Marijuana edibles effects may vary between person-to-person, but most people can expect them to remain in their system for 3-12 days. In contrast, a single marijuana joint remains in a person’s system for only about three days. It can take up to one month for marijuana to leave a person’s system if they use it regularly. The exact length of time depends on how much you ingest and whether you’re an occasional or chronic user.
For many individuals, the idea of consuming marijuana edibles is more appealing than smoking. Edibles induce an intoxicating effect without requiring the user to inhale smoke or vape into the lungs, making them feel safer. Also, many think that edibles taste good, and in an increasing number of states, they are also legal for medical or recreational use. However, edibles can still come with some health risks. If you or a loved one is using edibles, it’s crucial to understand how they work, including how they affect a person’s mind and body.
What Are Marijuana Edibles?
Edibles are mainly food products, such as butter, cookies, or brownies, that contain cannabinoids. They are generally made from marijuana or hash. The category can include other digestible items, such as drinks, capsules, and candies. As edibles have increasingly become legal in many states, the variety of products has grown.
How Does the Body Process Edibles?
When a person ingests an edible, it works its way through the digestive system. As it does so, cannabis eventually reaches where the body then converts delta-9 THC to 11-hydroxy THC. When this occurs, the result is more enhanced psychoactive effects than what is commonly experienced by smoking THC.
It is also worth noting that the THC in edibles takes longer to affect many people than smoking or vaping. Digestion can cause a delay of up to two hours between consumption and feeling high. In comparison, inhaling THC allows it to reach the bloodstream and produce effects as rapidly as within five minutes. For those persons who typically smoke, this lag can lead to overuse.
Some candy or chocolate edibles may work faster than other types, such as baked goods. This is because the product can more or less “melt” in your mouth, allowing THC to be ingested and reach the bloodstream more efficiently.
It’s also vital to note that the high can last significantly longer with edibles compared to smoking. When smoked, people typically feel the effects for several hours. With edibles, an individual may be high as long as 12 hours.
How Long Do Edibles Remain in Your System?
How long THC that is ingested orally stays in a person’s system depends on several factors. First, the half-life of cannabis varies and is usually somewhere in the three- to 12-day window. The exact length is affected by the amount of THC consumed and whether the person is a casual or chronic user. Habitual use can result in tolerance, requiring ever-increasing amounts to experience the same high.
Because it takes longer to process and break down edibles, they stay in the body longer than THC that is inhaled. For those who smoke marijuana, THC levels begin to fall as soon as the high subsides. When ingested, it can take about a day to see a decrease in THC.
Long-term users may have THC in their system from the ingestion of edibles for a month or longer. However, casual users may eliminate it from their system in as little as one to two weeks, depending on the quantity of THC ingested.
Do Edibles Show Up on Drug Tests?
Yes, THC from edibles most certainly shows up on a drug test. Ingesting, rather than smoking THC, doesn’t alter the fact it is entering your system. In fact, because of how the body processes edibles, a drug test may detect THC levels for a much more extended period. Urine, blood, hair, saliva, and sweat tests can all detect consumable THC:
- Blood: 3-4 hours
- Saliva: 1-3 days
- Urine: 3-30 days
- Hair: Up to 90 days
Where Are Edibles Legal?
New states approve medical or recreational marijuana use each year. The medical use of cannabis is legal, with a doctor’s prescription in 35 states, four out of five U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Thirteen more states have laws that limit THC content to allow access to products that contain cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of cannabis. Although cannabis remains a Schedule I drug, the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment prohibits federal prosecution of persons complying with state medical marijuana laws.
The recreational or non-medical use of marijuana is legal in 14 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Another 16 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have decriminalized its use. The commercial distribution of marijuana is allowed in all jurisdictions where it has been legalized, except the District of Columbia.
- Arkansas (medical)
- Florida (medical)
- Hawaii (medical)
- Louisiana (medical)
- Maryland (medical)
- Minnesota (medical)
- Mississippi (medical)
- New Hampshire (medical)
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Oklahoma (medical)
- Pennsylvania (medical)
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- Utah (medical)
- Virginia (medical)
- West Virginia (medical)
Some states where marijuana is legal do not have specific laws regarding edibles, but others maintain that edibles are illegal. In circumstances in which the law is nebulous, it’s often best to err on the side of caution and assume they aren’t permitted for medical or recreational use.
Why Do People Say Edibles Aren’t Safe?
One of the most significant concerns about edibles is the intoxicating effects. There is a risk for marijuana-induced psychosis, which could include hallucinations, confusion, and paranoia—additionally, some experience extreme anxiety or panic attacks or hyperemesis syndrome (uncontrolled vomiting) after consuming edibles.
Moreover, for some older persons, cannabis in excessive doses could lead to cardiac events or issues. Mainly, this is due to the effects of THC on the cardiovascular system. They could also be at a higher risk for cognitive impairments, coordination problems, or adverse drug interactions. In pregnant women, THC has the potential to impact an infant’s development adversely.
It can also be hard to determine the strength of an edible before ingestion. This leads some to misjudge the potency of a given dose, causing them to have a more intense effect than they wanted. Finally, the amount of THC in marijuana in recent years has been shown clinically to be addictive. An individual can become addicted to edibles as quickly as they can other forms of marijuana. Finally, edibles can be adulterated with more dangerous drugs such as K2/Spice.
Getting Professional Help for Addiction
Because of the addictive nature and potential health risks associated with edibles, it’s essential to seek comprehensive treatment if marijuana use in any form has become routine. Although THC in marijuana is not generally thought to be as addictive as many other drugs in its class, emotional and chemical dependence are possible. Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery offer multifaceted treatment programs in partial hospitalization and residential formats.
We are dedicated to ensuring that those we treat receive the most effective, state-of-the-art care. Therapeutic modalities we feature include the following:
- Behavioral therapy
- 12-step group support
- Individual/family counseling
- Meditation and yoga
- Substance abuse education
- Health/wellness education
- Relapse prevention
- Aftercare planning