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How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System for Drug Tests?

Consuming cannabis edibles like baked goods and candy can provide an enjoyable high. However, even once the psychoactive effects wear off, traces of cannabis compounds can remain in your body for days or weeks afterwards. This raises an important question for many users: how long do edibles stay in your system?

Below we provide a detailed look at how edibles work, how long they remain detectable in drug tests, and key factors that influence how long cannabis stays in your body after eating edibles.

Chris Dorcey
Inheal Editor
Post updated

January 23, 2024

Time to read
6 mins 17 secs
Edibles drug tests

Key Takeaways

  • Edibles can cause you to fail drug tests for cannabis for 1-3 months after consumption. Factors like dosage, metabolism and frequency of use all influence how long cannabis stays in your system.

  • Urine tests are most common and can detect cannabis for 1-30 days on average, sometimes longer with heavy frequent use.

  • Staying hydrated, exercising, and avoiding heavy frequent edible use can help speed up elimination of cannabis from your body.

  • Hair follicle tests are the most sensitive, detecting cannabis up to 90 days after eating edibles. But they are rarely used due to high costs.

  • While psychoactive effects wear off in 6-12 hours, THC metabolites can be stored in the body for weeks or months afterwards, slowly being released from fat cells over time.

What Are Edibles and How Do They Work?

Edibles refer to any food infused with cannabis, such as:

  • Baked goods like brownies, cookies, cakes
  • Candies like gummies, chocolates, lozenges
  • Beverages like soda, tea, coffee
  • Tinctures and capsules

To make edibles psychoactive, cannabis plants have to be properly processed and decarboxylated first. This converts non-psychoactive compounds like THCA into psychoactive THC.

While many continue to smoke marijuana, consuming edibles has gotten more popular in recent times.

How Long Does it Take for Edibles to Produce a Noticeable Effect?

People who smoke marijuana experience an instantaneous high. With cannabis products like baked goods, things are a little bit different. While experiences tend to vary from individual to individual, there is no denying that the onset time for those who eat an edible takes longer than when people smoke marijuana.

In similar fashion, the exact psychoactive effects produced by consuming edibles tend to vary based on the particular strain of THC in edibles consumed, and the unique biological makeup of the individual in question.

For instance, while some feel restless or panic stricken up to 24 hours after consuming edibles, others may feel more relaxed and focused. The same goes for smoke or vape.

Unlike smoking or vaping cannabis, eating edibles causes THC and other cannabinoids to be processed through the digestive system. This changes the effects compared to inhalation:

  • Onset takes 30 min to 2 hours, rather than being instant.
  • It produces stronger, longer lasting effects due to conversion of THC into 11-hydroxy-THC.
  • Effects last 6-12 hours compared to 1-3 hours from smoking.

Because edibles must be digested, THC also stays in your system longer than with smoking or vaping.

Edibles stay in system

What Happens After You Consume an Edible?

When marijuana is introduced into the body system through vaping or smoking, it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. When ingested through an edible like baked goods and  gummies, however, it has to undergo a process in the digestive system particularly in the liver and other bodily organs.

The process, of course, takes more than 24 hours during which it will stay in your system. 

This is why sometimes, the side effects of edibles take between thirty minutes to a couple of hours before they are felt.

Once cannabis edibles are processed in the digestive system, the delta-9 THC in edibles is broken down into 11-hydroxy THC. This digestive system conversion does not happen during smoking or vaping, and that is why the effects of edible consumption usually stay in your system longer and are often stronger than that of smoking.

Do Edibles Show Up in Drug Tests?

Yes, consuming edibles can cause you to fail a drug test for 1-3 months afterwards. THC and its metabolites are fat soluble, allowing them to be stored in fat cells and organs like the liver.

In fact, it has been proven that consuming edibles does require longer time for processing in the bloodstream, and as such the THC tends to stay longer as well. Some can even stay as long as 30 days or more than 30 days.

As we’ll see below, an important factor to detect THC during a drug test is the kind of test in question.

> Learn more on Does THCA show up on drug tests?

Key Factors That Influence How Long Cannabis Stays in Your System

How long cannabis compounds remain detectable after eating edibles depends on several key factors:

1. Metabolism and Body Fat Percentage

People with faster metabolisms and lower body fat tend to eliminate THC more quickly. Those with slow metabolism and higher body fat store more THC in fat cells, causing it to be released slowly over weeks/months.

2. Frequency of Use

For occasional users, THC is generally detectable for 1-6 days by urine tests. But for heavy daily users, urine can test positive for weeks or longer after last use. The more often you consume edibles, the longer THC stays in your system.

3. Potency and Dosage

Consuming highly potent edibles with large doses of THC causes more of it to be stored in fat cells. Low dose, low potency edibles may only be detectable for a few days.

4. Hydration and Diet

Staying well hydrated and eating a healthy diet supports the body’s ability to eliminate THC metabolites. Being dehydrated and eating a poor diet causes THC to be excreted more slowly.

5. Exercise

Frequent exercise can help release THC stored in fat cells and speed up elimination through sweat. Sedentary lifestyles cause slower excretion.

How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System?

Again, the exact time taken for cannabis edibles to remain in the system depends on the individual’s biological make up. The side effects of edibles are quite subjective.

Generally, though, THC absorbed into the body system through smoking may last a lot more than 24 hours, usually up to three to four days, while consuming an edible like baked goods may require up to twelve days before all traces of the compound vanish from the body.

Ultimately, whether or not cannabis products show up on drug tests depends strongly on which kind of drug test is being administered.

It should also be said that side effects of edibles have no effect on how long it stays in the system.

How long do Edibles Stay in Pee

While chemicals in marijuana tend to hang around the body for more than 24 hours after they’ve been consumed, they stay longer in certain parts of the body than others. For instance, in the case of a urine test where the subject’s urine sample is tested for THC, it is indeed possible to detect THC and other cannabis products that were consumed within 3 – 30 days.

As we’ll see below, to detect THC taken for more than 30 days is also possible with the right test.

How long do Edibles Stay in the Blood

Another way to detect THC or test for other cannabis residue in the body system is to test the subject’s blood instead of the urine. In cases where tests are carried out on blood samples, residues will be found only if the individual consumed marijuana within 3-4 hours before the test was administered.

How long do Edibles Stay in the Hair

It is possible to check for the presence of cannabis compounds by testing the subject’s hair follicles. In fact, testing hair follicles is the most thorough way of testing for cannabis as they tend to find chemicals that were consumed as far back as three months or 90 days.

The 90 days duration for hair is, of course, much longer than 30 days for urine tests. In fact, sometimes hair follicles tests can even be longer than 90 days.

Testing hair follicles is relatively rare, however, thanks to the expensive and slow nature of the test. Urine tests are without a doubt the most common.

Cannabis Edibles

Summary & Conclusion

Cannabis consumption is legal in several states, and more and more people continue to gravitate towards getting their dose of cannabis through edibles like in baked goods. Thanks to their infusion in various food types and elimination of the need for inhaling smoke, edibles are seen as a healthier alternative by many.

For those wondering, do edibles show up in drug tests? Well, just as it is with smoking, consuming cannabis edibles will show up on drug tests and may even stay longer in the digestive system because of the sheer amount of time it takes for the food item to be completely processed. 

While chemicals from cannabis can stay in the body and be detected by drug tests for up to 90 days, this is only possible via drug tests using hair follicles.

Blood tests and saliva tests only show positive results for compounds consumed within a few days while urine tests show results up to 30 days after initial consumption. 

Tests for THC in edibles can also be carried out for smoke or vape.

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