"I’m familiar with edibles lasging up to a few hours, while inhaling lasts around 45 minutes to an hour. Which would sublingual consumption more closely relate to?"
The onset and duration of effect, when THC is administered sublingually, is somewhere near the midpoint of inhalation’s and ingestion’s:
Onset should take about 15 minutes after administration; duration somewhere in between 2 to 4 hours. Edibles can last for 4-10 hours, with after-effects lasting for another 6-12 hours.
The reason that sublingual administration of cannabis exerts effects for a duration of time somewhere near the midpoint of inhalation and ingestion, is a process called first pass metabolism.
When cannabis is ingested, it *Passes *First through the GI tract, then enters the enterohepatic circulation to be *Metabolized by the liver (*First *pass *metabolism), resulting in a metabolite of THC (delta-9-THC): 11-hydroxy-THC. 11-hydroxy THC lasts longer, and causes more psychoactivity than does THC.
When cannabis is smoked or administered sublingually, THC avoids first pass metabolism, and is thusly circulated throughout the body, imparting its effects, before entering the hepatic (liver) circulation to be metabolized.
The main reason oils take longer to act than inhalation is simply due to the time required for THC to enter the circulation via absorption through the sublingual and oromucosal vasculature; whereas, with inhalation, THC enters the lungs, then is absorbed into the systemic circulation almost immediately.
The main reason oils last longer than inhalation does, but for a shorter duration than edibles do, is because oils are initially absorbed via the sublingual and oromucosal vasculature, avoiding first pass metabolism; but then, after the oil is swallowed, the remaining THC in the oil (all is not absorbed sublingually) does undergo first pass metabolism—which means that a significant proportion of the THC is metabolized to 11-hydroxy-THC before entering the systemic circulation. As previously mentioned, 11-hydroxy-THC lasts longer, and is more psychoactive than THC.
So, in effect, oils are somewhat of a hybrid of inhalation and ingestion, without the immediate effects of inhalation.
I hope this helps!