Like many questions relating to health (and to life), there isn’t a simple answer to, “How long does marijuana stay in your system?” We would love to give you an exact time period you can rely on, but the truth is, it depends.
The effect that marijuana has on your body depends on many factors. How often do you use marijuana? What is the level of THC in the marijuana you consume? Do you have a fast or slow metabolism? Are you staying hydrated?
A broad answer is, tests typically detect THC in live human hair for up to 90 days. In the mouth, you’ll find traces of marijuana for anywhere between 3 and 30 days (roughly). THC is detectable in saliva for up to 48 hours and in blood for up to 36 hours. To understand the various issues that revolve around the question of how long marijuana stays in your system, let’s run through the way that a normal body processes THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana).
How Does the Body Process THC?
When you consume marijuana, your body absorbs its THC into several organs and body tissues (including the heart, brain, and even fat). The liver also works to metabolize THC into carboxy-THC and 11-hydroxy-THC, which you secrete in your urine. After a while, the THC that was stored in your organs and tissues makes its way into your bloodstream (where the liver metabolizes it). This means that, technically, you could test positive for marijuana use many days after you have quit using.
What Type of Tests Detect the Presence of Marijuana?
There are several ways to detect the presence of marijuana in the body, and the time frame for detection varies test-by-test.
● Blood test. The presence of marijuana in the blood is detectable for up to 36 hours.
● Saliva test. You may test positive for marijuana use on a blood test for up to 48 hours.
● Hair test. Marijuana hair tests can detect THC for up to 90 days, however many studies show that this test is not accurate in light users.
● Urine test. Marijuana urine tests are the most common drug tests and they detect the presence of THC for up to 3 days after consumption in light users. Heavy users may still have urine test-detectable levels of THC for up to 30 days.
Generally, higher doses of marijuana and frequent use are the top contributing factors to longer detection times for THC in the body. Keep in mind that other factors contribute to detection within any time frame and by any test, such as gender, age, and BMI. If you have any other questions about marijuana, THC, or other cannabis products, feel free to call us or come talk to one of our helpful Foothill Wellness staff members.