Since marijuana became legal for adult use in several states, the sales of cannabis paraphernalia skyrocketed. The same thing happened with herbal-infused edibles, especially the ones containing cannabis, or cannabis-derived products.
So, instead of getting your high the old-fashioned way, by smoking, you can now consume weed by consuming marijuana-infused foods and drinks.
However, despite legalization, many employers still order drug tests for weed, and consuming edibles can show up on a drug test. But just how long does THC stay in your system after you ate the happy cookie, or munched a weed gummy bear?
What are edibles and how they work?
Edibles are your typical food and drinks that have been infused with marijuana, in for of THC, CBD, or whole-plant ingredients. They’re your usual brownies, cookies, gummies, cakes, and juices that have been prepared with some marijuana added to the recipe.
For centuries, weed-infused edibles have been used for therapeutic, medicinal, and recreational purposes. Recent studies have concluded that cannabis has valuable medicinal applications in treating pain, nausea, inflammation, and epileptic seizures, resulting in the rising popularity of weed-infused edibles.
There are several main categories of edibles: those that contain THC and CBD, and those that contain only CBD. Cannabis-infused foods and drinks that contain both THC and CBD do provide psychoactive effects along with medical benefits.
CBD-only products, on the other hand, don’t have psychoactive effects, due to the lack of THC, but are still beneficial for pain, inflammation, and controlling epileptic seizures.
Please do keep in mind that consuming THC-infused edibles can make you test positive on urinalysis and hair follicle drug tests.
Smoking vs. eating cannabis
Depending on whether it’s smoked or ingested, the human body processes THC very differently. When smoking or vaping, marijuana is absorbed through the lungs directly into the bloodstream, which then transports it to the brain.
The effects of smoking weed are usually felt between 5-10 minutes, last for up to 2-3 hours, and are less intense. When smoking, a small quantity of THC binds to the fat cells in your body and stays there until those fat cells are metabolized. It’s then processed by the kidneys and expelled by urination and bowel movement.
Smoking cannabis, though considered healthier than cigarettes, exposes your lungs to the carbon, and other carcinogens associated with smoking. You’reou’re basically breathing smoke, which may increase the risk of respiratory problems.
However, ingesting cannabis-infused edibles is a different story altogether because THC travels through a different route. When you consume edibles, THC goes to the stomach, the small intestine, and then the liver. This is why THC release from edibles takes considerably more time, taking up to 4 hours to feel the full effect. However, almost all the THC you ingested gets processed, resulting in a more intense high.
THC is fat-soluble, which means it dissolves in fats. THC-infused fats are processed by our digestive tract and absorbed by the body for long-term storage. That is why, when compared to smoking, edibles put more THC into the fat cells of the body.
How long can it be detected?
Well, detection depends on several factors, like dose and type of edible, your BMI and metabolic rate, and frequency of use. No formal studies have been conducted on just how long does it take to expel ingested THC from the body.
For reference, occasional users who smoked one joint could be detected up to 5 days on a urine test. After eating an edible infused with the same amount of THC, their body would require up to three weeks to flush out the THC.
In the end, almost everything we consume becomes a building block for our hair. Regardless of the way you consume cannabis, it will almost always be detected in your hair follicles.
Consuming cannabis-infused edibles provides a more intense and longer-lasting high by allowing more THC to enter your system. However, almost all the THC you ingested gets absorbed into your fat cells. This leads to higher saturation of your fatty tissue, which is why THC from edibles stay longer in your system.