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How Long Does THC Stay In Your Body?

By Robert Bergman, ILoveGrowingMarijuana.com

Close-up of Marijuana Plant

Drug tests vary quite a bit, so this article is meant to provide you with general guidelines rather than all-inclusive facts, so please take the information with a grain of salt. Most people want to know exactly how long marijuana stays in your system so that you can effectively pass a drug test. Despite all the information we will provide you with, the best way to know for sure if marijuana is still in your system is if you actually perform a drug test on yourself. You can get cheap THC urine drug tests relatively easily.

Part of the issue with determining exactly how long the marijuana remains in your body is the fact that it depends greatly on how often you use marijuana. If it’s only once every couple months, for example, or even once per week, there is probably not a buildup in your body, meaning marijuana will leave your system within just a few days. If you use marijuana heavily or frequently, however, then it could take a month or even longer just to be sure that the marijuana in your system is no longer detectable. Always proceed with caution.

Urine

urine2Urine drug testing is the most frequently used method of all, making it the most relevant to you to know how to deal with it. It also has a longer detection time than a saliva test and is inexpensive to perform. For urine tests, weight, body fat, the amount of marijuana used, and how frequently you used marijuana all factor into how long the THC will remain in your urine.

After just a couple of hours from when you last smoked, THC appears in your urine. Without taking weight or body fat into account, a person who has used marijuana just once in their life will have a positive urine test for between 1-6 days. Whereas an infrequent user will show for 7-13 days, while a frequent user 2 weeks or more, and a heavy user for a month or longer. The longest anyone has reported is between 45 and 90 days after they stopped smoking. This applies only to the heaviest of pot smokers.

Technically urine tests check for THC metabolites rather than THC itself, which is the reason it can detect them in your system for a much longer time. The difference is that THC is the active ingredient that makes you feel high. THC metabolites, or THC-COOH, on the other hand, is the chemical that forms as the liver breaks down the THC. It remains in the for much longer periods of time than THC itself.

Passing a urine test
There are lots of methods employed by marijuana users who need to pass a marijuana test. Some work, others probably don’t at all. Some products called ‘urine cleansers’ are worthy of the skepticism surrounding them. You might as well drink a lot of water or other liquid just before the test, as it is a natural way to dilute the urine anyway. Proceed with caution, however; if it is too diluted, then the lab will reject it because it is unable to properly analyze the sample. Potentially it could be a solution to a tricky situation where you just need to buy yourself some time. This could work, assuming you would be allowed to do a retest (and haven’t smoked since your first urine sample).

Saliva

DNA-Entnahme bei einer weiblichen Patientin / DNA-Test from a human mouth

Saliva tests are not performed nearly as frequently as urine drug tests, but it’s still valid to point out that these tests show positive results within an hour after you have smoked. That being said, the positive result of a saliva test will only continue for about 12 hours after your last smoke, so it’s much easier to deal with than the urine tests.

Hair

THC only shows up in your hair a full week after your last smoke of marijuana. However, if you are undergoing hair drug testing, then it will most likely test for the last 90 days. This means, if you smoked at all in the past three months, it would be a positive test. This testing technique is generally inaccurate because sometimes THC does not even attach itself to the hair follicle at all, and it says nothing about your drug use for the previous week.

Blood

Blood Sample

Blood Sample

Blood tests are most commonly used when the authorities need to determine if someone who caused a driving accident was driving while under the influence. They display what the current effects of marijuana are on your body – since they are actually measuring the amount of active THC within your bloodstream.

THC absorption when smoking

When you smoke marijuana you are achieving the fastest way of absorbing THC. The chemical is actually detectable immediately once you inhale marijuana, with the levels of THC in your blood getting its highest just 9 minutes afterwards. Nearly as soon as you stop smoking marijuana, or at least after 15 minutes afterwards, the THC level in the blood drops significantly, dropping to significantly lower levels within two hours.

If you took a lower dose, in 3-12 hours after smoking, the THC levels would no longer be detectable. If you took a higher dose, however, it would be detectable for a longer period of time, between 6 and 27 hours. These results are only the case for people who do not smoke regularly.

The concentration of THC within your blood drops so quickly because it spreads out across your tissues and is metabolized by your liver quickly. The metabolites, which result from the liver’s breaking down of the THC, remain in eatingorgans of your body far longer than in your blood. This is why they show up in urine tests for much longer than blood tests.

THC absorption when eating

When you eat marijuana within an edible, the effects of the THC are vastly different. THC doesn’t kick in for several hours after eating a baked good with marijuana in it, and active THC levels drop within 25 hours. THC metabolites, on the other hand, took 50 hours to drop below detectable levels.

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About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

9 comments

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  1. wplezotte

    The only way for a user to be sure to pass a test is to substitute a clean specimen of synthetic urine. The article casts doubt on the effectiveness of such a product but having taken several DOT mandated drug screens, and since the first collection is always not monitored, I can positively say that synthetic clean urine is 100% foolproof. And keep it at the correct temperature by using duct tape to keep it under your armpit in a small plastic vile.

    A marijuana high lasts only a few hours (around six if an edible is consumed), but traces of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, remain in the body for much longer than that.

    Marijuana can be detected through both blood and urine tests, which are frequently conducted for DUIs and employers. If inhaled, marijuana enters the bloodstream through alveoli in the lungs. If marijuana is eaten, the liver breaks down THC into non-psychoactive marijuana metabolites, which linger in the body and are stored in fatty tissues. Some THC metabolites have a half-life of 20 hours, while others like THC-COOH have a half-life of 13 days, according to High Times.

    A 2014 study found that regular marijuana users have traces of marijuana in their urine for about two weeks, according to High Times. The study also found that a tiny bit of THC can still be present in the blood of a regular user despite abstaining for several weeks.

    Urine tests measure THC-COOH, since it has a very long half-life in the body, according to the website for the California branch of the marijuana advocate organization Norml. Blood tests are used to measure THC levels, and directly correlate with impairment at the time the test is taken.
    For infrequent users, marijuana can be detected in urine for around a week or more, and blood tests can measure active THC levels for around 24 hours.

    For frequent or heavy marijuana users, their urine tests may show up positive for up to 100 days after their last use, and blood tests will show the presence of THC for up to one week.
    THC-COOH builds up in the body each time marijuana is used, and thus takes even more time to decline, according to Norml.

  2. Frostbite

    Can’t believe we still have to worry about this shit in 2015. America, you suck and you messed up. Admit it and start releasing everybody who’s life you wrecked over this harmless plant, you rejects.

  3. mike

    drink lots of cocos liqiud.

    if you know when the urnine test is coming, drink first lots of water, also a bottle of coccos liqiud.

  4. Pat

    How do you keep the doobie lit if you are using it as a suppository? Doesn’t that burn?

  5. Anonymous

    I dnt smoke for lil over a Ur an still failed a piss test

  6. Coley

    So I stopped smoking in April and failed a drug test in Sept. I was a heavy smoker. I also have 2 rumors in my liver so I figured this is why it was still in my system.

  7. Linda

    What about oil

  8. Linda

    What about oil.. What’s thing on how long in system

  9. Endodan

    What about suppositories? This is a nonhigh, therapeutic way of getting the health benefits without the high. How long is it detectable by this route?

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