Faster-Acting Edibles


One of the things I always do with patients is counsel about the effects of inhaling. We definitely know that smoking weed is bad for you. Doesn’t that suck?

For instance- we know for sure that smoking weed can cause or worsen COPD. What is less clear is its association with cancer. We are reasonably confident that it causes lung cancer and (weirdly enough) testicular cancer. There are reasons to think it causes other head and neck cancers, like tongue, throat and esophagus (1).

In states like Colorado and California that have had legal marijuana for over a decade, we can tell that consumers eventually drift towards edibles. It’s a pattern that has been seen over and over! People want to be healthy and often view edibles favorably as a healthier alternative to smoking (2).

Edibles are one of the main ways that marijuana users can avoid smoke exposure. I generally feel like newer patients gravitate towards edibles while people that have smoked for a while resist them. Smoking weed is still bad for you, even if you really really like it. Take it from a fellow stoner- we all need to think about our health.

My recommendation is always to make sure you aren’t just smoking or inhaling- work in some edibles! I have often promised patients in the past that the edible landscape in the midwest is changing- and indeed, it has changed.

This blog was written to take a look at some of the fast-acting products that are available out there right now!


The above graphic summarizes patient responses from a 2018 study (3).

I remember a new patient that I recently spoke with that simply assumed that she would be smoking- “I didn’t know I had any other choice!” This patient even had a history of asthma, but was still willing to smoke to get some pain relief. (side note: this is why medical providers need education on marijuana -doc)

I counsel all new patients on the differences between edibles and smoked marijuana. That’s because edible marijuana has the potential for serious side effects! Over-intoxication is common and most marijuana users have at least one story about getting way too messed up from an edible. I think that sentiment is echoed by the ‘cons’ patients noted in the study above.

General advice for patients taking edibles for the first time: Start at a low dose (like 5 mg for patients that have never used marijuana before) and give yourself an hour before taking additional medication. We have a guide for edibles available here!

One of the common issues I hear from patients (mostly from patients that normally smoke) is that traditional edibles take too long to work. This is true, especially if you have a high tolerance or smoke often.

Luckily, the product landscape has changed and we have several great options that are fast-acting! THC-processing technology allows for THC to enter your body’s circulation in 15-25 minutes compared to the usual 45-90 minutes. I want to highlight some of them, and hopefully convince a few of you to cheef just a little less.


We are getting help from our friends at Consume and Mapleglen Care Center to give a sense of the faster-acting products that are already available in the Illinois market.

“We have many fast(er) acting edible options. Anything that comes in liquid form offers a swifter onset of effects,” says Janelle from Consume. Ashley from Mapleglen Care Center agrees, adding “Some of the more quick reacting products we offer would be our distillate gummies, tinctures and tonic water and seltzers.”

These products act more quickly due to how they are produced- they are “water-soluble,” compared to traditional fat-soluble edibles (think about extracting thc in butter to make brownies).

Processors make these by copying a pharmaceutical manufacturing technique. By making sure THC molecules are inside little spheres called liposomes, we can decrease the time it takes to work.

You might see these faster-acting edibles labeled “water-soluble,” “liposomal THC” or “encapsulated THC.”

Additionally, tinctures are edibles meant to be absorbed under the tongue- “sublingually.” These are also generally considered to be faster-working than edibles that have to be digested.


PTS- an Illinois-based company (yay) that produces edibles “incorporating sophisticated liposomal encapsulation technology to deliver relief far more quickly than traditional edibles. Available in Illinois and Michigan!

Product: PTS Tonic

How Do We Know It’s Fast Acting? It’s a liquid, and it describes it on the label- liposomal encapsulation!

Flavors: Raspberry Lemonade, Mandarin Orange, Cucumber Watermelon, Pomegranate Acai, Tropical Punch (1:1 CBD/THC) and Citrus Lime (1:1 CBD/THC)

Dose: 100 mg THC per bottle with varying amounts of CBD. Also comes in single serving 25 mg “shots” like a 5 hour energy.

Dr. Lee’s Notes: Have tried and would try again. Very tasty and effective.

Patient wise: I like this product because it features a way to measure the THC (with marks on the bottle for each 25 mg). Having varying amounts of CBD is also great because many medical patients aren’t looking to become intoxicated. You can take a half-dose of one of the 1:1 beverages to still get the anti-anxiety effect from CBD with less intoxication from THC.

Product: PTS Tonic Fizz

How Do We Know It’s Fast Acting? It’s a liquid, and it uses the same liposomal technology that Tonic uses

Flavors: Crisp Apple, Black Cherry, Grapefruit (1:1 CBD:THC), Lemon Lime (5:1 CBD:THC)

Dose: 25 mg THC per can, with varying amounts of CBD

Dr. Lee’s Notes: Have tried, and I do like it! Flavor wise I prefer the full-sugar tonic because I’m a fat boy. But, many of my friends prefer the seltzer.

Like before, having a variety of CBD levels is a nice option. These are also low-calorie and capitalize on the seltzer trend- they even look like White Claws. “Tonic Fizz is sugar free and I believe firmly the bubbles accentuate the effects!” adds Janelle from Consume

Product: Revolution SURP

How Do We Know It’s Fast Acting? It’s a liquid, and a little information is on their website. It’s not super obvious that it’s fast-acting tbh

Dose: 100 mg THC/bottle. 10 mg per TSP and 30 mg per TBSP with varying amounts of CBD

Flavors: Surp- cherry limeade, clementine cooler, mango strawberry, orange pineapple guava (1:1 CBD:THC) and wild blueberry. Surp Cafe- french vanilla, chocolate, caramel

Dr. Lee’s Notes: Have not tried but actively looking for it! I love that there are both fruit-flavored and coffee-flavored varieties. Tincture into coffee is one of my favorite ways to ingest. I do think that this is a little harder to dose for beginners and would prefer a more discrete way to measure (like hash marks on the bottle)

Janelle from Consume says, “

Revolution also makes sublingual sprays called CannaMist which are metered at a great micro-dose of 2.5mg each spray.  The sprays come in indica, sativa and 1:1, CBD:THC.”

Product: Revolution Spectra Mouth Spray

How Do We Know It’s Fast Acting? It’s a liquid, and administered under the tongue, which is usually faster acting (sublingual administration).

Flavors: Just one- “tropical”

Dose: 100 mg THC/bottle. 2.5 mg per spray.

Dr. Lee’s Notes: I haven’t tried this and it’s actually the first time I’ve heard about it! It reminds me of a medical spray called Sativex that’s used in Europe to treat Multiple Sclerosis. I think it’s super interesting, and I like how discrete the dosing is- you know exactly what you’re getting, and it’s a small amount. This is great for newer patients!

Product: Ieso Sugar-Free Sweetener

How Do We Know It’s Fast Acting? It’s a liquid!

Dose: 100 mg THC/bottle. 25 mg of THC per 1.5 mg teaspoon

Dr. Lee’s Notes: You might recognize this company Ieso from their other edible offerings- things like pancake or soup mix, with a brown bag. It usually looks like regular non-marijuana laced food. Like Surp above, I think its a great option for adding medication to other food.