Testing Times: How Drug Tests Identify Edible Metabolites and Their Window of Detection

Thanks to marijuana’s growing acceptance by the general public, there’s never been a greater diversity of THC products available on the market. Edibles, in particular, have exploded in variety and popularity. In fact, the cannabis edibles market is predicted to generate $8.24 billion by the year 2025.

If you do plan to start experimenting with edibles it’s important you understand what edibles are, their benefits and risks, and the amount of time edibles are in your system.

An Introduction to Marijuana Edibles

“Edibles” refers to a range of food and drink products infused with THC, the chemical in marijuana that causes you to get high. Popular THC products include:

  • Brownies, cookies, and other baked goods
  • Gummies
  • Chocolate products such as candy bars
  • Protein bars
  • Ice cream
  • Seltzers, alcohol-free spirits, and tea

Once you use an edible, it travels through, and is absorbed by, the digestive system. Stomach acid breaks down the edible before it passes to the small intestine where the cannabinoids pass into the bloodstream and passes to the kidney.

After metabolizing in the liver, the THC metabolites travel throughout the body at which point the the full effects will hit.

In all, the digestive process takes between 30 minutes and an hour.

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The Benefits of Edibles

Marijuana edibles have become popular for multiple reasons:

  • Less conspicuous than smoking
  • Edibles are convenient
  • Longer-lasting and more intense effects
  • They come in tasty treats
  • Easily-controlled doses
  • None of the negative effects of smoking

Risks of Using Edibles

While marijuana edibles aren’t considered dangerous, that doesn’t mean that they’re totally free from all risks. There are a few things to keep in mind as you start experimenting with any edible cannabis product.

  • Taking too much: Edibles take about an hour to kick in, compared to a few minutes when you smoke or vape cannabis. Due to this delay, many first-time users will consume too high a dose. Overconsumption can cause nausea, dizziness, or paranoia.
  • Food allergies: Edibles are made with a wide variety of ingredients. Some may contain common food allergens such as peanuts, gluten, dairy, or soy. Anyone with a food allergy or intolerance should always carefully read the label.
  • Foodborne illness: It’s rare, but any food product carries the risk of contamination and foodborne illness.
  • Mistaken ingestion: Pot edibles often closely resemble their pot-free versions. Always store your products away and out of reach of pets and children. Ensure they’re labeled so everyone knows they contain THC.

How Much Time for Edibles to Leave Your System?

There are many factors that go into an edible’s detectability in your system.

  • How often you take edibles
  • Your body fat percentage
  • Your natural metabolism
  • The edible’s dose size

What method of test you’re taking will also have a large impact on whether or not edibles are detectable by a test.

  • Blood test: Up to a week after use
  • Urine test: Up to a month after use
  • Hair test: Up to three months
  • Sweat test: Up to two weeks
  • Saliva test: Up to three days

With the right knowledge, marijuana edibles can be a safe and fun way to unwind after a long day. However, make sure you’re using marijuana safely and responsibly as overuse can result in negative personal, professional, and legal outcomes.

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