Last Updated on June 14, 2023 by Beth Skwarecki
Cannabis edibles have become an increasingly popular method of consuming marijuana, providing users with a discreet and often more potent high than other forms of consumption. However, many people wonder how long the effects of edibles last and how long THC stays in their system after consuming them.
The answer is not straightforward, as it depends on several factors, such as dosage, metabolism, and body fat percentage. This article will provide an in-depth look at how edibles are processed by the body, the factors that affect how long they stay in your system, the detection windows for drug tests, and some tips on how to get edibles out of your system faster.
What Are Edibles?
Edibles are food products that are infused with cannabis, typically containing THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the “high” associated with its use. Edibles can take many forms, including brownies, cookies, gummies, chocolates, and beverages.
They are often used as an alternative to smoking or vaping cannabis, as they offer a more discreet way of consuming the drug and can provide a longer-lasting and more intense high. Edibles are available for purchase in cannabis dispensaries, where they are often labeled with the THC content per serving to help users manage their dosage. It’s worth noting that edibles can be much more potent than other forms of cannabis, and users should always start with a low dose and wait for the effects before consuming more.
How Does The Body Process Edibles?
When you consume edibles, the cannabinoids are absorbed into the bloodstream through the digestive system. The liver then metabolizes the cannabinoids, converting delta-9 THC into 11-hydroxy THC, which can be more potent and have a stronger psychoactive effect. The effects of edibles can take longer to onset than other forms of cannabis consumption, typically between 30 minutes to 2 hours. The duration of the effects can also be longer, lasting up to 6-8 hours. It is important to start with a low dose and be patient when consuming edibles, as it can take some time to feel the effects. It is also important to store edibles in a safe place, away from children and pets, and to always read the label to understand the dosage and potency of the product.
How Long Does Edibles Stay In Your System?
The time that edibles stay in your system can vary depending on several factors, including dosage, metabolism, body fat percentage, and frequency of use.
In general, THC can be detected in the body for longer periods of time when consumed in edibles compared to smoking or vaping. This is because the 11-hydroxy-THC produced by the liver when consuming edibles is stored in fat cells and is released slowly over time as the body metabolizes the fat. As a result, the detection window for edibles can be much longer than for other forms of cannabis consumption.
Blood tests can detect THC for up to 12 hours after consumption, while saliva tests can detect it for up to 24 hours. Urine tests have the longest detection window, with THC being detectable for up to several days to several weeks after consumption, depending on the frequency of use, dosage, and individual metabolism. Heavy users may have detectable levels of THC in their urine for up to a month or more after consuming edibles.
Everyone’s body is different, and the length of time that edibles stay in your system can vary based on individual factors. Additionally, drug tests can detect even trace amounts of THC, which means that consuming edibles can potentially have implications for employment, athletics, or other situations where drug testing is required.
What Are The Effects Of Edibles?
The effects of edibles can vary depending on the individual, the dosage, and other factors, but here are some common effects:
- Euphoria: Edibles can produce feelings of intense happiness and pleasure.
- Relaxation: Many users report feeling relaxed and calm after consuming edibles.
- Altered Perception: Edibles can produce a distorted sense of time, perception, and space.
- Increased Appetite: THC in edibles can increase appetite and cause intense food cravings, a phenomenon known as the “munchies.”
- Impaired Judgment: Edibles can impair judgment and coordination, making it difficult to perform tasks that require focus or attention.
- Intense Sensory Experiences: Some users report experiencing heightened sensory experiences, such as enhanced music or vivid colors.
Side Effects Of Edibles
Consuming edibles can have a range of potential side effects, depending on the dosage, individual tolerance, and other factors. Here are some common side effects of edibles:
- Intoxication: Edibles can cause feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and altered perception, which can impair judgment and coordination.
- Anxiety Or Paranoia: In some cases, edibles can cause feelings of anxiety, paranoia, or panic, particularly in individuals who are sensitive to THC.
- Dry Mouth: Edibles can cause dry mouth, which can be uncomfortable but is typically temporary.
- Increased Heart Rate: THC can cause an increase in heart rate, which can be problematic for individuals with certain medical conditions.
- Impaired Memory & Cognition: THC can impair memory and cognitive function, making concentrating or remembering things difficult.
- Nausea & Vomiting: In some cases, edibles can cause nausea or vomiting, particularly if the dosage is too high.
Signs Of An Edibles Addiction
While addiction to edibles is less common than addiction to other substances, it is still possible for some individuals to develop a dependence on them. Here are five signs of an edibles addiction:
- Tolerance: Over time, a person may need to consume larger amounts of edibles to achieve the desired effect, as their body becomes accustomed to the drug.
- Cravings: A person with an edibles addiction may experience strong cravings for the drug and may feel unable to control their urge to consume edibles.
- Withdrawal Symptoms: If a person stops using edibles, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and loss of appetite.
- Social or Personal Problems: Edibles addiction can lead to social or personal problems, such as strained relationships, financial difficulties, and poor work or school performance.
- Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences: A person with an edibles addiction may continue to use the drug despite negative consequences such as legal problems, health issues, or social isolation.
How To Recover From Edibles
Recovering from edibles can be a different experience for everyone, as the effects and intensity of the high can vary depending on the individual and the dosage. Here are some tips that may help you recover from the effects of edibles:
- Stay calm: If you’re feeling anxious or paranoid, try to stay calm and remind yourself that the effects of edibles will eventually wear off.
- Find A Comfortable & Safe Space: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, find a comfortable and safe space to relax until the effects of the edibles subside.
- Hydrate: Drinking plenty of water can help alleviate some of the discomfort associated with edibles and help flush THC out of your system.
- Eat a Snack: Consuming a small snack, or a meal can help reduce the effects of edibles and alleviate any feelings of nausea.
- Exercise: Physical activity can help burn fat cells, releasing stored THC from the body.
- Take a Nap: If you’re feeling tired, a short nap can help you relax and recover from the effects of edibles.
Edibles can have a range of potential effects and side effects, and their duration in the body can vary depending on factors such as dosage, individual tolerance, and metabolism. Consuming edibles responsibly is important, starting with a low dose and waiting for the effects before consuming more. Additionally, users should be aware of the potential for negative side effects and seek medical attention if they experience severe symptoms or are concerned about their health. Finally, it’s worth noting that edibles can be a potent and long-lasting form of cannabis, and users should plan accordingly to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
Beth is Cloudmineinc’s senior health editor and a certified personal trainer. She has over 10 years experience as a science journalist and is the author of two books. She deadlifts over 315 lbs.