It’s an age-old question. No matter if you are an experienced user or just starting your endeavors with marijuana, you may be wondering how long does cannabis stay in your system.
Cannabis is now being used by many people, whether for medical or recreational purposes. Most states in the United States have legalized the use of medical marijuana or cannabis, while some countries like Canada are fully legalizing cannabis for medical and recreational uses. Thus, more people are using cannabis every now and then for their needs. The problem comes in states and countries that haven’t legalized cannabis yet fully or partially. It might happen that somebody such as your employer demands mandatory drug testing to check if you are using any substances, including marijuana.
As for how long does cannabis stay in your system, most studies show that cannabis can stay and be detected in your body from one to 30 days. However, cannabis can still be detected in the hair for several months even after cannabis has entirely left the system. Yet, this is different for regular users, as it can take at least several months for cannabis to remain in their systems, with the longest duration recorded as more than 90 days.
There are several ways for cannabis to be detected in your system. They can trace if you have used any of those beautiful nugs through samples of urine, blood, saliva, hair and other bodily fluids.
Cannabis detection via various bodily fluids
As mentioned above, there are several ways to detect whether weed/cannabis is still within your system. Usually, a drug test would be done to achieve detection through the measurement of metabolites in samples. These metabolites are the by-products of weed.
According to studies, weed/cannabis can be detected in your urine depending on the amount of weed/cannabis consumed, which are listed below:
- Occasional users, three times a week: 3 days
- Moderate users, four times a week: 5 to 7 days
- Chronic users, daily usage: 10 to 15 days
- Chronic heavy users, multiple usages per day: 30 days and more
Urine testing is the most common testing method for detecting cannabis within the body since cannabis metabolites are fat-soluble and tend to bind with fat molecules within the body. These metabolites are then excreted in the urine.
For blood testing, how long does cannabis stay in your system as detected in blood samples can vary greatly. Metabolites in the blood can be detected within one to two days after use, but there are cases when it can be detected as long as 25 days. The length of time in detection may also depend on the amount and frequency cannabis is used.
A blood test is one of the fastest ways of detection since weed can be detected in your bloodstream within seconds after inhalation. Inhaled weed can rapidly be distributed to the body tissues and metabolites can remain in the system for a few days.
Another way of detecting cannabis in the system is via saliva testing. Cannabinoids can be detected in oral fluids within a certain period of time after consuming cannabis, as shown below:
- Occasional users: 1 to 3 days
- Chronic users: 1 to 29 days at the most
The ways by which weed can get detected in the saliva is through smoking or exposure to weed smoke. The metabolites can only be detected in the saliva if the weed being used has been smoked/inhaled or ingested.
The best way to detect long term cannabis use is through hair testing. Hair follicles can hold the metabolites up to 90 days after consumption. The metabolites reach hair follicles via small blood vessels after consumption and they remain in the hair.
Testers can use a 1.5-inch (3.80 cm) segment of hair for drug testing as this is enough to show cannabis use for the past three months.
Factors affecting the length of time
Several factors can affect the duration of cannabis metabolites in the human system, either shortening or lengthening it. However, please take note that these factors do not depend on the amount of cannabis used but, instead, on how your body metabolizes cannabis.
Common factors affecting the length of stay of cannabis inside the body include:
- Gender (women may metabolize marijuana a bit slower than men)
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
Then, there are other factors that should be considered, such as the following:
- Amount of dose
- Frequency of use
- The potency of the product
- Ingestion rather than smoking
The potency of cannabis is the most important one from the second list. If the product has a very high amount of THC in it, weed can stay even longer in the system. Regarding frequency, occasional users are supposed to process the THC much faster than everyday users. Still, bear in mind that there are no fixed rules. Each human body is different.
What can shorten length of stay?
As of the moment, there is no specific way to speed up the process of removing weed from your system. This is because the length of stay is dependent on the body of the user, and on how the body can metabolize weed and its metabolites.
Some factors such as exercise, a healthy diet and staying well hydrated can somewhat help in the process, but its effects are not immediate and may be gradual.
However, there are some weed detox remedies and kits that can be found and purchased on the internet. Additionally, users can dilute their urine by drinking lots of water days before the test and using herb supplements alongside with it to mask the dilution process.
People should take note that not all remedies and kits that can be found and purchased online are reliable; therefore, uttermost caution is advised when it comes to their purchase and use.
So, in a nutshell, weed/cannabis can stay in your system from a single day to 90 days, or even more—the slower your body metabolizes cannabis the longer it will stay in your body. So, this is also a question of how physically active you are and whether you engage in sports and workout.
There are always several factors to consider in terms of how long does cannabis stay in your system, factors that affect the overall processing and removal of the consumed cannabis and its metabolites from various parts of the body.
The process of removal cannot be sped up artificially due to it being dependent on the body’s metabolism speed, its ability to digest consumed products plus its ability to remove by-products in the process. It is always best to ask a health professional such as your physician to answer how long does cannabis stay in your system for you personally after you specify your intake habits, dosage, and frequency or the last time you took weed in any form.
It’s also best to avoid weed consumption when you’re expecting test screening at work or if this is a requirement to stay on your job. Unless of course, you want to quit your job and join the growing cannabis industry where your positive weed result may even be welcome.