Cannabis is an amazing herb that not only helps you in a recreational manner but medicinally as well. We all enjoy blunts and joints, and everything seems awe How long marijuana stays in your body depends on many different things. Learn more about these factors, marijuana drug testing and detoxing from weed. So how long does weed stay in your system? It depends on which system we're talking about. And our bodies process cannabinoids in many ways.
How long does THC last in your body?
Cannabis is an amazing herb that not only helps you in a recreational manner but medicinally as well. We all enjoy blunts and joints, and everything seems awesome. until you have to go to that dreaded drug test. Then, suddenly it all looks gloomy. Drug tests are common everywhere and although cannabis is legal in many areas, the very mention of a test makes some people panic.
If you want to enjoy cannabis without a worry in the world, you’ll naturally want to know “how long does THC last in your body?” It’s a question asked by many, but very few have answers. Firstly, the amount of time marijuana lasts in any individual’s body depends on the individual himself.
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For instance, you may get rid of it quickly compared to someone who smokes it every single day. Obviously, heavy usage matters and those that use it frequently will have a tougher time flushing THC out of their system.
Also, THC tends to build up more in your system as you continue to smoke or ingest marijuana. It accumulates and blends with fat stores as time goes by. Depending on your body’s metabolism, THC will exit sooner or later. Sure, there are many other factors involved, and that’s exactly what we will highlight in this article.
Types of tests to detect THC
If you’ve ever taken a drug test, you will know that there are several ways to figure out if there’s any THC in your system. Drug tests measure or detect THC not only by the main product but the by-products are also considered. Now, the biggest challenge is that these by-products tend to stay in the system even after marijuana’s effects are long gone.
Here are a few types of tests conducted to measure THC
There are many types of saliva tests done for detecting THC. Employers can choose among any of them. And now that technology is so advanced, saliva tests meant to particularly detect molecules of THC found especially in the mouth are really useful. However, the results will be positive only if you’ve smoked a joint a few hours ago.
Other types of saliva test detect THC in users that have indulged in marijuana even if it was a month ago. While occasional users don’t have to worry a lot, chronic users have something to worry about.
You have to remember that cannabis can enter salivary glands if you’re exposed to the smoke or of you smoke a joint yourself. As soon as the glands ingest cannabis, it will show up in tests. From cops to employers, saliva tests are pretty common now.
Urine tests – like saliva tests – also depend on how long you’ve been using marijuana. If you’re an occasional user, there isn’t much to worried about. For instance, if you have an interview or a drug test in a week, you can stop ingesting cannabis right away so that your urine doesn’t show any traces.
But, for chronic users, urine tests will detect THC even if they have smoked marijuana a month ago. By occasional users, we are talking about people that consume or smoke cannabis about once or twice a week. The THC will be out of your system in just 3-4 days.
Moderate users indulging in cannabis about 4-5 times a week will obviously have more THC in their urine. In such cases, it will take at least 7-10 days for the THC to exit your system. You’re considered a c_hronic user if you smoke every single day and it will take at least a fortnight for you to get rid of THC. And, if you’re ingesting cannabis multiple times in a day and abuse it every day, you may need more than a month for the THC to leave the bloodstream.
Urine tests are conducted in various ways. While some employers use strips that are dipped in urine to detect THC, others may collect your sample and send them to the lab. Depending on your weight and the amount of THC present in the bloodstream, the results may be positive or negative. Urine tests are most common compared to other types of tests.
Although blood tests aren’t as common as urine tests, some employers may rely on it. Again, the results may vary from one individual to another. The thing will blood tests, though, is that they are not as reliable as urine tests.
Blood tests are considered invasive and that’s also why you won’t see many employers using it. THC is unpredictable and can remain or exit the bloodstream depending on your lifestyle. Some metabolites of cannabis can remain in the bloodstream for more than a month at times.
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For occasional users, blood tests aren’t really a cause of concern since it only takes 3-4 days for the THC to exit the bloodstream. Compared to blood tests, urine tests are more reliable. Thus, you’ll see many institutions and employers insisting on urine tests rather than blood tests.
So, what happens when you smoke cannabis? Well, the THC enters the bloodstream in a matter of seconds. For heavy users, you’ll see traces of THC in the blood for more than 30 days. However, there may be no THC at all even if you use cannabis for 4-5 times a week. This is because the THC can dissolve in the fat tissues and be eliminated without a trace. Also, THC exits the system when you indulge in a workout or if you simply sweat. Thus, blood tests aren’t very reliable. Moreover, it is expensive compared to other tests, so it doesn’t make sense for employers to use blood tests.
Compared to saliva, blood and urine tests, hair tests detect THC even if you’ve smoked a joint 90 days ago! Hair follicle tests are used to detect many other medications and drugs. Employers rarely ask for hair tests, but in case they do insist on it, you’ll have to give them your hair samples and the results will be known in just a day.
For this test, a collector will remove at least 100 hairs from the crown of your head. If you’re bald or have shaved your head, they will take samples of your body hair instead. Once you smoke or ingest cannabis, THC can enter the hair follicles easily. It will remain in the follicles for at more than 90 days even as your hair grows longer.
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How Long Does Weed Stay in Your System?
Marijuana, sometimes referred to as weed, pot, dope, Mary Jane or cannabis, is the most commonly used federally illegal drug in the United States, with an estimated 48.2 million people using it in 2019. Marijuana refers to the dried flowers, leaves, stems and seeds of the cannabis plant and contains hundreds of compounds (often called cannabinoids). These compounds contain both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is impairing or “mind-altering,” and cannabidiol (CBD), which is not impairing and does not cause a “high.”
Like many drugs, there are a variety of factors that can affect how long marijuana is detectable. How often a person uses marijuana, the THC content, body fat, genetics, how the drug test is measured (blood, urine, saliva, etc.) and many other factors can determine how long marijuana remains in a person’s system.
What Happens When You Consume Weed?
The effects of marijuana can vary from person to person — some feeling relaxed or euphoric, while others can feel anxious and paranoid. This can depend on a number of characteristics like genetics, body fat, THC content and how marijuana is ingested (smoking or eating). After smoking marijuana, THC rapidly enters the bloodstream, where it can make you feel “high.” If marijuana is ingested orally, usually as edibles, it takes longer to be absorbed into the blood and can range from about 20 minutes to an hour and a half.
Weed Side Effects
Short-term effects of consuming marijuana (memory, problem-solving, coordination and driving impairment) are more pronounced in the first hour or two but can last for up to 24 hours. Because there is so much variation between strains of marijuana, other effects can be varied.
Other effects can include:
- Dry mouth
- Swollen eyelids
- Increased appetite (“the munchies”)
- Distorted perception
- Loss of coordination
- Trouble with thinking, memory and problem solving
- Increased heart rate
How Is Weed Processed by the Body?
THC is a sticky, easily vaporized compound that readily dissolves into fats. Once in the body, it is deposited into fatty (adipose) tissue like the liver, lungs and spleen. THC is metabolized by the liver to 11-OH-THC and then further metabolized to an inactive compound (THCCOOH). There are two enzymes responsible for this metabolism, and there can be genetic variation in these — meaning some people may metabolize marijuana quickly and others will metabolize it slowly.
Factors Determining How Long Weed Stays in Your System
Many factors can affect the amount of time that marijuana remains in the body after consuming it. The effects of marijuana can be felt within minutes up to over an hour, depending on how it was consumed.
Other factors that can influence how long marijuana is detectable in the body include:
- Body fat percentage: Those with higher body fat percentages may have detectable levels of marijuana for a longer time.
- Genetics: Some people may be genetically predisposed to metabolizing marijuana more quickly or more slowly.
- Frequency of use: Infrequent users clear marijuana more quickly than frequent users.
- Other drugs or medications: The enzymes responsible for marijuana metabolism (CYP2C9 and CYP3A4) can be sped up or slowed down by other drugs or medications.
- Potency of marijuana
- Tolerance level
How Long Does It Take Weed to Leave Your System?
The half-life of a drug is the time it takes for the body to metabolize and eliminate half of the substance. While there are a variety of cannabinoids, THC is the one most drug tests look for. In the body, THC is broken down into metabolites, which are stored in body fat until finally being excreted through feces and urine.
Some marijuana metabolites have half-lives of 20 hours, but others can be as long as 10–13 days. It can ultimately take three to five half-lives for these metabolites to be completely eliminated. This means it can take between five and 65 days for marijuana to be completely eliminated, depending on factors like how often marijuana is consumed, body fat percentage, genetics and others.
How Long Does Weed Stay in Urine?
Urine tests can show recent marijuana use (not current intoxication) because of the delay between use and the body breaking THC down into metabolites. It can take an estimated one to four days for marijuana to be undetectable in urine, though some studies have shown detectable levels for up to 70 days with chronic use.
How Long Does Weed Stay in Your Blood?
Because marijuana stays in the bloodstream for a short time, blood tests are not usually used for this purpose, with the exception of automobile accidents and some roadside sobriety checkpoints. It can take an estimated 36 hours for marijuana to be undetectable in blood, though some reports suggest up to seven days with chronic use.
How Long Does Weed Stay in Your Hair?
Hair tests are not reliably able to detect marijuana use or to determine the amount consumed. Each centimeter of hair accounts for about a one-month period of time, so the detection period depends on hair length but is generally 90 days. First-time drug use in the last seven to 14 days cannot be detected due to the time that it takes for marijuana to reach the hair.
How Long Does Weed Stay in Your Saliva?
Like blood, marijuana is present in saliva for a short time. As a result, a saliva test could show current intoxication but would not indicate level of intoxication or impairment. Marijuana is detectable for an estimated 34 hours in saliva.
How Long Does Weed Stay in Breastmilk?
Breastmilk can contain THC for up to six days after use and can affect the newborn’s brain development, resulting in hyperactivity, poor cognitive function and other long-term consequences.
Will Weed Show Up on an Employment Drug Test?
Workplace testing often first entails an immunoassay test (EMRIT or RIA). If positive, it is then sent for gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GCMS), which is much more sensitive, so false positives are rare. At one time, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) would cause false positives for marijuana. However, today’s tests have eliminated that problem.
While marijuana is legal in some states, many employers have drug-free workplace policies. These workplaces often have random drug screening policies for current employees and routine testing for new employees to ensure their workplaces are drug-free. Your employment can be terminated for failing a drug test, even in states where marijuana has been legalized.
Detoxing From Weed
The only completely reliable way to pass a drug test is to stop using marijuana. While there are many tips and tricks for how to “beat” a drug test for marijuana, most have been shown to be urban legends.
Some of these questionable techniques include:
: This method entails drinking fluids and urinating several times prior to a drug test, then taking vitamin b-12 to add color to urine. This serves to dilute THC metabolites but does not eliminate them. : Exercising or spending time in the sauna prior to a drug test can actually backfire by releasing THC metabolites from fatty tissue into the blood. : Various companies sell substances or herbal teas claiming to “clean” the body’s traces of marijuana; however, there is little evidence to support this.
Marijuana Detox Facilities in Florida
Our treatment facilities offer medical and clinical treatments in a restorative setting where your successful recovery is our focus. In a medical detox program, your body slowly rids itself of the marijuana while under medical supervision. Doctors and nurses can quickly address any signs of withdrawal to make the process as safe and as comfortable as possible. Once patients have finished detox, they can transition directly into the full addiction treatment program.
Marijuana Addiction Treatment
The Recovery Village at Baptist Health offers a full continuum of care so that your recovery can be customized to your needs. After medical detox, marijuana addiction treatment might include either inpatient rehab where you live on-site, focused on recovery free of distractions, or outpatient rehab, where you live at home or in a sober living community and come to the facility regularly for appointments. Our partial hospitalization program (PHP) offers an intermediary step between inpatient treatment and outpatient rehab: more freedom during the day while keeping the benefit of medical supervision. Typically, outpatient rehab comes after successful inpatient rehab, where you have learned the skills necessary to live a marijuana-free life. We also provide mental health counseling for co-occurring disorders and aftercare for long-term recovery.
Depending on the level of care, we have a variety of indoor and outdoor amenities at our facility, including:
- Swimming pool
- Two fully equipped gyms
- Basketball courts
- Sand volleyball court
- Frisbee golf
- Horseshoe pits
- Multiple lounges with TVs
- Comfortable, hotel-style, semi-private rooms
Our licensed staff members are highly skilled in supporting our clients to find lasting recovery with compassionate care. As a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers and a Gold Seal Joint Commission facility, we are here to provide evidence-based, high-quality addiction treatment. Contact us today to start your journey toward a marijuana-free life.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Health Effects of Marijuana.” Reviewed June 2, 2021. Accessed February 8, 2022.
Drugs.com. “How long does Marijuana stay in your system?” Updated April 7, 2021. Accessed February 8, 2022.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Marijuana intoxication.” Medline Plus, Updated February 4, 2022. Accessed February 10, 2022.
Huestis, Marilyn A. “Human Cannabinoid Pharmacokinetics.” Chemistry and Biodiversity, August 21, 2007. Accessed February 20, 2022.
Huestis, M. A.; Mitchell, J. M.; & Cone, E. J. “Detection times of marijuana metabolites in urine by immunoassay and GC-MS.” Journal of Analytical Toxicology, October 1995. Accessed February 10, 2022.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “What You Should Know About Using Cannabis, Including CBD, When Pregnant or Breastfeeding.” Updated October 16, 2019. Accessed February 8, 2022.
Dasgupta, Amitava. “How People Try to Beat Drug Testing.” American Association for Clinical Chemistry, February 1, 2015. Accessed February 10, 2022.
Exercise.com. “Will exercise help you to pass a drug test for cannabis?” Updated August 20, 2020. Accessed February 10, 2022.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System?
The human body is a complex machine. And cannabis interacts with it in complex, dynamic ways we don’t yet fully understand.
So how long does weed stay in your system? It depends on which system we’re talking about. From a certain perspective, humans appear hard-wired for cannabis. We have an endocannabinoid system throughout our body with receptors that perfectly fit the cannabinoids we ingest when we consume weed. And our bodies process those cannabinoids in a variety of ways, producing byproducts that can linger for a long time.
Overview: How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System?
Whether you’re new to cannabis and curious about how long the effects last and how long weed stays in your system, or facing a drug screening of some kind, knowing the specific ways weed interacts with your body and where signs of your using it show up is valuable information.
We’ll answer the perennial question—how long does weed stay in your system?—by taking a look at the four parts of the body that betray the signs of marijuana use.
But before diving in, let’s put the answer as simply as possible.
Remember, it’s technically the psychoactive, high-producing THC that makes your weed illicit, and your use of it illegal. And that illicit chemical is rapidly metabolized by your body when you smoke weed.
The process takes a little longer if you ingest cannabis, but the result is practically the same. You don’t stay high for days at a time because your body quickly processes all the psychoactive compounds you inhaled or ate.
But the byproducts of that process, called ‘metabolites,’ can stay in your fatty tissue for a long time. They’re not active, of course, but they’re telltale signs of previous cannabis use.
So again, how long does weed stay in your system? It depends what the system deals with, THC or its waste metabolite, THC-COOH.
If the system deals with active, or delta-9 THC, weed doesn’t stay around for very long. But if the system deals with eliminating inactive THC-COOH, weed sticks around for a longer time.
How Long Does Weed Stay In Your Blood?
Let’s start with the system that shows signs of weed for the shortest amount of time. That’s your circulatory system, or more specifically, the blood flowing through it.
THC and other active cannabinoids have to make it into your bloodstream to take effect. When you smoke, that happens via your lungs. When you ingest weed, that happens through your stomach.
In other words, your blood is where potent, active cannabinoids make their way to your brain, kicking off the euphoric sensations of being high, or the therapeutic effects in the case of cannabidiol (CBD).
Your body rapidly metabolizes, breaks down those active cannabinoids in the blood. And that’s why signs of weed use don’t stay in your blood for very long.
Hence the reason why companies or law enforcement will take blood tests after workplace or traffic accidents because it would reveal that someone was likely intoxicated with cannabis when the sample was taken.
Specifically, weed (i.e. THC) stays in the blood for one to two days after a single use. If you smoke multiple times or regularly or multiple times daily, weed will stay in your blood for up to a week after your last session.
How Long Does Weed Stay In Your Saliva
Saliva is virtually tied with blood in terms of the time span weed sticks around in it. No wonder a mouth swab drug test looks for the same active THC blood tests do.
Delta-9 THC, the psychoactive kind, coats the inside of your mouth and gets soaked up by your saliva glands after you smoke. If you eat edibles, your exposure is somewhat reduced, but you’re still chewing the decarbed cannabis in your cookie.
This THC doesn’t make it into your bloodstream in any significant quantity. It just stays in your saliva until you swallow enough of it to purge your mouth of the signs of your scandalous cannabis habit.
Therefore, drinking lots of water, brushing your teeth, using mouthwash, and eating fatty foods—THC bonds to fat—can help you get rid of THC in your mouth faster.
Specifically, THC will stay in your saliva for one to two days after your last puff. If you’re worried that you smoke a lot, or if your weed is more potent, traces of THC could linger up to a week, max.
How Long Does Weed Stay In Your Urine
As you can see, your body is naturally eager to absorb and process psychoactive THC and other active cannabinoids. (Drug tests, by the way, are only looking for THC.) So those chemical compounds of weed don’t stay in your system very long.
But the byproducts of THC, which are evidence of prior use, are also fat-soluble. In other words, THC metabolites bond to fatty tissues, and this causes the body to take some time expelling them.
So technically speaking, ‘weed’ doesn’t stay in your urine, THC-COOH does. And it’s totally inactive, meaning you’re not still under the influence of cannabis despite the presence of this chemical in your system.
Since the presence of cannabinoid metabolites in the body is entirely dependent on a person’s particular traits, it’s hard to answer definitively, how long does weed stay in your system?
Suffice to say, the amount of time evidence of cannabis use stays in your urine largely depends on how often you smoke up. Other factors, like your body mass index, your metabolic rate, and how hydrated you are also play a role.
Summing up the research we examined, this table can help you determine the average time weed will stay in your renal system.
- 1-time use: clean in 5-8 days
- 2-4 times a week: 11-18 days
- 5-6 times a week: 33-48 days
- Daily use: 50-65 days, up to 77
Cleanse Using a Detoxification Program
If you have at least seven days before your test, a detoxification program will speed up the body’s natural cleansing process and completely rid your body of the THC in your system in about a week. These programs also come with home testing kits to verify you are clean.
Cleanse the Same Day
If your test is coming up sooner, certain detox drinks are known to flush your system the same day you drink them keeping you clean for a period of four to six hours.
How Long Does Weed Stay In Your Hair
Although there are plenty of myths and misconceptions circulating about hair drug tests, they’re feared by weed users for good reason.
Evidence of cannabis consumption stays in your hair for longer than any other system in your body. In fact, hair follicle testing can reveal cannabis use up to years prior.
But in terms of common testing procedures, hair follicle tests are typically looking for cannabis use back 90 days.
One rumor is that drug test kit administrators or police will cut off the tips of your hair for a drug test. But that wouldn’t be very conclusive at all.
Instead, hair follicle tests take a head hair from the root to 1.5 inches of hair. Testers discard the rest of the hair.
Human head hair grows, on average, at a rate of about .5 inches per month. So 1.5 inches equals about three months of hair growth. If you took the end of a foot-long hair, you’d be able to detect weed use back two years!
Body hair, which grows more slowly than head hair and isn’t replaced as often by new hairs, may betray prior weed use back even further.
A body hair of the same length could show weed use back 180 to 360 days. At the moment, however, there are no conclusive studies verifying this.
So weed stays in your hair for a long time. But it doesn’t show up in one time or occasional users. Instead, hair testing reveals a chronic habit of marijuana consumption.
For regular cannabis users, this is definitely case for alarm. Once THC makes its way to the follicle and ends up in the hair strand, it’s there forever.
Of course, you could answer how long does weed stay in your system with the answer, not another second. All you have to do is shave off all of your hair.
The Final Answer: How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System?
The short-lived effects of weed don’t prevent evidence of marijuana consumption from lingering in your system. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you’re high for as long as those chemicals exist in your body. But it does mean you’re at risk of failing a drug test.
So how long does weed stay in your system? When it comes to saliva and blood, where active THC resides, weed stays in the body for a week, tops. But with urine, weed stays in your system much longer. And with hair, it’ll stay with you forever. Or at least until you cut that hair off!