How Long Does Weed Stay in Your Body


For all marijuana enthusiasts out there, it is important to know how long it takes for various compounds from weed to fully metabolize without a trace. While some trace elements will persist in your body for a long time (up to several months), most cannabinoids will be metabolized within 1—3 days depending on the dose. You may wonder: “how long to get weed out of my system?” It depends on a variety of factors including physiology and even your dietary habits.

Usually, smoking one joint is not a big deal. The vast majority of cannabinoids will be undetectable by saliva testing after 24 hours. However, trace amounts of detectable compounds persist in your urine for at least three days.

If it is your first or second time smoking weed, waiting for just 1—3 days is generally enough to get rid of any unwanted microelements that may be detected.

Detection methods

There are three main detection techniques used to find by-products and metabolites of cannabis. Urine testing, blood testing, and saliva testing are most frequently employed. With the latter being a standard drug-detection procedure in a corporate environment. Note that all three tests will determine whether you smoked marijuana even after one hit if you are tested within several hours after smoking. Beware!

Urine testing

This method is often used to identify regular weed smokers. Trace amounts sufficient to determine whether you smoked recently persist in the urine system for up to 30 days. The longevity of cannabis by-products that usually stay in the urinary system depends on your smoking habits.

  • Occasional and moderate smokers enjoying weed 3—4 times per week will have trace amounts of cannabinoids for 3—7 days.
  • Daily smokers and those who smoke several times throughout the day will have trace amounts of cannabinoids for 10—30 days.

Overweight people may still have some by-products of cannabis even after one month since most cannabis metabolites are soluble in fats and bind to any fat molecule in their vicinity. Fats will be slowly used for energy and free cannabis metabolites releasing them into the urine. In some cases, this process may take quite a long time.

Urine testing is the most frequently employed method of cannabis detection. It is used by law enforcement and various corporations as well as educational institutions.

Blood testing

The most reliable and precise method of cannabis detection is certainly blood testing. As mentioned above, cannabinoids and their metabolites attach to fat molecules and slowly release by-products of weed in your blood system. Some amounts of weed by-products are detectable in the blood for 1—2 days. Regular smokers may have some amounts of cannabinoids in their blood for a month. Heavy smokers may have some persistent by-products of marijuana for up to 90 days.

Since most cannabinoids enter your blood stream immediately, they can be detected by blood testing within seconds after your first hit. While microelements are quickly absorbed by tissues, some by-products will stay in the blood for several days or even weeks. Since detection rate is higher, blood testing is considered more reliable than pee test.

The method is frequently employed for research purposes or to identify recent use of cannabis. The method is less practical and requires specialized equipment.

Saliva testing

Saliva is a less reliable form of drug usage testing however, it can be used to a great success in a corporate environment. Several portable breath analyzers and saliva testing kits have been developed over the course of last years. These kits allow private corporations conduct private tests without acquiring expensive laboratory equipment or relying on third-party service providers.

Some experts are concerned that some saliva analyzers may not provide reliable results and give false signals every so often. Nevertheless, the method is still widely employed for different purposes. According to recommendations, saliva testing should be used to identify recent use of weed in both occasional and heavy smokers.

Occasionally smoking people who usually get to smoke once or twice per week will have detectable amounts of by-products of marijuana in their saliva for at least 1—3 days.

Chronic smokers who use cannabis several times per day or on a daily basis will have detectable amounts of cannabis by-products in their saliva for at least 29 days.

Hair testing

This method is relatively recent. While some may believe that weed components penetrate hair externally with the smoke, the reality is that metabolites usually enter hair via microscopic blood vessels nurturing follicles. Since these by-products do not have an easy way back to the blood stream, they may stay in hair for as long as you don’t receive a haircut.

It is possible to detect a single use of weed months after. The method is unreliable and rarely used outside of forensic research.

Factors affecting cannabis metabolism

The exact period during which cannabis metabolites remain in your body depend on a variety of factors including:

  • Physiological such as age, body mass index, age, and gender;
  • Frequency of use;
  • The dose of cannabis consumed recently;
  • The biochemical composition of cannabis (THC remains for longer periods).

THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid that may be stored in various tissues. It is eventually broken down to simple metabolites in the liver. The process takes longer if you consume other drugs, medications, alcohol or fatty foods. After metabolizing, by-products and metabolites are removed with the urine or feces.

All of the above means that bodies with slower metabolism and burdened with additional contamination as well as complex food will store by-products of cannabis for longer. People with a lot of visceral fat also process THC much slower.

The main takeaway

There are multiple drug testing methods. Not all of them are 100% reliable. Most of these testing kits are used to detect THC metabolites meaning that users of medical cannabis usually containing very small amounts of THC may safely undergo any form of testing 1—3 days after use.


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