How long marijuana stays in your body depends on many different things. Learn more about these factors, marijuana drug testing and detoxing from weed. How can you pass a drug test if you don’t know how long THC stays in your system? Read this guide on THC detection times. Marijuana is a medicinal plant of the cannabis family. It contains a psychoactive compound known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC activates parts of the brain, which produce the primary psychoactive and intoxication effects. Learn about drug tests, detox methods, and treatment options.
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 THC Stay in Your System?
It is common for employers to drug test employees, and for marijuana users it isn’t unusual to wonder – how long does THC actually stay in the body? Well, of all of the intoxicants human beings like to indulge in, THC is one of the longest lasting in the body. The amount of time THC spends in the body depends on a couple different factors, such as metabolism, frequency of use and method of drug testing.
It is probably one of the most common questions among marijuana users – how long does THC stay in your system? The truth of the matter is that it varies from individual to individual, and it will depend on a couple of different factors. For example, most employers take a urine sample to test for drugs, whereas traffic enforcers might take a saliva sample. There are even certain drug tests that are taken from a hair sample (although that’s an unlikely event). Most importantly, all of us metabolise at different rates. These are the kinds of things that affect how long marijuana is traceable in your body.
Considering all of the different factors will allow you to make the most accurate judgment on how long cannabis will be detectable in your body. This article is a guide to all the things that affect how long marijuana is in your blood.
How are you being tested on THC?
THC in saliva
Of all the ways to drug test, THC lives for the shortest time in saliva. Mouth swabs are the most common way to drug test drivers. In general, a person can test positive for THC in saliva within 1 hour of using, and can last for up to 12 hours. Frequent smokers may test positive for longer than 12 hours (or perhaps they just never go longer than 12 hours without a smoke), so that’s something to keep in mind. It is unlikely anybody would test positive to THC through saliva 24 hours after smoking.
How long does THC stay in urine?
This is the most common way for employers to test for THC. This is also the method whereby how often you smoke has the biggest bearing on how long THC stays in your system. Even if you are an infrequent user, urine testing can come back positive even after a few days. There has been a case recorded where a smoker of ten years tested positive for a urine test 67 days after stopping. As you might expect, the more frequently you smoke, the longer you can predict it will stay in your system.
Most urine tests are testing for a substance called THC-COOH, which is what THC turns into after your liver has broken it down. It is metabolized from the main ingredient of weed responsible for your high – THC. The difference between these two substances is that THC-COOH lingers around in the body for much longer than THC. This metabolite of THC is also extremely hydrophobic, meaning it avoids water in general, and ends up in the oily and fatty parts of the body. This is what gives THC a cumulative effect in the body, meaning it’s detectable for a long time in the body (after stopping use) especially for chronic pot smokers.
Weed Weddings: 4 Ways to Incorporate Cannabis Into Your Wedding
In general, if you have just smoked your first joint or use infrequently (less than once a month), then you could test positive on a urine test for up to four days. After that, you’re basically clear. If you smoke frequently (once a week), you can test positive for up to 10 days after the last use. For chronic users, there are studies that show your urine can test positive for THC for one month after your last use. All of this is based on average urine testing standards, which is 50 ng/mL, according to the National Drug Court Institute.
To be safe, it’s better to stop your marijuana use well ahead of these times to ensure that you won’t test positive after an interview for the job of your dreams.
THC in hair and blood
Hair and blood are unlikely ways to be tested for marijuana. Interestingly, if THC does bind to the hair follicle, which is not always guaranteed, it is only detectable 7 days after use, and can be detected for up to 90 days afterwards if use is frequent. After THC is metabolized it begins to appear in the blood as THC-COOH, which coincidentally doesn’t bind to blood for nearly as long as it binds to the liver. As a result, blood tests only detect very recent use of marijuana.
Are there ways to pass a urine test?
There are a few old wives tales out there about how to pass a urine test, and there are also some products available on the market that encourage the process. But do any of them really work? There’s no way to really know for sure unless you try it. It has been suggested to drink loads of water in the days leading up to a drug test, as this naturally cleanses the body of all toxins. This is probably a reasonable way to deal with it, and this includes having a diet that is cleansing as well. However, it’s important to beware that urine that has been heavily diluted can also be detected as being tampered with, so overdoing it could get you into more trouble.
The only real way to know if you’re about to test positive to a drug test is to go out and get yourself a home testing kit. These are available online and in shops these days and give you an opportunity to drug test yourself at home. Of course, they claim to be extremely sensitive and accurate, but we can’t back up their claims. You will have to try for yourself! This method is the closest you could get to knowing the results of your drug test before you actually take it.
The safest way to avoid testing positive is to take a long break from using marijuana. As stated before, it is one of the longest lasting intoxicants in the human body, meaning even alcohol and methamphetamines pass through the body faster. As a result, detecting even an intermittent weed smoker can be easy for employers. As more and more countries begin to legalize marijuana, it’s possible that employer drug testing will become more lenient.
How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System?
Detectable amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may remain in the body for days or even weeks after use. Upon consumption of marijuana, THC is absorbed and stored by various body tissues and organs. The drug is primarily broken down by the liver. The by-products formed by the breakdown are immediately cleared via urine. However, THC stored in the body tissue gets continuously released back into the bloodstream over time, where it continues to be broken down by the liver and cleared in urine until all of it is depleted from the body. In a chronic user, the excretion rate of THC through urine is less, so it builds up in the liver.
What is marijuana (cannabis)?
Marijuana, also known as weed, pot, or ganja, is a medicinal plant of the cannabis family. It contains a psychoactive compound known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that has major intoxicating effects. The leaves, seeds, stems, or roots, are mainly used for intoxication purposes. Marijuana preparations are usually smoked in pipes, joints, or water pipes (bongs). Marijuana users also add it to food or brew it as tea. Marijuana is the most abused substance in the United States. Approximately, 11.8 million young adults used marijuana in 2018.
When will marijuana show up on a drug test?
Several tests are used to detect the presence of marijuana. They include:
- Saliva test: A person can test positive for marijuana for up to 34 to 48 hours after the last marijuana use.
- Urine test: Infrequent users test positive for one to three days, moderate users can test positive for 7 to 21 days and a heavy user can test positive for a month or longer after the last marijuana use.
- Hair test: Marijuana can be detected in a hair test for up to 90 days.
- Blood test: Marijuana will be visible in a blood test for up to 36 hours.
How to get marijuana out of my body fast
Abstention is the best way to rapidly remove marijuana from the body. It involves cutting off marijuana completely for a while so that the body can fully eliminate it from the system. This is also called detox, which can result in withdrawal symptoms such as
Detox can be performed using the following:
However, detox should be performed by a medical professional and never tried at your own risk. Detoxing at home without medical help can lead to relapse of symptoms, which may become difficult to address at home. At a medical facility, withdrawal symptoms may be addressed in a healing and constructive manner.
Apart from detox, there are natural ways to remove marijuana from the body, which include
- Follow a healthy diet by avoiding processed food, preservatives, flavor enhancers, and coloring agents
- Add more green vegetables and fruits to enhance the fiber content in your diet
- Drink more water to flush out toxins
- Take hot baths to soothe physical pain and for mental relaxation regularly to improve mood and physical health
- Eliminate caffeine until anxiety and irregular sleep patterns are gone
What happens when you smoke marijuana?
Marijuana, when inhaled, exhibits short- and long-term effects on the brain.
- After smoking marijuana, THC passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, and it is carried to the brain and other organs. The effect is generally felt after 30 minutes to one hour. THC activates parts of the brain, which produce the primary psychoactive and the intoxication effects. Other effects felt are:
- Altered senses
- Distorted sense of time
- Impaired memory
- Psychosis (disconnected from reality)
- Impaired coordination
- Difficulty in thinking clearly
Long-term effects result in some permanent changes to the brain, such as losing mental abilities and functioning.
Other physical changes are:
- Increased heart rate
- Problems with child development during and after pregnancy
- Intense nausea and vomiting
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What are the treatments options for marijuana abuse and addiction?
Currently, there aren’t any medications approved by the US Food and Drug Administration that specifically treat marijuana addictions. Marijuana addiction is mostly treated in a rehabilitation center. A combination of behavioral therapies is effective in treating marijuana addiction, which includes
- Motivational enhancement therapy (MET): It motivates the individual to give up marijuana. It focuses on an individual’s motivation to change. Often, people with marijuana addiction may have little motivation to change their self-destructing behavior, which has a negative effect on health, family life, or social functioning. Hence, MET can be a blessing to people who wish to change their addiction but fail to due to a lack of motivation.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: It is a common type of talk therapy that teaches the user to stop using drugs and ways to avoid or manage other problems. It makes you aware of your inaccurate or negative thinking associated with marijuana disorder.
- Contingency management: It involves exchanging vouchers as a reward for not taking drugs. However, it is only recognized by a few psychiatrists. It is potentially beneficial for people with severe marijuana addiction.
Although medications may not be effective in treating addictions, some antidepressant medications help manage withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapses.
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