Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can stay in the body for several days or weeks.
Like other drugs, cannabis also remains in a person’s body for varying periods of time, depending on several factors. The level of THC in cannabis consumed, hydration, frequency of consumption, and the user’s metabolism, are some of the major factors that impact the results of a drug test.
How long does THC stay in the human body once consumed?
THC is the most popular psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant — the euphoric cannabinoid that makes people feel “high”. When it comes to how long cannabis stays in your system, we look at the THC first. The focus is on how long THC metabolites “linger around” fatty tissue.
When cannabis is smoked, THC enters the bloodstream instantly. But when it is ingested through an edible or beverage, the process takes longer — around 20 minutes. In both cases, the results are the same. Your body metabolizes THC, and that’s why you remain high for hours but not for weeks.
THC is broken down and converted into around 80 different molecules called metabolites. These metabolites are detectable in the blood for the shortest period of time. This is good for those who undergo a hematology screening, or who are wondering how to get the THC out of their system in one day.
One of these metabolites is THC-COOH, which is primarily screened for in drug tests. Answering the question of how long THC stays in the body is difficult due to the many contributing factors involved.
The real answer is that it varies from person to person. In addition to this, there are thousands of different cannabis strains available on the market, each with a different cannabinoid profile and unique THC levels.
THC gets eliminated from fat tissues very slow and can be stored in the fat tissues for days, weeks, or even months, depending on the way cannabis is consumed. Those who frequently use cannabis will retain THC metabolites for longer than occasional users.
What factors affect how long Cannabis stays in your system?
There are tons of factors that affect how long does marijuana stay in your body. This includes body mass index (BMI), gender, age, how long your body metabolizes the drug, and how you use it. Just remember that regular users and high doses tend to boost the time it takes to remove the weed from your system. In fact, the more powerful the weed is, the higher the THC level and the longer it will remain in your system.
4 tests that establish how much Cannabis is in your system?
- Urine testing
Cannabis can be detected up to 3–5 days after consumption for occasional users. For heavy users, the drug can be detected up to 1-15 days, and for chronic users, this duration is up to 30 days later.
- Hair testing
Cannabis consumption is easily detectable with standard hair tests. This test uses the most recent 1.5 inches of growth for testing. This provides a detection period of about 90 days.
If the hair of someone is shorter than 1.5 inches, the detection period is also shorter. The detection window will be longer in body hair testing because body hair grows slower than hair on the scalp. Hair testing measures the metabolite embedded inside the hair shaft. It also eliminates external contamination that shows a positive result. The detection window for cannabis can be as low as 1 pg/mg.
- Saliva testing
Saliva testing is another way to detect cannabis consumption. This testing detects the existence of parent drugs, not inactive metabolites. This leads to a shorter detection window for cannabis. If tested in a lab, the detection window can be as low as 0.5 ng/mL.
- Blood testing
For light users, cannabis can be detected in the blood for nearly 12-24 hours after use. For heavy users, the drug is detectable in the blood for about seven days. Detecting cannabis depends on the blood renewal system. Because blood tests are invasive, these are less used, while blood cannabis testing is popularly used in investigations of accidents and injuries.
Urine contains THC-COOH, while hair, sweat and oral fluid contain THC. Blood may have both substances, with the amount depending on the recency and extent of cannabis consumption.
The amount of time cannabis remains in your system depends on a lot of different factors. There are a number of tests for detecting cannabis use, but none of them can pinpoint the exact amount of time cannabis was in your system. However, some detect longer periods while other detect shorter periods, and this is mostly based on whether the user is a light or heavy user.