If you’ve ever walked into a recreational cannabis dispensary and tried to buy edibles in Illinois, you have probably noticed some products are now listed as “fast-acting”. Have you ever wondered how they did that? The answer to the first question is water-soluble THC. Water-soluble THC is relatively new to the cannabis industry while oil soluble THC has long been the traditional means of infusing edibles. Both have their pros, both have their cons, and this article will detail differences. So, kick back in the cut, fire one up, and let’s learn about some weed stuff. 

  1. On Set Times: The body’s absorption rate of oil THC is 30% compared to 80% with water-soluble THC. Water-soluble THC bypasses what is known as first-pass effect or first-pass metabolism1 meaning there is no need to be processed by the liver as it soaks into the stomach lining.  Oil-soluble THC must be processed by the liver. This leads to the fast-acting effect of water soluble THC. Water soluble edibles allow for a quicker more predictable onset time, between 10 to15 minutes, whereas oil soluble edibles on set time are far more unpredictable. Round one goes to the spry newcomer, water-soluble edibles! 
  2. Duration Time: As the body processes water-soluble THC very quickly, it also shortens the duration. In most cases, this is a wonderful thing but if you are looking for a longer lasting high, oil soluble edibles may be more up your alley. By going through the much slower first-pass effect or first-pass metabolism, your onset time may be unpredictable but your high should last longer. Round two goes to the wily veteran oil soluble edibles. 
  3. Adjusting Dosage: If you know your normal dosage, you will need to lower it for the absorption rate of water-soluble THC. You can generally start with half your normal dose but keep in mind the shorter duration could lead you to end up eating (or drinking!) more of them throughout the day than normal to sustain your high. With oil soluble THC, you take the dosage you always have because until recently that is how all edibles were made. So, you get the comfort of not having to experiment with dosage, but you still face the unpredictability of the onset time. The judges scored round three a draw. 


Though there is no correct answer as to which one is better, water-soluble and oil soluble edibles both serve distinct purposes, and neither is going away anytime soon. If you’ve never tried a water-soluble edible, we suggest you give it a whirl and compare it to how you feel with oil soluble edibles. Maybe try these out. 

We are living in a wonderful age where most of your cannaconsumer needs can be met, and we have well versed budtenders to guide you on your way!