So how long does weed stay in your system? It depends on which system we're talking about. And our bodies process cannabinoids in many ways. Cannabis is an amazing herb that not only helps you in a recreational manner but medicinally as well. We all enjoy blunts and joints, and everything seems awe Weed can be an addictive substance if abused. This piece discusses how long it stays in your blood, saliva and hair once you have taken it.
How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System?
The human body is a complex machine. And cannabis interacts with it in complex, dynamic ways we don’t yet fully understand.
So how long does weed stay in your system? It depends on which system we’re talking about. From a certain perspective, humans appear hard-wired for cannabis. We have an endocannabinoid system throughout our body with receptors that perfectly fit the cannabinoids we ingest when we consume weed. And our bodies process those cannabinoids in a variety of ways, producing byproducts that can linger for a long time.
Overview: How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System?
Whether you’re new to cannabis and curious about how long the effects last and how long weed stays in your system, or facing a drug screening of some kind, knowing the specific ways weed interacts with your body and where signs of your using it show up is valuable information.
We’ll answer the perennial question—how long does weed stay in your system?—by taking a look at the four parts of the body that betray the signs of marijuana use.
But before diving in, let’s put the answer as simply as possible.
Remember, it’s technically the psychoactive, high-producing THC that makes your weed illicit, and your use of it illegal. And that illicit chemical is rapidly metabolized by your body when you smoke weed.
The process takes a little longer if you ingest cannabis, but the result is practically the same. You don’t stay high for days at a time because your body quickly processes all the psychoactive compounds you inhaled or ate.
But the byproducts of that process, called ‘metabolites,’ can stay in your fatty tissue for a long time. They’re not active, of course, but they’re telltale signs of previous cannabis use.
So again, how long does weed stay in your system? It depends what the system deals with, THC or its waste metabolite, THC-COOH.
If the system deals with active, or delta-9 THC, weed doesn’t stay around for very long. But if the system deals with eliminating inactive THC-COOH, weed sticks around for a longer time.
How Long Does Weed Stay In Your Blood?
Let’s start with the system that shows signs of weed for the shortest amount of time. That’s your circulatory system, or more specifically, the blood flowing through it.
THC and other active cannabinoids have to make it into your bloodstream to take effect. When you smoke, that happens via your lungs. When you ingest weed, that happens through your stomach.
In other words, your blood is where potent, active cannabinoids make their way to your brain, kicking off the euphoric sensations of being high, or the therapeutic effects in the case of cannabidiol (CBD).
Your body rapidly metabolizes, breaks down those active cannabinoids in the blood. And that’s why signs of weed use don’t stay in your blood for very long.
Hence the reason why companies or law enforcement will take blood tests after workplace or traffic accidents because it would reveal that someone was likely intoxicated with cannabis when the sample was taken.
Specifically, weed (i.e. THC) stays in the blood for one to two days after a single use. If you smoke multiple times or regularly or multiple times daily, weed will stay in your blood for up to a week after your last session.
How Long Does Weed Stay In Your Saliva
Saliva is virtually tied with blood in terms of the time span weed sticks around in it. No wonder a mouth swab drug test looks for the same active THC blood tests do.
Delta-9 THC, the psychoactive kind, coats the inside of your mouth and gets soaked up by your saliva glands after you smoke. If you eat edibles, your exposure is somewhat reduced, but you’re still chewing the decarbed cannabis in your cookie.
This THC doesn’t make it into your bloodstream in any significant quantity. It just stays in your saliva until you swallow enough of it to purge your mouth of the signs of your scandalous cannabis habit.
Therefore, drinking lots of water, brushing your teeth, using mouthwash, and eating fatty foods—THC bonds to fat—can help you get rid of THC in your mouth faster.
Specifically, THC will stay in your saliva for one to two days after your last puff. If you’re worried that you smoke a lot, or if your weed is more potent, traces of THC could linger up to a week, max.
How Long Does Weed Stay In Your Urine
As you can see, your body is naturally eager to absorb and process psychoactive THC and other active cannabinoids. (Drug tests, by the way, are only looking for THC.) So those chemical compounds of weed don’t stay in your system very long.
But the byproducts of THC, which are evidence of prior use, are also fat-soluble. In other words, THC metabolites bond to fatty tissues, and this causes the body to take some time expelling them.
So technically speaking, ‘weed’ doesn’t stay in your urine, THC-COOH does. And it’s totally inactive, meaning you’re not still under the influence of cannabis despite the presence of this chemical in your system.
Since the presence of cannabinoid metabolites in the body is entirely dependent on a person’s particular traits, it’s hard to answer definitively, how long does weed stay in your system?
Suffice to say, the amount of time evidence of cannabis use stays in your urine largely depends on how often you smoke up. Other factors, like your body mass index, your metabolic rate, and how hydrated you are also play a role.
Summing up the research we examined, this table can help you determine the average time weed will stay in your renal system.
- 1-time use: clean in 5-8 days
- 2-4 times a week: 11-18 days
- 5-6 times a week: 33-48 days
- Daily use: 50-65 days, up to 77
Cleanse Using a Detoxification Program
If you have at least seven days before your test, a detoxification program will speed up the body’s natural cleansing process and completely rid your body of the THC in your system in about a week. These programs also come with home testing kits to verify you are clean.
Cleanse the Same Day
If your test is coming up sooner, certain detox drinks are known to flush your system the same day you drink them keeping you clean for a period of four to six hours.
How Long Does Weed Stay In Your Hair
Although there are plenty of myths and misconceptions circulating about hair drug tests, they’re feared by weed users for good reason.
Evidence of cannabis consumption stays in your hair for longer than any other system in your body. In fact, hair follicle testing can reveal cannabis use up to years prior.
But in terms of common testing procedures, hair follicle tests are typically looking for cannabis use back 90 days.
One rumor is that drug test kit administrators or police will cut off the tips of your hair for a drug test. But that wouldn’t be very conclusive at all.
Instead, hair follicle tests take a head hair from the root to 1.5 inches of hair. Testers discard the rest of the hair.
Human head hair grows, on average, at a rate of about .5 inches per month. So 1.5 inches equals about three months of hair growth. If you took the end of a foot-long hair, you’d be able to detect weed use back two years!
Body hair, which grows more slowly than head hair and isn’t replaced as often by new hairs, may betray prior weed use back even further.
A body hair of the same length could show weed use back 180 to 360 days. At the moment, however, there are no conclusive studies verifying this.
So weed stays in your hair for a long time. But it doesn’t show up in one time or occasional users. Instead, hair testing reveals a chronic habit of marijuana consumption.
For regular cannabis users, this is definitely case for alarm. Once THC makes its way to the follicle and ends up in the hair strand, it’s there forever.
Of course, you could answer how long does weed stay in your system with the answer, not another second. All you have to do is shave off all of your hair.
The Final Answer: How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System?
The short-lived effects of weed don’t prevent evidence of marijuana consumption from lingering in your system. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you’re high for as long as those chemicals exist in your body. But it does mean you’re at risk of failing a drug test.
So how long does weed stay in your system? When it comes to saliva and blood, where active THC resides, weed stays in the body for a week, tops. But with urine, weed stays in your system much longer. And with hair, it’ll stay with you forever. Or at least until you cut that hair off!
How long does THC last in your body?
Cannabis is an amazing herb that not only helps you in a recreational manner but medicinally as well. We all enjoy blunts and joints, and everything seems awesome. until you have to go to that dreaded drug test. Then, suddenly it all looks gloomy. Drug tests are common everywhere and although cannabis is legal in many areas, the very mention of a test makes some people panic.
If you want to enjoy cannabis without a worry in the world, you’ll naturally want to know “how long does THC last in your body?” It’s a question asked by many, but very few have answers. Firstly, the amount of time marijuana lasts in any individual’s body depends on the individual himself.
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For instance, you may get rid of it quickly compared to someone who smokes it every single day. Obviously, heavy usage matters and those that use it frequently will have a tougher time flushing THC out of their system.
Also, THC tends to build up more in your system as you continue to smoke or ingest marijuana. It accumulates and blends with fat stores as time goes by. Depending on your body’s metabolism, THC will exit sooner or later. Sure, there are many other factors involved, and that’s exactly what we will highlight in this article.
Types of tests to detect THC
If you’ve ever taken a drug test, you will know that there are several ways to figure out if there’s any THC in your system. Drug tests measure or detect THC not only by the main product but the by-products are also considered. Now, the biggest challenge is that these by-products tend to stay in the system even after marijuana’s effects are long gone.
Here are a few types of tests conducted to measure THC
There are many types of saliva tests done for detecting THC. Employers can choose among any of them. And now that technology is so advanced, saliva tests meant to particularly detect molecules of THC found especially in the mouth are really useful. However, the results will be positive only if you’ve smoked a joint a few hours ago.
Other types of saliva test detect THC in users that have indulged in marijuana even if it was a month ago. While occasional users don’t have to worry a lot, chronic users have something to worry about.
You have to remember that cannabis can enter salivary glands if you’re exposed to the smoke or of you smoke a joint yourself. As soon as the glands ingest cannabis, it will show up in tests. From cops to employers, saliva tests are pretty common now.
Urine tests – like saliva tests – also depend on how long you’ve been using marijuana. If you’re an occasional user, there isn’t much to worried about. For instance, if you have an interview or a drug test in a week, you can stop ingesting cannabis right away so that your urine doesn’t show any traces.
But, for chronic users, urine tests will detect THC even if they have smoked marijuana a month ago. By occasional users, we are talking about people that consume or smoke cannabis about once or twice a week. The THC will be out of your system in just 3-4 days.
Moderate users indulging in cannabis about 4-5 times a week will obviously have more THC in their urine. In such cases, it will take at least 7-10 days for the THC to exit your system. You’re considered a c_hronic user if you smoke every single day and it will take at least a fortnight for you to get rid of THC. And, if you’re ingesting cannabis multiple times in a day and abuse it every day, you may need more than a month for the THC to leave the bloodstream.
Urine tests are conducted in various ways. While some employers use strips that are dipped in urine to detect THC, others may collect your sample and send them to the lab. Depending on your weight and the amount of THC present in the bloodstream, the results may be positive or negative. Urine tests are most common compared to other types of tests.
Although blood tests aren’t as common as urine tests, some employers may rely on it. Again, the results may vary from one individual to another. The thing will blood tests, though, is that they are not as reliable as urine tests.
Blood tests are considered invasive and that’s also why you won’t see many employers using it. THC is unpredictable and can remain or exit the bloodstream depending on your lifestyle. Some metabolites of cannabis can remain in the bloodstream for more than a month at times.
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For occasional users, blood tests aren’t really a cause of concern since it only takes 3-4 days for the THC to exit the bloodstream. Compared to blood tests, urine tests are more reliable. Thus, you’ll see many institutions and employers insisting on urine tests rather than blood tests.
So, what happens when you smoke cannabis? Well, the THC enters the bloodstream in a matter of seconds. For heavy users, you’ll see traces of THC in the blood for more than 30 days. However, there may be no THC at all even if you use cannabis for 4-5 times a week. This is because the THC can dissolve in the fat tissues and be eliminated without a trace. Also, THC exits the system when you indulge in a workout or if you simply sweat. Thus, blood tests aren’t very reliable. Moreover, it is expensive compared to other tests, so it doesn’t make sense for employers to use blood tests.
Compared to saliva, blood and urine tests, hair tests detect THC even if you’ve smoked a joint 90 days ago! Hair follicle tests are used to detect many other medications and drugs. Employers rarely ask for hair tests, but in case they do insist on it, you’ll have to give them your hair samples and the results will be known in just a day.
For this test, a collector will remove at least 100 hairs from the crown of your head. If you’re bald or have shaved your head, they will take samples of your body hair instead. Once you smoke or ingest cannabis, THC can enter the hair follicles easily. It will remain in the follicles for at more than 90 days even as your hair grows longer.
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How Long Does Weed/Marijuana Stay In Your System?
Once you’ve taken weed, this is how long it might stay in your blood, urine, saliva and more.
Page medically reviewed by Dr Ian Nnatu (MB BS, PG DIP (CBT), MSc, FRCPsych, MRCPsych) Consultant Adult Psychiatrist at Priory Hospital North London
Marijuana, also known as weed, cannabis or pot, is a drug that is derived from the cannabis sativa plant. Within the plant is a chemical known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which produces a ‘high’ when someone smokes, ingests or vapes it.
UK statistics show that almost 30% of people aged 16-59 have taken marijuana at least once in their lifetime. THC can result in feelings of calmness, relaxation and tranquillity, which can make people want to take this drug over and over again. However, repeated use can result in you developing a harmful addiction to this substance.
Weed might be detected in your system for up to 90 days after you’ve taken the drug, depending on a number of factors, including:
- The method of testing for cannabis in your system
- The way in which you consumed the cannabis (e.g. smoking or ingesting the substance when it has been baked or cooked in food)
- How much cannabis you have been using
- Various factors relating to your unique body
Read on to find out more about how long marijuana can be detected in your urine, blood, saliva and hair.
How Long is Cannabis Detectable via Drug Testing?
Cannabis can be detected in your system using a drug test. How long it can be detected after you last used the drug can depend on the method of sampling.
Information published by Drug and Alcohol Information and Support Ireland suggests that, typically, cannabis can be detected in your blood for around 1-2 days after use.
The level of use can increase this significantly. A study by Therapeutic Drug Monitoring suggests that in some chronic users, the drug can still be detected in your blood for up to 25 days after your last use.
The Mayo Clinic Proceedings’ Clinical Interpretation of Urine Drug Tests suggests that marijuana can be detected in your urine anywhere from a few days to several weeks after your last use. This depends on the individual’s level of usage. Generally, the guidelines suggest that:
- Single use can be detected up to 3 days after your last use
- Moderate use (4 times a week) can be detected 5-7 days after your last use
- Chronic use (every day) can be detected 10-15 days after your last use
- Chronic heavy use (multiple times every day) can be detected up to 30 days after your last use
MedlinePlus states that urine testing is the most common type of test used for detecting marijuana.
Saliva is often the method of choice for roadside drug testing of drivers. Saliva tests can pick up cannabis use in your system anywhere from 24-72 hours after your last use.
THC makes its way into hair follicles via your bloodstream, making hair testing another option for finding marijuana in your system. A hair test could detect the drug up to 90 days after your last use.
Hair tests tend to be less reliable than other forms of cannabis drug testing. If you’ve been in contact with second-hand marijuana smoke, or your hair comes into physical contact with someone who has touched cannabis, it could find its way onto your hair strands and result in a false positive.
What Are the Varying Factors That Affect How Long Weed Stays in Your System?
The question of how long marijuana stays in any one person’s system depends on a number of factors. Some of these are related to you as a person and others relate to the extent of your use. Many of these relate to your ability to metabolise the drug, rather than anything to do with the test itself.
Here are some of the factors that might affect how long weed stays in your system:
- Body mass index (BMI): People with more body fat will retain THC for longer. Individuals with lower BMIs have less capacity to ‘store’ THC in their bodies
- Sex: Females tend to have higher levels of body fat than males, making it more likely that cannabis metabolises slowly in their bodies and is therefore, more likely to be detectable for a longer period of time
- Genetics: Some people naturally have higher levels of metabolism, reducing the time that weed is detected in your system. On the flip side, others have lower levels of metabolism, meaning that weed can be detectable for longer in their bodies
- Frequency of usage: Infrequent users will typically be able to ‘clear’ the THC from their bodies faster than chronic users
- Potency and method of intake: More potent weed has higher levels of THC, meaning it may stay in your system for longer. Weed that is ingested is also thought to stay in your system for longer than smoking
There is nothing reliable that would lead to a faster metabolising of weed in your system. Some weed detox kits are available, which claim to help you dilute (and mask the dilution) of drugs in your system. However, these kits are known to be unreliable.
How Long Do the Effects Last?
According to TalktoFrank, the effects of cannabis can be felt as little as 1-2 minutes after smoking it. When cannabis is ingested, it can take as long as 45 minutes to feel the effects. Generally, the ‘high’ you get from weed will last between 40 minutes to an hour or more.
Cannabis Addiction Rehab at Priory
Cannabis is the fourth most abused drug in the UK, with many thousands of people requiring treatment and support after developing an addiction. Cannabis misuse is a serious problem that can seriously debilitate someone’s life, but today, many effective treatments exist that allow people to make a recovery.
At Priory, we can deliver world-class cannabis addiction treatment, including detoxification (if this is required), residential rehab and outpatient therapy, throughout our nationwide network of addiction hospitals, clinics and wellbeing centres.
If you think you might have a problem with drug addiction, you can get a free addiction assessment with Priory. Available over the phone, online or in person, free addiction assessments cover:
- Your history with the substance you are struggling with
- Any issues in relationships, or family history with drug addiction
- Any other mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, that may be playing a role in your struggle with addiction
- Deciding upon the best course of treatment for you as an individual
Book your free addiction assessment, or call us on 0800 144 8969 for more information about how we help those struggling with cannabis addiction every day.
For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding addiction treatment and rehabilitation, please call 0800 144 8969 or book a FREE ADDICTION ASSESSMENT.