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Educational

Educational

How Long Do Edibles Last? What to Expect And Watch For

By Andrew Ward

How Long Do Edibles Last? What to Expect And Watch For

Edibles represent an expanding and increasingly popular avenue for cannabis consumers. Blending the world of food, pharmacology, and cannabis offers a distinct alternative to traditional consumption methods like smoking and, more recently, vaping. Unlike these inhalation-based methods, edibles deliver significant doses of cannabinoids to the system in a delayed and prolonged fashion.

 

Edibles stand out from the rest of the offerings thanks to their delayed and often substantial effects. Rather than lasting a few hours at most, most edibles will deliver results to their consumers for a quarter of the day or longer.

 

What once was a niche, limited product offering is now a wide-ranging array of foods, drinks, condiments, cooking ingredients, and more. In doing so, today's edibles are running with a method that stretches far back into human existence. Earliest examples of edibles include India's consumption of the cannabis leaf-based edible bhang during its spring festivals of Maha Shivaratri and Holi [1]. 

 

Edibles have come a long way since our ancient elders first used them. Legalization has propelled access and innovation in the space, benefiting medical and recreational consumers. Today, millions of consumers turn to edibles as an effective alternative to smoking and vaping options.

 

As alluring as they are, edibles should be handled with care and understanding. With increased, prolonged effects, consumers need to be aware of how long edible effects may last and how long they can remain in their system.

 

The Edible Experience

THC-based edibles offer consumers an array of beneficial mental and physical effects, headlined by the psychoactive “high." Common effects of cannabis include feelings of:

  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Happiness
  • Stress relief
  • Energy boost 
  • Creativity and many more 

 

Cannabis has been linked to many therapeutic benefits as well, including:

  • Pain relief (Chronic, short-term, cancer-related, etc.)
  • Epilepsy treatment (select conditions)
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Appetite stimulation
  • Multiple Sclerosis

 

Edibles are an exciting space, combining food, cannabis, and wellness at an exciting, growing pace. But before embarking on your first edibles experience, it's helpful to understand what's likely in store.

 

The edible journey begins with the consumer eating or drinking an infused cannabis product. Gummies, chocolates, and other baked goods are still as popular as several decades ago. However, people can now consume an array of infused options. In any case, these edibles must travel through the body's digestive process until eventually reaching the liver, where it is metabolized into the more potent cannabinoid 11- hydroxy-thc.

 

From beginning to end, the edible process will take anywhere from 15 to 120 minutes, depending on a range of factors, including product formulation and a consumer's body type. Once the effects take hold, consumers should experience some effect for 6 to 12 hours. The edibles experience very significantly from smoking and vaped options, which take near immediate effect once inhaled, with effects lasting anywhere from 1 to 4 hours in most cases.

 

Consumers should proceed with caution when first trying edibles or looking to increase their dosage. It is always recommended that anyone exploring dosage should start on the low end of the spectrum. Read on to a section below where we will explain this in greater detail [2] [3].

 

Factors Influencing Edible Effects

When considering how long an edible effects will last, one has to consider several internal and external factors:

 

Strain Used

In cannabis, the saying goes, “Quality in, quality out.” This means that your edible is only as good and potent as its starting material. Using fresh cannabis rich in THC and other ideal plant compounds will likely increase the effects of the edible. Using subpar flower will likely diminish the edible's effect, in addition to possibly harming flavor and aroma. 

 

Edible Type and Formulation

Digestion can be affected by the type of edible consumed and how it uniquely affects each consumer. Be aware of how the product is formulated, its expected onset time, and any possible ingredients that may disagree with you. 

 

Dosage

THC levels in an edible will directly influence the intensity and length of effect, with higher-dose products linked to stronger and longer results.

 

Body Profile

A person's body fat, muscle, and metabolism levels can significantly influence onset times and duration of effects, with larger individuals often linked to longer onset times [4].

 

Tolerance

Regular cannabis consumers will likely be able to handle a higher dose of THC, possibly 10mg or higher. In contrast, new or infrequent consumers may want to start on a lower dose or risk possible adverse overconsumption effects.

 

Dosage and Potency

Dosage and potency are critical factors that influence the intensity and duration of an edible's effect. As such, new and infrequent cannabis consumers need to be keenly aware of product dosage or risk experiencing adverse outcomes. Experienced consumers need to be mindful as well, though their familiarity with THC should prove beneficial. 

 

Newcomers and those uncertain of their ideal dosage are encouraged to start low, somewhere between 2.5 and 5 mg of THC. Consumers can follow the "start low, go slow method" by waiting 30 to 60 minutes to see if another dose is required. If consumers want a more significant dosage, they can increase it to five or more milligrams when ready [link].

 

On the other hand, individuals with a high tolerance may feel comfortable starting with a dosage of 10 to 25 or even more milligrams to experience their ideal effects. 

 

Most licensed products on the legal US market will range between 2.5 and 20 mg, depending on the state laws. In some cases, THC doses can be lower or higher, especially in ratioed products, which may showcase other cannabinoids like CBD. As this range indicates, dosage is not a one-size-fits-all approach. 

 

Finding the correct dosage requires considering your personal needs, preferences, and any potential medical issues. 

 

Risks and Safety

While largely beneficial and possessing an often low-risk profile, consuming cannabis and edibles comes with a set of concerns and potential drawbacks people should consider beforehand. They include:

 

Overconsumption and Delayed Effects

A combination of potent, delayed effects can often lead to overconsumption effects such as [5]: 

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Paranoia
  • Increased anxiety
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Diminished cognitive function
  • Hallucinations (rarer cases)

 

Potency Variability and Dosing Challenges

Licensed cannabis producers like Snoozy have made edible dosage much more consistent and reliable. However, consumers should be aware that products vary in dosage, requiring buyers to carefully examine package details before consuming.

 

Allergic Reactions and Food Safety

Just about any food or drink can now be infused with cannabinoids. As such, consumers need to carefully examine the ingredient list before consuming it or risk possible allergic side effects. Many products are made using common allergens, ranging from nuts to dairy to soy or gluten, so consumers need to be aware of what they are ingesting at all times. 

 

Similarly, consumers must ensure that their products are sold and stored safely. Best practices include keeping items in airtight containers, ideally made of UV-protected glass. When not in use, edibles should be stored in a cool, dark place in most cases. However, some edibles will require different storage instructions in rarer cases. Be sure to read the packaging for best practices.

 

Drug Interactions

Cannabis can interact with various drugs and supplements to alter their effects and efficacy. Individuals taking any medications or supplements need to consider the potential impact of cannabis before consuming. It is strongly advised that people consult with a trusted medical professional to assess their unique medical needs.

 

Accidental Ingestion

Edibles should always be stored in original packaging and, most importantly, away from miners. Numerous products may resemble popular foods and beverages, so be aware. 

Many licensed brands must adhere to state regulations that give indicators that the contents inside are infused with cannabis. When purchasing products, consider buying an edible that clearly displays a warning. 

 

However, the best bet to avoid accidental ingestion is to keep your cannabis stored separately from all your other edible products in the house.

 

Edibles and Drug Testing

Remember that edibles do last longer in the system. That means the effects will be more pronounced and prolonged and will stay in the system longer as well. Due to their metabolization, edibles often have a longer presence in the body, which may trigger a positive test during a drug screening.

 

While cannabis drug screenings are diminishing in prevalence as legalization takes hold, many are still subject to drug tests for one reason or another. Whether consuming an edible or any other type of cannabis, consider that detection windows vary depending on the test. 

 

Standard detection windows for each type of test include [link]:

  • Urine: 3 to 30 days   
  • Blood: 1 to 7 days    
  • Saliva: 24 to 72 hours    
  • Hair Follicle: Up to 90 days 

 

Want to learn more about how long an edible lasts? Check out more from the Snoozy Blog, where we discuss specifics related to cannabis topics, including cannabinoids, sleep, and other important topics related to cannabis and wellness. 

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