If you love cannabis, you’ll want to know how long weed remains in your system. Although cannabis is heading towards global legalization, concerns about drug abuse and marijuana addiction mean that some companies still conduct random drug tests and maintain strict zero-drug policies. It may result in you losing your job.
“In addition, some countries—especially in Asia, The Middle East, and Africa—have strict laws on cannabis consumption and may use various methods to detect marijuana, including urine testing. Therefore, you must know how and when to smoke it to avoid detection.
In this article, we’ll tell you how long it stays in your system:
- Cannabis remains detectable in your system for varying durations based on consumption habits and testing methods.
- Urine tests are common for marijuana detection, with results influenced by BMI and body fat percentage.
- Vaping weed has similar detection times as smoking, depending on consumption frequency and type.
- Detox methods, like drinks and kits, offer potential ways to expedite cannabis removal from your system.
What Stays in Your System After Consuming Weed?
Whenever you smoke, vape, or eat cannabis, cannabinoids will enter your bloodstream. Cannabis contains at least 104 types of cannabinoids 1R. Polosa, P. Caponnetto, F. Cibella, J. B. Le-Houezec, “Evidence for harm reduction in COPD smokers who switch to electronic cigarettes,” Respir Res, vol. 17, no. 1, p. 166, Dec. 2016. [Online]. Available: PubMed Central doi: 10.1186/s12931-016-0481-x., but THC is the cannabinoid responsible for making you feel high.
However, once your high is over, THC can stay in your body for a significant period. Although THC typically remains in your blood for a short time, THC is fat-soluble. Therefore, some deposits of THC can stay in your body, and a drug test can detect them for up to 30 days.
How Long is Weed Detectable in Your Urine?
Many cannabis drug tests require you to complete urine tests, but how long does it show in your urine? Sadly, there is no simple answer (although we’d love to give you one.) Many variables impact how long cannabis will stay in your urine.
One of the primary problems of cannabis is the soluble nature of THC; it can stay in your body for a prolonged time. Many weed smokers are staggered when they receive a positive urine test result for cannabis despite abstaining for weeks.
Generally speaking, a urine test can detect single cannabis usage up to 3 days after your last use 2Karen E. Moeller, PharmD, BCPP, Julie C. Kissack, PharmD, BCPP, Rabia S. Atayee, PharmD, BCPS, Kelly C. Lee, PharmD, MAS, BCPPClinical “Interpretation of Urine Drug Tests: What Clinicians Need to Know About Urine Drug Screens” Published:March 18, 2017 DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2016.12.007
However, a urine test may catch moderate usage 5 to 7 days after your previous usage, regular usage could be 10 to 15 days after your last usage, and chronic heavy use may be up to 30 days after your final use.
Nevertheless, these guidelines depend on two physical factors: your BMI and body fat percentage. People with higher body fat percentages may have longer wait times before cannabis is completely gone from their urine.
Urine tests are the most common method to detect marijuana in the system, often leading to a positive drug test if not cleared. Therefore, understanding these guidelines is crucial.Find out more about how long THC stays detectable in urine.
How Long is Weed Detectable in Your Saliva?
Sometimes, the local authorities or your company may require a saliva test for cannabis, even if there’s a suspicion of secondhand marijuana smoke exposure. However, companies typically use other testing methods because saliva testing has a shorter detection window.
A review from 2020 found saliva tests still detected cannabis in frequent smokers 72 hours after their last usage. 3Erin L Karschner, Madeleine J Swortwood-Gates, Marilyn A Huestis, “Identifying and Quantifying Cannabinoids in Biological Matrices in the Medical and Legal Cannabis Era” Clinical Chemistry, Volume 66, Issue 7, July 2020, Pages 888–914, https://doi.org/10.1093/clinchem/hvaa113, Published: 26 March 2020
So you should stay away from cannabis for at least a week before a saliva test.
However, saliva tests aren’t always accurate because cannabis can enter your saliva from exposure to smoking—even if you’re not smoking it. Local authorities may require saliva tests in U.S. states where cannabis remains illegal.
How Long Does Weed Stay in Your Bloodstream?
Do you need to do a blood test for cannabis usage? Although it’s not prevalent, it’s not unheard of either. Cannabis —depending on how often you smoke—may remain detectable in your blood for up to 7 days. 4E. L. Karschner, E. W. Schwilke, R. H. Lowe, W. D. Darwin, H. G. Pope, R. Herning, J. L. Cadet, and M. A. Huestis, “Do Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentrations indicate recent use in chronic cannabis users?,” Addiction, vol. 104, no. 12, pp. 2041-2048, Dec. 2009, doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02705.x. Still, blood tests usually have significantly shorter detection windows than other testing methods.
Blood tests typically detect cannabis usage that occurs 2 to 12 hours before the test, but it depends on how much you consume. To avoid positive blood tests, try to remove all cannabis from your system over 7 days before your test.
How Long is Weed Detectable in Your Hair?
Hair testing is one of the most uncommon cannabis drug tests, but it can detect cannabis usage for up to 90 days 5M. Taylor, R. Lees, G. Henderson, A. Lingford‐Hughes, J. Macleod, J. Sullivan, and M. Hickman, “Comparison of cannabinoids in hair with self‐reported cannabis consumption in heavy, light and non-cannabis users,” Drug Alcohol Rev, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 220–226, Mar. 2017, doi: 10.1111/dar.12412., which may shock some cannabis smokers. After you consume cannabis, cannabinoids reach the hair follicles via your small blood vessels.
Because your hair grows an average of 0.5 inches per month, a 1.5-inch segment of hair taken near your scalp could provide a positive cannabis test. A hair test is perhaps the worst drug testing for regular cannabis smokers, so prepare accordingly.
What Other Factors Affect How Long Weed Remains Detectable in Your Body?
A cannabis test doesn’t tell you how much you smoke or when you last smoked; it simply suggests you have cannabis in your system at the time of the test. Therefore, this can be highly frustrating for many smokers who haven’t consumed cannabis for weeks—but there are many variables:
How fast is your metabolism? It can be hard to judge. To pass a cannabis test, the metabolic by-products of cannabis must be thoroughly out of your system. Those with faster metabolisms will remove cannabis from their body faster than those with slow metabolisms.
How much cannabis do you consume? Your dosage has an impact on how long your body removes all traces. One study suggests the body releases around 20% of THC through your bladder 6Robert S. Goodwin, William D. Darwin, C. Nora Chiang, Ming Shih, Shou-Hua Li, and Marilyn A. Huestis, “Urinary Elimination of 11-Nor-9-carboxy- 9-tetrahydrocannnabinol in Cannabis Users During Continuously Monitored Abstinence,” in J Anal Toxicol, vol. 32, no. 8, pp. 562–569, Oct. 2008, doi: 10.1093/jat/32.8.562..
So the lesson is simple: the longer you smoke cannabis, the more cannabis you smoke, and the type of cannabis you smoke may result in your body taking longer to remove it from your system.
3. How Often You Use Cannabis
The frequency of your cannabis consumption is paramount to how long it stays in your system. If you’ve never used marijuana before, it may take between 4 and 8 days for your urine to be cannabis free.
If you smoke two or more times per week, it may take two weeks for your urine to be cannabis free. In addition, people who smoke or eat cannabis daily may take 30 days to remove all cannabis from their system.
Be honest about how much cannabis you consume, and try to plan your drug test accordingly.
Although it may feel counterintuitive, working out before a cannabis test may boost the amount of THC detectable in your urine. For example, one study of 14 cannabis users 7A. Wong, M. E. Montebello, M. M. Norberg, K. Rooney, N. Lintzeris, R. Bruno, J. Booth, J. C. Arnold, and I. S. McGregor, “Exercise increases plasma THC concentrations in regular cannabis users,” Drug Alcohol Depend, vol. 133, no. 2, pp. 763-767, Dec. 1, 2013, doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.07.031. researched how 35 minutes of exercise affected the concentration of THC metabolites in your urine. They found that THC metabolites increased in your urine after exercise because of how your body stores THC.
When you ingest THC, it binds to the fat molecules in your body. However, your body breaks down these liquid molecules to use as stored energy during exercise. Subsequently, this releases the stored THC into your blood and urine, leading to failed drug tests. So perhaps wait until after your drug test for your eagerly awaited run!
Smoking Weed or Eating Edibles: Which Stays Longer in Your System?
Some people love smoking weed; some people prefer eating weed. Either way, you’ll enjoy an excellent—albeit slightly different—buzz. However, is there any difference in how long it stays in your system? The simple answer is yes, which may surprise some people. That’s because smoking and eating cannabis provide different types of intoxication. What’s more, smoking or eating cannabis may provide different lengths of high.
When you smoke or vape cannabis, it delivers an automatic hit straight into your bloodstream. As a result, it goes to your brain rapidly and gives you an almost instant high. In contrast, your stomach and liver must digest edibles before they enter your bloodstream. That’s why edibles provide a more prolonged and delayed high.
Furthermore, when you eat cannabis, your body metabolizes THC into a psychoactive substance named 11-hydroxy-THC. Then, it follows the usual pathway towards THCCOOH and excretion. However, this extra step means a drug test may detect cannabis for longer in your urine if you eat it. So again, plan your drug test accordingly by removing edibles from your cannabis routine!
Vaping Cannabis and Cannabis Detection Times
Vaping cannabis is becoming more popular worldwide, but does it affect how long cannabis stays in your system? Vaping cannabis is no different from smoking a regular cannabis blunt.
The detection times depend entirely on how much you consume, the type of cannabis, and whether you’re on a marijuana detox plan. If you vape cannabis daily, it may stay in your system for up to 30 days or longer.
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How To Remove Weed From Your System Quicker?
After reading about how long cannabis stays in your system, you may think: how on earth do I get this out of my system faster? We understand. Although there are many variables to the length cannabis can stay in your body—there are possible ways to remove it from your system faster. Cannabis fans typically call this the marijuana detox.
Here are some options:
1. Detox Drinks
As the name hints, detox drinks are excellent at removing cannabis from your system faster through drinking. They operate by speeding up the metabolic processes linked to eliminating cannabis from your system.
But here’s the biggest question: do they work? Reports on the efficacy of these drinks vary, but this Vice article suggests they may work 8C. Thompson, “These Detox Drinks Might Actually Help You Pass a Drug Test,” Vice, Feb. 16, 2018..
Remember, there’s no regulation on these drinks. Therefore, companies could exaggerate their claims. Ensure you’ve informed yourself about the best brands before purchasing. Most importantly, don’t rely on these drinks due to the lack of reliable efficacy,
You could drink these daily for two weeks and still test positive for cannabis. It’s simply something you could try.
2. Detox Kits
For many cannabis smokers, detox kits are more reliable than detox drinks. The primary aim of detox kits is to strip your body of cannabis. If you’re a regular cannabis smoker, you should use detox kits daily for the best results.
However, although they provide a time frame, they’re more of a long-term option. Detox kits typically last five to ten days, but this may vary depending on the brand. Ensure you purchase your detox kits from a reliable brand.
3. Creatine Supplements
If you’re interested in working out at the gym, you may be familiar with creatinine. In scientific terms, creatinine is a metabolic product created through muscle contraction and relaxation. It naturally occurs throughout the human body.
However, a low creatinine level in your urine sample is a way laboratories decide whether your urine is diluted beyond a satisfactory range. The more water you drink, the lower the amount of creatinine in your urine. A drug testing lab may find this suspicious and suspect you drank tonnes of water to mask the cannabis in your system.
So how do you get around this? Potentially by consuming creatine supplements. Creatine supplements break down into creatinine in your body.
Creatine is widespread in the fitness industry. So you can find it in many shops across North America and Europe. Take a standard dose, such as 10g daily, for several days before your drug test. It may ensure you don’t look suspicious if you hydrate too much before a drug test.
4. Activated Charcoal Products
You can find activated charcoal products in many places these days, even on high streets and in popular retail stores. You can find it in soaps, toothpaste, and creams. As a result, using activated charcoal products is an excellent option for passing a drug test.
However, you’re better off using activated charcoal as a short-term solution. You’ll likely need a considerable dose of charcoal to obtain substantial results. As a result, this may have damaging effects on your body—such as changing bowel habits or constipation.
Furthermore, you only achieve the maximum effect of activated charcoal after 36 hours. After that, the results start to diminish. There’s also no evidence to suggest consuming activated charcoal for more than 48 hours increases the likelihood of passing drug tests.
5. Stay Hydrated
When you stop using cannabis products, you should start constantly hydrating. By staying hydrated, you can speed up the marijuana detoxification process. You should also increase your water intake dramatically 48 hours before your test to flush your system. Try drinking up to 6 liters of water per day.
Sure, you’ll spend hours on the toilet, and it’s inconvenient if you’re away from home. Still, it’s an excellent way to increase the chances of a negative drug test.
The drug testing lab may deem it suspicious if you’re too hydrated. They may request an additional test. Therefore, decrease your water intake 12 hours before your drug test and consume creatine to avoid suspicion.
Removing cannabis or ensuring a negative result from a marijuana test isn’t simple. It can take days, weeks, or even over a month. Of course, this is problematic if local authorities or your employer require an urgent drug test. However, that’s the risk you take when consuming cannabis.
Here’s the good news: if you’re anticipating a marijuana drug test, you can prepare by understanding how long traces of marijuana stay in your system. As a result, you may achieve a negative test result even if you’re a regular smoker. Ensure you follow the tips in this article for maximum success.
- 1R. Polosa, P. Caponnetto, F. Cibella, J. B. Le-Houezec, “Evidence for harm reduction in COPD smokers who switch to electronic cigarettes,” Respir Res, vol. 17, no. 1, p. 166, Dec. 2016. [Online]. Available: PubMed Central doi: 10.1186/s12931-016-0481-x.
- 2Karen E. Moeller, PharmD, BCPP, Julie C. Kissack, PharmD, BCPP, Rabia S. Atayee, PharmD, BCPS, Kelly C. Lee, PharmD, MAS, BCPPClinical “Interpretation of Urine Drug Tests: What Clinicians Need to Know About Urine Drug Screens” Published:March 18, 2017 DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2016.12.007
- 3Erin L Karschner, Madeleine J Swortwood-Gates, Marilyn A Huestis, “Identifying and Quantifying Cannabinoids in Biological Matrices in the Medical and Legal Cannabis Era” Clinical Chemistry, Volume 66, Issue 7, July 2020, Pages 888–914, https://doi.org/10.1093/clinchem/hvaa113, Published: 26 March 2020
- 4E. L. Karschner, E. W. Schwilke, R. H. Lowe, W. D. Darwin, H. G. Pope, R. Herning, J. L. Cadet, and M. A. Huestis, “Do Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentrations indicate recent use in chronic cannabis users?,” Addiction, vol. 104, no. 12, pp. 2041-2048, Dec. 2009, doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02705.x.
- 5M. Taylor, R. Lees, G. Henderson, A. Lingford‐Hughes, J. Macleod, J. Sullivan, and M. Hickman, “Comparison of cannabinoids in hair with self‐reported cannabis consumption in heavy, light and non-cannabis users,” Drug Alcohol Rev, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 220–226, Mar. 2017, doi: 10.1111/dar.12412.
- 6Robert S. Goodwin, William D. Darwin, C. Nora Chiang, Ming Shih, Shou-Hua Li, and Marilyn A. Huestis, “Urinary Elimination of 11-Nor-9-carboxy- 9-tetrahydrocannnabinol in Cannabis Users During Continuously Monitored Abstinence,” in J Anal Toxicol, vol. 32, no. 8, pp. 562–569, Oct. 2008, doi: 10.1093/jat/32.8.562.
- 7A. Wong, M. E. Montebello, M. M. Norberg, K. Rooney, N. Lintzeris, R. Bruno, J. Booth, J. C. Arnold, and I. S. McGregor, “Exercise increases plasma THC concentrations in regular cannabis users,” Drug Alcohol Depend, vol. 133, no. 2, pp. 763-767, Dec. 1, 2013, doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.07.031.
- 8C. Thompson, “These Detox Drinks Might Actually Help You Pass a Drug Test,” Vice, Feb. 16, 2018.