"Is it like smoking, or more like an edible?"
When you smoke or vaporize marijuana you will feel the effects almost immediately. If you eat an edible or drink an infused drink, such as a Dixie Elixir, you will need to digest & metabolize the cannabis first, therefore it takes more time. If you metabolize food very quickly it could happen in an hour or less and if you have a slower metabolic rate it can take upwards of two hours. A drink may effect you more quickly than say a brownie.
As edibles can be quite intense for some people, it's important to be aware of your own tolerance and start slowly. For most people a 10mg edible will make you feel stoned. Therefore, if you do not know your own tolerance, start with 5mg, wait an hour and see how you feel. Edibles will last for between 4-6 hours which make them ideal for longer lasting pain relief.
Hope this helps!