Marijuana edibles are sweet treats or baked food items that have been infused with marijuana. The effects of edibles are similar to those of smoking marijuana, but the effects take up to 1-2 hours to appear and last up to six.

This article will discuss how long edibles stay in your system. You will learn:

  • How edibles work
  • The process through which the body metabolizes THC
  • How long marijuana edibles show up on drug tests
  • How to detox from THC

How Edibles Work

More than 22% of Americans have tried marijuana edibles, and in states where marijuana is legal, more than half of people who use cannabis consume it in edible form.

Edibles are ingested via the mouth where the saliva begins breaking the food down. Once swallowed, it moves to the stomach where gastric juices and enzymes further break it down.

Next, the edibles leave the stomach, entering the small intestine where the majority of THC absorption occurs. Cannabinoids are absorbed by the walls of the intestine and into the bloodstream.

After entering your bloodstream, the cannabinoids enter the liver and undergo first-pass metabolism, a process during which THC is converted to 11-hydroxy-THC, a more potent form of THC. This metabolite is what produces the intense and long-lasting effects of marijuana.

The metabolites then leave the liver and are distributed throughout the body to bind to the body’s natural cannabinoid receptors. People feel the effects anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours after consumption and can last 4-6 hours. Some people experience residual effects of taking an edible for up to 12 hours.

Digestion takes time, and several factors including what a person has eaten that day and what medications they are taking can influence how quickly effects appear and how long they last. However, edibles produce a much longer-lasting high than inhaling marijuana does. Smoking or vaping marijuana produces effects within minutes and they begin to wear off after 1-2 hours.

The psychoactive effects of marijuana edibles include:

  • Relaxation
  • Calmness
  • Euphoria
  • Increased appetite
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Laughter
  • Tiredness
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Short-term memory impairment
  • Difficulty concentrating

The intensity of these side effects depends on the amount taken and the individual’s tolerance level. Those who have a low tolerance and take a high dose are more susceptible to adverse side effects such as anxiety and paranoia.

Factors that Affect How Long Edibles Stay in Your System

Marijuana edibles affect everyone differently. Numerous factors can influence how long THC stays in your system, including:

  • The dose taken
  • Frequency of use
  • Duration of regular use
  • Age, weight, and gender
  • Metabolism
  • Co-occurring health conditions
  • Overall health

Generally, people who have been using cannabis at higher doses, more frequently, and for longer periods of time have a build-up of THC in their system, causing them to test positive for it on drug tests for longer. Additionally, since THC is stored in fat cells, people with a higher body weight may have THC stay in their system longer than someone with a lower BMI.

How Long Do Edibles Show Up on a Drug Test?

Drug tests look for THC to determine whether or not you’ve recently used marijuana. Traces of THC can remain in the body for several days, sometimes weeks, after the effects of the edible wear off.

Drug testing detection times for edibles vary based not only on the factors listed above but also on the drug test type. The following are estimated THC detection times for each type of drug test.

  • Urine – 7-30 days depending on dosage and frequency of use. Someone who uses marijuana once may clear it from their system in seven days or less, but frequent users can test positive for around 30 days.
  • Blood – 1-2 days.
  • Saliva – 1-2 days.
  • Hair – Up to 90 days.

The most commonly used type of drug test is a urinalysis. They are affordable, accessible, minimally invasive, and accurate. Employers and medical professionals may use urine tests for pre-employment screenings or health reasons. THC can show up in a urine test just hours after taking the edible.

Blood tests, on the other hand, are only performed in medical settings to confirm intoxication. THC can only be detected in blood for 24-48 hours after the last use. In heavy users, blood tests may detect traces of THC for up to seven days. The highest levels of THC in the blood occur between 1-3 hours after taking the edible.

Similar to blood tests, a saliva test also has a short detection time, often only detecting THC levels for 24 hours after the last use.

Hair tests, although expensive, are becoming a more common method of drug testing due to their long detection window. These tests look for trace amounts of THC in the hair follicle. A hair test can detect recent use of marijuana and other substances for up to three months.

Safe and Effective THC Detox

While over-the-counter teas and detox drinks may claim to help flush cannabis products from your system, the only way to detox from marijuana is to give it time to leave your body. Unfortunately, marijuana stays in the body for a long time, and in heavy users, withdrawal symptoms may appear upon quitting.

Symptoms of marijuana withdrawal include:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Vivid dreams
  • Headaches
  • Inability to focus
  • Drug cravings
  • Cold sweats
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain

Marijuana withdrawal is not life-threatening and does not always require medical supervision. However, those who are addicted to marijuana may find it impossible to stay sober due to the unpleasant nature of their symptoms. As a result, it is sometimes best to detox at an addiction treatment center where there is extensive support available.

Some ways to cope with the process of detoxing from marijuana include:

  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Avoid consuming any more edibles or other cannabis products
  • Distract yourself with a healthy activity or hobby
  • Ask for support from friends or therapists

Withdrawal symptoms can last up to two weeks, with some lingering symptoms lasting for up to a month. Making positive lifestyle changes, participating in therapy, and taking the suggestions of an addiction treatment center can help you stay on the right path.

Find Help for Marijuana Abuse

Edibles are a popular alternative to smoking cannabis since the effects are stronger and last longer. However, this also means they can stay in your body for a longer amount of time, increasing the risk of adverse side effects, legal implications, and more. As a result, it’s best to use caution when using any type of marijuana product.

If you or a loved one are struggling with cannabis use disorder, please know that help is available. First Step Behavioral Health is a licensed dual-diagnosis long-term addiction treatment facility that is accredited by the Joint Commission. We focus on the physiological rebalancing of the individual through medical, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual care.

To learn more about our treatment programs or get started with a confidential, risk-free assessment, please contact us today.


  1. New York University: Fruit snack or edible? Study finds some cannabis products look like popular snacks
  2. Research Gate: Chemistry, Metabolism, and Toxicology of Cannabis: Clinical Implications
  3. JAMA Network: Assessment of Orally Administered Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol When Coadministered With Cannabidiol on Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Clinical Trial
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Know the Risks of Marijuana
  5. National Institute of Health (NIH): Objective Testing–Urine and Other Drug Tests
  6. The Permanente Journal: Mechanisms of Action and Pharmacokinetics of Cannabis
  7. National Institute of Health (NIH): Cannabis use and the development of tolerance: a systematic review of human evidence

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