This is Your Body on Weed [Explained]

By Dane L.

Do you remember how worried you were after the effects of the first joint you had wore off? You were probably worried about any side effects which would kick in, especially with numerous myths floating around.

There are several factors that affect the activity of the active compounds in marijuana in your body. Your frequency of smoking, the total amount of weed you consume, and your body fat content are some of the major aspects.

How long does marijuana stay in your system?” is a common question amongst many professionals like you who fear losing their jobs as a result of a positive drug test. You might also have questions about the drug’s interaction with your system.

This article tackles such worrisome details so that you can effectively manage your smoking habits. By the end, you will also know how safe you are from random drug screenings.

Understanding the science of marijuana

First off, it’s important to understand the activity of weed in your system, which is mainly determined by Tetrahydrocannabinol – more commonly referred to as THC – which is the active compound in the plant. In other words, the next time you experience psychoactive effects after smoking a joint, just know that it is the work of THC in your system. This high enhancer is also what is tested for in drug tests, and hence you need to know its activity potential in your bodily systems.

THC is immediately absorbed into your body any time you smoke. However, if you ingest any edible marijuana, the process can take up to 30 minutes. The processing of the psychoactive ingredients is nonetheless quick for any consumption methods, and as such the high only lasts a few hours. If you only smoke once, then you can get rid of the lingering compounds in just a few days

THC’s interaction with the body


THC is rapidly broken down into metabolites, which are molecules that can be found in blood, but their potency is short-lived.


The number of metabolites resulting from the breakdown of THC in the liver exceeds 80. THC-COOH is amongst such, and this should be your primary concern in a drug test.


THC readily dissolves in fat, which means that its potency is longest in the body’s fat deposits. This means that if you have more fat in your body, marijuana will be stored more readily than it would be if you were slimmer. Its elimination is also pretty slow in fats, meaning it can remain there for months depending on the amount and frequency of consumption.

Marijuana and drug tests

There are many kinds of drug tests, as outlined below:

  • Urine screenings

Urine tests are the most common drugs test all over the world, and many companies favor them for their affordability and potential to detect THC over a long period. THC-COOH is what is tested for. This is produced by the breakdown of THC in the liver, and its presence indicates recent marijuana consumption.

The list below shows the estimated length of stay of cannabis in your urine depending on your usage frequency:

  • Single consumption (such as once in 30 days): 1-8 days
  • Regular consumption (such as 4 – 6 times in 30 days): 1 – 15 days
  • Frequent consumption (such as 10 – 15 times in 30 days): 1 – 30 days
  • Heavy consumption (such as 20+ times in 30 days): 1 – 77 days


  • Saliva screenings

This is quite common in DUI incidents, as the police try to catch “drug-drivers”. THC, however, only lasts for a limited period within the mouth saliva. A single smoking session can require 24 hours for the THC and its metabolites to clear out.

Regular smoking can require up to 72 hours of THC clearance time, and with heavy users there may be THC in the salivary glands for up to a week.

  • Blood screenings

Cannabinoids prefer to reside in the fat deposits more so than in the blood stream. As such, the stay period is also very short in blood. One day is enough for all THC to clear out of your bloodstream when you use cannabis for the first time or infrequently. A week is normally the case for regular users.

  • Hair screenings

Yes, THC can also be found in your hair! However, this is only a chief concern if you are a regular to heavy marijuana smoker. The hair follicle test can indicate drug usage over as long as a 90 day period.

Other factors that affect rate of stay

  • Metabolic rate

Metabolism affects the rate of elimination and the content of fat in the body. As such, it can highly influence the detection of marijuana.

  • Drug strength

There are numerous marijuana strains which have varying THC concentrations. More cannabinoids are present in stronger strains, meaning that more THC metabolites will be left in the body, hence taking them longer to clear out.

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