What is marijuana? Marijuanaalso known as weed, pot, or ganja, is a medicinal plant of the Cannabis family.
When we smoke or ingest cannabis, those unique plant compounds interact with our bodies. This interaction is the sole reason humans have turned to cannabis over the centuries for religious purposes, relaxation, pain relief, and recreation.
This interaction also explains why cannabinoids and their byproducts remain detectable in the body and in many cases remain well after the buzz wears off. Other compounds stick around, too. To fully understand how long weed could stay in your system, it's important to establish how THC travels through and interacts with the human body. When cannabis is smoked or vaporized, THC enters the bloodstream through the lungs.
From there, it is carried in the bloodstream directly to the heart and pumped throughout the body where it binds to the CB1 receptors located in the brain, certain organs, and central nervous system, as well as the CB2 receptors in the spleen and immune system.
These receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system.
As blood circulates throughout the body, THC is continuously passed through the liver and broken down into metabolites. This inactive metabolite of THC, which is stored in body fat and gradually eliminated through urine and feces, remains in the body for far longer than active THC. That's why so many marijuana detox drinks and kits claim to eliminate or mask the presence of THC metabolites.
The process is slightly different when cannabis is consumed in the form of an edible or capsule. When taken orally, THC enters the bloodstream through the walls of the stomach and intestines, traveling directly to the liver where a large amount is eliminated or metabolized.
How long does weed stay in your system?
There are a variety of factors that might affect the amount of time that THC will stay in your system. The larger the amount of THC consumed, the longer it will take the body to break down and work through it and its corresponding metabolites.
The overall duration and frequency of use have a substantial influence on the length of time that weed will stay in your system. Most research on cannabinoid detection demonstrates that THC stays in the system of chronic users far longer than one-time or even occasional users.
Long-term, high-frequency cannabis use is also a notable risk factor in developing cannabis withdrawal symptoms. Genetics also affect the length of time that THC remains in the system.
For instance, people inherit different variants of the cytochrome P superfamily of enzymes, which modify THC levels in the body, resulting in its elimination through the urine. The amount of fat in the body is also a ificant factor. In the same vein, exercise can also impact the levels of detectable THC metabolites.
When fat is burned, dormant THC from fat can be released into the blood and excreted from the body in urine or feces.
A body with higher metabolic functions can break down cannabinoids at a faster rate, shortening the length of time that THC and its metabolites will remain detectable in the body. There's no universal standard for how long weed stays in anyone's system because it depends on too many variables.
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THC and its metabolites can be detected in blood, urine, saliva, and hair. But existing research allows us to gain a better understanding and make well-educated estimates for various systems. Upon inhalation, active THC can be found in the bloodstream within a matter of seconds and can be detected in plasma for several hours, depending on the frequency of use and dosage.
According to a review published in Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, the pla s ma concentration of THC peaks just three to eight minutes after inhalation and then decreases quickly with a half-life of about 30 minutes. In a study published in the journal Addiction, researchers monitored cannabinoid concentrations in the blood of 25 frequent cannabis users. So, while the active form of THC doesn't remain in your bloodstream for an extended period of time, THC metabolites can still be found in the body several weeks after use.
Recognized as the preferred system for cannabis drug testing, urine screenings are often used as a benchmark to detect for cannabis use. According to How May review published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, weed can be detected in urine for up to three days in occasional users, five to seven days in moderate users, 10 to 15 days in daily users, and more than 30 days for chronic users who consume multiple times a day.
THC and its metabolites can also be detected in the saliva of occasional and chronic users. A study published in Drug Testing and Analysis looked at cannabinoids in oral fluid and long that THC pot were detectable in the saliva of occasional users for one to three days and chronic users for up to 29 days. There is mounting evidence that hair follicle drug testing methods are not able to accurately detect marijuana, as research published in Scientific Reports suggests that the presence of THC and THC metabolites can be transferred to the hair follicles of non-users through contact with hands, sweat, or exhaled smoke.
For example, if someone smokes a t and exhales near someone who doesn't consume cannabis, THC can be transferred to the non-smoker's head or body hair.
As for the detection period, the hair follicle drug test timeline is much broader than with urine and blood tests, sometimes detecting the presence of THC up to 90 days after use. While the authors of the study stated that hair analysis is a viable method for detecting cannabis consumption, they also acknowledged that it's unreliable for detecting light cannabis use.
How to get weed out of your system
Reviewed by Dr. Adie Rae, Ph. The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This was last updated on June 22, Home Order Online New. After smoking weed, cannabinoids and their byproducts remain detectable in the body, and in many cases remain well after the buzz wears off. Image lightbox. Was this article helpful?
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