Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical in marijuana that makes people feel “high,” can stay in the body for several days or even weeks. The length of time this chemical stays in the body or continues to show in a drug test depends on many factors. These include: Marijuana Stay in Your System
- How much body fat a person has
- How often they consume the drug
- How much someone smokes Marijuana Stay in Your System
- The sensitivity of the drug test Marijuana Stay in Your System
Drugs such as alcohol may completely disappear from the body in just a few hours. In comparison, marijuana lingers much longer. Drug tests can detect THC in urine, blood, and hair for many days after use, while saliva tests can only detect THC for a few hours. This is because of the way the body metabolizes THC.
THC is a lipid-soluble chemical. This means that it binds to fat in the body, which increases the length of time it takes for someone to eliminate THC completely. THC is detectable for up to 90 days in hair, anywhere between 3 days to a month or longer urine (depending on how often the person uses), up to 48 hours in saliva, and up to 36 hours in blood. Regular marijuana use can lead to dependence and withdrawal. Marijuana Stay in Your System
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THC is believed to be the primary mind-altering chemical found in the cannabis plant. When a person smokes marijuana, THC passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, where it is carried to the brain and other organs. Via its interaction with the endocannabinoid system, THC affects areas of the brain related to movement, sensations, coordination, memory, reward, and judgment.
When smoked, the effects are felt right away and generally last for 1 to 3 hours. When eaten, such as in edibles, a person may not feel the effects for 30 minutes to an hour, and the effects can last for several hours.
Some effects that people may experience from using marijuana include: Marijuana Stay in Your System
- Altered senses
- Distorted sense of time
- Impaired coordination
- Trouble thinking clearly or solving problems
- Trouble remembering things
- Mood swings
- Increased appetite
How Does Your Body Process THC?
THC is absorbed into various body tissues and organs (e.g. the brain, heart, and in fat) or metabolized by the liver into 11 hydroxy-THC and carboxy-THC (metabolites). The metabolites are quickly excreted in urine.
Over time, THC that is stored in body tissues is released back into the bloodstream, where it is eventually metabolized by the liver. In chronic users, THC builds up in fatty tissues faster than it can be eliminated, which means a heavy smoker could test positive for marijuana use many days after they stopped using.
When will Marijuana Show Up on a Drug Test?
Several different sampling types are used to test for the presence of marijuana. These tests vary in the time frame during which they can detect marijuana and its metabolites in a person’s system.
- Saliva test: A person can test positive for weed for up to 34-48 hours after last use.
- Urine test: This is the most common drug test used. Infrequent users (less than 2 times/week) can test positive for 1-3 days. A moderate user (several times per week) can test positive for 7–21 days after last use. A heavy user can test positive for a month or longer after last use. People who eat marijuana may produce a positive result for 1-5 days.
- Hair test: Marijuana can be detected on a hair test for up to 90 days. However, studies have argued that a hair test is most reliable for daily or near-daily users and is not as likely to detect the presence of marijuana in light users.
- Blood Test: Marijuana and its metabolites can show up on a blood test for up to 36 hours
Besides the type of test, other factors that can affect how long marijuana will show up on a drug screen include:
- Amount of THC in the marijuana
- Frequency of use
- Length of time since last use
- How quickly the person’s system processes THC
- Level of hydration
Attempting to Beat a Drug Test
Detoxification kits are popular with people attempting to pass drug tests. Many such kits are tailored to help people pass urine tests and may consist of adulterants such as goldenseal, vinegar, niacin, vitamin C, or herbal teas. In general, however, these kits do nothing to speed up the metabolism and clearance of marijuana from a person’s system and will not help someone pass a drug test.
Other attempted methods of evading a positive drug screening include masking the urine sample with a chemical, such as salt or bleach, or submitting a urine sample that isn’t theirs (either synthetic urine or someone else’s). However, if a urine integrity is used, it can detect masking agents as well as compounds that are normally found in human urine, such as cortisol. It can also test for temperature, pH, color, gravity, smell, or dilution of the urine. So these methods are not foolproof ways to pass a test, either.
Going to these great lengths to cheat a drug test may be unwise – many so-called “detox-kits” do not work and some may even contain ingredients that could be dangerous.
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