Marijuana drug testing is most often used in medicine, sport and law.
The fourth biggest point of interest involves suspecting parents. And if you love weed, you’re most likely familiar with this scenario as well.
In today’s post, I will give you a definitive answer to one of the most popular cannabis questions of all time:
How long does weed stay in your system?
The true answer to this question relies on several factors:
- Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Frequency of use
- Potency of the strain
- Method of consumption
You should know that only the psychoactive compound in cannabis, THC, is detectable in tests.
Other cannabinoids (such as CBD) are not detectable.
This is how long marijuana stays in your system
Let me emphasize one thing first:
Marijuana does not stay the same amount of time in blood, urine and saliva.
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As you can see, THC stays longer in urine than in blood. Additionally, THC can also be found in hair, sweat and saliva.
The most common way of testing for weed nowadays is urine testing.
Urine tests are able to detect THC-COOH, a metabolite of THC that stays in our body the longest.
But, there is no one-size-fits-all answer on how long marijuana stays in our system.
What we do have are some well known facts for each of the testing methods.
Since THC is only detectable in blood for a short amount of time, that way of testing is not that popular anymore.
After smoking, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) basically runs through the blood and into the fat cells. And that is where it nests in and stays longer.
In general, if you’re not a regular smoker and you only took a few puffs, THC will stay in your blood for about one to two days.
If you used cannabis a few times in the past week, THC will be detectable in your blood for about 3 days afterward.
Yet, if you are a regular, everyday user you’ll need around 7 days to get clean.
When it comes to urine testing, it’s a whole different ball game:
Here, it’s not the THC that tests look for, but a non psychoactive metabolic intermediate — THC-COOH.
After using weed, our liver metabolizes THC into THC-COOH, which is then stored in our urine.
Again, how long THC stays in urine depends on the frequency of use.
If you have used marijuana just once, THC will stay in your urine for about 7 days.
If you smoked marijuana 2 to 4 times but didn’t use it afterward, THC will be detectable in your urine for 10 to 18 days.
If you smoke 5 or 6 times a week you can expect the metabolite to remain in your urine from 30 to 48 days.
Medical marijuana users and daily users need a bit more time to get rid of this compound.
If you use marijuana daily, you’ll need about 50 to even 70 days to cleanse marijuana from your system.
Hair testing is not that common these days but it can detect THC for the longest amount of time.
The hair test can detect weed in your system for about 90 days after using it.
THC is detectable in hair for a week after the consumption, because that’s how long it takes for your hair to grow.
In fact, THC is detectable from a single hair sample taken 1.5 inches from the scalp.
These kinds of test are very precise and can detect very small amounts of THC-COOH in a hair sample. They can detect even 1 picogram per milligram of the substance, which is very, very little.
Note: if your first hair sample tests positive for weed, they might ask you to provide a second sample.
Saliva marijuana tests are usually used by police officers during roadside drug testing.
THC and its metabolites can be detected in saliva just an hour after consuming cannabis.
If you only used marijuana once, it will be detectable in your saliva for the next 24 hours.
If you are an occasional (but frequent) user THC will be detectable in your saliva for 72 hours.
If you are a regular heavy consumer (or a daily medical user), saliva test will turn positive for up to a week.
Roadside saliva tests have been very controversial recently.
The problem is that you can test positive on THC without even being stoned, so it’s still very difficult to determine if the driver is actually impaired or not.
Yes, marijuana can show up even in our sweat.
Sweat testing is not a common way of testing people for cannabis. It’s usually used for monitoring patients during drug rehab treatments and employment programs.
THC metabolites can remain in our sweat for about one to four weeks.
This depends on three factors: how much do you sweat, how much do you work out and how much do you smoke.
Also take in account environmental factors, such as temperature and air humidity.
Here’s how this test works:
THC sweat patches are applied to the skin and are usually worn from 7 to 14 days. After that period, patches are taken off for testing.
As the amount of produced sweat is subjective, so is the accuracy of patch testing limited.
And it’s hard to control if the testing subject wore the patch all the time, of course.
How long do edibles stay in your system?
Consumption method is very important when it comes to detecting THC in your blood and urine.
For example, when you eat a cannabis brownie, it takes a little bit longer to feel the “high”, when compared to smoking.
Marijuana first reaches the stomach and it takes some time for the digestion process to start.
Afterwards, cannabis compounds get processed by the liver and only then do the cannabinoids enter our blood.
That’s why marijuana edibles stay in our system from 7 to 30 days.
In fact, in the first 5 days after taking an edible, 80 to 90% of THC will be removed from your bloodstream and urine.
The remaining 10% will stay in your system, but for how long, depends on the factors we talked about earlier.
How to get marijuana out of your system?
The best way to get THC out of your system and pass the test is pretty simple — total abstinence.
If you must take one of the tests we mentioned above, don’t smoke, vape or eat marijuana for the time I indicated before. That’s the only reliable way to get rid of THC out of your system.
If it’s already too late and you don’t have the time, there are a few things you can try to cleanse your system from marijuana, the natural way.
These tips could help, but there are no guarantees they will work.
Take note that research showed that people with fast metabolism, low body fat percentage and low BMI can flush THC out of their system much faster.
But, here is what you can do.
1) Drink water
Staying hydrated is essential for your health in general. So if you want to flush marijuana out your system, start drinking water a few hours before the test.
But, don’t overdo it. A liter or two a few hours before the test should be fine. There is no need to drink excessive amounts of water days or weeks before the test.
You should keep in mind that drinking water will make you urinate more, so your urine will be more clear. And this could look suspicious as well.
2) Eat the right foods
Some ingredients could probably help you get rid of THC faster, but some could definitely do the opposite.
As THC is looking for fat cells to store itself, you’ll need to avoid fatty and greasy foods, as well as things rich in sugar and sodium. That means — no junk food and red meat.
You’ll need a lot of food rich in fiber and antioxidants to redirect THC from the fat cells.
Stick to fruits, vegetables and whole grains to detox from marijuana faster.
Also, vitamin C should be your new best friend. Lemonade and citrus juices are full of electrolytes which are great detoxing agents. Tea will also help your system get rid of THC, so drink a few cups of green, black or white tea a couple of days before your test.
Vitamin B3 is great when you’re looking to cleanse your system from just about anything. Avocados and potatoes are one of the biggest natural sources of vitamin B3 (also known as niacin).
3) Exercise and sweat
Cardio is the best way to burn fat, which is also where THC metabolites live. By exercising, we sweat more, excrete fluids and we eventually speed up the THC detox.
A workout that mixes cardio and strength would be the best to flush marijuana out, starting a few weeks prior to testing.
But, there is one tricky thing when it comes to exercising. Don’t do it on the day of testing. In fact, try to avoid all exercise a couple of days before the big day.
Even though exercise burns fat, that process also releases more THC metabolites into your blood, which could be a bad choice for the testing day.
4) Get a lot of sleep
We know that marijuana is one of the preferred stress relievers and a natural remedy for sleepless nights. But, if you have to take the test, you’ll have to get some rest without weed.
When we sleep, our whole body recovers for the following day. It’s our own, natural detox mechanism.
So, a few days (or weeks) before taking the test, try getting as much sleep as possible. Give yourself plenty of relaxing time and try to go to bed earlier than usual.
What not to do when trying to flush THC out of your system
There are some things that don’t work and could be a bad idea.
Don’t try to “mask” the urine by adding other chemicals such as bleach, detergents or acids to it.
All the chemicals in urine can be easily detected, which would look suspicious and you would likely need to take the test again.
Other medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen won’t do the trick. They will not disguise the presence of THC.
Keep in mind that replacing your urine with someone else’s can lead to serious legal consequences. In most cases.