How long does cannabis stay in the body?
Simple question. Complicated answer. Whether they are applying for a new job, or trying to keep an existing one, lots of people are asking, How long does cannabis stay in your system?
There’s no easy answer, since the results can vary according to the type of test used, the potency of the cannabis, your individual metabolism, how often you use marijuana, and other factors. Cannabis that is consumed as edibles may stay in your system longer than cannabis you smoke. And marijuana with higher concentrations of the psychoactive component THC may also take longer to leave your system.
As a broad measure, cannabis can usually be detected in bodily fluids for one to 30 days after last use. And it can be detected in your hair for several months. The more you consume it, at higher doses, the longer it can be detected in your system.
Cannabinoids such as THC (and their byproducts, or metabolites) are fat-soluble and tend to accumulate in your fat. So, even after they get out of your bloodstream, they’re still found in your fat reserves. Then they may be slowly released, possibly over a period of months.
Also, factors like dehydration or exercise can cause a sudden increase of available cannabinoids in your system, as they are released from your fat. This can lead to a positive test result even if you’ve already received a negative one and haven't consumed any marijuana since.
So let’s go through the various types of testing for cannabis in your body. The most common one is urine testing. According to Mayo Clinical Proceedings, cannabis use can be detectable in your urine for up to three days for occasional users (up to three times a week), for five to seven days for moderate users (four times a week), up to 10 to 15 days for chronic users (daily), and more than 30 days for chronic heavy users (multiple times a day.
With a saliva test, you can test positive for cannabis for up to 34 to 48 hours after your last use. However, if you are a chronic user, this period can be as long as 29 days.
Using a blood test, cannabis can usually be detected in the system for a couple of days after consumption. But again, chronic users might have cannabis detected in their system for as long as four weeks after last use. While cannabis may be quickly reabsorbed in the blood and broken down, its metabolites could remain in the bloodstream for days.
Cannabis can be detected in a hair test for up to 90 days. After being used, marijuana reaches the hair follicles via small blood vessels and race amounts may remain in the hair for a long time.
So there are a lot of factors at play in estimating how long cannabis can be detected in your system. Check carefully to see which ones apply to you and keep in mind that these estimates are not carved in stone.
Unfortunately, finding an answer to this question is a lot more complicated than you’d think. Variables can change the answer drastically, like:
- Individual metabolism
- Frequency of consumption
- Potency of the medicine
- Sensitivity of the drug test
Let’s go over the science behind how we metabolize cannabis, and find out what your chances are of passing that upcoming drug test. See our HelloMD article
It really depends on weight, exercise level, and most importantly type of test being taken. THC will stay in your hair longer than urine, for example.
It is my understanding that, unlike @MisterBlaack states, hair is a rather unreliable way to test for cannabis. The reason being is THC is fat soluble, our hair is protein. Hair is a great way to test for substances that leave our bodies quickly, i.e. cocaine.
While it is possible for THC to show up in hair, it's a rather unreliable form of testing. Urine samples is the most reliable form of testing for THC.
THC is stored in our fat cells, so like @MisterBlaack states, it will vary depending on your exercise and metabolism. Another important factor to not overlook is the amount of cannabis or THC consumed.
You can generally expect cannabis/THC to be undetectable in your body 4-5 weeks after use.