How long does weed stay in your system? Wondering how long a high will last or how soon you’ll be able to pass a drug test? In this quick guide, we’ll help you answer the question, “how long does cannabis stay in your system?” We’ll also help you figure out if there’s anything you can do to pass a drug test faster.
How Long Does a Weed High Last?
If you’re wondering, “how long does cannabis stay in your system?” because you want to know how long your high will last, know that the length of your high depends on several factors. These factors include your body weight, the amount you take, your tolerance levels, and the route of administration.
If you weigh less, you’ll have a longer high. If you have a higher tolerance level, you’ll have a shorter high. Of course, anyone can up the length of their high by taking a higher dose.
The route of administration makes a big difference, too. On average, if you smoke or vape pot, the high will start within ten minutes and last one-four hours. If you consume pot, the high won’t start for at least 30 minutes and will last between four and ten hours.
Marijuana Half-Life: How Long Does Weed Stay in Your System?
Did you know that traces of cannabis can be detected in your body fluids, nails, and hair for some time after your high subsides? But for how long?
As your body processes cannabis, it turns the active ingredients in weed into inactive metabolites. As you metabolize the cannabis, the high subsides, but those metabolites remain in body tissue for some time afterwards. You excrete them gradually, primarily through feces (approximately 65% of metabolites are excreted this way) but also through urine (about 20% of metabolites excreted through this route), and other body fluids like sweat.
An interesting thing about marijuana metabolites is that some of them are deposited in body fat tissue. These fat-stored metabolites are also gradually excreted from the body over time.
Over time, a chronic marijuana user will build up higher levels of the drug in their body fat, and it will take a much longer time for them to clear their body of the drug than it would take an occasional or one-time user.
More body fat also allows more metabolites to accumulate. This means that chronic users with more body fat will take longer to completely clear their bodies of marijuana traces than a chronic user with low body fat.
The half-life of marijuana—how long it takes your body to clear THC and its metabolites from your system—depends on a few different things:
- Route of marijuana administration: In general, it takes your body a longer to clear orally ingested cannabis products than smoked or vaped marijuana.
- Dose: A longer dose will stay in your system longer.
- Quality of the weed: Different strains of weed have different amounts of THC (the active ingredient in weed.) In general, higher-quality weed will stay in your system longer.
- How often you use marijuana: The more often you use marijuana, the longer it will take you to eliminate marijuana metabolites from your system after you stop ingesting marijuana.
- You body fat levels: If you use marijuana frequently, the higher your body fat percentage, the longer it will take to excrete all the marijuana metabolites.
This all means that there’s a wide degree of variability in answer to the question, “how long does it take marijuana to leave your system?”
How Long Does It Take Marijuana to Leave Your System Before a Drug Test?
But how long is weed in your system at levels that can be detected in a drug test? Well, all of the factors that we mentioned before impact the answer to this question. So how you took your marijuana, your dose, how often you use, and your body fat levels (if you are a frequent user) will all affect how long a drug test will come up positive for marijuana.
However, the kind of drug test also makes a big difference in how long weed is detectable in your system. In this section, we’ll go over the most common drug test types and how long weed will be detectable based on that test type.
Another thing to note is that the cutoff threshold of the test makes a big difference in how long you will test positive after marijuana intake. The cutoff threshold describes the level of metabolites that will give a positive test result. A lower cutoff threshold means that you will test positive for longer. A higher threshold means that you will test positive for a shorter amount of time after marijuana intake.
How Long Does Weed Stay in Your System? Blood Tests
Weed is usually only detectable in the blood for up to a day, although it may be detectable longer (up to several days) in heavy users. However, blood tests are not as common as the other types listed here.
How Long Does Weed Stay in Your System? Hair Tests
Hair tests can detect drug use for much longer than any other type of test. A hair test typically analyzes the last 1.5 inches of your hair and can detect marijuana use within the last ninety days. However, hair tests are also not particularly common. Additionally, a hair test cannot detect very recent marijuana use, only marijuana use from at least a week before.
How Long Does Weed Stay in Your System? Saliva Tests
Weed is typically only detectable for about 12 hours after intake in a rapid on-site saliva test. However, it may be detectable for up to 3 days after intake in a more sensitive lab saliva test.
How Long Does Weed Stay in Your System? Urine Tests
The most common form of drug testing for weed is a urine test. The common prevailing wisdom for urine testing for a long time was that you may test positive for up to 90 days after marijuana use!
However, based on an analysis of the most recent available evidence, a one-time user would be unlikely to test positive after 3-4 days and a chronic user would be unlikely to test positive after about 10 days at the most common 50 ng/mL testing cutoff.
Even at the more sensitive 20 ng/mL cutoff, a casual user would most likely have cleared enough metabolites within 7 days. A chronic user would have cleared enough 21 days after last ingestion.
Of course, it’s important to note that there are outliers in any population. So if you are really worried about passing a drug test, it may make sense for you to buy a kit and test yourself in advance.
What’s the Fastest Way to Get THC Out of Your System?
Got a drug test coming up? Of course, the most reliable way to pass a drug test is to abstain before the test. But if it’s too late for that, is there any way to get traces of marijuana out of your system faster? We’ll go over two common methods of “flushing” THC and if they work.
Since you excrete THC in body fluids, will sweating a lot (like in a sauna) help you beat a drug test? While you excrete negligible amounts of THC in sweat, most of the major metabolites that drugs tests actually test for aren’t excreted this way. So sweating won’t help much.
There are two possible ways drinking water is said to help pass a drug test: increasing marijuana metabolite excretion and by diluting the urine itself.
First, does drinking water somehow increase the amount of THC metabolites you excrete? In short, not really, no. Water won’t “flush” weed from your body.
However, drinking water can dilute your urine, which can actually help you pass a drug test. If there’s more liquid in your urine, but the same amount of THC metabolites, the concentration of THC metabolites will go down. Since a drug test is looking for a particular concentration of metabolites, creating a lower concentration will help you pass.
Note that some drug testing companies will reject overly diluted urine. If they do this, you will probably get a chance to re-test, which at the very least will give you some more time for your body to clear the marijuana metabolites.
Some sites actually recommend drinking sports drinks so that you increase urine output but end up with less watery urine.
The Bottom Line: How Long Does Cannabis Stay in Your System?
In terms of how long a marijuana high lasts, in general, a smoked or vaped high lasts 1-4 hours and a high from edibles lasts 4-10 hours.
How long does it take marijuana to leave your system? The half-life of marijuana depends on a number of factors, including the route of administration, your dosage, the quality of the weed, how often you use marijuana, and your body fat levels.
How long does weed stay in your system before you can pass a drug test? This, again, depends on all the factors we just named, the type of test, and the concentration cutoff threshold of the test. However, in urine tests, the most common test, a casual user should be fine after 3-4 days and a chronic user should be fine by 10 days.
Is there any way to pass a test faster? Is there a “best” way to detox THC? Most methods for flushing THC out of your system faster don’t work. However, drinking lots of fluids can help dilute your urine, which may help you pass the test.