How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System?
The initial “high” you get when smoking (or otherwise ingesting) weed is a relatively short-lived one. The main effects you feel (i.e., relaxation & the munchies) mostly wear off within a few hours of consumption. Though these feelings pass quickly, the unique chemical compounds found within cannabis tend to stay in our bodies a lot longer.
Though there are many cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis, the question of how long weed stays in your system generally focuses on THC content. THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol) is the unique compound responsible for the intoxicating sensation of being “high.” Though other compounds remain in your system for some time, testing methods focus exclusively on detecting THC and THC-byproducts produced as it breaks down in the body.
In attempting to determine how long weed stays in your system, many variables come into play. Unfortunately, there are no quick and easy answers to this question. Since THC metabolizes in our bodies at different rates, the answer may vary from one person to the next. With that in mind, it’s not a total guessing game either. Here are some of the main variables to keep in mind when estimating how long the THC will remain detectable in your system.
General Factors That Affect How Long Weed Stays In Your System
When cannabis is smoked or vaporized and then inhaled, it enters the bloodstream through your lungs. It’s the most direct way to method absorb the THC, and the effects are noticeable quickly. At the same time, THC levels drop off of lot faster this way- in other words, the high doesn’t last as long. If you are using a rig that produces a lot of smoke, let's say a rotating gravity bong, you'll be ingesting a lot more THC per hit.
When consumed as an edible, THC must be broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream through the stomach’s walls first. This process takes longer, which is why edibles take a while to kick in and last longer once they do. Because this process of breaking down and eliminating the THC takes longer, it remains detectable for a longer period.
It may seem a little obvious, but the more cannabis you consume, the longer the THC will stay in your system. The more you add, the longer it takes to break it all down.
Frequency of use
Following the same principles of dosage above, the frequency with which you consume cannabis matters here. If you ingest higher THC doses more frequently, you will have much more THC stored in your system. Studies have regularly shown that frequent weed users keep detectable THC levels far longer than one-time or infrequent users do.
Personal Factors That Affect How Long Weed Stays In Your System
If you have a higher metabolism, your body will metabolize and process THC and its byproducts more quickly. A slower metabolism will result in a slower breakdown and, therefore longer window for detection.
Body Fat (BMI)
If you’ve ever made DIY edibles, you probably know that THC is a fat-soluble compound and binds itself to fat molecules. That’s great for helping your body absorb THC easier when consuming edibles. It also means that the more body fat you have, the more it will hold on to the THC and the slower the metabolization process will be.
So, How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System?
As you have seen above, there’s no simple equation to determine how long weed stays in your system. The last major factor to consider is the testing method to be used. Certain tests are more sensitive to THC and the metabolites it produces as it breaks down. More sensitive tests can detect lower doses of THC for a longer window of time.
The four major types of testing for THC in your system, from least to most sensitive, are;
Blood testing is the least sensitive type as THC doesn’t stay in your blood system very long. Generally, this test can detect within 24 hours of ingestion.
This type of testing is less common, though there is some evidence that heavy users may have detectable levels of THC byproducts for up to 25 days.
A saliva mouth swab test can pick up THC traces for up to 3 days in occasional users. With frequent users, it may be detectable for up to 29 days.
Urine samples are the most commonly used method for THC testing. They can come in a range of sensitivities to test for traces above certain levels, depending on user preference.
THC is generally detectable in infrequent users for 1-3 days and 5-7 days for occasional users. With daily users, that number goes up to 10-15 days, and with multiple daily consumptions, it shoots up to 30 days.
Hair Follicle Testing
Hair follicle testing is the most sensitive type of test as it can detect traces for up 90 days depending on some of the variables outlined above.
There is some evidence to show that hair follicle tests may not always be entirely accurate due to the potential for false-positive results. Nonetheless, it is a test that is still relatively commonly used from time to time.
Can I Speed Up The Metabolization Process?
Whatever amount of THC your body contains simply needs time to process. Though there aren't any reliable tests designed to clear THC from your system quickly, there are supplemental options you may consider. I
If you have a few days before testing, detox kits are a great option to boost your metabolism and help move the process along. Though these kits aren’t a fail-safe way to pass a drug test, they can potentially shrink your window of THC detectability with a little time.
Some of our most popular detox kits include;
If you’re desperate and in a pinch, keeping hydrated, eating healthy, and exercise may also help boost the process a tiny bit. It won’t work any miracles for you, but it certainly won’t work against you.
How To Pass A Drug Test When You (Probably) Can’t Pass A Drug Test
If you’re really desperate and have a test coming up that you know you can’t pass, don’t worry; you still have options! Though it carries more risk, requires some planning, and should only be used in a “worst-case scenario” type of situation- synthetic urine kits may help.
Synthetic Urine kits work by attaching a bag of synthetic urine to your body via a belt, which brings the fluid up over time to the correct temperature. From there, it’s up to you to get it neatly in the cup!
Remember, these kits will only help you out in a urine test and can potentially be detected as fake if a specimen validity test is part of the overall screening.
Our two most popular synthetic urine kits are;