Different Types of Edibles: Finding Your Favorite at the Dispensary

edible types
By Andrew Ward Updated March 8th

Fact-checked by Deb Tharp

Cannabis legalization has allowed all types of edibles to hit the market in recent years. The various edible options range from classic sweet treats, like brownies and cookies to beverages, butter, oils, and even distillate powders that can be added to nearly any beverage.

With so many edible options at dispensaries and online, shoppers can rightfully feel overwhelmed by the choices. This article will help demystify the different types of edibles so you can find your favorites.

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What Are Cannabis Edibles?

There are many different types of edibles and brands to choose from. Making things more interesting (but also more complex), industry slang has continued to grow, with many businesses and consumers using different terms, brand names, and technical jargon interchangeably. 

Anything infused with THC – or other cannabinoids – can be considered an edible. In some cases, you'll hear the term “infused,” as in a cannabis-infused dessert or beverage. 

Edibles can be incredibly potent, especially compared to smoking. While you may feel the effects of smoking cannabis right away, the prolonged onset of edibles can take between 30 minutes and 3 hours to arrive and tend to result in stronger and longer-lasting effects. This increased effect is due to how THC is processed in the body. 

Rather than going through the lungs and into the bloodstream, edibles are subject to the digestive process. When THC reaches the liver, it is converted into 11-hydroxy-THC. This cannabinoid is considered more potent than typical delta-9 THC. Typically, 11-hydroxy-THC delivers effects two to three times more potent than delta-9 THC. Therefore, a 10mg THC edible may feel like the equivalent of smoking 20 to 30mg of THC.

Smoking vs Edibles: Which is Better?

do edible gummies expire

Not all THC consumption is the same. You may be consuming identical cannabinoids, but just about everything else can vary depending on your chosen consumption method. The differences between smoking and edibles make it clear how different the experiences are.

With smoking, you often experience:

  • Onset Time: 0-10 minutes
  • Duration of Effects: 1-3 hours
  • Strength of High: Average

With edibles, you’ll often experience:

  • Onset Time: 10-120 minutes
  • Duration of Effects: 6-12 hours
  • Strength of High: Above Average

Recreational consumers can choose whichever they prefer. But most medical cannabis recommendations steer toward edibles. Doctors recommending cannabis tend to suggest smokeless options, especially for patients with lung or breathing problems. Many recreational consumers also prefer smokeless options, like edibles, vapes, tinctures, and many others. 

While edibles are commonly prescribed for medical marijuana card holders, they do have their risks. Namely, consumers run a higher chance of over-intoxication due to the delayed onset effects and more potent 11-hydroxy-THC. Newcomers and consumers with a light tolerance should practice caution when starting out. 

That said, with a little bit of education and awareness, edibles are an exciting option filled with numerous choices. Below, you can find various types of popular edibles. Depending on the brand and producer, you should be able to find options that meet a variety of dietary needs and personal preferences, including vegan, gluten-free, fast-acting, and many more.

7 Different Types of Cannabis Edibles

types of cannabis edibles

While some edibles boast a faster onset time, other differences primarily boil down to ingredients and consumer preference. When heading over to the dispensary to check out the different types of edibles, you'll most likely see some (or all) of these on the sales shelves:

1. Baked Goods

cannabis infused baked goods

Baked goods are some of the most popular cannabis edible types, dating back to the first days of the medical cannabis movement that began in the Bay Area in the 1960s. 

People love infused baked goods for their variety, shareability and flavor. And, well, because who doesn't love baked goods?

Infused baked goods continue to diversify as legalization rolls on. You can find many delicious options, from classic brownies and cookies to infused scones, breads, and just about any other thing you can think of. Consumers can now also find gluten-free options, vegan options, and many others to satisfy different dietary needs. If it can be baked, it can be infused.

2. Gummies or Chews

cannabis infused gummies

When it comes to non-infused options, there’s everything from popular, flavorful choices you'll find at the grocery stores to the curious candies that seemingly only end up in the back of grandma's cabinets. And for every gummy and chewable candy option, there is an infused variation.

Gummies are the most popular edible today and have been for quite some time. People love familiarity, and that extends to cannabis. How many of us have loved gummy candies since we were kids? Whether you've grown up with them or just developed a fondness for gelatin-based chews along the way, most of us have some familiarity with gummies and chewable candies.

3. Hard Candy

woman eating infused candy

We also love our hard candies and mints. And if you’re looking for faster effects, you may want to choose this option. 

What makes hard candies stand out is their method of absorption. Sweets with a hard shell are designed to be absorbed through the cheek wall and under the tongue. This sublingual process helps our bodies absorb THC faster due to the thinner skin in the mouth. Rather than going through the lengthy digestive process, the THC is absorbed by blood vessels directly.1

4. Beverages 

man drinking infused beverage

Many industry experts predict that beverages will one day become the most popular edible on the market. Some even think that beverages could help drive edibles to become the most popular method of cannabis consumption. With the ability to infuse nearly every drink, including seltzers, teas, wine and other alcoholic drinks, the sky's the limit. 

Rather than buying from a brand, you can also make your own infused beverages at home. A distillate powder is one of the easiest options. You can either measure the dosage yourself or buy a pre-measured pack of THC powder to add to your drink of choice. Some come in flavors, while others will give you a more neutral or slight cannabis flavor to your drink. Be on the lookout for fast-acting options if you're looking to feel the effects in 15 minutes rather than waiting the usual 30 to 120 minutes. If you use a dry herb vaporizer, you can also add your ABV weed to hot tea.

5. Chocolates

Chocolate is one of the world's most indulgent options. We love its numerous choices and flavors, from sweet milk chocolate to the darkest of cacao. Combining THC and chocolate helps elevate the experience that much more by delivering psychoactive effects and heaps of deliciousness. 

THC has a similar chemical structure to the brain chemical, anandamide, which is also found in small amounts in chocolate. It could be that these two work together to boost the effect, though additional research is required.

6. Savory Snacks

For all salty and spicy fans, you can find a range of savory-infused options. From infused beef jerky and sauces to peanut butter and much more, you can enjoy just about any savory treat you want with a bit of THC. And if you can’t find your favorite snack at the dispensary, you can always make your own.

7. Cooking & Baking Fats

You can also make your own edibles at home. Rather than buy something already made and dosed, you can pick up some butter, oils, or other baking fats to make your own infused options. This is an excellent choice for medical patients looking to control their dosage and ingredient intake. It's also ideal for anyone who loves to make delicious meals or desserts at home.

In just a few hours, you can have infused butters and oils perfect for cooking or baking. You can also pick up a few handy tools for butter and oil infusion to help make the process more efficient. 

Dosing Cannabis Edibles

Newcomers and those with light tolerances should take the start low, go slow method when using edibles. This should help avoid overconsumption and allow you to safely figure out the ideal dosage for you.

Start by choosing a smaller dose: somewhere between 2.5 and 5mg THC, though some people might want to start lower. If you’re more experienced with cannabis and you’re looking for a “standard” dose, the default dose size for many edibles is 10mg. In some state markets, adult-use consumers can also buy higher dose options, though these are typically easier to find with a medical cannabis card. 

Thoroughly read the package before buying and consuming any edibles. Be aware of how many milligrams of THC, CBD, and other ingredients it contains. Also, check for the onset time to know when to expect the effects to kick in. Newcomers may want to give themselves even more time to feel the effects than listed. In some cases, new consumers won't feel the effects of edibles for 2 to 3 hours. Keep this in mind before considering a second dose.

Anyone looking for more control over dosage and effects should consider making edibles on their own. Whether cooking with cannabis or adding distillate to beverages, at-home dosing has become more precise over the years. Now, with a fair degree of attention to detail and an edible calculator, you should be able to figure out the correct dosage for any snack, meal, beverage, or other edible you plan on making.

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Final Thoughts

Edibles are such an exciting segment of the cannabis market, providing just about everyone with a desirable option. Knowing what to look out for and what options are available gives you the knowledge needed to enjoy edibles as intended. 

Whether buying edibles at the dispensary or making them at home, keep learning about this exciting space. With knowledge comes empowerment and informed choices. 

And remember: edibles are substantially more potent and can last much longer than smoked cannabis. If you find that you’ve overindulged, we offer tips for how to come back down to Earth.


1  Hua S. Advances in Nanoparticulate Drug Delivery Approaches for Sublingual and Buccal Administration. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2019;10. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2019.01328

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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