple now has an assortment of gummies, flavored powders, and drink and food mixers. I tend to go after the THC-only powder when I'm tired of buying sweets at the dispensary, but there are CBD-heavy options available as well.
Although the white powders, made from distillate, are supposed to be flavorless, mixing more than one Ripple packet with a drink has a clear impact on the taste. But the powders don't require much liquid to get the job done, so I'll pour three to five packets into 8 ounces of Gatorade and chug it with less effort than a pre-workout has ever required.
I drank three packets of Ripple at noon on a Saturday before an Olympics-watching party, and ordered an Uber. By the time the Uber arrived at 12:15, I felt nothing. After another fifteen minutes in the back of the Prius with a chatty driver, I definitely wasn't sober anymore, but I wasn't exactly high, either. By 12:45, though, I could feel it in my eyes, stomach and bones, and sat through the last five minutes in stoned silence. The beautiful spread of fruit at the party looked better than the Olympics rings. Ripple's high faded inside of three hours, giving me a good jump start on the day.
Quiq is a new line of fast-acting products from Medically Correct, the infused-product brand behind Incredibles edibles. The company has a line of medical and recreational products ranging from chocolates to suppositories, and claims that its formula for a lipid-based emulsion derived from sugar and fatty acids will be felt inside of thirty minutes and last around two hours. Quiq's 10-milligram milk chocolates were virtually devoid of any cannabis or hash flavor, but seemed too sweet for people with high THC tolerances, as quickly eating four pieces proved a little too rich for my stomach.
The high started rising just after the twenty-minute mark and continued climbing for about fifteen minutes until I peaked. True to Quiq's word, the effects wore off outside of two hours, but the comedown was noticeably strong for an edible marketed as a sativa.
Boulder-based 1906 began as a deluxe infused chocolatier, but it's been chasing more specific effects from edibles by adding extra ingredients like caffeine, ashwagandha, theobromine or magnolia to achieve energetic, aroused or relaxing highs. The company's new Drops include ingredients intended for similar effects, but are made to hit users faster and provide less stoney baloney and more productivity.
The Drops aren't mints or gummies, but pills dosed at 2.5 and 5 milligrams of THC, CBD or both. Such low doses make the Go and Midnight varieties — made with caffeine and corydalis, respectively — dangerous for high cannabis tolerances, but average users and microdosers will find the quick-acting effects and extra ingredients easier to calibrate than those of suitraditional edibles, and the twenty- and thirty-counts per tin have a long shelf-life.
Ceria Brewing isn't the only cannabis-infused drink company chasing fast-acting effects through ingestion, but using beer as the conduit helps users bridge the gap between the intoxicating effects of cannabis and alcohol. Blue Moon creator Keith Villa's IPA and Belgian White brews are free of alcohol and infused with cannabinoids after brewing, with 5 milligrams of THC in the Belgian and 10 milligrams of THC and CBD in the IPA.
The effects are felt by the end of the first beer, fast enough to mimic the onset of alcohol's punch without the headache the next morning. It's not the same as getting drunk, but it'll make your drunk friends less annoying.