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How Long Edibles Last: Expiration, Effects, and More

Hayley Heidelbaugh
December 13, 2023

Edibles come with important time limitations: how long you stay high, how long cannabinoids remain in your system, and how long the product itself lasts before it expires or loses potency.

Staying on top of these variables can help you achieve a better high and keep edibles fresh longer. The answers can also vary between marijuana and hemp products, such as delta 8 gummies or HHC gummies.

Each question plays into the others, as well. If you’re not looking to stay high for long or temporarily abstain in order to clear out your system, it’ll take you longer to consume your stash—and the longer it takes to consume your edibles, the more attention you should give storage and expiration.

It’s all about balancing your needs with the lifespan of edibles like gummies, chocolates, or similar cannabis products.

How long do edibles last before running out?

Whether you finish off your edibles in two days or two months comes down to a multitude of factors.

It’s easier to quantify if you’re buying from a dispensary. The most common dose sizes for individual gummies, chocolates, and other commercial edibles is 5-10 milligrams (mg) of THC, and products commonly contain 10-20 servings—so, a total of 50-200 mg of THC in the package.

If you’re consuming a single dose every day, your edibles will last between ten and twenty days. Users with high tolerances will probably eat more than five milligrams in one session, but if you’re only using edibles a couple of times per week, they could still last for a month or more. Tolerances build over time, and you may catch yourself finishing products more quickly than you used to.

With homemade edibles, it’s simple to tailor the number of doses to your needs. Frequent edible users can cook up larger servings that take longer to finish off.

When do edibles go bad or expire?

Checking the expiration date is only the start. Reputable manufacturers are required to include this information on their products, but edibles can go bad faster if they’re poorly stored.

Going by the expiration date alone, you’ll have several months to enjoy all the edibles in the package. However, homemade edibles—especially baked goods—go bad more quickly. Freshly baked weed brownies may only last for a week, unless you freeze them.

How do I keep edibles fresh for longer?

Using good storage practices can help maximize the lifespan of your edibles. Exposure to the wrong conditions may cause them to go bad well before the expiration date.

Always store edibles, including gummies, in an airtight container. This is the easy part if you’re buying from a dispensary or hemp seller. Just keep everything in its original packaging, and you’re probably all set.

With homemade edibles, you’ll need your own silicone or glass storage containers. Sealing your creations and freezing them is an even more effective way to keep them fresh. If you don’t want to use the freezer, cannabis edibles should be kept in a cool, dark location. Your fridge is a shorter-term solution, but it helps.

By keeping your edibles cool or frozen, you can prevent:

  • Degradation of THC or other cannabinoids
  • Mold or bacterial growth
  • Undesirable changes in flavor or texture

Freezing is likely unnecessary for frequent users, especially if you consume every dose within a few days. Just keep in mind that baked goods won’t last for more than a couple of weeks without a freezer.

How long do the effects of edibles last?

There’s quite a delay between consuming edibles and getting high. Depending on metabolism and tolerance, it can take as long as two hours for orally-consumed cannabinoids to hit your bloodstream. (For many people, it can take less time—30-60 minutes.)

Not only is getting high with infused gummies, chocolates, or other edible products a waiting game, but the effects last longer than other modes of consumption. Vaping or smoking weed will get you high much faster, but the effects can peak in as little as thirty minutes, and the high may fade significantly before the two-hour mark.

It takes much longer to absorb cannabinoids via the stomach and liver than the lungs. Slow absorption through the digestive system also means the drug and its effects can linger for up to ten hours. They can even last longer than that, especially if you’re a new user taking a large dose.

For most users, the effects peak between two and four hours after consuming THC edibles.

Delta 8 THC vs delta 9 THC edibles: which last longer?

Generally, the effects of delta 9 THC will fade more slowly than delta 8 THC or other hemp-derived cannabinoids, including HHC. This is heavily dependent on the dose, though.

Delta 8 THC is around half as potent as delta 9 THC. A five-milligram delta 9 gummy and an equivalently dosed delta 8 gummy will both get you high, but the former is stronger. Delta 8 molecules don’t bind as effectively to CB1 cannabinoid receptors in your body. The effects tend to be milder and usually don’t last as long. However, the effects produced by a much larger dose of a milder cannabinoid may match or even exceed those of delta 9.

Your metabolism and consumption habits play a role, too. While delta 9 and delta 8 tolerances can go hand in hand, it’s possible to build more of a tolerance to one cannabinoid, especially if you consume it more often than the other.

How long do the effects of HHC edibles last?

The effects of HHC are generally more intense than those produced by delta 8 THC.

Although HHC weed edibles are more chemically stable than delta 9 or delta 8 products, we know very little about their metabolization in the human body. Some believe that HHC highs last longer than those from THC. There’s no research to support this claim, however, and the matter is highly subjective.

Start with a low dose of HHC gummies and work your way up. Experimentation is the only way to safely determine how long your high will last, and it’s best to do it over multiple sessions.

How long do edibles last in your system?

Edibles, like other THC-containing products, will remain in your system well after the high has ended. This applies to edibles derived from both marijuana and hemp.

At this time, standard urine tests can’t differentiate between delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC. Both cannabinoids produce the same metabolite: THC-COOH. After your liver has processed the cannabinoid, you’re left with metabolites that linger in the body for several weeks. These compounds are what testers seek to identify.

THC metabolites are usually detectable for several days to a week with one-time use. Regular users should abstain for at least a month before a drug test, while chronic, long-term cannabis users can hold onto metabolites for even longer. Hair tests are unconventional but can detect THC for up to three months.

It’s possible that delta-8-THC-COOH is not retained by the body for as long as delta-9-THC-COOH, though we don’t know how meaningful this is to everyday users or screening methodologies. Just play it safe and assume that delta 8 edibles will be detected—because they probably will.

I'm a Pennsylvania-based cannabis enthusiast and writer. As a part of the Vaping360 team, I'm eager to help cannabis consumers explore vaping and get the most out of their experience. You can also find me @faeberrystudios on Instagram.
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