The length of time cannabis stays in a person’s system can be different for each individual. Factors like how often someone uses it, the strength of the weed, their body’s ability to process it, and how hydrated they are can all affect how long it stays in their system.
The effects of weed wear off quickly, but THC, the active ingredient in weed, can stay in the body for a long time. The detection of THC and its byproducts in the body varies depending on factors such as the frequency and quantity of weed used by an individual.
Hair can detect the presence of THC for a period of up to 90 days, while urine can detect it anywhere from 1 day to a month or even longer. Saliva can detect THC for up to 24 hours, and blood can detect it for up to 12 hours.
Factors Affecting the Duration of Weed in Your System
The amount of THC in the marijuana
The amount of time it takes for your body to break down and eliminate THC depends on how much you consume and the potency of the marijuana. Stronger forms of marijuana can take longer to leave your system.
While the method of consumption doesn’t affect how long THC stays in your system, smoking or vaping cannabis produces quicker effects. On the other hand, it can take several hours for the effects of consuming cannabis through edibles to be felt.
Since it’s harder to gauge how much you’re consuming with edibles, you may end up consuming more, which can affect how long THC remains in your system.
The route of consumption
There are different ways to use weed, and each method affects how long the cannabis stays in your system.
When you consume weed by eating or drinking it, the effects are stronger. You will start feeling the effects within an hour, and they can last for more than six hours. If you are sensitive to the drug, the effects can even last for almost 12 hours.
Another common way to use cannabis is by smoking it. People roll it into a joint, blunt, or spliff, or use a pipe or bong to smoke it. Using a vape to smoke marijuana has become more popular because it reduces the amount of secondhand smoke.
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In summary, when you inhale weed, it reaches your organs and bloodstream faster than when you consume it orally. The method you choose to use marijuana affects how long its effects will last in your body.
The dosage and frequency of use
The effects of weed can add up over time. The more you use it, the longer it may stay in your body. How long marijuana remains detectable in your system depends on how often and how much you use it.
People who use cannabis regularly can have it in their system for much longer than occasional users. Studies indicate that individuals who try weed for the first time can have detectable levels in their system for approximately 3 days.
However, those who use cannabis daily or more frequently can have detectable levels for up to 30 days.
An individual’s metabolism rate and excretion routes
The body naturally gets rid of weed through its regular processes. People with a fast metabolism tend to eliminate cannabis and its active component, THC, more quickly than those with a slower metabolism.
If you have a fast metabolism, the time it takes for weed to be detected in your system will be shorter.
The sensitivity and specificity of the test
The time cannabis can be detected in the body depends on the type of test used. Urine tests can detect marijuana use from 3 to 30 days after use.
Blood tests are reliable for detecting marijuana for only 3 to 4 hours.
Saliva tests can typically detect marijuana for up to 24 hours, but some tests can detect it within 72 hours.
Hair tests are the most sensitive and can detect THC, the active component of marijuana, for up to 90 days after use.
Body composition and metabolism
Individual factors such as body weight, metabolism, and hydration can influence the duration of cannabis in your system. People with higher body fat percentages can retain THC and its byproducts for longer because fat cells store these substances.
Individuals with faster metabolisms are able to process and eliminate THC more efficiently compared to those with slower metabolisms.
How Does Your Body Process THC?
After using cannabis, THC is absorbed by various body tissues and organs, such as the brain, heart, and fat cells. The liver metabolizes THC into 11-hydroxy-THC and carboxy-THC, which are byproducts.
The body eliminates cannabis by excreting approximately 65% of it through feces, around 20% through urine, and storing the remaining amount.
Over time, the body gradually releases the stored THC in body tissues back into the bloodstream. The liver then metabolizes this THC. In chronic cannabis users, the body accumulates THC in fatty tissues at a faster rate than it can eliminate it.
As a result, traces of THC can still be detected in the body through a drug test even days or weeks after using weed.
How Long Do Weed’s Effects Last?
When the body receives THC, it undergoes rapid conversion into various molecules known as metabolites. The half-life of cannabis represents the time it takes for the body to break down and eliminate half of the drug from the bloodstream.
There are around 80 different types of metabolites that THC can form. These metabolites can independently affect the body’s endocannabinoid system.
These metabolites are stored in body fat and gradually removed from the body through feces and urine.
Some THC metabolites have a half-life of about 20 hours. Others that are stored in body fat have a longer half-life of 10 to 13 days. It typically takes about five to six half-lives for a substance to be almost completely eliminated.
That’s why you may hear advice that a single use of marijuana is usually not detectable after five to eight days.
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In conclusion, the duration of cannabis in your system can vary depending on multiple factors. The potency of the weed, the method of consumption, the frequency and dosage of use, individual metabolism rate, body composition, and hydration levels can all impact how long THC and its metabolites stay in your body.
Different tests, such as urine, blood, saliva, and hair tests, have varying detection windows. THC is absorbed by various organs and tissues, metabolized by the liver, and eliminated through feces and urine.
Chronic users may retain THC in fatty tissues for longer periods. Understanding these factors can help individuals make informed decisions regarding marijuana use and navigate drug testing situations.
If you want to know how to get rif of cannabis addiction, you can read our article “How to recover from weed?”