How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System?

by Emjay

Before you eat an edible, it’s important to know how long it will remain in your system. 

Edibles aren’t as straightforward as smoking flower. They cause a unique kind of high, they last for much longer, and they impact your body in a completely different way. 

Everyone’s body is different, and that will play a factor in determining how long edibles will stay in their system. There is no exact science that provides a definitive answer to that question. That having been said, chances are high that an edible will last for a few hours – which may be more than you bargained for if you looked up this article. 

But don’t worry, we’ll get through this together! 

What happens to your body when you eat an edible?

Edibles are very different from smoking. The path from the lungs to the bloodstream is the same in almost everyone. You hit a joint and you can start to feel it working within a minute or two. Digestive systems are nothing like lungs, and the way your body processes things you swallow is much more complicated. 

It’s normal for something you eat to take 36 hours to fully exit your body. This can be longer or shorter depending on how fast your metabolism is and how much food is already being processed in your body. While the high from an edible will usually dissipate within six hours, the remnants of the edible and the THC your body didn’t fully utilize will hang around until it exits your colon.

Some edibles work differently. If you’re using an edible like candy or chocolate and you choose to savor that edible, it’s staying in your mouth for longer. The tissue under your tongue allows the THC to pass directly into your bloodstream. 

You’ll start to feel mild effects of your edible within a few minutes if your edible is something that can melt in your mouth, and those effects will be more noticeable if you make the conscious choice to allow them to melt. The rest of that edible, the parts that you swallow, will work just like any other edible. 

How long do edibles keep you high?

How long edibles keep you high also depends on your metabolism and how much you’ve eaten recently. Expect to experience the effects of edibles for around 6 to 8 hours on average, not including the time it took them to kick in. However, note that some people may find that they wear off in as little as four hours, while others report feeling at least a little high for as long as 12 hours. 

Remember that edibles take a while to kick in. If you’ve waited an hour and you still aren’t feeling anything, do not take another edible. If you aren’t seeing effects after two and a half hours, it’s possible the dosage you took was too low. This is common among heavy cannabis users who usually smoke high THC strains. A tolerance that high will make a 5mg edible feel rather insignificant. 

How long do edibles stay in your system?

THC is a fat-soluble substance. The THC your body doesn’t use may wind up being stored in your body fat, which technically means your edible can hang out for a lot longer than 36 hours. Depending on how much THC you eat and how often you eat THC, detectable levels can remain in your system for up to 12 days. 

If you consume edibles on a regular basis, it may take up to a month for the THC to completely leave your system if you choose to stop using THC.

photo by elsa olofsson on unsplash_Cannabis Flower: What is it

Do edibles stay in your system longer than a joint?

THC levels dramatically drop off after you smoke. Your high reaches its climax, your levels dwindle, and then the THC begins to dissipate. Most of the time, remnants of THC will only remain in your system for about three days after you smoke a joint. 

If you’re a habitual or heavy user, things are different. If you smoke all the time, you’re still storing THC in your body fat. That THC can hang around for longer than 30 days, especially if you aren’t frequently burning body fat. Very active smokers who eat very lean diets aren’t immune to this phenomenon. Exercising or skipping meals doesn’t dictate which fat cells your body burns from, and what leaves when those cells do burn fat. 

Are edibles safe?

Edibles get a bad reputation, but it isn’t necessarily the fault of the edible. Many people don’t understand that taking THC by mouth is almost nothing like smoking weed. The correct dosages are different and the high lasts at least twice as long. People have a tendency to overeat edibles or make edibles that are way more potent than necessary, and that’s where problems arise. 

If you’re making your own cannabutter or you’re baking up a batch of cannabis-infused brownies, stick to a recipe. If you’re buying edibles, buy them from a company that clearly lists the THC content and the appropriate serving size. 

Start small if you’ve never used edibles. It’s better to eat a 5mg edible and not feel much than it is to eat a 30mg edible and feel anxious and paranoid. Take your time figuring out where your limits are and the way your body reacts to edibles. If you slowly work towards finding your sweet spot, edibles can be a great time. 

Will edibles make me fail a drug test?

Yes, edibles will make you fail a drug test. A drug test can’t tell the difference between THC you’ve inhaled or THC you’ve eaten. The end result is going to be the same. If you use THC infrequently and you’re worried about THC showing up on a drug test, the chances are higher for longer with edibles. 

Detectable levels of THC can remain in your saliva for up to 3 days, in your urine for up to 30 days, and in your hair for up to 90 days. Edibles aren’t a way to circumvent failing a drug test. 

What about CBD edibles?

It’s less likely that CBD will show up as cannabis on a drug test, especially if you use a broad spectrum tincture that’s had most of the THC removed. It’s still technically possible, though. Companies that don’t have each batch of their CBD lab-tested may include more THC than they claim. Just a little bit more than you expect can be enough to cause you to fail a drug test without ever getting high.

The takeaway

Edibles are going to hang around for a long time. They’re going to keep you high for hours, and they’re going to stay in your system for days. If you’re looking for a high that doesn’t leave much evidence, edibles are probably not the way to go. If you’re looking for something that will keep you in a steady supply of THC for as long as possible, edibles are the perfect solution. 

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