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Do Edibles Show Up in Drug Tests?

With the rapid legalization of cannabis throughout the country, those choosing to indulge in the movement may be wondering if it will affect their employment eligibility in the future. The widespread introduction of over-the-counter cannabis edibles, something more recent to the market, also causes drug test concerns.

Since you ingest edibles instead of smoking them, like typical cannabis, you may be wondering if their effects last longer, or leave your system sooner. In the following sections, we discuss.


What Are Edibles?

Historically, edibles are baked goods like cookies and brownies made with one or more ingredients infused with THC. However, now that marijuana dispensaries have the ability to manufacture various products, edibles can also include things like lollipops, gummy bears, and many other food items.


Eating or Smoking?

The most noticeable difference between the two outlets is how you ingest them. Typically, when you ingest cannabis, you smoke it, inhaling the vapor and letting it pass through your airways and absorb into the bloodstream. Whereas when you eat an edible, it has to process its way through your digestive system. As it gets digested, cannabis makes its way to the liver. Once there, the body converts delta-9 THC to 11-hydroxy THC. The process makes the effects more psychoactive than an experience brought on by smoking THC. The differences in these processes change the risks associated with edibles, as well as how long they stay in your system.

The amount of THC that can go into an edible is several times higher than inhaled or smoked cannabis, making edibles much more potent. This is because there isn’t yet a universal measuring system for THC levels with edibles. Other controlled substances are easily measurable from pharmacy to pharmacy, but the cannabis industry hasn’t caught up yet, meaning THC values may vary from product to product. 

Another thing to consider with edibles is their delayed reaction time. When you smoke cannabis, the THC is processed through inhalation. This allows the THC to reach a person’s bloodstream very quickly. Users can experience a high in as little as five minutes. With edibles, you must first digest it, so a typical consumer might not feel the effects for up to two hours. These delayed effects often result in a perceived need to consume more of the product than necessary. Because of this, effects last longer, up to 12 hours, compared to only a few hours with more traditional methods.


Do Edibles Show Up in Drug Tests

The quick answer here is yes, they absolutely do. If anything, consuming THC will make it more likely to show up on a drug test than simply smoking it. Consuming edibles takes longer for our bodies to process the THC, leading to it staying in our system for a more extended period. Edibles show up on drug tests just like every other substance because it contains the primary psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis, THC. In fact, with dispensaries nationwide now scientifically manufacturing products for medicinal and recreational uses, an edible is likely to contain even more THC than your typical smoking variety.

In addition to causing positive drug tests, this alternative method also comes with plenty of risks. Edibles increase the risk of cannabis-induced psychosis, and some users experience extreme anxiety or vomiting after eating them. More concerning still, large doses of THC — no matter how it gets ingested — can cause cardiac events in adults. Despite its legality in many places, those interested in trying edibles should think twice and be careful before they partake.

Thankfully, there are some exceptions to edibles, namely varieties that only include CBD. New hemp-derived CBD edibles contain cannabis but without its signature psychoactive THC ingredient, which is what drug tests check for. CBD has made headlines in the past few years for its medical benefits with anxiety, epilepsy, and insomnia. Although CBD typically won’t cause you to fail your drug test, you must make sure the CBD edibles you’ve purchased do not contain any THC. It is also important to note that occasionally those who are consuming hemp-only CBD products fail drug tests anyways, but these situations are rare.


How Long Do Edibles Stay in Your System?

When it comes to edibles, the effects last longer. It also stays in your system longer depending on factors, including your metabolism and how often you consume edibles. The reason for this is that THC is stored in fat cells long after its effects wear off. This gives cannabis the longest detection time of all tested substances. (Fun fact: because women have higher fat storage than men, THC takes longer to pass through their system.) 

The THC in edibles releases slowly, and has to be metabolized and pass through your urine, adding yet another reason for its easy detection. This compared to smoking cannabis, where the THC is released all at one time and passes through urine quickly.

How often you consume cannabis also plays a significant factor. If someone occasionally partakes here and there, the THC will pass very quickly, between 3 and 7 days. Chronic users, however, can expect THC to be present for up to 30 days. This is from a long-term buildup of THC in their existing fat stores. So, keep this in mind if you need to be frequently drug tested.

The most significant factor in detection is what method of drug tested is used. Hair Follicle tests are the most effective on the market and can detect any substance for up to 90 days. Saliva tests, like urine tests, are more common and have a smaller window. Here’s an estimate of how long each type of drug test may pick up on the presence of THC in your body:


  • Oral Swabs: 24-72 hours
  • Urine Tests: 3-30 days
  • Follicle Testing: Up to 90 days
  • Blood Tests: 3-4 Hours




Countrywide Testing: We’re Here for You

Cannabis, whether used via inhalation or consumption, can lead to questions as to whether you’ll be able to pass a pre-employment drug screen or any other type of testing you may encounter. Decriminalization and legalization in many states has led us to believe that it’s no longer a concern for employers.

However, many employers still follow the DEA’s federal stance that cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug and won’t waive their company policy on drug use. If you are concerned about passing your upcoming drug test, contact Countrywide Testing. We have a variety of resources to assist you, including a self-administered test. 

We are an online retailer of drug and alcohol testing and lab services. Our products include pregnancy tests, medical supplies, multi-panel drug tests, and more. We also work with a SAMHSA, ISO, CLIA, and CAP licensed laboratory, which means if you need to mail in your results for further testing, you can rest assured knowing your samples are processed by the best.

If you’re interested in learning more about our services, contact us today to learn more!