Marijuana edibles are mainly food products such as butter, brownies, or cookies that contain cannabinoids. However, the category can include a wide variety of other consumable products. Edibles can take between one week to one month to be eliminated from a person’s system and possibly not be detected on a drug test.
Typically, 80-90 percent of the THC in a person’s body will be cleared from their system through fecal matter or passing urine in a relatively short amount of time – usually just a few days. However, some traces of THC may remain in the body for a more prolonged period.
How Long Do Edibles Remain in a Person’s System?
A few variables influence how long THC that is ingested orally stays in a person’s system. The precise timeline is affected by the amount of THC consumed, the potency, and whether the person is a casual or regular, long-term user.
Because it takes longer to process and break down edibles, they remain in the body longer than when THC is inhaled. Therefore, long-term users may have THC in their system from the ingestion of edibles for more than 30 days in some cases. However, casual users may eliminate it from their system in 1-2 weeks.
3 Ways Edibles Remain in a Person’s System
There are three primary types of cannabis edibles: gastrointestinal, oral, and hybrid. Each of these edible forms is broken down in the body differently and uniquely affects the brain and body.
When medical marijuana users think about the properties of edibles, they are usually thinking about gastrointestinal edibles. These typically come in the form of brownies, cookies, crispy rice treats, and other sweet snacks.
Gastrointestinal edibles begin to absorb into the body once they reach the digestive tract. It takes 45-90 minutes to experience the first effects, so starting with a low dosage and waiting to see how it affects you is recommended.
Oral edibles are often sold as tinctures and lozenges. The active ingredients are absorbed through the mouth and under the tongue, and they take as little as 15 minutes for effects to onset.
Drinks are the most popular form of hybrid edibles. They are referred to as “hybrids” because they are absorbed both orally and through the gastrointestinal tract. As with oral products, individuals might feel effects rapidly. Over the next couple of hours, the digestion process undergoes experiences a time-releasing effect of additional THC, producing a more continuous and more prolonged experience.
Edibles and Drug Screens
THC from edibles most certainly shows up on drug screens. And in fact, because of how the body processes edibles, a drug screen may detect THC in a person’s system for a much more extended period than inhaled. Urine, blood, saliva, and hair follicle sample tests can all identify THC following any ingestion method.
- Blood: 3-4 hours
- Saliva: 1-3 days
- Urine: 3-30 days
- Hair: Up to 90 days
One of the most significant concerns about edibles is their intoxicating effects and the risk for mental side effects due to the extremely high THC content in butane hash oil. It is possible to ingest too much THC, though, which can cause some uncomfortable side effects.
A study in the International Journal of Drug Policy reports that THC overconsumption is more likely with edibles, as, unlike with inhaling or vaping, the body does not exhibit warning signs. By the time any signs of overdose are apparent, it is too late, and the body is already processing the edible.
Overuse of cannabis products can induce several side effects, such as the following:
- Impaired attention/concentration
- Short-term memory loss
- Muscle contractions or spasms
- Accelerated heart rate
- Increase respiratory rate
- Slurred speech
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Mood swings
- Hallucinations and delusions
Moreover, when used in excessive doses by older individuals, edibles can adversely affect the heart and cardiovascular system. They could also be at an increased risk for cognitive or coordination impairments and adverse drug interactions.
Finally, the amount of THC in marijuana in recent years has been shown in studies to have the potential for addiction. An individual can become emotionally and possibly chemically dependent on edibles, just like other forms of cannabis. Edibles can also be laced with more potent substances such as synthetic cannabinoids.
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