What Are Edibles?
Edibles are a type of cannabis product that is meant to be ingested through the mouth, rather than smoked or vaporized. They usually take the form of common food items (ex: “pot brownies”). These food items are infused with cannabinoids, such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and/or CBD (cannabidiol), which are the active compounds found in the cannabis plant from which marijuana is derived. Many people ask themselves, “Do edibles show up in drug tests?” The answer is yes, but how long can depend on a number of factors.
Examples of edibles include:
- Baked goods such as brownies and cookies
Marijuana edibles are popular because they offer a discreet and convenient way to consume the drug without the need for smoking or vaping. They can also provide a longer-lasting and more intense effect compared to other methods of consumption.
However, it’s essential to be aware of proper dosing and the delayed onset of effects when consuming edibles, as it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours for the full effects to be felt. This delay can lead to accidental overconsumption if users are not careful.
Are Edibles Dangerous?
Edibles aren’t exactly dangerous – nobody has ever fatally overdosed from edibles.
However, there are some risks to be aware of:
- Overconsumption: Edibles take longer to take effect than smoking or vaping cannabis, usually between thirty minutes and two hours. Because of this delayed onset, users may accidentally consume too much, leading to uncomfortable or even dangerous side effects such as dizziness, nausea, paranoia, and anxiety.
- Inaccurate dosing: The potency of edibles can vary greatly between products, and sometimes even within the same product. This inconsistency can make it difficult for users to accurately gauge their dosage, which can lead to overconsumption or underwhelming experiences.
- Allergic reactions: Some edibles may contain ingredients that users are allergic to, such as nuts, dairy, or gluten. Always check the ingredient list before consuming any edibles.
- Foodborne illness: Like any other food product, edibles can become contaminated with bacteria, mold, or other harmful substances if not properly prepared or stored.
- Accidental ingestion: When mistaken for regular food products, especially by children or pets, edibles pose a risk. To avoid accidental ingestion, always store edibles securely and out of reach, and clearly label them as containing cannabis.
- Drug interactions: Cannabis can interact with other medications, potentially causing adverse effects or reducing the effectiveness of the other drugs. Always consult your doctor or a healthcare professional before using edibles if you are on any medications or have underlying health conditions.
An important caveat: some studies have suggested a link between marijuana and mental illness, including schizophrenia. Temporary psychotic episodes may occur in exceptionally high doses. Although the evidence is less strong, there is also reason to believe marijuana may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts. Those with predispositions toward mental health issues should therefore proceed cautiously.
Minimizing the Risks of THC
To minimize these risks, always start with a low dose of THC (e.g., 5-10 mg), wait at least two hours before consuming more, and familiarize yourself with the specific product and its potency. If you are new to edibles or cannabis in general, consider starting with CBD-only edibles or a low-THC/high-CBD product, as CBD is non-intoxicating and has a lower risk of adverse effects.
It’s also worth noting that marijuana use can have negative effects on mental health, particularly in individuals with underlying mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or psychosis. Mixing marijuana with other drugs can also be risky.
While more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between marijuana use and mental health, there is evidence to suggest that marijuana can raise the chances of a schizophrenic episode in those genetically predisposed to the disorder. Excessive use of marijuana can also lead to higher levels of anxiety.
How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System?
How long edibles remain in your system and are able to show up on drug tests depends on a range of factors.
Factors influencing how long edibles stay in your system include body fat, metabolism, frequency of use, and the amount consumed. The effects of edibles last much longer than that of marijuana that is smoked – between four to eight hours. Besides the psychoactive effects, the metabolites of edibles can remain detectable in your system for much longer. This means edibles will show up in drug tests much later after consumption versus just smoking marijuana.
Drug Tests for THC
Here’s a breakdown of how long edibles may remain detectable in different types of drug tests:
- Urine test: The most common type of drug test, urine tests can detect cannabis metabolites for approximately 3-30 days after consumption, depending on the user’s frequency of use. Occasional users may test positive for 3-5 days, while frequent users may test positive for up to 30 days or more after consuming edibles.
- Blood test: Blood tests are less common than urine tests and are typically used in specific situations, like roadside testing or accidents. Cannabis metabolites can be detected in blood for about 1-7 days after consuming edibles. Occasional users may test positive for up to 3 days, while heavy users may test positive for a week or longer.
- Saliva test: Saliva tests are becoming more popular for roadside testing and workplace drug testing. These tests can detect the presence of THC for approximately 24-72 hours after consuming edibles, though this time frame can vary based on the individual and their usage habits.
- Hair test: Hair tests can detect cannabis use for the longest period, up to 90 days or more. However, hair tests typically have a detection window of about 7 days after consumption, meaning it might take a week for the metabolites to show up in the hair. This test is less common than others due to its higher cost and longer detection period, which may not be necessary for most situations.
Keep in mind that these are general guidelines and individual results may vary. Factors such as metabolism, body fat, hydration levels, and frequency of use can all impact how long cannabis metabolites remain detectable in your system.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Whether marijuana is addictive is a topic of ongoing debate among researchers, healthcare professionals, and the public. While marijuana is generally considered less addictive than substances like alcohol, nicotine, or opioids, some people can develop a dependence on it.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 9% of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it. This means they may develop marijuana withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, insomnia, decreased appetite, and anxiety after heavy or prolonged use.
Additionally, regular use of marijuana leads to tolerance, meaning that the user will need higher doses to achieve the same effects. This can increase the risk of overconsumption and the potential for adverse side effects.