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How Long Does Weed (Cannabis/Pot) Stay in Your System?

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How Long Does Marijuana Stay In Your System?

Marijuana is a drug that is made from the dried leaves of the cannabis plant. It is also known as pot, weed, and hash. Marijuana can be smoked, inhaled as a vapor, or eaten. The effects of marijuana depend on the strength or potency of the drug, which is measured in terms of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active ingredient in marijuana.1

Marijuana can affect a person’s thinking, mood, and ability to coordinate. Short-term effects of marijuana use include distorted perceptions, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, impaired memory, and loss of motor skills, which usually wear off within a few hours.1

However, a Marijuana drug test can show the substance in the body for days or weeks after use, depending on how much was used and the method of use. Marijuana is detectable in the blood, urine, hair, and saliva. The most common way to test for marijuana is through a urine test.2

Marijuana detoxification time varies depending on several factors, including:3

  • Age
  • Body composition (height and weight)
  • Genetic predispositions
  • Level of hydration

A marijuana detoxification process isn’t always easy or quick. It may be in your best interest to seek professional help for yourself or stage a professional intervention for your loved ones, particularly if you have a problem with marijuana abuse. You may also want to learn more about how marijuana drug tests are typically conducted and how to detect marijuana in your system.

What is Marijuana (Cannabis)?

Marijuana is a drug made from the dried leaves of the cannabis plant. It is usually smoked as a cigarette (joint), but can also be baked into foods such as brownies or cookies. Marijuana is also used to make tea. The main active ingredient in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Detox for marijuana may take different amounts of time, based on certain factors mentioned above.1

Marijuana is cultivated by drying the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. It is typically grown in humid, tropical climates. The plant can be either male or female, but only the female plants produce the psychoactive flowers that are used to make marijuana.1

Marijuana is a mind-altering drug that can cause a variety of short and long-term effects. Short-term effects of marijuana include impaired memory, difficulty thinking and problem-solving; impaired coordination; increased anxiety or paranoia. Long-term effects of marijuana include addiction; decreased motivation and productivity, cognitive impairment; lung damage. Prolonged use may increase Marijuana detoxification time.1

Marijuana use may also exacerbate psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia. People who have a family history of mental illness may be at an increased risk of developing a psychotic disorder if they use marijuana.1

How Long Does Cleansing Marijuana From Your System Take?

Marijuana is most commonly consumed by inhalation. Marijuana enters the bloodstream in minutes after it is smoked due to the rapid absorption of THC through the lungs. It takes approximately 1.5-3 hours for Marijuana to get in the bloodstream when taken orally. THC is then carried by blood proteins throughout the body, where it is absorbed into tissues in the heart, brain, and fat. Some may experience adverse effects on the brain and various organs as a consequence of having Marijuana in the system. This process is quick at first, but it takes a while for the THC to enter the bloodstream.2

THC can also be broken down by the liver into marijuana metabolites that are water-soluble, and can be excreted in the urine before being absorbed into the body. In the body, THC is stored primarily in fat tissue and can aslo dissipate from there.2

How Long Will It Take for Marijuana to Show up on a Drug Test?

It is difficult to say how long marijuana will stay in your system and show up on a drug test, as there are many factors to consider. The results of a Marijuana drug test are highly individual as each case is unique. Therefore, someone may have a negative result when testing for Marijuana, while in another case that may not be so.2

Factors that may determine this include:2

  • The type of test being used: Different tests have different sensitivities. Blood, urine, and saliva tests only detect short term use (usually within a few days), However, hair testing for Marijuana can detect use up to 90 days after consumption.
  • The person’s height and weight: Generally speaking, someone who is taller or heavier will metabolize THC slower than someone who is shorter or lighter.
  • The person’s metabolism: Having a slow metabolism can affect Marijuana detection times.
  • The person’s sex: Compared to men, plasma in women tends to clear more slowly.
  • Level of hydration: Although there is no evidence to support the claim, dehydration may prolong marijuana detoxification time.

That said, the type of test used to detect marijuana in the body will have the biggest effect. In general, the duration different tests detecting marijuana in your system are:

  • Marijuana Hair Test: The length of time marijuana may show up in a hair test is anywhere from 4 months and 4 years. With a growth rate of 1cm per month, a hair that is 3cm long can reveal marijuana consumption history up to 90 days. Hair samples are the only way to detect marijuana consumption history for this long.4
  • Marijuana Blood Test: These tests are rarely used due to the fact that marijuana does not stay in the bloodstream for a long enough period to show up on a test.2
  • Marijuana Saliva Tests: These tests may detect marijuana in your system for up to 3 days, which is why they are gaining popularity.2
  • Testing for Marijuana in Urine: The presence of marijuana in urine can last up to 72 hours. It is extremely difficult to interpret urine THC concentrations depending on the amount of THC consumed, how often it is consumed, when urine is collected in relation to last marijuana consumption, as well as hydration levels. Thus, the presence of urinary THC metabolites is only an indicator of past marijuana use and is not indicative of current impairment or intoxication.3

What are the Different Methods of Testing for Marijuana?

Marijuana testing is usually done in order to screen for drug use, particularly in the workplace or in situations where safety is a concern. For instance, many employers require their employees to undergo regular drug testing, and people who operate machinery or drive vehicles may be subject to testing as well.5

There are a few different ways to test for marijuana. The most common ones include hair, blood, saliva and urine tests.1

How do Marijuana Hair Tests Work?

Marijuana hair test works by detecting the presence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in a person’s hair. Hair follicle drug tests are able to detect THC for up to 90 days after exposure. This makes them much more effective at detecting long-term drug use than urine or blood tests, which can only detect THC for a few days after exposure.4

THC is metabolized by the body and deposited into hair follicles through tiny blood vessels. Once it is deposited, it can stay there for the entire length of the hair shaft (which is typically around 1cm per month of growth). This means that a marijuana hair test can detect drug use even if the person has only used marijuana once or twice.4

Marijuana hair tests are typically performed by taking a small sample of hair from the person being tested. The sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis. The laboratory will test the sample for the presence of THC, and will report back to the employer or court with the results. Testing for marijuana through hair is considered to be very accurate, and have been shown to be more effective at detecting marijuana in your system than urine or blood tests.4

The downside of testing for marijuana through the hair is that it cannot detect marijuana use that has occurred within the last few days. Therefore, they are not as effective at detecting recent drug use. However, for detecting long-term drug use, hair tests are considered to be the most accurate type of test available. Results may also be affected due to different shampoos and hair products, pollution, and concentration of melanin in the hair.4

What Does a Marijuana Urine Test Entail?

Marijuana urine tests are the most commonly used drug tests. They are relatively accurate and can detect THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, for up to 3 days after use. However, there are a few things that can influence the amount of time required for cleansing marijuana from your system and how accurate the test may be.3

These include:3

  • Level of consumption
  • Metabolism
  • Frequency of consumption
  • Sensitivity to testing

For starters, if you have a high body fat percentage, THC may be detectable for a longer period of time. Additionally, if you smoked marijuana frequently or in high quantities, it could also take longer for the THC to leave your system.3

Despite being the most common type of drug test, urine tests do not always detect long-term marijuana use. However, they are very popular as a home testing method of testing for marijuana, as marijuana urine detection time is between 1 to 3 hours after consumption and up to 7 days. However, testing for marijuana through home urine tests may be affected by several factors:6

  • How you administered the test.
  • How you stored your urine sample or test results.
  • Food and drink consumed before the test.
  • Drugs taken before the test, whether prescription or over-the-counter.

How Does a Marijuana Blood Test Compare to Others?

A marijuana blood test is most commonly used in the emergency departments of hospitals and for clinical purposes. This test, however, is rarely preferred because of its difficulty in measuring THC in blood. According to some data, testing for Marijuana in bloodstream may show a positive result 1-2 days after use.7

How Effective is a Marijuana Saliva Test?

Testing for marijuana use in saliva is more effective than testing in urine, though its effectiveness decreases after three days. Testing for marijuana through oral fluid  is most effective when carried out between 5 and 48 hours after consumption. It is a non-invasive method of testing that grows in popularity.7

Second-hand marijuana smokers need not worry about failing a drug test, as it is very unlikely for someone who passively inhales the smoke to have a positive marijuana drug test result. This is because there is little THC in the exhaled smoke.1

How To Speed Up Marijuana Detoxification Time?

Cleansing marijuana from your system is affected by the frequency and dosage of marijuana consumption, as well as gender, body composition and metabolism. While there are many unproven methods of affecting marijuana detection times, the only way to ensure that of eliminating the risk is to not consume it. Sometimes, professional help is required to for a complete marijuana detox.8

Considering the time required to detox for marijuana, the typical plasma clearance rate varies between genders and is close to 2± 3L/hour for women and close to 5±3.7L/hour for men. At the same time, data suggests that marijuana detox was 36L/h among those who occasionally consume the drug and 60 L/h among regular users.8

The metabolism plays a major role in this process due to the fact that it breaks down the building blocks of marijuana. The half-life of marijuana is the amount of time it takes your body to metabolize and eliminate half of the drug. Marijuana half-life in an infrequent user is 1.3 days and between 5 and 13 days in a regular marijuana user.8

Some people tend to consume a lot of fluids, believing it affects the speed of cleansing marijuana from your system through increased urination. However, more than 65% of THC is excreted through feces and less than 20% through urine. Moreover, it will take 5 days for most cannabis to be excreted.8

How is Marijuana Detox Different from Quitting Cold Turkey?

 When you stop smoking marijuana after using it for a long time, your body will have a hard time getting used to it. You might feel sick, have headaches, and feel really tired. You may also experience lack of appetite, night sweats, restlessness and anxiety during your marijuana cleanse. It may take between 2 and 3 days for the withdrawal symptoms to subside, while some may struggle with them for up to two weeks. This is why it is important to seek professional help when planning a marijuana detox and not try to do it cold turkey, as most patitens have a hard time dealing even with mild symptoms.

What Types of Marijuana Addiction Programs are There?

Marijuana abuse and addiction is a serious problem that can lead to a number of negative consequences, including job loss, financial problems, and relationship difficulties. While there are no FDA-approved medications specifically for the treatment of marijuana abuse or addiction, there are a number of effective treatment options available.10

One marijuana detox approach that may be effective for some people is motivational enhancement therapy (MET). This type of therapy is designed to help people identify and change the behaviors that contribute to their marijuana use. MET may be conducted individually or in a group setting, and it may last for a few sessions or several months.10

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is another common treatment approach for marijuana abuse or addiction. CBT is a form of therapy that helps people to identify and change the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their substance use. CBT may be conducted in individual or group sessions, and it typically lasts for several weeks or months.10

Contingency management (CM) is another treatment approach that has been shown to be effective in cleansing marijuana from your system and treating your addiction. CM is a form of therapy that uses rewards to reinforce positive behaviors, such as abstaining from marijuana use. CM may be conducted in individual or group sessions, and it typically lasts for several weeks or months.10

There are a number of other treatment options available for the treatment of marijuana abuse or addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with this issue, it is important to seek professional help. Treatment can be effective in helping people to overcome their marijuana use and live a healthy, productive life.10

Don’t Let Marijuana Addiction Affect Your Life Any Longer

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a treatment provider that offers verification of insurance coverage for its patients. By calling the AAC hotline, you can speak with a representative who can help you understand your addiction treatment insurance benefits and how they apply to addiction treatment.  

In some cases, AAC may be able to bill your insurance directly for services provided. This allows patients to focus on getting well and leaves the billing and insurance headaches to AAC. 

The AAC network specializes in treating various SUD’s including heroin abuse. Their admissions navigators are available via dedicated heroin hotlines and will be able to assist you in location various heroin treatment options including medical detox. Do not let the effects of a drug such as heroin destroy your life, when help is readily available.

If you are interested in learning more about how American Addiction Centers can help verify your insurance coverage, or if you are looking for alternative treatment financing options, please call us today.

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The editorial staff of Projectknow.com is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance. Our reviewers consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA, NIDA, and other reputable sources to provide our readers the most accurate content on the web.
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