Determining how long marijuana stays in the system depends on a number of variables, unique to every individual and different drug testing techniques. Are you a regular user or is marijuana use something that you engage with just on special occasions? Are you fit or do you carry extra weight? Is the test performed using your urine, saliva, blood, or hair? Whether you are wondering how long THC will stay in your system because you have a drug test coming up, want to educate your patients or clients, or are just curious, read on to learn more.
THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical in marijuana that drug tests measure, will vary in length of detection depending on the amount that is smoked, how often it is smoked, and the genetic makeup of the person. The only way to really know how long THC will be detectable in your body is to set up your own test. Marijuana is fat soluble meaning it is stored in the fat cells of the body. When smoked, THC enters the bloodstream within minutes. When digested, THC enters the bloodstream at a much slower rate, within 20 minutes or up to an hour and a half.
How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your Blood?
THC is quickly converted into metabolites. Metabolites are molecules that are stored in body fat and are slowly eliminated from the body through urination and defecation. Depending on the blood test’s sensitivity level, results will vary. For occasional users of the drug, THC will usually go undetected in the blood within 12 to 24 hours after use. For the regular user, THC will generally go undetected in the bloodstream 2 – 7 (or more) days after use. Blood tests are known to be the best option for detecting recent use, but are used less frequently than other techniques due to the nature of the testing procedure. The use of this method is more common in investigations of injuries, cases of driving under the influence, and accidents, where there is suspicion of drug related impairment.
How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your Urine?
Urine tests for marijuana do not test for real time impairment and can detect THC for weeks after use. These tests tend to be more sensitive than other methods and like the blood test results, depend on the amount of use. Typically, for the occasional user who smokes no more than once a week, they can pass a urine test after 2 days, but THC will occasionally be detected up to two weeks after use. For those who use marijuana regularly, detection of THC will be much longer, extending up to three months in more extreme cases.
How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your Hair?
Hair tests for marijuana use are more likely to detect regular use of the drug, and less likely to detect occasional use. These tests are known to be one of the most objectionable methods of testing for THC levels because they measure internally absorbed residues that have the ability to remain in the hair for many months after marijuana use.
Regarding the method of use, oral ingestion of marijuana is known to stay in the system much longer than smoking. And like smoking, the amount of time marijuana remains in the system will depend on the length of use, the regularity of use, and the genetic makeup of the individual. The only way to know for sure how fast your body rids itself of THC is to perform your own drug tests at home.