How Long Does Marijuana Stay In Your System?
The amount of time marijuana stays in your system is a widespread debate, but there is no definite answer due to various factors influencing metabolism.
The cannabinoid delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active ingredient in marijuana. THC is absorbed into the bloodstream and may be temporarily stored in fatty tissues and organs. THC may even be reabsorbed into the bloodstream through the kidneys. THC is broken down in the liver into over eighty metabolites, which can be detected by a drug test. After an individual consumes marijuana, THC is metabolized in the liver by specific enzymes into Hydroxy-THC and then transforms into non-psychoactive THC Carboxylic Acid.
Although the effects of marijuana tend to wear off after one to three hours, the by-products and metabolites remain in your system for much longer. Marijuana metabolites are fat-soluble (in other words – they bind to fat molecules in your body). These metabolites may stay in your system for an extended period. Over time, THC and the metabolites are excreted in stool and urine.
Marijuana may be detected through blood, saliva, urine, sweat and hair:
Urine: Marijuana metabolites are detected in urine three days after the last use for occasional users, 5 to 7 days for moderate users, 10-15 days for chronic users, and over 30 days for chronic users. A case study published in 2009 revealed that marijuana was detected in a chronic smoker’s urine after 84 days of the last usage.
Saliva: Marijuana metabolites are detected in saliva for 1 to 3 days for occasional users, and up to 29 days for chronic users.
Blood: For blood testing, marijuana metabolites are usually detectable in blood for 1 to 2 days; however, cases of chronic users have shown detection after 25 days of intake. After smoking, the marijuana enters the bloodstream within minutes and takes approximately 20 minutes after oral ingestion.
Sweat and hair: For sweat testing, the marijuana stays in your system for 7 to 28 days. Marijuana tends to be detected in bodily fluids for up to 30 days. However, it may be detected in your hair for several months; specifically, hair follicle tests may detect marijuana use for up to 90 days.
Various factors affect how long marijuana remains in your system such as age, body mass index (BMI), and gender. Higher dosage and frequency of intake tend to increase the amount of time marijuana stays in your system. The type of strain may also influence how long marijuana stays in your system. For example, a strain higher in THC will remain in your system for a more extended time. In addition to potency impacting the time it takes to eliminate weed from your system, the mode of intake also plays a vital role. Specifically, cannabis that has been ingested remains in your system compared to weed that has been inhaled through smoking. Scientific research on metabolizing marijuana at a faster rate is sparse, although exercising, staying hydrated, and eating healthy have been shown to aid in this process.
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