How long does weed stay in your system?
Marijuana or weed; as it is popularly known, can be detected in the body by various tests at different times. Typically speaking, it can range from anywhere from 1 to 90 days depending on diverse factors.
Weed has recently been legalized in several US states as well as the whole of Canada after years of marijuana activism.
Despite these legal changes, weed usage is still a problem for many in the workplace. A lot of companies test new or existing employees for marijuana use.
Since we’re guessing this is the reason most of you are reading this article, we have created a simple yet extensive guide on how to pass a drug test for weed.
We will also cover the best ways to detox your body from weed fast. Let's begin!
Weed and Metabolism
The primary chemical in weed (the one that gets you high) is called tetrahydrocannabinol or simply THC. Along with CBD present in weed, it is mainly digested in the liver; in addition to other organs of the body.
The digestion and absorption of cannabis occur in two stages.
In the first stage, your heart pumps blood to your liver. This blood from the liver absorbs the THC and transfers it temporarily to other organs of the body like the brain as well as fatty tissues.
This in effect makes you feel 'high' as the body's reward centers get activated and you experience altered sensory perception, which makes you more relaxed and hungry, along with other symptoms like cotton-mouth or red eyes.
These effects last for different times depending on dosage and the method of weed consumption.
Chronic weed usage leads to storing of THC in the fatty tissues for a longer time. The faster your metabolism, the faster the weed will get out of your body. This process of elimination can take anywhere from 7 to 90 days.
Key factors influencing weed digestion and elimination:
1. BMI ( Body Mass Index)
Most of the cannabis that we smoke leaves our bodies within 24 hours. The remaining part is stored in the body fat. In times it leaves the body through urine and feces.
As it is stored in fat, people with higher body fat would also need more time to flush out the weed from their bodies. Women in general also take longer as their metabolism is generally a bit slower.
Note: This point may have you thinking, "I should start working out right away to detox and get the weed out of my system quick". This comes with a disclaimer though.
When you burn fat during a workout, the chemical part(THC and CBD) present in the body melts along with the fatty tissue. So, if you end up working out close to a urine test date, you may end up having more THC in your piss, not less.
In this case, your pee test would reveal a lot of THC which is not what we want to achieve here.
So here is an easy rule of thumb you can follow: work your ass off but stop a couple of days before so you can ace the test.
As mentioned before, women tend to take a longer time to digest weed. This is just a matter of statistics. Every individual is unique and in this regard it will depend upon every specific individual’s health status.
But generally speaking, women will have a more difficult time in detoxing and passing a drug test for weed.
3.Methods of cannabis consumption: Smoking vs edibles vs vaping
Everyone has their preferred way of getting high. While the debate over the best way to get high on weed is healthier remains, the resultant effects are demonstrably different.
When you smoke or vape, the THC joins the bloodstream really fast. This is why you get high faster when you smoke or vape compared to eating weed.
When taken in edible forms like weed brownies or gummies, marijuana is first digested in the stomach. Hence THC takes longer to enter the bloodstream.
On the flip side, the high from edibles is also longer lasting as compared to when you smoke or vape. Where smoking might keep you high for 1 to 3 hours(depending on dosage), edible highs can last for up to 10-12 hours.
In a nutshell, if you consume edibles more than smoking or vaping, it will take more time and effort for the weed to leave your body.
(infographic for Smoking vs edibles vs vaping)
4. Dosage and how often one smokes
This is perhaps the factor that with the biggest impact. Like in other factors, simple math applies here again. Higher dosage means higher THC content.
A higher THC content means more time for it to exit the body. How often you consume weed is also a factor. So, if you’re a casual smoker, you will accordingly have lower levels of THC in the body.
Regular consumption of weed can stay in the body for 45 days since the last time you smoked or ingested it. It can be detectable up to 90 days in case of heavy consumption.
So if you have a test in the near future, make sure you stop or at least reduce the amount of marijuana you consume.
5. Methods used to conduct drug test for weed
Urine tests are the most common in the workplace as they reveal the presence or level of THC metabolites contained in the body. This means that your weed usage frequency, not just the presence of THC is also revealed.
- Occasional users (3 times a week): 3 days
- Moderate users (4 times a week): 5 to 7 days
- Chronic users (every day): 10 to 15 days
- Chronic heavy users (several times a day): more than 30 days
Blood Testing: Weed is typically detectable in blood for only 1-2 days. Blood and saliva tests are generally the least used methods to conduct drug testing as they can only check for current intoxication levels.
However, in some cases, it is also detectable after 25 days. And as mentioned earlier, chronic and heavy use can increase the time that it takes to be detected.
Blood tests for weed are generally used for emergencies like accidents or roadside checks.
Weed can be detected in the bloodstream within seconds of it being inhaled. Most of it is reabsorbed into the blood and eventually broken down.
Saliva Testing: Detection of weed in the saliva is possible for the following amounts of time after last use:
- Occasional users: 1 to 3 days
- Chronic users: 1 to 29 days
Metabolites are present in saliva only when weed has been ingested or smoked. In places where weed is legal, oral fluid is used for roadside testing.
Hair Testing: Hair follicle tests can show cannabis use for up to 90 days. Weed travels to hair follicles through small blood vessels present in the scalp. This is why this test can find trace amounts even after a long time.
Hair tests are also not very popular although they can test positive for up to 90 days after cannabis consumption. They are only good to check for presence and not the amount or frequency of pot usage.
Hair grows at approximately 0.5 inches in a month. The 1.5-inch hair segment which has been taken close to the scalp can offer a window of weed use for the past three months.
Words can be boring. So here's this cool graphic instead.
How To Fail a drug
There are also a lot of myths and misconceptions out there regarding how long weed stays in your system. You can also find a lot of inefficient ways to get rid of weed in your system quickly if you ask your stoner friends.
I’m sure we’ve all heard that “green tea helps!” There are also a lot of 'weed detox kits' and remedies available online. Some advice will mention how you can dilute or 'spoil' the sample for an inconclusive test or a false positive to buy you more time.
You will also find recommendations such as staying hydrated or simply taking supplements like Vitamin B-12 or niacin will help 'mask' the levels of THC in the body. The level of testing has become very good at catching these 'tricks'.
The simple fact is that the human body cleanses itself with time. Your best bet is to find out or know about the test well in advance, although exercise and hydration may help, to a certain extent.
Taken as a whole, it's clear that THC and other cannabinoids exit the body at different times for different people. It depends on a range of factors as discussed.
Coming to what you can do on a personal level, these are the methods most experts seem to agree on:
- Increase your intake of water to flush out cannabis faster and to dilute urine at the time of testing.
- Exercise to increase the speed of weed digestion and elimination, but stop a couple of days before the actual test date.
- The most significant step though is to decrease the intake of weed and try to cut out your weed usage for a while.
Hope this article helps. At AllinBud, we encourage you to use marijuana safely and responsibly. If you liked, this article, please support us by sharing it with all your stoner fam!
If you want to discover a stylish, classy, and safe way to store and roll your weed, check out our collection of premium handmade stashboxes.
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