How long does weed stay in your system after smoking a joint or snacking on an edible? The short answer is THC and its metabolites can remain in the body anywhere between a day to a month after consumption, but that’s dependent on several individual and external factors.
When you smoke a joint, the cannabinoids and terpenes are absorbed into the bloodstream via the lungs and transported throughout the body. They cause their effects and are then excreted through urine, sweat and stool.
But how long does this process take? This article looks at how long it takes for THC or cannabis to get out of your system.
The first step to understanding how long marijuana will stay in your system is to establish how weed works in the body.
When you smoke, vape or dab a cannabis product, the smoke or vapour goes directly into the lungs, carrying different cannabis compounds, including THC, CBD and terpenes.
THC enters the bloodstream through the lungs and is taken to the heart and pumped to all body parts. THC interacts with the cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system, primarily the CB1 receptors that are mainly found in the brain and the central nervous system to cause its effects.
As the blood circulates through the body carrying the THC along with it, it passes through the liver, where THC is broken down into more than 80 metabolites, but the most significant metabolites are 11-OH-THC (11-hydroxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and THC-COOH (11-nor-9-carboxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol).
These inactive metabolites are stored in body fats. These metabolites are what most drug tests look for as they last longer in the body than the actual THC. Eventually, THC and its metabolites are gradually eliminated through urine and stool.
How Long Can Drug Tests Detect Marijuana In My System?
There are several ways to detect marijuana in your system. THC and its metabolites can be detected in blood, saliva, urine and hair. Here are the common types of tests for cannabis and how they work.
This test is commonly used for cannabis roadside/ drug driving tests. It only tests for THC and not metabolites. THC gets into saliva because it’s the first point of contact when you smoke or vape cannabis. Saliva tests can’t detect THC if you use a consumption method that bypasses contact with the mouth.
This is the most common testing method for marijuana. It checks for the presence of THC metabolites in your urine as the body excretes THC and metabolites as waste products.
3. Blood testing
THC is detectable in the bloodstream within seconds of the first inhalation. That’s because weed consumed through inhalation techniques – smoking, vaping and dabbing, is delivered directly into the bloodstream via the lungs.
Blood testing in a laboratory setting may detect recent use of weed.
THC absorbed into the body is taken to every organ via the bloodstream. Weed reaches hair follicles via small blood vessels, meaning that trace amounts of THC may remain in the hair. These traces can stay in the hair for up to three months.
However, those are just the type of tests. How long does THC actually remain in your system?
How Long Does Pot Stay In Your System?
How long THC remains in different body fluids varies. How long it remains detectable depends on the type of test you are taking.
This depends on the method of consumption. If you smoke weed, vape or dab it, the THC can be detected in blood plasma in a matter of seconds. One study shows that plasma THC concentration peaks within 3 to 8 minutes after the first toke and remains detectable for up to 24 hours.
However, metabolites such as THC-COOH can be detected in blood weeks after, even if you abstain from consuming more.
Urinalysis is the preferred method for cannabis drug testing. Urine tests don’t look for THC as a compound. Instead, they test for its metabolites.
How long weed remains detectable in your urine depends on the type of user you are. For occasional users, THC metabolites can be detected for up to 3 days in urine, 5-7 days in moderate users, 10-15 days in daily users and up to 30 days or more for chronic users who smoke weed multiple times a day.
How Long Does Weed Stay In Your Saliva
THC metabolites can be found in saliva for one to three days in occasional users and for up to a month for chronic users.
Hair follicle tests can assess marijuana use for up to three months. THC and its metabolites get to hair through small blood vessels, and traces remain in the hair. Since hair grows at an approximate rate of 0.5 inches per month, taking a 1.5-inch sample of hair near the scalp may show weed use for up to three months.
However, several studies show hair follicle tests do not prove cannabis use as THC and its metabolites can be transferred to a non-users hair through touch, sweat and even secondhand smoke.
Top 4 Factors That Determine How Long THC Remains In Your System
THC and its metabolites are fat-soluble. After THC is metabolized by the liver, the metabolites are stored in body fats, so the more body fat you have, the longer THC metabolites remain detectable in your system.
People with higher metabolic rates can break down cannabinoids faster and excrete them, which shortens the time the compounds remain in the body. Everyone has a different metabolic rate, so we can’t conclusively say how long weed will stay in your system.
3. Frequency Of Consumption
How often you consume cannabis significantly influences how long cannabis will stay in your system. Several studies have shown that cannabis remains detectable for extended periods in chronic users than occasional or even one-time users.
The more weed you take, the longer the time your body will take to break it down, and the more metabolites will be produced. Also, more potent products such as cannabis concentrates may linger longer in the body.
There isn’t much you can do to remove weed from your system once you have consumed it. Your body will need time to break it down and excrete it through sweat, urine and stool. Exercising, drinking a lot of water and eating a healthy diet may help but not significantly.
Exercising may backfire if you have THC metabolites stored in body fats. When you exercise, fat is burned, releasing the metabolites into the bloodstream before they are excreted.
How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System? Several Factors Come Into Play
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question. However, available research suggests that it may take anywhere between one day to three months, depending on your consumption rates, for your body to completely get rid of THC and its metabolites.
If you are in Canada, it’s unlikely that you will be subjected to any weed drug tests unless you work in a safety-sensitive profession. If not, you are free to enjoy consuming marijuana. Order weed online in Canada today from LowPriceBud, and we’ll deliver anywhere in the country.