How Long Does Weed Stay in Your System? What Influences Detection?
How Long Does Weed Stay in Your System? You probably need to go for blood testing and you do not want to fail the test because you had a trace of weed detected in your system. If you need to know how long marijuana can stay in the body’s system and what factors determine this, then read on. This article contains complete and comprehensive information.
What is Weed?
Weed, also known as marijuana, Cannabis among other names is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant used primarily for medical or recreational purposes. Cannabis can be used by smoking, vaporizing, within food, or as an extract.
Cannabis has various mental and physical effects, which include euphoria, altered states of mind and sense of time, difficulty concentrating, impaired short-term memory and body movement, relaxation, and an increase in appetite. The onset of effects is felt within minutes when smoked, and about 30 to 60 minutes when cooked and eaten. The effects last for two to six hours, depending on the amount used.
How Long Does Weed (Marijuana) Stay in Your System?
Weed, also known as marijuana or cannabis, is usually detectable in bodily fluids for 1 to 30 days after last use. As with other drugs, it may be detectable in hair for several months.
Weed detection windows depend on how much you smoke or ingest, as well as how often. In general, higher doses and more frequent use are associated with longer detection times.
For daily users, cannabis may be detectable for several months after the last use. Longest-reported detection times are more than 90 days.
How long is it detectable via drug testing?
Drug tests measure weed and its by-products, or metabolites. These metabolites remain in your system long after weed’s effects have worn off.
Urine testing is the most common testing method.
Weed is detectable in urine for the following amounts of time after last use:
Occasional users (up to three times a week): 3 days
Moderate users (four times a week): 5 to 7 days
Chronic users (daily): 10 to 15 days
Chronic heavy users (multiple times a day): more than 30 days
Cannabis metabolites are fat-soluble, which means they bind to fat molecules in your body. As a result, it can take some time for them to leave your system.
Weed is typically detectable in the blood for 1 to 2 days. However, in some cases, it’s been detected after 25 days. Chronic heavy use increases the length of time that it can be detected.
Weed is detectable in the bloodstream within seconds of inhalation. It’s distributed to the tissues. Some of it is reabsorbed in the blood and broken down. Its metabolites may remain in the bloodstream for days.
Weed is detectable in saliva for the following amounts of time after last use:
Occasional users: 1 to 3 days
Chronic users: 1 to 29 days
Weed can enter the saliva through smoking and exposure to smoke. However, its metabolites are only present in saliva when weed has been smoked or ingested. In jurisdictions where weed is legal, oral fluid may be used for roadside testing.
Hair follicle tests assess drug use for up to 90 days. After use, weed reaches the hair follicles via small blood vessels. Trace amounts may remain in the hair. Since hair grows approximately 0.5 inches per month, a 1.5-inch hair segment taken close to the scalp can provide a window of weed use for the past three months.
How much do you have to smoke to fail a drug test?
Drug tests can detect relatively small quantities of THC, and the amount of THC in a given marijuana cigarette varies. However, little research has examined exactly how much a person must smoke to fail a drug test. Studies consistently find that frequent weed users are more likely to fail drug tests than infrequent users.
Urine concentrations of THC were highest 0.6 to 7.4 hours after smoking. Using a highly sensitive urine test, researchers detected THC in the urine of 100 percent of frequent users and 60–100 percent of infrequent users.
A 2017 study reports on testing where hair samples from 136 marijuana users reporting heavy, light, or no use of marijuana. For the study, researchers cut hair into 1-centimeter sections to test for exposure of up to a month prior.
Some 77 percent of heavy users and 39 percent of light users produced positive tests. No non-users had positive test results, suggesting that false positives in hair tests are relatively rare.
Factors that influence detection
Numerous factors influence whether a test detects marijuana, including the following:
More sensitive tests can detect lower doses of marijuana. Tests include blood, urine, hair, and saliva.
Marijuana drug tests look for THC, not marijuana. So the amount of THC that a person consumes is a significant factor. The effects of THC are cumulative. This means that a person who smokes several times over several days has consumed a higher THC dose than someone who smokes once, and so they are more likely to test positive.
The strength of each dose of THC also matters. Without sensitive laboratory equipment, a person cannot reliably determine the strength of their marijuana. How “high” a person feels is also not a reliable measure, because numerous factors other than THC dose can intensify or weaken this feeling.
Since fat stores marijuana, people with higher body fat concentrations may metabolize marijuana more slowly than a person with less body fat. Body mass index (BMI) is one way to judge body fat. However, since weight, and therefore BMI, increases with muscle mass, BMI is not a perfect measure of body fat.
Typically, females have more body fat than males. This means that females may metabolize marijuana slightly more slowly.
Dehydration increases concentrations of THC in the body. While drinking lots of water is unlikely to affect a drug test significantly, severe dehydration might.
Exercise will not significantly change the rate at which the body metabolizes THC. Exercising before a drug test, however, might.
A small study of 14 regular marijuana users assesses the effects of 35 minutes of exercise on a stationary bike. The results conclude that THC concentrations increased by a statistically significant amount, suggesting that exercise right before a drug test may increase the likelihood of a positive test result.
For a drug test to be negative, the body must eliminate THC from the system, as well as metabolic chemicals that have links to THC. People with faster metabolisms typically eliminate THC more quickly than those with slower metabolisms.
How long does it take to feel the effects?
Weed’s effects appear quickly, usually within 15 to 30 minutes after smoking. It can take one or two hours to feel weed’s effects when it’s ingested.
Weed’s active ingredients produce a short-term “high.” Common effects include:
sense of well-being
sense of relaxation
feeling that time is slowing down
giggling or chattiness
altered sensory perception
Other short-term effects include:
inability to focus
rapid heart rate
dry mouth and eyes
feeling sick or faint
anxiety or paranoia
In rare cases, high doses of weed can cause hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis.
Smoking or ingesting weed on a regular basis can have additional effects on your mind and body. You might be at an increased risk of developing:
respiratory illnesses, such as bronchitis and lung infections
mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety
hallucinations and psychosis
If you use weed while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, there’s a greater chance that your baby will have birth defects or problems with brain development.
How long does it take for the effects to wear off?
Weed’s short-term effects start to taper off after one to three hours. Some effects, like memory problems or trouble sleeping, can last a few days. Researchers don’t know how long the effects of chronic use last. Long-term effects can last days, weeks, or months after weed use has ended. Some effects may be permanent.
How long does it take to break down (metabolize)?
The active ingredient in weed is a chemical substance called THC, which stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. THC that enters your body is absorbed into the bloodstream. Some THC is temporarily stored in organs and fatty tissues. In the kidneys, THC can be reabsorbed into the bloodstream.
THC is broken down in the liver. It has more than 80 metabolites, but the most significant ones are 11-OH-THC (11-hydroxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and THCCOOH (11-nor-9-carboxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol).
Drug tests look for these metabolites, which stay in your body longer than THC. Eventually, THC and its metabolites are excreted in urine and stool.
What factors affect how long it stays in your system?
A number of factors affect how long weed stays in your system. Some of these factors, such as your age, gender, and body mass index (BMI), aren’t related to the drug itself, but to how your body processes and metabolizes the drug.
Other factors are related to weed and how you use it. This includes how much you take (dose) and how often (frequency). Higher doses and more frequent use tend to increase the amount of time it takes to eliminate weed from your system.
More potent weed, which is higher in THC, may also stay in your system for longer. A weed that’s ingested may also remain in your system slightly longer than the weed that’s smoked.
How to Get Marijuana out of the Body Faster
Ultimately, there are only two strategies that work for this, and they are decreasing the concentration of THC in marijuana and speeding up the metabolism.
Proper hydration can prevent a drug test from showing unusually high THC concentrations. For people whose test results are on the border of positive and negative, this means that being dehydrated may increase the chances of a positive result.
There is no reliable way to speed up metabolism. Exercise might help the body metabolize more THC, but exercising too near to a test may also cause a positive result. The single most important factor is the time from the last exposure to the time of testing.
The Bottom Line
Weed may stay in your system anywhere from several days to several months after last use. Detection windows depend on the drug test used and other factors, such as whether you smoke or ingest weed on a regular basis.