How Long Does Weed Stay in Your System?
Cannabis (which can be detected by tests) can stay in your system anywhere from two weeks to several months depending on the user. For occasional smokers, THC is only in your system roughly 2-3 days before being metabolized by your body, however many factors are in play here:
How occasionally a person smokes, how much body fat they have, how often they drink liquids, their diet, how often they exercise and so on. Getting an exact time frame is quite challenging as literally every parson’s body processes cannabis differently, which means that testing technologies always produce alternating results.
Data collected on cannabis and its process in the body from the past three decades provides estimates on roughly how long it stays in your body;
How Long Does Weed Stay in Your System?
One rule to remember is that the more cannabis you consume the longer it takes your body to process it and excrete it. Luckily, occasional smokers who find themselves smoking a joint once or twice a month don’ have to worry about THC and other cannabis compounds sticking around in their system for long.
Most estimates and studies suggest that it takes roughly 72 hours – three days for cannabis to be cleared from your system when it comes to urine test. However, heavy smokers who smoke more than 4 times a week for an extended period of time need much more time for their body to break down cannabis compounds and excrete them.
Research from drug courts dating back to 2005 suggests that it takes 7-10 days for cannabis to be completely cleared of the system for a majority of cannabis users. When it comes to heavier consumers however, the research suggests that it takes them roughly 3 weeks -21 days to be cleared of all traces of cannabis in their system:
“Recent scientific literature indicates that it is uncommon for occasional marijuana smokers to test positive for cannabinoids in urine for longer than seven days using standard cutoff concentrations.” Suggest the notes from the 2005 research.
“Following smoking cessation, chronic smokers would not be expected to remain positive for longer than 21 days, even when using the 20-ng/mL cannabinoid cutoff.” – Concludes the research.
This 1985 study argues that occasional smokers will likely pass a drug test within 3-4 days after smoking. Older, more outdated studies based in the mid 80s suggest that chronic smokers can test positive for cannabis up to 77 days after smoking through a urine test. The average amount of time that THC stayed in a participant’s system for this study was 27 days.
A later study published in 1989 found that it took up to 25 days for cannabis to clear the system of 13 participants who were all heavy smokers.
With all the studies’ findings taken into account, the typical number of days it takes cannabis to clear the system of heavy smokers is about 30 days – one month. It’s very rare for samples derived from heavy smokers to test positive via urine tests after 30 days.
So when you take into account all these findings, it’s safe to assume that most cannabis smokers can expect to pass a urine test after 3-5 weeks of cannabis abstinence.
Keep in Mind..
Since every person’s body processes cannabis at their own individual pace, (depending on metabolism and lifestyle) it’s still possible for moderate consumers to fail a urine test regardless if they’ve abstained from cannabis a few weeks prior to the test or not.
This possibility also relies on the type of test used to check for the THC and THC metabolites – the urine test is the most common drug test in the US, checking for THC metabolites that your body has secreted in its urine.
Urine tests do not measure the presence of THC itself, rather the by product of metabolized THC – THC metabolites. Keep in mind that there are different types of urine tests available, and whoever ordered the test (most likely a current or potential future employer) will be able to establish the acceptable threshold of the concentrations of THC metabolites in your urine.
For example, your urine sample may initially test positive for a common THC metabolite known as THC-COOH. Afterwards, lab technicians will test to see how much of it is in your urine – if the test screenings determine that there is less than 20-nanograms per milliliter (an amount determined by those who ordered the test) of THC-COOH in your urine, you will pass the test.
Some urine tests screen at the 50-nanogram mark, some at 30 – the threshold limit can be variable.
Drug Tests Have Different Results
While urine tests may be the most common way to check if an individual has used cannabis in the near past, other tests can also be applied.
Blood and hair follicle-based testing are the next most common methods of drug tests throughout the US and the greater Western world.
Unlike urine tests, blood tests cannot screen for THC metabolites, since they aren’t ever present in the bloodstream. Rather, blood tests scan for active THC in the blood, and if you’re an occasional smoker this means that abstaining from weed for 2-3 days will earn you a pass with this test.
Heavier cannabis smokers will have to wait up to a week in order for the THC to exit their bloodstream so they could pass the test.
Blood tests are a good indicator that the individual is an active smoker who has smoked cannabis in the past three days. They cannot determine whether the same individual is a long-term smoker.
Some states use blood testing as a means of ruling out whether a driver is under the influence of cannabis intoxication or not. Many blood-based drug tests used for determining cannabis use establish a five-nanogram threshold for screenings.
However, a number of studies conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) have determined that these roadside THC blood tests are ineffective ways to rule out whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana or not.
Hair follicle tests on the other hand are arguably the least common test when it comes to determining cannabis use, however they are scarily accurate. THC metabolites find their way to a user’s hair follicles roughly a week after cannabis use. These hair follicles then extend those metabolites onto growing hairs, which can indicate whether someone’s used cannabis (or another illegal substance) for up to three months after consumption. These tests are uncommon, but are arguably the most accurate out of the three, and in some cases, lab technicians can use body hair instead of head hair for the test – body hair has been proven to indicate cannabis and other drug usage dating back up to a whole year.
Here‘s an accurate estimation of how long it takes for all traces of cannabis to be cleared from your body regarding the most common drug tests:
– Urine test: 3-77days (10-30 for regular consumers)
– Blood test: 1-7 days (1-2 for light consumers)
– Hair test: 90 days
Why Cannabis Stays in Your System So Long
The main reason why cannabis stays in your system for a long time is because cannabis compounds (cannabinoids) are stored in fat cells.
THC and other cannabis compounds are fat-soluble – this means that once the compounds are metabolized they’re stored in your body’s fat cells as a means of saving energy. The fact that your body stores cannabinoids in its fat means that prolonged use leads to a gradual build up of cannabis compounds in the body.
Rodent tests confirm that THC can be found in fat cells up to 28 days after consumption.
In addition, THC can be re-released in the blood stream after vigorous exercise – this is why it’s never a good idea to exercise before a drug test.
This fact was proven by a 2013 study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence which exemplified the phenomenon that THC increases in the bloodstream after exercise/burning fat.
The fat releases the stored THC in the bloodstream after it’s burned.
This study was based on testing fourteen cannabis consumers after 35 minutes of physical exervise. Their blood levels of THC increased by a staggering 15% after the workouts, and remained so for a total of two hours.
The study also confirmed that individuals who regularly consume cannabis with a larger BMI (body mass index) released more amounts of THC in their bloodstream, as they burn more fat cells than those with a smaller BMI.
Tips For Passing Your Drug Test
#1 : If you have time time to plan, use a synthetic urine like Quick Fix Synthetic Urine, its the best synthetic urine in the market place.
#2 : If you can’t get a synthetic urine, get yourself some quality detox drinks – they’re a man’s best friend when it comes to passing drug tests. Detox drinks are extremely helpful, but remember they only help dilute the urine and don’t to work for heavy users. Detox drinks also contain a good amount of vitamin B as well as creatine, which help with urines dilution.
#3 : If you can’t get a synthetic urine or detox drink,then you’re going to have some issues. The last resort is to use the urine from the middle of your urine stream, this means don’t use the first of the urine or the last of the urine as your urinating. The middle of the stream will have lower toxin levels.