How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System?

Illustration of duration of CBD edibles in our body
Written by Nina Julia | Last updated: December 3, 2022

Wondering if that pot brownie you ate a few days ago will give you a positive result on a THC drug test?

In this article, we explain how long edibles stay in your system. We’ll cover different types of edibles, the time their metabolites will stay in your blood, urine, and hair — and provide handy tips on what to do if you go overboard with your cookies or gummies.

The time your body needs to flush THC depends on your metabolism, frequency of use, and the strength of your edibles.

Here we break down the subject bit by bit.

Below you’ll find the most important highlights when it comes to the time edibles stay in your system.

How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System: Highlights

  • Edibles won’t last long in your system if you’re an occasional user.
  • You can pass a urine drug test within 4-5 days if you use cannabis recreationally. Regular users should abstain from weed for 30 days.
  • Blood tests are able to detect THC in blood for 1–2 days, although this number can be higher for heavy users.
  • Saliva tests aren’t effective for edibles, but you shouldn’t eat anything weed-infused between 1 and 3 days from your travels.
  • Hair can show traces of THC use for up to 90 days, so if you have a hair follicle test anytime in the near future, it will probably give you a positive result.
  • Edibles usually take longer to kick in — between 30 minutes and 2 hours — and last up to 8 hours, with higher doses being able to linger for 12 hours or more.

What Are Edibles?

Image of Gummies

Edibles are referred to as edible forms of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. In other words, it’s the most important part of cannabis-infused food.

This means you don’t need to smoke or even vape the herb — you can get experience the psychoactive effects just by eating a gummy bear, browny, cookie, or whatever else the cannabinoids were infused into.

THC binds well to fats, so anything high-fat can be an effective carrier for it. The higher the content of saturated fats in your infusion base, the better.

The primary difference between taking an edible and smoking is that the edible needs to pass through the digestive system, so you may need to wait between 40 minutes and 2 hours (depending on your metabolism and whether you ate on a full or empty stomach) until you feel anything.

While most edibles come infused with delta-9 THC that gets you high, some use different cannabinoids, such as CBD, to deliver the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the buzz.

The main active ingredient will always be shown on the label.

How Long Does an Edible Stay In Your System?

If you’re wondering how long edibles stay in your system because you’re about to be drug tested, this section covers everything you need to know.

The way you consume THC isn’t actually important, because no matter how you deliver it to your body, it’s basically metabolized in the same way.

So whether you take an edible or vape resin, the result is usually the same.

THC binds to your fat cells and is stored there, so it stays in your body longer than most drugs do. The window for detection depends on what part of the body is being tested and how much you use on a general basis.

Here’s a short breakdown:

Test Type When Is THC Detected?
Urine 3-30 days
Blood 1-2 days
Saliva 1-3 days
Hair Up to 90 days

Edibles in Urine (3–30 Days)

Urine tests are the most popular way of drug screening, and unfortunately, there’s a pretty big detection window for them. If you’re an occasional user (no more than three times a week) or if it’s your first time with cannabis, THC will be detectable in your urine for 3 days after your most recent intake. If you use 4-5 times a week, the traces of THC will linger for 5-7 days after your last dose.

If you’re a daily user, THC from edibles will stay in your system for between 10 and 15 days.

Again, this detection window can extend if you use cannabis heavily, e.g. multiple times a day. If that’s you, THC will stay in your system for 30 days or even longer.

It’s simple: the more you use cannabis, the more it accumulates in your fat cells. It metabolizes at a steady pace, but if you consume more than your body can reduce, the amount stored will continuously increase.

Some studies even suggest that edibles may increase the time THC stays in your system. In one study, the researchers showed that the metabolite of THC was detectable for up to 6 days after eating two brownies (1). However, this was the most extreme case. The typical duration of THC was around 3-5 days.

Edibles in Blood (1–2 Days)

Blood tests have a much narrower detection window than urine tests because they use the most direct approach to test for THC.

Because of that, they’re typically used when people are looking for recent use of cannabis. THC will stay in the blood for 1 to 2 days after use. However, similar to urine tests, regular or heavy users will show traces of THC for up to 25 days.

If you eat an edible just once, you can rest assured that a blood test will only be able to spot it for a day. Many sources claim it’s only detectable in blood for a few hours, but these results apply to the detection time of delta 8 and all the other types of THC. Its metabolites will linger in the blood for longer.

Still, you should be clear after two days after an edible.

Edibles in Saliva (1–3 Days)

Saliva can show traces of THC use for up to 3 days after smoking when it comes to occasional users.

Again, the situation gets worse for heavy users, in which case the saliva test may be able to detect THC for up to 29 days.

However, current evidence shows that edibles may complicate things (2).

For example, one study tested occasional users after a single dose of between 5 and 15 mg THC and found their results differed from people who only took a placebo. Higher doses — 20 to 25 mg of THC — reached their peak around 1 to 2 hours after the first application, and then dropped after that.

To wrap it up, it’s best to play on the safe side and take 1–3 days as the detection window regardless. However, saliva tests aren’t the best way to detect the use of edibles. There’s a chance that you won’t test positive after eating. Testing for metabolites would provide more accurate results, but these aren’t usually prioritized with saliva testing.

Edibles in Hair (Up to 90 Days)

THC from edibles will stay in your hair for around three months until your system flushes it. That being said, authorities rarely use this kind of test because urine is easier to examine and indicates a more recent time period.

Despite its ability to detect THC in the system for up to 90 days, hair testing isn’t the most accurate approach. In one study, almost 50% of people who smoked weed in laboratory conditions had their hair test negative (3).

Hair follicle tests are more common for testing abstinence from drugs in clinical trials and similar environments.

The problem with cannabis in hair is that THC remains detectable even if you’re an occasional user.

How Long Does it Take for Edibles to Kick in?

Image of Cannabis cookies and flower

As mentioned earlier, the time edibles need to kick in can vary between individuals. It depends on factors such as the type of edible, its strength, your metabolism, and whether you took that edible on a full or empty stomach.

Usually, the effects should take hold in 30 minutes, but the delay can extend to 2 hours after you take it.

Hard candies and gummies tend to hit faster, between 15 and 45 minutes. That’s because you suck some of their content when chewing them.

Other types of edibles, such as cookies or brownies, can take from 40 minutes to 2 hours to feel the effects.

Here you should be extra cautious.

Why?

Because some people tend to take a second dose when they don’t feel the effects of the first one yet. What happens next is that these two doses overlap and, at some point, will accumulate in your bloodstream — intensifying the effects.

If you take weed edibles, you may get paranoid, anxious, and confused for a few hours, not to mention racing heart and general discomfort.

CBD edibles will leave you drowsy and tired if you take too many, so while anxiety and paranoia aren’t an option, you may find it difficult to focus throughout their duration.

Wait for about 6 hours after your first dose to fully evaluate how long CBD lasts in your system. You can take another edible or a stronger dose the next day to see how your body responds.

How Long Does an Edible High Last?

The effects of edibles last around 6 to 8 hours, but the ultimate duration depends on different individual factors, mainly the dosage and your tolerance to THC.

If you take a large dose, the effects can linger for up to 12 hours or even longer. On the other hand, users with higher tolerance or those taking lower doses might find the effects lasting as little as 4 hours.

The peak of the effects is reached about 3 hours after eating the edible.

Here’s a general dosage guide for beginners.

  • 5 mg – low dose
  • 10–15 mg – moderate dose
  • 20+ mg – high dose

If this is your first time taking edibles and you’re not experienced with cannabis in general, it’s better to take a 5 mg dose and then try 10–15 mg the day after if you don’t feel anything.

Can You Overdose on Edibles and Treatment

Man having a headache from too much edibles

Whether you tried to test your limits or somebody just gave you a 50 mg edible without informing you about its potency, an overdose can happen.

But it’s normal — and not dangerous to your life.

When you have too big a dose of edibles, you can do several things to help yourself feel better.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to instantly reduce the high or speed up the sobering process.

If you’ve taken too much, it can feel scary; you may experience anxiety, paranoia, racing heart, and a drop in blood sugar — which may cause you to feel weak.

Here are the best practices for coming off of the buzz:

  • Remember that nothing wrong is happening to you physically. First and foremost, remind yourself that you’re going to be well the next day. That is, of course, unless you’ve taken a huge dose (e.g. over 100 mg). We’ve read stories of people being high on edibles for 48 hours, but such scenarios are extremely rare and involve gigantic quantities.
  • Seek comfort with friends and find a safe place to calm down. Since your options for sobering up are limited, you can find a place to ride it out. Talk to your friends and ask them if they’ve ever had a similar experience. They can calm you down and take you to a place where you know you feel comfortable. Stick around those people until you feel better. If nothing else helps, try to take a nap and sleep it out.
  • Have a hearty meal. Food will still taste like heaven, so if you feel uncomfortable after taking a large dose of THC, indulge in your favorite meal. Doing so will slow down the metabolism of THC, reducing the intensity of your high. The effects will last longer, but they won’t be as edgy as if you didn’t eat anything afterward.

You can try other tricks, such as chewing a few black peppercorns, which will release a calming terpene beta-caryophyllene. Nevertheless, the best practice is to wait until the high wears off. You’ll be fine and have one more funny story to share with your friends.

Final Verdict: How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System?

To sum up, edibles stay in your system longer than you would hope, but unless you’re a heavy user, you should be clear in 5 days.

Regular cannabis users don’t have many options for flushing THC out of their system, so if you know of an upcoming drug test, it’s best to abstain from edibles — and cannabis in general — so that you don’t fall into the detection window.

If you use cannabis multiple times a day and have a urine test soon, you’d likely need 30 days or more before you’re clear. A blood and saliva test shouldn’t be able to detect traces of THC in your body after a few days, but if it’s a hair follicle test, its metabolites may show up for 90 days since your last use.

Regardless of the time edibles stay in your system, always be responsible and start with a low dosage — slowly increasing the amount of THC up to the sweet spot.

Sources:

  1. Cone, E. J., Johnson, R. E., Paul, B. D., Mell, L. D., & Mitchell, J. (1988). Marijuana-laced brownies: behavioral effects, physiologic effects, and urinalysis in humans following ingestion. Journal of analytical toxicology, 12(4), 169–175. [1]
  2. Lee, D., & Huestis, M. A. (2014). Current knowledge on cannabinoids in oral fluid. Drug testing and analysis, 6(1-2), 88–111. [2]
  3. Gryczynski, J., Schwartz, R. P., Mitchell, S. G., O’Grady, K. E., & Ondersma, S. J. (2014). Hair drug testing results and self-reported drug use among primary care patients with moderate-risk illicit drug use. Drug and alcohol dependence, 141, 44–50. [3]

Related: Do Edibles Go Bad?

Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.

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