The effects of marijuana, or the high it produces, tend to fade quickly, but the drug itself can remain in the body for weeks and sometimes long after it’s ingested. The length of time it takes for weed to be broken down and eliminated from the body ranges from a few hours to 90 days, depending on the dose and the area of the body that’s being tested. But how long do edibles stay in your system? How are these substances different?
What Are Edibles?
Edibles refer to food products that have been infused with marijuana or cannabis.
Common types of marijuana edibles include:
- Baked goods (most commonly brownies)
- Lozenges (cough drops)
Edibles can be homemade or prepared commercially. When made at home, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – is extracted into oil or butter so it can be cooked easily into food.
Although smoking is the most popular way to use weed, the ingestion of edibles is quickly gaining popularity. However, despite the simplicity of eating marijuana-infused food, users are often unaware of the products’ true ingredients, often which are laced with other more harmful substances like fentanyl.
How Long Does It Take for Edibles to Kick In?
The onset of marijuana side effects varies from person to person. Some people may feel euphoric and relaxed after consuming marijuana, while others may feel paranoid and anxious.
The chemical in marijuana that makes you feel “high” is tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC or delta-9 THC to 11-hydroxy THC. It enters the bloodstream directly when it’s smoked but takes a bit longer to enter the blood when it’s ingested.
When it comes to using weed edibles, there’s no way to measure how much THC you’re actually ingesting, which increases the risk of overdose. Edibles can also make a lasting impact if mixed with other drugs or alcohol, which is often the case among many users, especially in social settings.
Additionally, it can take 30 minutes to two hours for edibles to kick in, making it easy to consume large doses without feeling the full effects until later and also making overdose a serious concern. These effects may vary depending on the strain of marijuana used, the method of consumption, and the amount that was ingested.
Common side effects of marijuana edibles include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Psychotic episodes
- Respiratory depression or trouble breathing
- Heart problems
- Isssues with thinking, memory, concentration, and problem-solving
- Impaired judgment
- Loss of coordination
- Increased heart rate
- Increased appetite (“munchies”)
- Bloodshot eyes
- Dry mouth
The immediate effects of marijuana can last for one to two hours, with some lingering side effects lasting up to 24 hours. The duration of marijuana effects depends greatly on the strain, as well.
For instance, citrus terpene profiles or strands of marijuana tend to be more stimulating, which may be the desired effect or may contribute to someone feeling anxious. Research also shows that heart problems are more common in eating edibles than smoking marijuana.
One study found that 8% of emergency room visitors who consumed edibles had heart-related symptoms like irregular heart rate compared to 3% of weed smokers who visited the ER.1 Not all marijuana products are the same and can vary considerably in quality, makeup, and THC dosage.
How Long Do Weed Edibles Stay In Your System?
When a person consumes edibles, it takes longer for the effects to kick in because it has to go through the digestive system and be absorbed into the bloodstream. Unlike edibles, weed that’s smoked is almost immediately absorbed into the bloodstream. This difference in consumption also affects how long edibles stay in your system.
When a person consumes edibles, it’s processed through the digestive system. As it’s digested, cannabis makes its way into the liver.
There, the body converts delta-9 THC to 11-hydroxy THC, creating a psychoactive effect more intense than that produced when marijuana is smoked. Because it has to be digested, there’s a delay of up to two hours between consumption and feeling high, which is why most users prefer to smoke weed versus eating edibles. However, Certain edibles, such as baked goods and chocolates, may cause THC to reach the bloodstream more quickly because they “melt” in your mouth and are more easily digested.
How long edibles stay in your system depends on a variety of factors, including marijuana’s half-life. The half-life of marijuana varies, usually ranging from three to 12 days. The exact half-life of weed depends on the strain, the quantity consumed, and the person’s tolerance.
Because it takes longer for marijuana metabolites to be processed, they stay in the body longer than inhaled THC. For people who smoke weed, THC levels drop as soon as the high wears off.
When eaten or consumed, it can take about a day for THC levels in the body to drop. Depending on how much was consumed, generally speaking, edibles stay in your system anywhere from a few hours to 90 days.
Do Edibles Show Up in Drug Tests?
Yes, edibles do show up on drug tests along with other THC-containing products. Additionally, because when THC is ingested, it is processed differently, it may actually last longer in the body than weed that’s been smoked.
Below are some detection times of drug tests for edibles:
- Blood: THC from edibles can be detected for 3 to 4 days in blood
- Saliva: Edibles can be detected in saliva for 1 to 3 days
- Urine: THC from edibles can be detected in a urine sample for 3 to 30 days, depending on the quantity consumed
- Hair: Like most drugs, edibles can be detected in hair follicles for up to 90 days
Are Edibles Illegal?
Depending on the jurisdiction and the particular laws of a state governing cannabis or marijuana, edibles may or may not be legal. THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, is present in some foods, which may be permitted for medical or recreational use in other jurisdictions. In some places, the consumption of edibles is prohibited due to concerns about public health and safety. Authorities may contend that due to edibles' resemblance to common food items, they can be appealing to children and cause abuse or accidental intake. A person who consumes edibles in excess also runs the danger of experiencing negative side effects or poor judgment due to the delayed and powerful effects. Because of this, some governments decide to forbid or strictly control the manufacture, sale, and use of edibles containing THC.
It's important to keep in mind that if attitudes and laws surrounding cannabis continue to change, so may the legal status of edibles. Some governments have legalized or decriminalized edibles and other forms of cannabis use as a result of their recognition of the potential economic advantages and medical applications of cannabis. Still, federal cannabis legalization has not occurred, meaning it is up to the jurisdiction of the state.
It's vital to review the local laws, as they might vary significantly, to find out whether edibles are legally permitted to be bought, sold, or consumed in your area and whether there are any restrictions.
What Happens if You Get Caught With Edibles Illegally?
Depending on the area, the particular repercussions for being caught with illegal edibles can differ greatly. THC-containing edibles may be deemed a misdemeanor infraction in some jurisdictions, punishable by fines, probation, or community service. These punishments are frequently the same as those imposed for marijuana possession in other forms, such as dried flowers or concentrates.
However, the penalties may be harsher in places with tougher drug laws or where using edibles is seen as a more serious crime. People may be charged with felonies, which carries the risk of a prison sentence, higher fines, and extended probation. The number of edibles in your possession, your intent to distribute, and even your past criminal history might have an impact on how harsh of a punishment you receive.
It's also vital to remember that different jurisdictions may impose different laws on edibles. While some areas focus more on personal possession, others may prioritize enforcing laws against the manufacturing and distribution of weed edibles. Additionally, depending on the specifics of each case, law enforcement authorities and prosecutors may have discretion in deciding the charges and punishments.
Finding Professional Help for Addiction
Overuse of cannabis products can lead to a variety of problems, including lung disease, short-term memory loss, slurred speech, hypotension, rapid breathing, anxiety, paranoia, muscle contractions, and more. Moreover, THC also has a potential for dependence and addiction, which can lead to more serious problems in a person’s social life, relationships, and ability to perform at work or school.
In addition to these risks, marijuana-related products are often laced with other drugs, more recently fentanyl. These additional substances can intensify the effects of marijuana and produce other negative reactions.
Even though THC isn’t addictive in the same way that cocaine or meth is, it is possible to become physically and emotionally dependent. Additionally, one form of drug use often encourages other forms of drug use and can expose people to individuals who might introduce them to other substances.
If you or someone you care about has a drug or alcohol problem, our Palm Springs rehab is here to help. In addition to medically monitored treatment at our California detox center, we offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment options to ensure that patients with all severities of addiction get the help they need to achieve sobriety.
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