Marijuana or weed, pot, ganja, grass, 420 has unique effects and benefits whether you’re using it for medicinal purposes or recreational use. However, it is not legal in all states. Now, you’re wondering, “How long does weed stay in your system?”
Random drug testing is still widespread in the US. Some companies require pre-employment drug screening. Even in legal states, companies under federal regulations cannot accept employees that use marijuana.
We’re going to answer all your questions about weed, drug tests, and how to pass a test. But first, we need to understand how it works in our body and how long marijuana can stay detectable in our system.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a plant from the Cannabis family. It has two main active ingredients, Tetrahydrocannabinol(THC) and Cannabidiol(CBD).
THC is the psychoactive ingredient responsible for making its user get and feel high. THC is also the compound that drug tests detect. Depending on the consumption, the effect of THC could last for hours. But the traces could last for days or even weeks. There are varying factors on how long weed stays on our system.
CBD is the other active ingredient that has been medically reviewed and proven to give positive health benefits. Some of the services include anti-inflammatory effects, pain management, and sleep management. Some even use marijuana for anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders.
But before you go self-medicating, please check with your doctor about cannabis use.
There are many different strains of marijuana on the market: either THC or CBD dominant strains, or a combination or hybrid. Usually, CBD strains won’t get you to test positive on drug tests. Drug testing kits look for THC metabolites, not CBD. But some CBD dominant strains still contain some levels of THC traces. If you get enough THC metabolites in your system, you will get a positive result.
Also, depending on the drug test used and the way you consumed weed, the length of time cannabis use can vary.
Different Ways to Consume Weed
There are a lot of ways to take weed. There are the traditional ways, and there are new, creative, and discreet ways to get high. Here are the most common methods for marijuana use.
Smoking or Vaping
This way is probably the easiest and most common way to take marijuana. You either smoke weed like a cigar, use a pipe, or a bong. Others opt to use vape pens to avoid the harmful effects and cancer-related toxins such as nitrosamines from burning and smoking weed.
Although some doctors and experts claim that they medically reviewed vaping marijuana to be also harmful to the body, there are still limited research and studies about vaping weed. So vape at your own risk.
When you smoke or vape weed, the THC passes through your lungs and into your bloodstream. The THC circulates to your entire system. THC is absorbed almost immediately when smoked or vaped.
Smokers can use different equipment like hand pipes, bongs, hookahs, rolling papers, and vape pens to take in weed.
Almost similar to vaping, dabbing uses concentrated THC resins in the form of hash, wax, kief, rosin, or shatter.
A unique bong called “dab rig” and a torch is needed to take marijuana this way, and users enjoy a cleaner and more impactful hit. The marijuana resin is heated to a certain point that it melts and produces a clean vapor. Dabs can also be used in nails, knives, other devices like portable vaporizers, and “e-nails,” eliminating the traditional bulky dab rig and torch set-up.
The amount of THC is higher and produces a greater high than smoking marijuana. It’s about 80 percent more potent than smoking. Dabbing gives a more concentrated and faster hit compared to other methods that use non concentrated forms of weed.
Some experienced dabbers prefer low temperature dabbing because it gives a less intense but longer-lasting high.
Edibles are food combined with marijuana. Baked products like brownies, cakes, and cookies are the most popular weed-infused edible, but more edibles are introduced, like candies, gummy bears, and chocolates.
Everyday food like pizza, pasta, soups, energy drinks, coffee, and tea can contain THC oil.
Marijuana edibles are more common in legal states and states that permit medical use. Unlike smoking or vaping, eating marijuana products won’t harm your lung health.
Edibles are also gaining popularity among chronic users and light users alike.
The weed entered our system through our stomach and digested before taking effect. This reason may cause a long delay in the impact. While it might take 30 minutes up to 3 hours for a person eating edibles to feel the effect, the high usually lasts longer than smoked weed.
Edible users are prone to overdose because of the delay. With that, users who want to try edibles should only try it at small doses or grams—gradually increasing the edibles’ dosage.
Suppose you’re a beginner or someone who doesn’t smoke. Sprays are your best bet.
Sprays are a new discreet way for cannabis consumption. THC or CBD mixed with alcohol or oil is sprayed sublingually or under the tongue. The absorption of THC in the body takes a long time. It depends on several factors, like how much food you had and the dosage of the spray. But the effect lasts longer than smoking weed.
Some users, both beginners and experienced, prefer sprays to avoid the distinct smell and harmful effects of smoking weed. Also, sprays can be very discreet and easy to use. It is also perfect for micro-dosing as you can easily control the dosage your taking.
Many medical marijuana users prefer this over other methods.
Marijuana tinctures are almost similar to sprays, except for the liquid used. It is used with high-proof alcohol or glycerin and is traditionally used with droppers to measure the dosage accurately.
There are different ways to use tinctures. Users can take it sublingually or drop it under the tongue. This method is the fastest way to get THC into your body. You could also use tinctures to infuse your food with THC. However, it would be just like taking an edible and would have to wait for a long time before the hit could kick in.
Factors That Affect The Amount of Time Marijuana Stays in Your System
There are a lot of factors to consider on how long weed can stay in your system. Some of them are your BMI, frequency of use, metabolism, and THC level of the weed you took.
Whatever way or method you consume weed, our liver will be responsible for breaking down THC. Metabolites are a byproduct, and drug tests use one specific metabolite named THC-COOH to detect marijuana users. The length of time marijuana stays in the body depends on person to person.
Here are the factors to consider on how long weed stays in our body.
Body Mass Index(BMI)
The body naturally eliminates THC through urine and stool. However, THC molecules can embed themselves in organs and fat tissues. The higher a person’s BMI or body fat is, the longer THC is detectable in the body compared to a person with a low body fat percentage.
Frequency of Use
Depending on how often a person consumes weed, chronic users will store more THC metabolites in their organs and body fat than infrequent users. Long term cannabis users will have more prolonged THC metabolites traces in their system.
Suppose you’re a beginner, occasional, weekend user, or someone who tried smoking one time. It is safe to say that traces of weed will not stay in your system for an extended period.
A person’s metabolism plays a huge factor when eliminating THC traces. A healthy person with a low BMI tends to have a faster metabolism. They can break THC faster compared to other people.
Depending on the strain of marijuana, THC can stay in your system for days. The higher the THC is, the longer the THC metabolites will remain in your system.
Also, you should consider the amount of weed you’re consuming. Are you taking just a hit, or are you taking a whole joint or blunt? Are you using concentrates? Are you using leaves that have a lower THC of buds that have a higher THC content?
How long does weed stay in your system?
There are also different ways to detect the presence of marijuana in a person’s body. The test can be through blood, urine test, hair test, and saliva test.
However, there is no fixed timeline on how long weed can stay in your system. One can only make an educated guess on how long weed stays in the body.
Detection depends on the factors mentioned above and on the sensitivity and type of drug test used.
Urine tests are the most common and efficient way for companies to test chronic users. The urine test does not measure active cannabis use, but it pushes the THC-HOOC metabolite levels in your system. THC effect generally lasts for a few hours, but the metabolite can last for weeks. How long does weed stay in your system for a urine test infrequent user?
It could depend on your last use and how often.
- Occasional users(one to three days per week) – weed is detectable for three days.
- Moderate users (up to four days) – substance can stay for 5 to 7 days.
- Chronic users(daily) – 10 to 15 days
- Chronic, heavy users(multiple-use, daily) – more than 30 days
Blood tests are rare because it’s costly and invasive.
Blood tests can check recent and active weed in your system. A blood test can detect THC levels in your body within seconds of smoking or inhaling weed but quickly goes down after a few hours. For heavy cannabis users, the length of time increases.
This process probably won’t be done for pre-employment. You don’t have to worry about being poked by a needle.
If the weed is legal in that state, they use roadside saliva tests.
Active weed use can be checked in your system through saliva tests and can stay in the body for up to 30 days.
Weed can be checked through saliva if:
- Occasional user – 1 to 3 days
- Heavy user – up to 30 days
THC trace can stay in your hair follicle for up to 90 days. Traces of weed stay in our hair follicle through small blood vessels since hair grows slowly—the test requires a two-inch-long hair segment near the scalp.
Around a hundred hair strands from your head if you have to take this test. Bleaching, coloring, or using hair styling products will not affect the drug test accuracy.
How to Pass a Drug Test
There are many tips, tricks, and products on the internet that claim to help eliminate weed in your system. Some say drinking detox teas, vinegar, cranberry juice, niacin, bleach, and creatine can help.
Unfortunately, most of them do not work with modern drug testing technology.
It’s a good thing the most common way to test is through a urine test. Here are some ways natural to eliminate marijuana in your system.
Stop consuming weed
The best way to get rid of THC is to stop taking it. Remember that the THC -HOOC metabolite gets stored in your fat cells and can be detected for up to 30 days, depending on last use. If you know you’ll have to take a test soon, stop for at least a month before the test.
By doing this, you’re allowing your body to eliminate THC naturally. Also, include a high fiber diet, drink plenty of water, and daily exercise. By doing this, your body will naturally detox in around 4 to 6 weeks.
Lemon Water & Multivitamins
Drinking water with lemon before a drug test can dilute your urine helps flush your system faster. But clear, diluted urine can be rejected by the tester. That’s why you should also take multivitamins, especially B-2 or B-12. These vitamins are great for darkening the color of your urine.
If you have weeks before your drug test, you should exercise daily. You can consider doing HIIT or high-intensity interval training to improve and boost your metabolism, but you should stop 24 to 36 hours before the drug test. Exercise breaks down fat cells in your body and will release some THC-HOOC metabolites in your system.
Get a Home Test Kit
A sure-fire way to test if you’re going to pass a drug test is to try yourself at home. There are a lot of home testing kits available, and 12 panel drug test cups are an easy, cheap, and effective way to test if your urine is going to pass or not.