It tastes like unicorns.~ Cooked With Cannabis
Marijuana is the most widely used federally illegal substance in the U.S. Marijuana edibles are one common way that people use the drug. About 10% of people who use marijuana products will become addicted. However, this rate jumps to nearly 17% for those under 18 who use marijuana.1
All marijuana edibles will cause a positive drug test, whether you use edibles with CBD or THC. On average, edibles remain in your system for 1-30 days, depending on how much you use.5
Explore what edibles are, the symptoms of a substance use disorder, and how to find relief from edibles addiction.
What Are Edibles?
Edibles are foods and beverages with cannabis in them. Edibles include any combination of marijuana compounds, including THC, CBD, or both.
Edibles come in different forms, including:2
- Baked goods
- Candies or gummies
Doctors use marijuana medically, but it requires a prescription. Patients use medically prescribed marijuana for:2
- Pain management
- Weight loss
- Muscle spasm control
- Childhood epilepsy management
People also use marijuana recreationally to experience a temporary high. Many times, people who start by using marijuana medically will then begin using it recreationally. Most current cannabis use is in the form of edibles.
Researchers have seen a rise in edible use, especially among 12th graders. Adolescents who smoke marijuana is decreasing. Meanwhile, vaping and edibles are increasing, keeping marijuana use steady.3
More than a quarter of those that use edibles say they use them daily.
People prefer edibles because they are discreet, potentially do not have the same risks as smoking cannabis, and people find them more relaxing. However, no significant research exists to prove whether these perceptions are accurate.2
How Long Are Edibles Detectable in Drug Tests?
Marijuana edibles are detectable on most drug tests. However, the amount you take, how often you take them, and your health affect how long you will see a positive test. In addition, edibles with THC will remain in your system much longer than CBD edibles.
Some factors that will impact your detection window include:5
- Body mass
- Activity level
- Edible dosage
- Type of edible
- Length of time you have been using edibles
The following average detection windows will show how long your body will still test positive for marijuana after ingesting edibles.
Urine tests can detect marijuana 1-30 days after taking the edible, depending on the dosage and frequency of using edibles.4
Urine is a common way to perform drug tests because drugs show up in a higher concentration, and there is plenty of urine to use. Urine tests are also well-researched and understood.
Saliva tests can detect the presence of marijuana in the body for up to 24 hours after you take the edible.4
Saliva testing provides a non-evasive alternative to urine testing. Because saliva tests do not require as much privacy, there is a lesser risk of someone altering their results. However, it has the shortest window for detection.
Hair Follicle Testing
Hair follicle tests detect the presence of marijuana up to 90 days after you use an edible.4
Hair testing has the longest window of opportunity and provides an idea of someone’s long-term use of edibles.
Sweat tests can detect marijuana in someone’s system 7-14 days after they use edibles.4
Sweat testing is straightforward and allows someone to detect recent marijuana use. However, it is not as reliable as other methods because outside contaminants can easily impact sweat. For example, someone might come into contact with someone who used edibles.
If you are concerned about taking a drug test, contact our caring team at California Behavioral Health. We understand substance use and can help you find a drug-free future.
How Long Does It Take Your Body to Metabolize Edibles?
Most of the THC from edibles goes directly into your bloodstream after you consume them. Meanwhile, your body stores a small amount in your organs and fatty tissue.
Your body excretes THC through urine and stool.5 However, the time it takes to excrete depends on how much THC is in the body and how efficiently your body excretes toxins. Health issues like poor kidney function will cause THC to last longer in your body.
Can Other Substances Cause a False Positive for Edibles?
Several non-cannabinoid substances can cause a false positive on your drug test. Here are a few of the most well-known substances to be aware of:6
- Baby wash
Ibuprofen and naproxen are anti-inflammatory medications, while efavirenz treats human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Baby washing can cause a false positive in infants. However, it is unlikely to cause a false positive in adults.
How Long Do the Effects of Edibles Last?
When you use edibles, your body absorbs the marijuana more slowly than those that smoke or inject it. On average, people feel the effects of the edibles within 30 minutes to an hour.7
The type of edible impacts how fast someone feels the effects. For example, people do not swallow lozenges, gum, and lollipops. Instead, they keep them in their mouth. This gives time for the mucus membranes to absorb the drug, called sublingual absorption. This results in a faster high.
On the other hand, chewable edibles do not spend much time in the mouth. Instead, the body absorbs the drug during digestion. From the digestive system, the drug moves through the bloodstream to the liver, then back to the bloodstream. Afterward, it reaches the brain, where the person using the drug will feel its impact.7
Because edibles take longer for people to feel a high compared to other methods like smoking, people will often take multiple edibles together. They hope to achieve a high faster. However, taking many edibles at once also puts them at risk of adverse effects, including addiction.
The safest way to take edibles is to wait 24 hours before taking another dose rather than taking multiple edibles at once.
Even though edibles take longer to kick in, the high also lasts longer. On average, a high from edibles lasts around six to eight hours. The peak blood levels for edibles with THC are at three hours.7
What Are the Effects of Edibles?
Edibles cause multiple negative effects when you use them regularly. Watch out for these signs and symptoms and seek medical care right away if you are concerned for your safety or long-term health.
While someone is on an edible high, here are some short-term effects they may experience:7
- Altered senses, like seeing brighter colors
- Detached sense of time
- Mood changes
- Difficulty moving
- Impaired cognitive functions (like poor problem-solving skills)
- Poor memory
The last two effects occur only with higher doses of marijuana edibles.
When someone continues to take edibles, they may also start experiencing some of these long-term effects, including:7
- Poor brain development
- Poor memory and brain functions
- Nausea and vomiting
- Child development issues during pregnancy
Those that regularly use edibles also tend to have higher rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Although, there is limited research on how the two are connected and which potentially causes the other.
Signs of an Edibles Addiction
Are you at risk of substance use disorder? Use the following criteria to self-assess your edible use. Then compare it to this chart for your risk of substance use disorder:
- If you answer yes to two or three symptoms, you may have mild substance use disorder
- If you answer yes to four or five symptoms, you may have moderate substance use disorder
- If you answer yes to six or more symptoms, you may have severe substance use disorder
This self-assessment does not replace a doctor’s diagnosis. Instead, it is to help you realize whether you are at risk of substance use disorder and need to seek help. California Behavioral Health is here to support anyone with concerns about substance use.
- Taking more edibles than you intended
- Feeling the desire to stop using edibles but are unable to stop
- Spending considerable time buying, using, or recovering from edibles
- Craving edibles
- Unable to complete work, school, or personal obligations because of edible use
- Continuing to use edibles even though it negatively impacts your social life
- Participating less in social and recreational activities because of using edibles
- Using edibles even if it is not safe
- Using edibles even though you know it will cause physical or mental problems
- Tolerance: Needing to use more edibles to experience the same effects
- Feeling withdrawal symptoms when not using edibles
How long do edibles stay in your system?
On average, edibles stay in your system for 1-30 days, depending on how much you take.
Are edibles better for you than smoking?
Edibles reduce adverse effects related to burning plants and inhaling smoke. However, edibles have their risks. Most notably, people find it easier to overuse edibles since the effects take longer to kick in.
How can you metabolize edibles faster?
You do not have reliable options for speeding up how your body processes edibles. Having a healthy lifestyle, staying active, and staying hydrated can help a little, but not noticeably.5
Find Help for Your Edible Use Disorder
If you are concerned about your edible use, contact California Behavioral Health. Our caring team of treatment support specialists will guide you through a personalized treatment plan. In the end, you will find long-term freedom from the negative impact of substance use disorder.
The path is difficult, so we surround you with support and resources for successful substance use disorder treatment.
Freedom from substance use disorder is possible. It just starts with one phone call.
Contact our treatment support specialists and begin your journey today.
1. SAMHSA. (2022 Sep. 27). Learn about Marijuana Risks.
2. Barrus DG, Capogrossi KL, Cates SC, Gourdet CK, Peiper NC, Novak SP, Lefever TW, Wiley JL. (2016 Nov). Tasty THC: Promises and Challenges of Cannabis Edibles.
3. NIDA. 2020, April 6. Marijuana vaping and edible use increasing among high school seniors.
4. Hadland SE, Levy S. (2016 Jul). Objective Testing: Urine and Other Drug Tests.NIH.
5. Vandergriendt, Carly, Peckham, Alyssa PharmD BCPP. (2022 June 20). How Long Does Weed (Cannabis/Pot) Stay in Your System? Healthline.
6. Algren DA, Christian MR. (2015 May). Buyer Beware: Pitfalls in Toxicology Laboratory Testing. NIH.
7. NIDA. (2019, December 24). Cannabis (Marijuana) DrugFacts. NIH.
8. Vandergriendt Carly, Carter Alan Pharm.D. (2019 Au. 9). How Long Do Edibles Take to Kick In? Healthline.
9. McNeely J, Adam A. (2020 Oct). Substance Use Screening and Risk Assessment in Adults. NIH.