Health & Wellness

How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System?

Understanding how cannabis edibles work in your body -- and how long they stay in your system -- is important.

Edibles are one of the most popular forms of cannabis, and for good reason. They’re easy to dose, they taste delicious, and they eliminate the need to fill your lungs with smoke. While these are all great reasons to buy edibles, one question is often on people’s minds about them: if I eat an edible, how long will it stay in my system? 

Some online sources, like Sprout Health Group, claim that edibles can stay in your system for three to twelve days, other sources claim that they’ll stay in your system for up to six months. Truth is, there’s no concrete answer to that question, only speculated guesses, and they all vary from person to person.

What are cannabis edibles?

Cannabis edibles are the edible method of consuming cannabis. They come in multiple forms including: gummies, mints, tarts, pastilles, chocolates, candy bars, brownies, cookies, pretzels – and the list goes on and on as the cannabis industry evolves and innovates.

Edibles are created by infusing any-food-under-the-sun with cannabis concentrates like distillate, live resin, butter, and other various hash oils. Gummies are currently the most popular form of cannabis edibles.

How long do cannabis edibles stay in your system?

When asking how long edibles will stay in your system, that answer depends on which part of your system is tested for THC. Sprout Health Group suggests that THC can stay in your blood for 3-4 hours, saliva for up to 72 hours, urine for up to 30 days, and hair for up to 90 days. 

Weedmaps suggests that THC can stay in your blood for up to 4 hours, saliva for up to 29 days, and hair for up to 90 days. How long it will take your body to clean itself ultimately depends on two primary factors: your body type and your consumption habits.

The THC from cannabis stores in your fat cells, and is flushed out of the body through urine. What this means is the lower your body fat percentage, and the more you pee, the faster the edibles will leave your body.

Conversely, the higher your body fat percentage, the longer it will take for your body to be cannabinoid-free. This is why so many people rush to over-exercise when it’s time to detox for a drug test, though there is no scientific research that backs this as effective.

In addition to your physical makeup, how often you consume cannabis plays a huge role in how long edibles stay in your system. If you only eat edibles once every blue moon, it will probably only take a couple days or weeks to clear the THC from your body; if you smoke every day, then it will probably take months before the THC is out of your body. 

While most of the answers to “How long do edibles stay in my system” are simply guesses, one thing is known for certain: it will take longer to get rid of the THC from edibles than it will to clear out the THC from consuming flower or concentrates. This is due to how the body processes edibles, and the different type of THC that comes from it.

How does your body process cannabis edibles?

Every human has an endocannabinoid system. It’s the system in your body that processes the cannabinoids in marijuana.

The THC you and your body are most familiar with is Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabinol. It is ingested by smoking, or vaping, and usually hits your body within minutes, and the experience is over within a couple of hours.

Consuming edibles, however, results in the creation of a different type of THC, which is why edibles sometimes take longer to hit, and can produce highs that can last even overnight.

In conversation with Mike Hennessey, the Director of Innovation at WANA Brands, Colorado’s #1 infused products company, about why edibles get us so high, he said, “When our liver touches THC, it’s converted to try and break it down to eliminate it. In doing so, it creates this new compound called 11-Hydroxy-THC. That’s what goes into your bloodstream and gets you high on an edible.”

Hennessey says that 11-Hydroxy-THC differs from Delta 9 in that “it is more potent, passes the blood brain barrier more easily, and takes longer to be eliminated from the body. So you’ve now actually gotten high on the drug differently than the person who smoked. They’re high on Delta-9; you’re high on 11-Hydroxy, it’s just a more potent, longer-lasting drug. And that’s all through liver metabolism.”

What that all means is that when you eat edibles, rather than smoke your weed, it will take much longer for the THC to be absorbed into the bloodstream, and removed through urine, because your body has to process an edible like it does any type of food: through metabolization and digestion.

“Not only does cannabis take longer to absorb when you eat an edible, but say you eat one before bed: you already ate dinner, so your body is digesting dinner, and then it has to start digesting the cannabis. So [the edible] hasn’t even kicked in for a while,” Hennessey says.

How do you get cannabis edibles out of your system faster?

Just like there’s no true answer to how long edibles will stay in your system, there’s no true answer to how to get them out of your body faster. So if you came into this article looking for stoner hacks on passing a drug test, I offer my sincerest condolences; and I will tell you that your best bet is to simply pee as much as possible.

Exercise may help you burn off some fat cells ahead of time as well, but still, there is no true data proving this to be an effective way of accelerating the rate at which THC is removed from your body. If you’re in an absolute jam, a 2011 study suggests Zinc may reduce the detection of THC in your urine. In the end, peeing until you can pee no more is probably the answer.

There are multiple foods and beverages that may help increase urine flow. Obviously, chugging water all day, but coffee is another beverage that will have you rushing to the bathroom.

Additionally, WebMD suggests acidic fruits like oranges, grapefruits, clementines, lemons, and limes, whether you eat them or drink their juice. Healthline suggests tomatoes, tomato-based products, and cranberries are another realm of foods that do the trick. Regardless of whichever ways you attempt to rapidly flush your body of THC, no method will be more effective than simply taking a break from the edibles and waiting it out.

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