There are lots of different ways to test for traces of cannabis in a person’s system. Urine testing is by far the most common method of drug testing, especially by an employer. These samples are often collected on-site and then sent to a laboratory to be tested. THC can also be detected in hair, saliva, and blood. Since urine is the most common method of testing, how long after you smoke cannabis will THC be found in your urine?
It all depends on how much you smoke
One of the pitfalls of testing for cannabis through urine samples has to do with the exact chemical that is being tested for in the lab. The test doesn’t actually look for pure psychoactive THC, but rather the version of THC that has been processed by your body, called THC- carboxylic acid (COOH).
This leads to people testing positive for cannabis use long after they have consumed cannabis. And depending on your usage habits, it can be months after you stop and you will still test positive in your urine samples.
Researchers have found that everybody’s body metabolizes THC in slightly different ways. But, they still came out with a rough guide; on how the majority of people’s urine will test based on different consumption styles and timeframes.
Your first use will usually stay in your system for 5-8 days
If you use cannabis 2-4 times per week and then stop, you’ll test positive for 11-18 days
If you smoke 5-6 times per week, it’ll stay in your urine for 33-48 days
For Medical cannabis patients and people in the #smokeweedeveryday club, THC-COOH will stay in your urine for 49-63 days
For veteran smokers who have smoked for decades; they were even found with THC-COOH in their urine a whopping 77 days after stopping. That’s over two months!
These kinds of long-lasting positives can be a big problem for people who need to stop in a shorter time frame. They could have easily followed the rules of no cannabis use, but when tested, they still test positive.
The fairest tests that should be utilized worldwide is with the saliva, as THC will exit your saliva a mere 12 hours after use.
Below is an infograph detailing how long marijuana stays in your system.
The data used to create this infographic is gathered from research on drug testing methods and the information presented by drug screen manufacturers. Some resources include Redwood Toxicology, Cannabis Drug Testing, California NORML. The information presented is only a guide or estimate since drug testing has many variables that can influence a positive or negative outcome.
How Long Does Marijuana Stay in your System? is a frequent question posed by cannabis consumers. While there is no definitive answer, below are some guidelines. The only way to really know if you are positive is to test yourself. You can test yourself with a cheap drug test and know if you are positive.
How long does THC stay in your system?
The most common drug tests used are urine, saliva and hair. Each test has a different detection time which is important to know. The urine drug test is the most commonly used because it is cheap and has a longer detection time than a saliva test. There are several very important factors that can influence how long THC will be present in your urine:
Frequency of Use
Since these factors will vary greatly for each individual, there are no definitive guidelines to tell you how long you can test positive for THC.
On a Urine Drug Test, THC will appear as a positive within 2-5 hours of use. How long it will still show on a urine drug test is estimated based on frequency of use, but does not take into account the weight and body fat of the marijuana user:
One Time User may show positive for 1-6 days
Moderate User may show positive for 7-13 days
Frequent User may show positive for 15 or more days
Heavy User may show positive for 30 or more days
Some Heavy Pot Smokers have reported being positive 45-90 days after quitting
On a Saliva Drug Test, THC will test positive within one hour of use, but may only show positive for about 12 hours after last use.
On a Hair Drug Test, THC will show up about 7 days after use and most hair drug tests will test for a 90 day period. However, THC does not always bind to the hair follicle which makes it not always considered an accurate testing method for marijuana use.
The most reliable way to know if you are testing positive for marijuana use is to drug test yourself.
Two other popular methods are saliva tests and hair tests. Saliva tests are the least invasive; if you’re a daily smoker, studies have shown that in most instances it should be completely out of the system after 72 hours. If you smoked cannabis only once, it will likely be out of your system in 24-48 hours.
air tests, on the other hand, are far more invasive. Cannabis can be found in the hair up to a year after last consumption. Many companies have stopped using hair drug tests, however. Part of this is due to research released last year which found that hair tests can have false-positives for marijuana “because of transfer through cannabis consumers, via their hands, their sebum/sweat, or cannabis smoke.”
How do I Pass a Marijuana Drug Test?
The safest and most effective way to pass a urine drug test for marijuana is to abstain from consuming it; if you’re a heavy smoker, this may mean abstaining for two months or more.
Another option is to do a Google search for “marijuana detox” or “drug testing detox”. Here you will find a plethora of options for cleaning your system and clearing your urine; we highly recommend reading reviews first, however, as some work much better than others.
Another option is to dilute the marijuana in your urine by drinking massive amounts of liquid. This may work to shorten the amount of time the THC is in your system. However, it’s not magic and won’t allow you to pass a test if you’ve smoked recently.
If taking a marijuana saliva test, abstaining for a few days should be enough for even heavy users. If you can only abstain for a day or two prior to the test; suck on the sourest candy you can find for a couple hours beforehand.
Standard drug testing tests for THC metabolites, not CBD. This means that consuming CBD will not make you fail a drug test; that is so long as it has had all of its THC removed; or if it’s hemp derived (meaning it will already have virtually no THC).
Many believe if you abstain from cannabis for 30 days, you’ll pass a marijuana drug test. Here’s a look at whether or not that’s true.
So, you’re up for a new job! What other reason would you want to know how long THC stays in your system? A marijuana drug test of course! Congrats on the career change; here’s to hoping cannabis doesn’t ruin your chance at a new cubicle.
Marijuana drug test lore suggests that THC stays in your system for ten or so days,but the answer isn’t really that black and white. Rather, all sorts of variables play a role including your size, your metabolism, and your tolerance.
Thus, the answer to this question: it depends. There, you’re welcome.
Marijuana: The More You Smoke, The More You’re Screwed
Smoking lots of marijuana sets you up to fail a drug test: that much is clear. But heavy marijuana users are likely to fail even after a period of abstaining from the herb. According to a study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence;
THC is detectable in urine tests after two weeks of abstinence in people who smoke regularly (and two weeks is a conservative estimate)
Other studies draw a similar conclusion; in people who use marijuana routinely (every day or close to it), THC can stay in the system for months. This doesn’t mean the person remains high the entire time (sorry!); it merely means that the drug hasn’t been fully excreted from their system yet. Urine tests, similar to hair tests, don’t measure the amount of THC; they measure the level of THC metabolites.
The Variables that Play a Role
As mentioned above, several variables work together to either remove or hold onto THC; two people who share a joint one Friday night at a party can easily have drastically different drug test results come Monday.
Body fat plays an important role in this regard: plainly, the more body fat you have, the longer it’ll take THC to leave your system. This is due to the fact that THC metabolites are lipid-soluble and accumulate inside fat reserves. Ergo, a person with more fat offers more places for THC to make itself comfortable.
A fast metabolism is helpful to removal – the faster your metabolism, the faster THC metabolites decrease – as is drinking lots of water.
Dehydration causes the urine to concentrate, priming it to release THC and return a positive result
Naturally, the frequency of use plays, perhaps, the most important role (as the aforementioned study shows). If you smoke a joint socially every once in a while, you’re much less likely to fail a drug test than someone who smokes with any kind of regularity.
It’s believed that everyday factors like diet, exercise level, and stress also contribute, but to what degree isn’t certain. Exercise and spicy foods increase your metabolism, so it makes sense that they’d speed up the removal of THC from your body. The moral of the story? If you’re scheduled for a drug-screen think jalapenos and jazzercise.
Marijuana Drug Test: The 30-Day Rule
The 30-day Rule is often circulated in marijuana-loving circles as the gold-standard in which a person will test negative: if you don’t smoke for a month, you’re good to go. But, in reality, it’s rare for a readable amount of THC to stay in your system for that long; it can occur, but it’s an exception rather than a rule.
A study published back in 1989 by the National Institutes of Health found that the average length of time until THC was no longer traceable was 9.8 days. A study conducted five years prior showed similar results with 8 out of ten subjects testing cleanly in under two weeks.
A lot of this has to do with testing limits. For workplace testing, the usual cutoff is 50 ng/ml – most people test negative after around a week and a half of no marijuana exposure. If the limits were lowered, to 20 ng/ml for instance, the detection window widens to around three or so weeks.
What about CBD Consumption?
Standard drug testing tests for THC metabolites, not CBD. In other words, consuming CBD oil or wearing a CBD patch isn’t likely to result in a positive test.
Some CBD products contain small amounts of THC, but most of the limits are so low they aren’t likely to do anything
The exceptions of this are cannabis strains high in CBD as they’re often high in THC as well (and if not “high,” certainly much higher than what you’d find in CBD oil). This isn’t always the case, as some CBD strains are quite low in THC, but most have some measurable amounts of the cannabinoid.
If you’re applying for a new job and you’re a frequent smoker, the best thing you can do to stop a positive result is to abstain from cannabis use (I’ll pause for your laughter). If that’s not a task you’re willing to do (or unable to do in regards to medicinal use); there are other tricks of the trade (or tricks of the charade).
Some people turn to synthetic cannabinoids as a way to alter the tests; these are risky (for your wellness and your result). And some testing labs are onto this scheme: if you take a synthetic cannabinoid, it’ll show up on the report and everyone will know you’re a cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater.
Other people swear by detox drinks and B vitamins, but water is a viable option too
Water flushes out your system (and the THC inside it). But don’t wait until the day of your test to suddenly go full on camel; start flushing it out a few days before. If your urine is too diluted and you’re overhydrated from drinking way too much H2O; it can invalidate the test (and it’s not great for your kidneys either).
And, of course, never smoke in the days right before a test. It’s a pain in the butt, sure, but it’s only a few days; put down the ganja and just have some vodka.