If you’ve ever had to take a drug test, you may be familiar with the anxious anticipation leading up to the results, especially if you’ve consumed THC in recent days. Maybe you’re taking a drug test to land your dream job. Maybe you’re taking a court-mandated drug test. Or maybe you’re just trying to detox your system. Whatever the case may be, you’ve probably found yourself Googling something along the lines of, how long does weed stay in your system?
If you’ve ever asked yourself, or Google, the above question, then you’re in the right place.
In this week’s blog, we’re diving into the facts and discussing how long weed stays in your system — and why. We’re covering everything you need to know from how THC is absorbed and metabolized in the body and how long it’s detectable via various types of drug testing to different factors that influence weed’s extended stay in your system and different ways to potentially detox faster. Let’s get started!
How is Weed Absorbed and Metabolized?
Whether via inhalation, digestion, or even topical absorption, weed is considered ‘absorbed’ as soon as it enters the bloodstream. While smoking offers instant absorption, consuming an edible can take an hour or so before it enters the bloodstream.
As with most, if not all, consumed items, THC is broken down (metabolized) in the liver by CYP2C and CYP3A enzymes. Once these enzymes get to work, they transform THC into 11-OH-THC (psychoactive) and 11-COOH-THC (not psychoactive), otherwise known as metabolites. (PS—metabolites are the compounds that drug tests search for.) From here, these molecules leave the body the same way most everything else does — in the bathroom.
So how long is 11-OH-THC and 11-COOH-THC detectable? So glad you asked.
How Long is Weed Detectable Via Drug Testing?
Short answer, it depends. Different drug tests yield different results. For example, a hair follicle test can detect cannabis use for a much longer time after the fact than a urine test.
Marijuana Blood Test
Since THC is absorbed in the bloodstream, it should come as no surprise that blood tests are readily available. However, since weed is broken down in the body so quickly, blood tests offer a very brief window. In fact, they can only detect cannabis in the body for up to 7 days after the fact.
Marijuana Hair Follicle Test
To screen for weed use, hair follicles can be taken from the root to detect possible marijuana use. Since each and every hair follicle has a blood vessel used to keep the hair healthy, any THC that enters the bloodstream subsequently enters the hair follicles.
Out of all drug tests, hair follicle screenings are able to detect cannabis use in the body for the longest amount of time after the fact; an estimated 90 days, to be exact. Of course, hair follicle tests (and all of the drug tests mentioned) are influenced by consumption frequency, but we’ll get to that later.
Marijuana Saliva Test
Out of each test mentioned, saliva tests are possibly the least used in a professional setting because they can only detect cannabis use within 24 hours after the fact. In other words, don’t expect to be taking a saliva test to land your dream job, enter the military, land a spot on the USA Olympic team, etc.
Marijuana Urine Test
In contrast to saliva tests, urine tests are arguably the most used in a professional setting. Most of the time, companies who drug test require a urine sample to be tested because urine screening is generally the cheapest type of drug test. Additionally, this type of test can detect cannabis use up to 3 days for new consumers, 5-7 days for moderate users, and 30 days or longer for heavy consumers.
Factors that Influence How Long Weed Stays in Your System
A number of different factors could potentially influence how long weed stays in your system. For example, the cannabis metabolites we mentioned earlier are fat-soluble, which means that they cling onto fat molecules. If you have a higher body mass index (BMI: a measure of body fat based on height and weight) and a lower metabolic rate, then metabolites have a higher chance of taking up more long-term residence in your system.
Additionally, higher consumption frequency causes metabolites to be stored in the body for longer periods of time. In other words, years and years of repeated cannabis use may take longer to detox than infrequent or moderate use.
Finally, a higher concentration of THC in a cannabis product or a higher dose consumed may influence how long weed stays in your system. And weed that is ingested, such as edibles or tinctures, may stay in your body longer than weed that is consumed via inhalation.
How to Detox From Weed Faster
While there may not be a magic potion to immediately rid your body of any and all traces of THC, there are some small tweaks you can make in your daily routine to potentially help the detox process move a bit faster. For example, sweaty exercise, a healthy diet, and tons of water could help… but doesn’t each of those lifestyle changes help with everything? Needless to say, all doctors and publications will make such recommendations to benefit overall health. Sorry, there’s no easy way out of this one; unless…
Some stoners swear by all-natural detox kits, herbal supplements, vitamins, etc. to help with the detoxification process, but we wouldn’t suggest utilizing them because they aren’t fool-proof methods guaranteed to help you pass. Additionally, none of the aforementioned methods are specifically geared towards THC detox, but rather overall detoxification.
In conclusion, weed can stay in your system for a fairly long period of time, especially for those who may heavily consume cannabis on a daily basis. The best method to rid your body of any traces of THC is to take a tolerance break (T-break), and let your body do the hard work for you. Once that drug test comes around, you should be good to go if you planned accordingly. But for those who don’t see a drug test in their future and have no intention of detoxing anytime soon, be sure to visit hyperwolf.com and place a weed delivery order ASAP.