How Long Weed Seeds Last In Body

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I recently opened a Snapchat from my best friend informing me that she had been fired from her job because she failed a drug test. Jasmine does not do drugs — her idea of a wild night includes… Whether you are new to smoking weed or you're up for a drug screening test, here's the complete guide on how long weed stays in your system. How long weed will stay in your system depends on a range of factors such as frequency of use, your individual metabolic rate and body fat percentage

How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System?

I recently opened a Snapchat from my best friend informing me that she had been fired from her job because she failed a drug test.

Jasmine does not do drugs — her idea of a wild night includes catching up on “Jane the Virgin” while sipping Moscato. I started to panic, thinking, “My best friend has totally gone off the deep end.” Some form of telepathy must have kicked in, because seconds later, I received a text assuring me everything was okay.

The job loss wasn’t a tragedy: Jasmine was already planning to submit her two weeks notice. We spent the next few minutes laughing about how dumb it was that she lost her job because of a poppy seed (during the harvesting process, poppy seeds absorb opium extract, which can cause your pee to test positive for morphine). After we hung up, I started to wonder: How long does it take before a drug is out of your system?

According to the US Anti-Doping Agency, it can take up to 48 hours for drugs like morphine and codeine to pass through your system. But what about marijuana? It seems like all the cool kids are doobie-ing it up these days.

Green Rush Daily explains that the most common way for an employer to track your marijuana usage is through a urine test. These tests don’t detect THC (the ingredient in weed that makes makes you feel high). Instead, urine tests look for THC-COOH, a derivative chemical your body produces after smoking or ingesting weed. THC-COOH stays in your system longer than THC, which explains why you might fail a drug test, even weeks after a smoke session.

The more you smoke, the longer it takes for marijuana to completely exit your body. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • First time smokers usually test positive for marijuana for five to eight days after using.
  • If you smoke two to four times in a week, THC-COOH will remain in your urine for approximately 11–18 days.
  • Smokers that get high five to six times a week will test positive for over a month after smoking.
  • If you smoke weed every day, THC-COOH can remain in your urine for up to 77 days.

Some weed enthusiasts claim that drinking water and cranberry juice can help you pass a drug test. Unfortunately, consuming too many fluids can dilute your urine, which may compromise your test results.

Sorry, marijuana lovers; it’s hard to outsmart science. Even the best employees can be brought down by a poorly timed drug test. When it comes to your weed (and poppy seed) use, tread lightly.

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System? [Fully Explained]

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Almost every marijuana user has undoubtedly considered how long drugs stay in your system, and how to get rid of them fast. The effects of weed are enjoyable on the day, but what about the consequences tomorrow? Or the next day? Or even the next week?

Random drug testing is common throughout workplaces in the US. It goes without saying that the difference between passing and failing can have major repercussions.

In truth, the effects of cannabis tend to fade within a few hours. However, drug tests can detect marijuana in your system for weeks after you’ve consumed it. Sometimes, the duration is even longer. Several factors can influence the length of time weed can be detected:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Metabolism
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Frequency of marijuana use

The amount of time THC remains detectable in cells depends on all this and more.

Understanding Cannabis’ Interaction with the Human Body

Whether you are a new weed user and curious about how long it will stay in your system, or you’re afraid of employee drug screenings at work, understanding how weed interacts with the body is essential. Knowing how to clean out your system based on how long marijuana can be detected is also invaluable information. Being safe from random drug testing is the never-ending goal for thousands of cannabis users.

For everyone wondering “how long does pot stay in your system?” or how to clean out your system fast, hopefully, this guide will help set your mind at ease. Passing an all-important drug test can be a pivotal moment in your life, and we’re here to help.

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How Long Does THC Stay in Your System?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the ingredient in marijuana responsible for the plant’s intoxicating effects. In other words, it’s what gets you high. When addressing the question of how long it takes weed to leave your system, THC is what we look at. In a loosely scientific sense, we want to know how long THC metabolites linger in the body’s fatty tissues.

When smoking marijuana, THC enters the system almost immediately. However, if you use edibles or other consumption methods, the process can take up to an hour. Whichever option you choose, the result will be the same; your body metabolizes the intoxicating compounds. When they are fully broken down, you no longer feel high.

THC Leaves the Blood Relatively Quickly

Because THC is broken down pretty quickly and modified into molecules called metabolites, it is detectable in the blood for the shortest amount of time. This is good news if you are undergoing a hematology screening, or if you need to clean your system rapidly.

When the liver breaks down THC, it forms at least 80 different metabolites. One of them is THC-COOH, which is what drug tests primarily screen for.

How long these metabolites remain in your system depends on a lot of contributing factors. Naturally, this can make it hard to figure out how long cannabis stays in your system.

Results May Vary!

Truth be told, the amount of time THC stays in your system varies from person to person. Adding to the confusion, there are thousands of different marijuana strains available, and each one has different cannabinoid profiles and varying levels of THC.

In terms of chemistry, THC is lipid-soluble. It will therefore embed itself into the body’s fat tissue, meaning it is more readily stored in people with a higher body fat percentage.

This can be unfortunate for those with impending drug tests because THC is eliminated the slowest from fat tissue. It can be present for days, weeks, or even months depending on how much weed you use and how frequently you use it.

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The difference between occasional users and frequent users can be vast. Frequent cannabis users retain THC metabolites for months. So, if you are frantically scouring the web for solutions to clean your system fast, you may be out of luck.

How Long Does It Take THC-COOH to Leave the Body?

On average, THC-COOH takes approximately four days to exit the body. One study looked at 52 test subjects and found the average period was 4.9 days before the body was entirely clean of THC. However, it took up to 18 days for THC-COOH to be eliminated from urine samples.

Other research found that THC stayed in the system of infrequent users for 48-72 hours. Detectable amounts were seen up to 12 days after THC exposure in more frequent users.

How Long Does Weed Stay in Your Urine?

If you’re wondering “how long does marijuana stay in your system?”, then you’re really asking how long the metabolites are detectable in urine. In other words, when searching how to flush your system efficiently, you will be aiming to clean your urine to the point where THC metabolites are no longer detectable.

Drug testing is pretty standard in companies all over the world. Plenty of employers require their workers to undergo tests to prove the absence of drugs in their system. Typically, this comes in the form of blood, saliva, or urine tests.

Urinalysis is the most common drug test used by employers. It’s no wonder “how to clean your urine” is one of the most frequently-searched terms online. Urine tests are favored by employers because they are relatively cheap and they have one of the longest detection periods.

Therefore, it’s essential to know how long weed can be detected in your system.

THC-COOH vs. THC: What’s the Difference?

As explained above, THC-COOH is a metabolite formed when the liver breaks down the active THC compound. If the test detectds this metabolite in the urine, it means the body has processed THC relatively recently.

Here’s a general guide for how long metabolites can stay in your urine:

  • Single use (once in a 30-day period): up to 8 days
  • Regular use (4-6 times over a 30-day period): up to 15 days
  • Frequent use (10-15 times over a 30-day period): up to 30 days
  • Heavy use (20+ times in a 30-day period): around 45-77 days

These figures are not an exact science and can vary based on numerous factors. As you can see, this is not great news for all you stoners out there wondering how to clean your system of drugs in one day.

How to Pass a Urine Test

Regular and heavy marijuana users may be concerned if they have an upcoming drug test. Between one and three months is a long time to wait, and you may need a little help to pass a urinalysis.

Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way to beat the system. However, there are products and methods out there that might help you, such as the following from Toxin Rid.

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Detox pills and drinks are widely available these days and are a relatively decent solution for cleaning your system.

For the specific purpose of cleaning your urine to eliminate THC metabolites, you can also try drinking excessive amounts of water to dilute your urine. However, you should note that this is rarely effective, and screeners can often tell that you have made an attempt to cover your tracks.

What About Fruit Pectin for Urine Drug Tests?

Another common method to pass a urine test is the fruit pectin method. Fruit pectin is a starch derived from the cell walls of produce; it’s often found in jams and preserves. This method involves mixing fruit pectin with an electrolyte drink like Gatorade, then consuming it at least two hours prior to a urine test. Some instructions also require you to take the concoction a day or two before as well.

After drinking the Gatorade/pectin mixture, you should follow up with a bottle or two of water and B vitamins. The theory behind this method is that, because pectin is a naturally occurring fiber, it makes the THC exit the body through the bowels and not the urine.

It’s nevertheless important to remember that detox methods do not work 100% of the time.

Nothing Is a Guarantee…

While the above methods have the potential to help you pass a urine test, none of them are guaranteed to be effective. Even if you follow all the directions to a T, you may still fail your test.

Moreover, some detox methods could make you sick due to their ingredients. Some detox options posted in online forums are outright dangerous, too. Even drinking too much water can be fatal if you aren’t careful.

If you are aware of an upcoming drug test and are concerned about your job, your best bet would be to reduce – or even abstain from – marijuana consumption.

Want to learn more about passing a urine test? Check out the best ways to pass weed urine and blood screens.

How Long Does It Take for Marijuana to Get out of Your System?

As mentioned above, there are numerous complex factors that determine how long weed is detectable in the system. Primarily, this is how frequently someone smokes, how much they smoke, and how long they have been smoking.

Here are a few other factors that could affect how long it takes marijuana to leave your system:

  • Body fat content: The metabolites from THC are stored in fat cells. Thus, the higher your body fat percentage, the longer cannabis can stay in your system.
  • Metabolism: An individual’s metabolism can also affect the rate at which the body can eliminate cannabis. It will also affect body fat content, which further influences cannabinoid detection.
  • Drug strength: Different strains have different potencies; the stronger the strain, the higher the concentration of THC. This could result in more metabolites, which may take longer to eliminate.

How Long Does THC Stay in Your Saliva?

For those asking, “how long does weed stay in your saliva?”, you first need to determine how long the THC has been present.

Typically, THC is detectable for the least amount of time in saliva. This is excellent news for those set to undergo a saliva test. Coincidentally, this is a popular method used by traffic police.

THC metabolites can be detected in the saliva for about an hour after smoking, and may remain for up to 24 hours. This is true even for a single smoking session. For regular smokers, this number could be closer to 72 hours. Heavy smokers are advised to wait at least a week before taking a saliva test, because THC could accumulate in the saliva glands over time.

How Long Does Weed Stay in Your Hair?

It is actually believed cannabis has the longest detection window in hair. In fact, the hair drug test was developed to identify long-term users rather than one-time or infrequent users. Standard hair tests typically look for drugs used over the last 90 days.

So, how long does marijuana stay in your hair? Generlaly speaking, metabolites can be detected in the hair for up to seven days after consumption. Like other tests, hair follicle tests look for the presence of THC-COOH rather than THC itself.

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First-time users and infrequent users are much less likely to test positive for weed from a hair follicle test. It takes a decent amount of consumption for cannabis metabolites to reach hair follicle tissue.

Want to know more about how long marijuana stays in your hair? Read our updated THC and Hair Guide.

How Long Does Weed Stay in Your Blood?

In order to determine how long weed stays in the blood, we need to look at the THC element and its metabolites. Blood tests are not a common method, but they do take place.

The good news is that cannabinoids prefer fat cells to reside in rather than the bloodstream. Thus, THC and its metabolites don’t stay in the blood for long. First-time and infrequent users can show up in the blood for up to 24 hours after consumption. In more frequent and regular users, it can appear for three days up to a week.

In general, you don’t need to worry too much about blood tests if you use cannabis. They are a rarity, and as long as you have enough warning to “prepare” for the screening, you should be okay.

Final Thoughts on How Long Weed Stays in the System

While this article has given insight and guidelines that have hopefully answered most of your questions regarding how long weed stays in your system, it is difficult to give an exact answer. As we have seen, there are a number of factors that can affect the outcome – the most obvious of which is the frequency of use.

If you are a newbie or a “now-and-then” kind of consumer, you should have minimal concern since the length of time that weed will stay in your system is a lot lower. Here is a quick general recap of everything we’ve covered in the form of a table:

The type of drug test you undergo will have a major impact on whether or not you test positive. For example, a urine test will show weed in your system for a longer period of time than a blood test. If you are seriously concerned (and/or the thought of drug testing makes you anxious), your best bet is to hold off on consumption. Or at the very least, minimize your weed intake for the time being. After all, it’s impossible to know exactly how long weed will show up in your system.

And lastly, it’s important to note that this article has been composed only as a GENERAL GUIDELINE. It is by no means 100% “scientifically” accurate, and certainly is not a guarantee that you’ll pass a drug test — even if you follow one of the above recommendations. Keep in mind that everyone’s biochemistry is different, and thus outcomes will differ from person to person.

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Want to know how long THC can stay in your system? Try out our THC Drug Test Calculator:

Review by Daniel J Isaacman, M.D.

Another very comprehensive review from the people at WayofLeaf. This article helps the reader understand how drug testing is performed, the difference between tests involving saliva, blood, and urine, and the various factors that affect how long a given test can test positive following usage. A few key take-home summary points for the reader:

  1. There is great variability in the length of time a given test will remain positive. One should never assume that the “short end” of the given time period will be adequate.
  2. Frequent users will tend to stay positive for longer periods of time than occasional users. This is due to “build up” and storage of THC metabolites within the body.
  3. The greater the fat content of one’s body, the greater the potential for THC and its major metabolite THC-COO to hang around.

If one expects to be drug tested for an important reason in the near future, the best bet is to refrain for several weeks to months before the given testing. The longer, the better, in my opinion. One must remember that the repercussions of a positive drug test can be quite damaging.

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How long does THC stay in your system?

THC can stay in your system for several weeks, but how long exactly depends on a range of factors such as frequency of use, your individual metabolic rate, and body fat percentage. That said, THC detection times rarely exceed 30 days, according to a 2005 fact-sheet written by Paul Cary, director of the Toxicology and Drug Monitoring Laboratory at the University of Missouri.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the most notable of the active chemicals found in cannabis that is responsible for the plant’s well-known psychoactive effects, is fat soluble. Because of its preference for fats, THC finds its way into the fatty tissues of the body, where it is stored and slowly excreted. It’s this fat storage results in THC’s long detection window.

The method with which one consumes cannabis also affects which metabolic pathway THC follows in the body. That isn’t relevant only for the time it takes your body to excrete it, but also the time it takes for it to be metabolized and begin to affect you.

For instance, when cannabis is vaped or smoked, it’s quickly absorbed by the lungs and there is a sharp increase of THC in the bloodstream within minutes. The major effects of inhalation tend to last a few hours.

When cannabis is ingested, on the other hand, the THC enters the bloodstream through the intestinal walls, is sent to and processed by the liver, and only then can it go to the brain, where it causes the high. Typically the psychoactive effects of THC that is orally consumed can be felt within an hour, while peak effects occur before four hours, and the overall experience can last as long as eight hours, sometimes longer. The psychoactive effects of edibles also tend to be felt more intensely due to the production of 11-hydroxy-THC (the active metabolite of THC).

How long a THC high lasts and how long THC stays in your system are two very different things. There are some claims of “cannabis hangovers,” with anecdotal reports of lingering fatigue following cannabis use. However, in general, when the primary psychoactive effects of cannabis (ie. the high) are over, things return to normal, despite lingering THC metabolites being released from fat cells for several days or weeks.

Everyone metabolizes THC differently

After THC is consumed, it is quickly broken down by the body and turned into molecules called metabolites. Within about six hours of smoking cannabis, cannabis metabolites can be detected in the urine. 1 More than 100 different THC metabolites 2 have been identified and their half-lives differ greatly — some metabolites can be cleared by the body quickly while others can be stored in fat tissue and detectable in urine for days,weeks, or even months.

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One study published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology examined THC concentrations in the urine of Norweigan prisoners. With these tests, scientists were able to estimate the initial half-life of THC is around 1.3 days for frequent and infrequent users. This means that within 4-7 days, the vast majority of the THC will be gone from the system. In frequent users, however, a slower excretion occurs and is reflected by a 10-day terminal half-life. The researchers found that they could detect THC in the urine of frequent users for up to 2-4 weeks after quitting.

The wide ranges presented are because there are numerous factors that determine how long THC stays in your system.

  • Metabolism: Every individual has a unique metabolic rate that is dependent on numerous factors including age, activity levels, diet, genetics, concurrent medications, and health conditions. In general, a faster metabolism results in a more rapid metabolization and excretion of THC.
  • Body fat: Since THC metabolites are stored in fat tissue, people with a higher body fat percentage will naturally store higher amounts of cannabinoids. The result is more THC lingering in the body and a longer THC detection window.
  • Gender: Women have higher body fat percentages than men on average, and therefore it may take them modestly longer than men to clear THC from their bodies.
  • Hydration: Staying hydrated does not help to clear cannabinoids more quickly, even if the internet claims it does. Dehydration does however result in more concentrated THC metabolites in urine, which may affect THC detection through urine drug screening.

Because of all of the factors involved, there may not be a way to accurately predict how long THC will remain detectable. There is, however, enough clinical research out there that one could draw general estimates to determine — how long does weed stay in your system.

Methods of testing for THC

According to a 2004 review published in the Therapeutic Drug Monitoring journal, “detection time is longest in hair, followed by urine, sweat, oral fluid, and blood.” 3

Blood Urine Hair Saliva
Single use 36 hrs 72 hrs Probably undetectable 12 hours
Moderate use 7 days 14 days 90 days 2 days
Chronic use 30 days 30+ days 90 days 28 days
Notes Detection window can vary highly depending on type of test cutoff level, metabolites screened, etc. 4 , 5 Detection beyond 30 days is uncommon but has been reported, especially in heavy use and in those with excessive body fat. 6 The detection window is extremely long. The reason 90 days is the standard window testing facilities are looked at, but can vary from individual based on hair growth and based on laboratory procedures. 7 The smallest detection window of all testing types. Still, detection times vary depending on consumption method and test type. Smoking cannabis increases the likelihood of a positive saliva test due to mouth contamination. 8

How long does THC stay in your hair follicles?

After entering and circulating through the body, some THC will reach hair follicles through small blood vessels where small amounts are deposited into the growing hair. Once the THC is in the hair, it will likely be detectable for years. In fact, hair preserves drug residues so well that scientists can even find evidence of cocaine use in the hair of a 900 year old mummy. 9 But, fear not–that is not the normal detection window. Hair follicle drug tests can assess previous drug use for up to 90 days, because as standard they only test the newest 3.9cm of hair. Since human hair usually grows 1.5gm each month, the detection window is estimated to be about 3 months. The tests are often geared for detecting a level of cannabis use equivalent to 1 or 2 joints per month.

How long does THC stay in your urine?

Urine testing is by far the most common type of THC testing. Tests can vary in their sensitivity so it’s hard to make generalizations, but according to Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 10 the primary THC metabolite can be detected in urine for the following lengths of time:

  • Single use: 3 days
  • Moderate use (four times per week): 5-7 days
  • Chronic use (daily): 10-15 days
  • Chronic heavy use: Over 30 days

How long is THC detectable in your sweat?

Sweat testing is a non-invasive cannabis testing method that has not yet, so don’t expect to get this test yet, but it could be useful for applications in the future. In one study, THC elimination was evaluated in 11 daily cannabis users after stopping cannabis use. Sweat patches were worn for seven days, and were analyzed for THC. Eight out of the 11 subjects had negative results after the second week. 11

How long is THC detectable in your saliva?

Cannabis is also detectable in saliva. According to a 2014 review on cannabinoids in oral fluid, cannabis can be detected in saliva for the following time periods:

  • Occasional cannabis users: ~2 days
  • Chronic daily cannabis smokers: ~14 days, but can be up to 28 days days

How long does THC stay in your blood?

Similar to other cannabis testing methods, the period of THC metabolite detectability in the blood is dependent on the frequency of use. According to a review published in the Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Journal, in general, THC is detectable in the blood for one to two days. 12

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Other research has shown slightly longer THC blood detectability for heavy cannabis users. In a 2009 study, published in the journal Addiction, researchers tested THC blood concentrations in 25 heavy cannabis users for seven days of abstinence. Six out of 25 users had a positive test after 7 days of abstinence. Of note, this test was looking directly at THC, not the THC metabolite (THC-COOH) most commonly looked for and that lingers in the body longer. 13

Implications for drug testing

Millions of employees and potential employees are drug tested every year in the United States and elsewhere. They are measured for drug metabolites in their urine, blood, hair, saliva, breath, sweat, and even fingernails.

There are countless methods of detoxing available, with few being based on much science. These range from drinking cranberry juice to taking laxatives and other herbal supplements. Many people attempting to fool test results frequently increase the amount of water they drink in order to “flush out” THC. The reasoning behind this approach is that over-hydrating oneself decreases the concentration of THC metabolites in the urine, thus decreasing the chance of a positive result. Individuals using this over-hydration method also often take a vitamin B-12 supplement to turn their urine more yellow, making it appear less dilute.

Excessive exercise in an attempt to burn fat, since THC is stored in fat, is not unheard of either. In theory this is a logical approach, but ironically, a study published in the journal Drug & Alcohol Dependence showed that exercise can release stored THC metabolites into the bloodstream, which could actually increase the odds of testing positive. The bottom line is that there is no way to guarantee a negative test result for THC, but an understanding of the detection windows may help you better plan your next job change.

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