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How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System?

A cannabis leaf laid across a toppled stack of three marijuana brownies.

Marijuana edibles have a different effect on everyone. But how long do edibles stay in your system? The range can be anywhere from 3 to 12 days, depending on various circumstances. Today we’ll take a look at what determines how long edibles remain in your system and how they might affect you.

What are Marijuana Edibles?

Edibles are essentially food products containing cannabinoids. The category also includes items such as drinks and candies. Consuming edibles is a way for people to enjoy the benefits and effects of cannabis without smoking or vaping. Edibles exist as both a version of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. There are many types of edibles including gummies, cookies, brownies, drinks, and much more.

Why Do People Use Cannabis Edibles?

Many people consume edibles for a variety of reasons. Edible cannabis products tend to have the same benefits as other forms of cannabis. Different people eat or drink them for various reasons such as pain management, reducing anxiety, relaxation, helping with insomnia, and more. 

Edibles include the most common chemical compounds found in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and/or cannabidiol (CBD). Different types of edibles may have different health effects depending on what compounds are included. For example, THC edibles will provide the high commonly associated with marijuana use, while CBD edibles will not.

How Does the Body Process THC Edibles?

When you consume cannabis, it starts working its way through your digestive system. When it reaches the liver, the body converts the Delta-9-THC into 11-Hydroxy-THC. As this happens, the user experiences a more psychoactive effect than they would otherwise experience when smoking marijuana. Though the high tends to be more intense, the process does take significantly longer than it does when vaping or smoking. As the body processes the edibles, the high can be delayed for a few hours post-consumption. However, that being said, the high you feel after consuming edibles lasts much longer than the high associated with smoking or vaping, sometimes as long as 12 hours. This is because the 11-Hydroxy-THC is stronger than Delta-9-THC and it takes longer for the body to eliminate it. 

How Long Do Marijuana Edibles Stay in Your System?

The THC from cannabis edibles can stay in your system for anywhere between 3 and 12 days. The exact duration depends on many factors including how much was consumed, how often consumption occurs, and if someone is a frequent or infrequent user. THC edibles tend to stay in the system longer than if the THC were inhaled. For marijuana smokers, THC levels begin to decline as soon as the high starts to fade. However, when consumed orally, it can usually take users at least a day to see a decline in THC levels. 

Frequent users may show THC in their system for a month or more after they stop using edibles. However, more casual users may be able to clear it from their system in a week or two depending on how much THC they ingested. 

Are Edibles Legal?

Different edibles may be legal in different states. It’s important to review the laws in your area to see what types of edibles are legal. In some areas, CBD edibles may be legal while edibles containing THC are not. Likewise, it’s also important to review the drug policy at your place of employment. Some employers may not allow you to work with any edibles in your system at all, while others may make an exception for CBD edibles, others may allow the medical use of cannabis edibles, and others may not have a policy against edibles at all.  

Do Edibles Show Up on Drug Tests?

Yes. Edibles can register on a drug test. Edibles containing THC will most certainly show up on drug tests. In fact, drug tests may detect THC levels for a longer period of time after consuming edibles when compared to smoking. All tests, including blood, hair, saliva, sweat, and urine tests detect ingested THC. 

And, since CBD may include up to 0.3% THC it is possible that even CBD edibles may register on drug tests. Consult with the experienced personnel at your local dispensary if you are in search of CBD edibles with no THC. 

Why Do People Say Edibles Aren’t Safe?

There are some people who believe that edibles are not a safe way to enjoy the effects of marijuana. Part of this comes from the lack of research regarding edibles and their dosage. Before consuming edibles, it’s important to know if they will interact with any current medications. It is possible for cannabis to have a negative reaction to some medicines. You should always check with your doctor before changing or stopping any current medication regimens. It’s equally important to discuss adding either CBD or THC edibles to your medication list.

If you aren’t careful, it can be possible to overdo it on edibles. Since it takes so long for the effects of edibles to kick in, some people make the mistake of consuming more in an effort to speed up the high feeling associated with edibles containing THC. However, increasing the amount of THC consumed will not make the body metabolize it faster. It is best to start low and go slow. Start with a very low dose for your first time and then don’t consume any more until you know how that dose will affect you. 

Keep in mind, you will feel the effect of THC for several hours when it kicks in. Also, remember that with THC edibles you may experience the high effect for an extended period of time. This means that users need to plan accordingly so they are not driving or working under the effects of marijuana. 

Metabolic rates vary from person to person. If multiple people eat the same marijuana edible, then it is entirely possible that the metabolism of one person may work through the drug faster than that of another. 

Using Edibles Responsibly

To use edibles responsibly, start by ensuring you’re getting a quality product from a reputable dispensary. These products are more likely to have consistent doses of THC throughout whereas homemade edibles may not. For someone just starting to dabble in marijuana edibles, it’s best to have a clear idea of dosage so you can appropriately track how your body reacts. It’s also important to pay attention to other factors before ingesting marijuana. For example, the high may hit you and affect you differently if you have a full stomach versus an empty stomach. 

Be patient. Remember that it takes a while for the THC to reach the bloodstream. Don’t get carried away or impatient when using edibles. Also, make sure that you are in a position to be safe to yourself and those around you for the extended time that you’ll be under the effects of marijuana. 

Speak with qualified employees at your local dispensary to help you select which type of edible you’d like to start with. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Lastly, be aware of the marijuana laws in your area, as well as the policies of your employer. 

Once you have experience using edibles and understand how your body will react to various doses, then you can start experimenting with your own recipes. Your dispensary may have recipe suggestions as well.