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How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System?

For drug testing, traces of THC remain in the body for as long as 90 days following the moment an edible is taken.

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The effects of marijuana edibles begin within the first hour or so after consumption. They may be felt for up to eight hours.

The Timeline of Cannabis Edibles 

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While many people smoke cannabis and are accustomed to feeling the effects of the drug right away, taking a marijuana edible is a longer, more drawn-out process.

First, you will begin to feel the effects of an edible from 30 to 60 minutes after taking it. The highest levels of THC in your blood are recorded between 1 to 3 hours after ingesting a marijuana edible.

The effects of edibles generally last from 6 to 8 hours, but this number can vary depending on a variety of factors.

When Will You Feel the Impact of Edibles?

After you take oral cannabis, the drug travels to the liver. The active ingredient (THC) in marijuana is processed into the chemical 11-OH-THC, which is psychoactive. That means the liver must process the drug—at least a little bit—until you begin to feel high.

Your mind can play tricks on you. For example, in a study of 20 people, researchers told the participants they were taking cannabis products with a high level of THC. Instead, every person got a sugary snack. Most people reported at least some intoxication, even though they took no drugs at all.

However, if you take an active dose of edibles, expect to feel the impact within about 30 and 60 minutes.

Factors That Affect the Timeline

While some generalizations can be made, it is important to note that a multitude of factors may affect how long edibles stay in your system. How many milligrams of THC you consume is an important factor, but even with that benchmark, every individual is different.

Your height, age, and weight, as well as how often you ingest marijuana and if you have built up a tolerance, can all impact how long you feel the effects of an edible.

In addition to taking longer to kick in, edibles also remain in your system for a longer period of time when compared to marijuana that is smoked or inhaled.

Because the effects of marijuana edibles take longer to kick in, some people may be inclined to take a second dose after the first one. Given that the peak effects of edibles can take hours to reach, it is unwise to take another dose after your first, as you still may not be experiencing peak effects.

How Long Does THC From Edibles Remain in Your Body?

Traces of THC from edibles can remain in your body for far longer than the effects of a marijuana edible last. In fact, traces of THC can remain in your body for 90 days.

Different types of drug tests are used to detect the presence of cannabis in the body. Each type of test can detect the presence of THC for varying amounts of time. The estimates listed below come from a drug testing company:

  • Saliva: A saliva test can pick up traces of cannabis for about 24 hours after marijuana is used.
  • Urine: Urine tests, which are one of the most common forms of drug testing, can detect cannabis remnants in the body for up to three days in occasional users and up to six weeks in heavy users.
  • Hair: THC remains in the hair for far longer than any other part of the body. As a result, it is detectable for a longer period of time in hair follicle tests. THC can be detected up to 90 days after an edible is last ingested via this type of drug test.
  • Blood: Traces of marijuana can be found in the blood for up to seven days after the last use.

What About Drug Tolerance?

Drug tolerance is typically defined as the need to take bigger doses of drugs to get the results that a smaller dose once delivered. In 2018, researchers examined all published studies on the topic and found that the acute effects of a single dose are less prominent in those who use the drug regularly. In other words, repeat users can (and do) develop tolerance.

Drug tolerance matters because people who are tolerant often need to take more of the drug more frequently to get high. Researchers say that long-time, regular users need longer to process all of the marijuana out of their systems. Excess marijuana is stored in fat cells, and it can get redistributed into the bloodstream in time. While marijuana half-life in irregular users is 1.3 days, it’s between five and 13 days for frequent users.

Updated April 11, 2024
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