- THC, can be detected in the body for up to two weeks after consumption. For chronic users, it can be detected for up to three weeks.
- Blood and hair follicle tests can detect the compounds found in marijuana for a longer period of time than a urine test can.
- Most urine tests only detect marijuana in urine for up to seven days.
Most of the time, marijuana is smoked and inhaled through the mouth and lungs. However, it can be consumed as an ingredient in foods after it has been appropriately prepared in a variety of applications, including brownies and other baked goods.
Marijuana contains high levels of the naturally occurring compound Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, better known by many as THC. According to Neuropsychology Review, it is the primary psychoactive compound found in marijuana, and it helps to regulate mood and anxiety.
Many people use marijuana legally for medical purposes, and many others use it illegally as a recreational drug. According to Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, marijuana is the most commonly used drug across the world. In some cultures, marijuana is even used in religious ceremonies.
The legality of marijuana usage is changing around the world. According to the International Journal of Drug Policy, many countries are moving toward legalizing marijuana due to public favor. In the United States, the United State Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, classifies marijuana as an illegal, Schedule I drug; however, various states have legalized the drug for medicinal use, and some have even legalized it for recreational use.
According to Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the timeline for a marijuana high varies greatly according to a variety of factors, including how the drug was consumed and how much was consumed. Someone who chronically uses marijuana may experience effects for a different amount of time than someone who is a first-time user. The amount someone consumes also affects how long the person feels its effects. If a person continues to smoke marijuana, versus smoking one joint and stopping, the high they experience will be sustained.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the effects of marijuana on most users typically begin to be felt 30-60 minutes after ingestion. The length of time that the high lasts depends on the amount used, how frequently the person uses the drug, and other personal factors, such as body fat percentage and metabolism. Generally, a marijuana high lasts 1-4 hours.
In general, marijuana leaves the body fairly rapidly. Once the high wears off, most of the noticeable side effects of marijuana go away. However, small amounts of marijuana are still present in the body. Long-term users may experience negative side effects from smoking marijuana. The effects of using marijuana regularly can last longer than one use of the drug.
Adverse symptoms, including bronchitis and coughing, stem from chronic use of marijuana. According to the European Respiratory Journal, the adverse respiratory symptoms caused by smoking marijuana can improve quickly if users cut down on the practice.
Some of the compounds in marijuana identified by drug tests stay in the body than others. According to Frontiers in Public Health, the primary compound found in marijuana, THC, can be detected in the body for up to two weeks after consumption. For chronic users, it can be detected for up to three weeks. Blood and hair follicle tests can detect the compounds found in marijuana for a longer period of time than a urine test can. Most urine tests only detect marijuana in urine for up to seven days.
Not all drug tests are the same, and again, each person’s body reacts differently. According to the University of Texas at Austin, how long marijuana is present in the body depends on a number of factors, including how long the person has used marijuana and the person’s body composition. Each of these different factors plays a critical role in whether or not marijuana shows up on drug tests. In general, the longer someone uses marijuana, the longer it can be detected in the body by drug tests.
Drug Testing – The Law
As American society eases the legal restrictions on the sale and consumption of marijuana, it’s critical to remember that potential employers are not necessarily changing their drug policies. Many companies require a drug test before hiring new employees, while other businesses, depending on their field of specialty, randomly test their staff.
- Coming up positive on a marijuana drug test might be grounds for termination.
Abstaining from marijuana is the only stress-free and foolproof way to pass a drug test. As an added benefit, this will avoid the negative health-related side effects. These can include breathing problems, depression and addiction among others.
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What Is a THC Detox?
A marijuana detox, or THC detox, is a regimen designed to eliminate traces of cannabis from your system. Many people have to do this in order to pass a drug test, such as for a job, while others do it simply to take a break and recharge one’s batteries.
Regardless of the reason, abstinence is the best way to do this. (We warned you that you wouldn’t like it).
Yet, it works. If you don’t consume cannabis for an appropriate amount of time, you can successfully have a complete THC detox of your system. It takes time, though.
The process might not be simple for everyone, though, as a detox for weed is unique to each person. Factors determining this include your frequency of use, the amount you ingest, the methods you use to consume, your body mass and makeup, and more.
A marijuana detox could have side effects, as well, which can range from mild to unpleasant, especially for heavy and/or medical consumers. Some of these include:
- Decreased appetite
However, it’s not entirely clear whether these are symptoms of withdrawal or the return of the pain or condition for which the cannabis was originally being taken.
Before taking a look at how to approach a marijuana detox, let’s clarify the issue of how THC long sticks around after consumption.
How Long Does THC Stay in My Body?
THC has a half-life of 7 days. So, in a week, the amount of the psychoactive chemical still left in your body is halved. A week later, that remaining amount will be halved again. And it continues until all traces are gone.
If you use infrequently – say, once or twice a month – THC could be gone from your system in a week or less. If you use daily, by comparison, THC can remain in your system for weeks, even months.
Many factors contribute to this rate of dissipation – how often you consume, how much you consume, your body makeup, metabolism, diet, and more.
Because THC is fat-soluble, it is stored in your fatty tissue, from which THC is constantly being sent into your bloodstream. Evidence also shows that any process that burns fat causes THC to re-enter your bloodstream.
This is why so many detox programs don’t work. THC needs time to be eliminated naturally, so a marijuana detox could take time.
The Type of Test Matters in a THC Detox
There are various types of tests that can detect the amount of cannabis and THC left in your system. To naturally detox yourself, the following tests have certain windows of time during which you should abstain from use:
- For a blood test: 2-7 days to abstain
- For a saliva test: 2-7 days
- For a hair test: 90 days
- For a urinalysis: 3 to 77 days*
*It should be noted that for those who partake only 1-4 times a month, it’s possible that a natural THC detox can take 10-30 days)
How Much THC Is in My Body?
If you’re going to detox for weed, there are a few factors that influence the amount of time it takes to complete a weed detox program. These include:
- Your metabolism – is it fast or slow?
- Exercise frequency – the more often, the better
- BMI (Body mass index) – because THC is stored in fat cells, the more body fat, the more THC is stored, and the longer it takes to be eliminated
- Your daily consumption rate – is it daily? 1-2x a week? 1-2x a month?
- Cannabis potency – if vaping or smoking flower, what’s the THC percentage? If you’re doing edibles, how many milligrams do ingest per day?
- The amount of cannabis consumed – do you smoke or consume regularly from morning to night? Once a day? Not at all?
Effective THC Detox Methods (That Aren’t So Quick)
If you’ve got weeks or months to prepare for a marijuana drug test, then natural ways of detoxing will be your best, safest, most effective methods from which to choose.
Abstain from Use
The best marijuana detox method, period. It is the longest – you need 30-90 days, depending on your given circumstances.
But abstaining is, by far, the best, most complete method. If you completely halt all of your cannabis consumption, you’ll get the results you’re looking for.
Drink More Tea
As you continue your abstinence program, add tea to your daily routine. If you drink tea daily, particularly opting for those with lots of antioxidants or liver-cleansing properties, such as milk thistle or dandelion.
Not only is tea simple and effective, but it’s also enjoyable.
Alter Your Mindset and Reduce Your Stress
You may immediately think this is impossible if one of the main reasons for your cannabis consumption is to relieve depression or anxiety. How can you reduce stress when your best method is unavailable to you?
One way is to simply change your mindset. To help with this, try other stress-relieving methods, such as exercise, yoga, or meditation. This could be vital, as weed detox often makes people irritable.
Another way may mean simply taking on fewer responsibilities than you normally do, as if you’re on an extended mini-vacation.
However, if your anxiety and/or depression are considered clinical, maybe therapy with a trusted professional is the best way.
Regardless of what you choose, nurturing yourself is very important. Often, a marijuana detox program gives you clarity in your life and can be an overall healthy journey.
Avoid the “Quick Fix” Weed Detox (Remember: It Usually Means Neither “Quick” Nor “Fix”)
Avoid quick fixes or anyone trying to talk you into trying methods that don’t work, are risky, or could cause you health problems.
Here are a few to avoid:
- Cranberry juice
- Niacin detox
- Bleach (do not, under any circumstances, ingest bleach)