As consumers continue exploring new options for consuming cannabis, edibles have become increasingly popular. However, many people new to edibles are unfamiliar with how they affect the body compared to other consumption methods like smoking or vaping.
How long do edibles last? For those considering edibles, or who have had inconsistent experiences, it’s important to understand how long the effects of edibles typically last.
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How Edibles Are Processed in the Body
Edibles refer to food or drink items that have been infused with marijuana. Common edible products include baked goods like brownies or cookies, gummies, chocolates, beverages, and more.
When you consume an edible like a brownie or gummy, it must go through your digestive system before the active cannabinoids like THC are released. Once eaten, the edible moves from your stomach into your small intestine. There, gastric acids and digestive enzymes break it down until the cannabinoids are absorbed into your bloodstream.
This process typically takes 30 minutes to two hours to complete. In comparison, smoking or vaping allows THC to bypass your digestive system and hit your bloodstream almost instantly through your lungs. The delayed onset of edibles is due to the extra processing time required since you’re consuming them rather than inhaling.
How Long Do Edibles Last?
While the intensity of an edible high varies between individuals, most people can expect the psychoactive effects to last between four to twelve hours after consumption. Every person’s endocannabinoid system and metabolism is unique, so the duration may differ.
On average though, here is a general timeline of when to anticipate feeling the effects of edibles:
30 minutes to 2 hours: Initial effects may start being felt as the THC is absorbed through your digestive tract. You may notice lightheadedness or relaxation.
2 to 4 hours: Peak psychoactive effects are reached as more THC enters your bloodstream. Common feelings at this stage include euphoria, enhanced senses, and laughter. Anxiety or paranoia can also potentially occur.
4 to 12 hours: Residual effects continue fading in and out. You may still sense changes in perception, altered thoughts, and increased appetite. Some tiredness is also common.
12+ hours: All intoxicating effects have generally worn off by this point, though residual tiredness could linger longer for some.
Factors Affecting Duration
A number of individual variables influence exactly how long edibles’ effects last in your system. Someone who consumes edibles regularly may process them faster than a new user. Other impactful factors include sex, weight, metabolism, food intake, edible potency, and the specific cannabinoid profile.
In most cases, the duration for daily or even weekly users is shorter. Knowing your individual tolerance can help determine proper dosing to avoid unwanted lingering effects. Remembering that edibles may take hours to fully leave your system also prevents overconsumption.
Detectability in Drug Tests
Due to their extended presence in your body, cannabinoids from edibles are also detectable for longer than smoking in urine drug tests. On average, routine THC users can test positive up to 7-30 days after consumption. However, heavy or chronic consumers may show up positive in urine screens for over 30 days.
Hair follicle drug tests, considered the most accurate, have detected edible cannabinoid metabolites for over 90 days following ingestion in heavy consumers. This extended timeline in urine and hair testing is why edibles are not generally recommended for anyone subject to drug screenings.
Safer Consumption Tips
Understanding how edibles interact with your body differently than smoking is vital for maintaining control over the experience. When consuming these products for the first time, follow a “start low and go slow” approach.
Beginners should limit their initial serving size to no more than 5mg THC to gauge effects before increasing as needed. Wait at least two hours before having more to avoid accidental overconsumption.
Also, stay hydrated if taking edibles since dehydration can exacerbate their psychoactivity. With responsible dosing and awareness of the longer timelines involved, edibles can provide an enjoyable and relaxing experience when all safety factors are considered and observed.
How long do edibles last? In Summary
While edibles may induce effects over a longer duration than inhaled cannabis products, understanding typical timelines and individual variances empowers consumers to properly gauge serving sizes for a safe and enjoyable experience. Going slowly, especially when new to edibles remains important advice. Knowing how long edibles last facilitates making informed consumption choices.