THC, the active compound found in medical and recreational marijuana, causes euphoric effects that last a few hours, but it can remain in your system for much longer.
The amount of time it sticks around depends on several factors, including:
- What test is being used to measure it
- Your body composition and lifestyle choices
- What kind of THC you took
How Long Does It Stay in Your Blood?
Although rare, some THC and marijuana drug tests check the user’s blood. Usually, THC your body rapidly metabolizes THC, and it will only be detectable in your blood for as little as a few hours and up to two days after a single use.
People who use marijuana multiple times a day can expect THC to remain in the bloodstream for up to a week. Therefore, blood tests are usually only administered as a follow-up test when there is a potential false positive on a previous testing method.
How Long Does It Stay in Your Saliva?
THC shows up in saliva about an hour after use. After it’s in your saliva, it will stick around until it is swallowed fully, which can take somewhere between one and two days.
Methods of speeding up the process include:
- Drinking water
- Eating fatty foods
- Brushing your teeth
- Using mouthwash
How Long Does It Stay in Your Urine?
The most common and economical test used to detect THC and marijuana is a urine test. The byproducts are also detectable for a longer period of time. Urine tests can reveal marijuana use for weeks after it’s been consumed. The exact amount of time it is detectable depends on the frequency of marijuana use.
- One-time use: five to eight days
- Two and four days a week: 11 to 18 days after the last consumption
- Five to six days a week: 33 to 48 days after the last consumption
- Daily use: 50 to 65 days after the last consumption
How Long Does It Stay in Your Hair?
It metabolites remain in hair longer than it does in any other part of the body. Follicle drug tests use 1.5 inches of hair, which represents three months. If marijuana has been used during those three months, it will show up on the test.
Hair follicle tests measure even further back in time, up to a few years. Hair and follicle tests have been proven to be reliably accurate in detecting marijuana use, whether it’s current use or past use.
Why Does It Remain in the Body for so Long?
It’s not the THC itself that is detectable. THC itself can only be detected in the bloodstream for a short period after use. It rapidly breaks down within a few hours of consumption and is transformed into at least 80 different metabolic byproducts.
If the tests identify the presence of byproducts, then the results will show that THC or marijuana use has been detected. These metabolites accumulate in fat reserves throughout the body. They are slowly released and then carried out of the body in feces and urine.
Because of this, the amount of time that marijuana stays in your system depends on:
- Your individual properties
- Your Calorie intake
- How much marijuana you consumed
Factors That Can Impact THC Metabolism
Each individual has a unique metabolism, which means we process food and other substances differently. This statement is true for THC too.
Even if two people are of the same gender and age, their individual properties, like the following, will influence how long THC stays in their systems.
- Lifestyle choices
- Body makeup
- Cannabis consumption habits
Here are several key factors that affect how long it takes THC to metabolize and clear your system.
1. What and When You Eat
When you eat can also speed up or slow down your metabolism. Research suggests that eating many small meals dispersed throughout the day can speed up your metabolism.
2. How Much You Exercise
Physical activity increases metabolism; however, exercise can be a double-edged sword. For example, speeding up your blood flow and sweating out excess fluid increases the likelihood of expelling THC byproducts from your system. But it does the exact opposite right before a drug test.
Remember those fat cells we talked about? The THC stored in those fat cells is released into the bloodstream during exercise. So even if you haven’t consumed any products in the last few days, your levels may rise if you exercise.
3. Your Personal Metabolic Rate
Each person’s metabolic rate is unique. For example, a person with a slow metabolic rate might find that traces of it lingers longer in their system than someone with a fast metabolic rate.
4. How Much Body Fat You Have
And, we’re back to fat cells. As you may have guessed, since THC is stored in fat cells, the amount of body fat you have can impact how quickly you metabolize it. The higher the amount of body fat, the slower rate of metabolism.
5. The Potency of Cannabis You Consume
THC levels vary depending on what kind of Cannabis you consume. The potency of the product is based on how much THC is in it. Cannabis that contains high concentrations of THC will stay in your system longer than if you used Cannabis with very low potency.
6. How Often You Consume Cannabis
THC accumulates in your system. Each time you use a product, the more byproducts will be in your body and system. If you have only used products with THC in them once or twice, all traces of THC will leave your system fairly quickly. If you use products daily, it will take longer for all of the stored byproducts to leave your system.
The Bottom Line
It’s nearly impossible to predict these levels in your system accurately. There are so many variables that come into play that there is no straightforward answer.
Keep in mind that just because the effects of using the product have worn off doesn’t mean that the byproducts aren’t still hanging out in your system. Ready to live your best life? Contact us for an appointment today!