How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System?

Urine, blood, saliva and hair test detection times

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Edibles are a great way to get high, especially if you’re new to weed, but there are a few things to think about before taking the dose. Firstly, it’s easy to go too far with edibles, so you need to be careful about your actual dosage. However, especially if you get tested for THC at work, it’s important to know how long the THC from the edibles will be detectable in your body.

The good news is that unless you’re a regular user, edibles generally won’t stay in your system for too long. And provided you don’t accidentally take a heroic dose, the whole process is unlikely to take longer than eight hours from ingestion to feeling sober again (and likely less than this). If you need more detail, here are the key points to remember.

How long do edibles stay in your body?

  • Edibles stay in your system for shorter periods if you don’t use regularly, or longer periods if you do.
  • For urine tests, if you don’t use regularly you’ll probably be clear in 4 to 5 days. If you use regularly it can be up to 30 days.
  • For blood tests, THC will be detectable for 1 to 2 days, although this can increase for regular users.
  • Saliva tests aren’t hugely effective for edibles, but it’s better to play it safe and assume it will be detectable for between 1 and 3 days.
  • Hair keeps THC for up to 90 days, so if you have a hair test any time in the near future you will probably test positive.
  • Edibles usually take effect from half an hour to two hours after you take them. In most cases the effects last up to 8 hours, but with higher doses this can be 12 hours or more.

What Are Edibles?

First things first: what is an edible anyway? Edibles are basically edible forms of THC, CBD and other cannabinoids. In short, it’s the most important parts of the cannabis plant made into food. This means that you can get high just by eating a brownie, gummy bear or whatever else the cannabis was cooked into. THC is carried well by fats, so anything with some fat content can be an effective vehicle for it. The most important part if you want to get high is the dosage of THC, because this is the main psychoactive part of the cannabis plant.

Medical marijuana edibles in a package

The major difference between taking an edible and smoking, for instance, is that the edible has to be digested and processed before you start to feel the effects. The effect from smoking is basically instant, while from edibles it can take an hour or two before you start to feel anything. This depends on a lot of different factors – for example, whether you have a full or empty stomach – but this is a good overall timescale to keep in mind.

While most edibles use the same delta-9 THC that gets you high in weed, it’s worth noting that other cannabinoids are also available in edible form. For instance, you can get CBD edibles or some that use delta-8 THC. However, the main active ingredient will always be listed on the packaging.

How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System?

If you’re concerned about taking an edible because you may be drug tested, it’s important to know how long THC stays in your system. The method you used to consume the THC isn’t usually relevant to this point, because no matter how it ends up in your body, it’s basically removed in the same way. So whether you eat an edible or smoke a joint, the result is usually the same (the differences are ordinarily just related to dosage).

THC is stored in your fat cells, which means that it stays in your body for longer than most drugs do. The detection windows depend on what exactly is being tested (e.g. urine, blood, hair or saliva) and how much you use in a more general sense.

Test TypeTHC Detection Window
Urine3-30 days
Blood1-2 days
Saliva1-3 days
HairUp to 90 days

How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your Pee? From 3 Days to Over 30 Days

Urine tests are the most common way to test for THC, and unfortunately the detection window is pretty big. If you’re only an occasional user (up to three times a week) or if it’s your first time trying cannabis, it will be detectable in your urine for 3 days after your most recent dose. If you use four times a week, this increases to 5 to 7 days after your last dose.

If you use daily, THC will be detectable in your urine for between 10 and 15 days. This is quite a long time already, but even this is only for people who use cannabis once a day. If you use multiple times a day, it can reach 30 days or even longer.

Urine sample for marijuana drug test

Think of it like this: the more you use cannabis, the more of it builds up in your fat cells. It reduces at a pretty steady rate, but if you add to it quicker than it can reduce, the amount stored will grow and grow. Whenever you do actually stop, there is a bigger “backlog” for your body to work through and so it remains detectable for much longer.

For all this, it’s worth noting that there is some evidence that consuming edibles may increase these times. One study showed that the metabolite of THC (what your body turns it into and what is detected by tests) was detectable for almost six days after the ingestion of two brownies. This was the most extreme case, though, for more typical results it was around 3 to 5 days.

How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your Blood? Around 1 to 2 Days

Blood tests are the most direct approach to test for THC, and as a result they have a much narrower detection window than urine tests. For this reason, they are generally used in cases where people are looking for recent use of cannabis. Generally, THC will be detectable in blood for 1 to 2 days after use. However – as with urine tests – regular heavy use will increase the amount of time it’s detectable. There have been cases where it’s detectable for up to 25 days.

If you eat an edible once, you can be pretty confident that a blood test will only be able to detect it for a day. Many sources even say that it’s only detectable in blood for a few hours, but this appears to be based on detection times for THC itself (which are much lower). Tests for THC tend to really look for metabolites, and these are detectable in blood for longer. So after an edible you’ll almost certainly be clear after two days, and probably clear after one day, unless you use regularly.

How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your Saliva? From 1 to 3 Days

Cannabinoids are detectable in saliva for 1 to 3 days after smoking, for occasional users. Again, the situation is worse for heavier, regular users, in which case it can be detectable for up to 29 days.

However, the best evidence available for edibles suggests that the situation is a bit more complicated in this case. For example, one study tested less-than-daily users after a single dose of between 5 and 15 mg of THC, and found that their results weren’t very different from people who only took a placebo. For higher doses (20 to 25 mg of THC), the values reached a peak around 1 to 2 hours after the first dose, and then decreased after that.

In short, it’s best to err on the side of caution – take 1 to 3 days as the detection time regardless – but realistically, saliva THC is not the best measure to pick up use of edibles. There’s a chance that after eating, you wouldn’t even test positive. Tests of metabolites would show positive for much longer, but these aren’t usually the focus for saliva testing.  

How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your Hair? Up to 90 Days

Finally, edibles will remain detectable in your hair for around three months. It’s worth noting that authorities generally don’t use hair testing, because urine is easy to test and covers a much more recent time period. Additionally, hair testing isn’t the most effective approach to use in terms of accuracy – in one test, almost half of people who smoked weed under lab conditions had their hair test negative. However, for things like checking abstinence from drugs in clinical trials and similar circumstances, hair tests are fairly common. It’s also becoming more common in general despite these limitations.

The issue for people using cannabis is that it will remain detectable in your hair for some time, even if you’re an occasional user. In fact this is part of the reason it’s used in some cases despite urine testing generally being more specific and reliable.

How Long Does it Take for Edibles to Kick In?

The amount of time it takes an edible to kick in can vary quite a bit, depending on factors such as your metabolism and the type of edible you’ve used. In general, an edible will kick in between 30 minutes and 2 hours after you take it, but not always. Research suggests that hard candies tend to hit faster, between 15 and 45 minutes. For other types of cannabis edible, it can take from 60 minutes up to 3 hours to feel the effects.

Budtender showing cannabis edible to customer

This can cause a bit of a problem when it comes to double-dosing. If you’ve eaten an edible, and say an hour has passed: should you take another one? This can be a huge mistake, as the first often takes effect in the next half hour or so and then the second is still coming. That’s why it’s best to wait at least 2 hours after taking an edible to have another dose.

Really, many sources suggest waiting 3 hours but this doesn’t seem like the most realistic advice. If you’re having edibles with friends you’re unlikely to want to wait around for that long without feeling anything. But at least two hours is very sensible, especially if you stuck with the recommended dosage for your tolerance level.

How Long Does an Edible High Last? Average Time Until Effects Wear Off

The amount of time edibles last depends on many different factors, notably the dosage you take and your level of tolerance. However, as a standard answer, edibles will last around 6 to 8 hours. Depending on the dosage and your tolerance, though, it can last up to 12 hours or even longer. Conversely, if you take a lower dose or have a higher tolerance, you might find the effects only last as little as four hours. In general, the peak of the effects comes about 3 hours after consuming the edible.

As a general guide, the average dosage of edibles is between 10 to 15 mg of THC, with around 5 mg being a lower dose and 20 mg being a higher dose. Generally speaking, if it’s your first time taking edibles and you don’t have much experience with cannabis, it’s better to take a lower dose and have more if necessary.

How to Recover From Edibles: A Brief Guide

If you’ve had too big a dose of edibles, there are a few things you can do to help yourself feel better. Unfortunately, there isn’t really anything you can do to feel less high or speed along the sobering up process, so the best thing to do is manage your mood and expectations. At first, if you’ve taken too much, it can feel quite scary and like things will never be normal again. Of course, you will sober up eventually, so really the main challenge is finding somewhere to ride out the effects.

  • Remember that you’ll likely feel better tomorrow: Firstly, and most importantly, you should remind yourself that unless you’ve taken a huge (as in, way above 100 mg) dose of edibles, you’ll probably be totally fine tomorrow. There are cases of the high lasting longer, but these cases are very rare and involve extreme quantities.  
  • Stay with friends or family, somewhere you feel comfortable: Since there isn’t much you can do to make yourself sober up, the next priority is finding somewhere to ride it out. If you were eating with friends, see if you can stick around with them until you feel better. If not, just stay somewhere with people you know where you feel comfortable.
  • Binge watch your favorite show or put a silly movie on: Once you’re in a comfortable place, the best advice is to put on a show you like or some light and entertaining movie. This gives you something to focus on aside from the fact you’re super high, and improves your mood as a result.

And that’s really it. There are some other suggestions you might want to try – many people swear that chewing black peppercorns really helps, for instance – but overall the main thing to do is find somewhere to ride the experience out. You’ll be fine and the story will probably be pretty funny when it’s all over.

Conclusion

The answer to “how long do edibles stay in your system?” is likely “longer than you would hope,” but unless you’re a regular user, you’ll probably be clear in 4 to 5 days. If you use cannabis regularly, there isn’t much you can do to get it out of your system, and if you have a urine test you’d likely need a month before you’re clear. With saliva and blood tests, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to detect THC in your body after a few days, but if it’s a hair test, it will be detectable for months. This might mean you have to re-think your edibles dose, but if you don’t use regularly, it’s very unlikely you’ll have a surprise drug test before it’s cleared your system.

And as always, if you do partake, remember to start with a low dosage and go slow.

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