How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System?

by Emjay

Weed is nothing like alcohol. You drink alcohol, you sober up, and a few hours later, it’s completely out of your system. Weed wants to stay in your body for a bit longer. Exactly how long that will be is unpredictable. Some people may be completely weed-free after a few days. Other people will need to wait a month for all detectable levels of THC to pass through their systems.

How long weed will stay in your system depends on how often you smoke, the amount of weed you smoke, what your body fat percentage is, and how effective the drug test in question is at detecting THC. 

The short answer: there’s no way to know for sure. The long answer: you can calculate a general window of time that might be accurate.

How do drug tests work?

Drug tests are commonly performed by collecting a urine sample and analyzing its contents. Drug tests aren’t looking specifically for cannabis, because cannabis contains a lot of things. They’re only looking for delta 9 THC. They’re not seeking CBD or any other non-psychoactive cannabinoid. 

Urine drug tests are reasonably reliable, but they’re all different. Some may be more sensitive than others. Some may not detect weed in your system even though you’ve smoked it recently. It all depends on the sensitivity of the test and the methods used to analyze the sample.

Some urine drug tests may generate false positives. This isn’t an everyday occurrence, but it’s certainly happened before. People have tested positive for heroin after eating poppy seeds, so avoid your morning bagel before you need to submit a sample. Cold medicines, allergy medicines, blood pressure medications, diabetes medications, and over-the-counter painkillers can all also potentially contribute to a false-positive result. 

When a person gets a false positive, they can request that the sample be sent off for a more complicated testing method. Employers and institutions save this method for contested results because it’s expensive and very time-consuming. 

The occasional smoker

If you only smoke once or twice a month, weed won’t build up in your system. Someone who only smokes weed every other weekend may find that it leaves their system within three days. This is especially true if you only smoke a joint

If you’re going through an eighth to yourself over the course of a weekend, it may take your body a week or so to process and eliminate the evidence. 

The regular smoker

If you smoke more than twice a week, remnants of THC can build up in your body. Your body needs a little bit of time to process them out. They should be gone in about a week, but if you need to play it safe, it’s best to wait two weeks just to be sure. 

The frequent smoker

If you smoke weed every day and suddenly stop, your body has a lot of cleaning up to do. It’s not unusual for a frequent smoker’s body to take anywhere from 30 to 45 days to purge all detectable levels of THC. 

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Other factors to consider

In addition to the frequency you use cannabis, there are other factors at play. The kind of test being used, your metabolism, and the amount of body fat you have can have an impact on drug test results. It’s important to remember that everyone’s circumstances are unique. The waiting period that works for your friend may not be the waiting period that works for you.

Testing methods

THC only shows up on a blood test for up to 4 hours. If you’re having bloodwork done the morning after you smoke, you don’t have anything to worry about. Saliva tests can theoretically detect THC for up to 72 hours, but most only work for up to 24. 

Hair tests are tricky. Once something is in your hair, it’s in your hair. The only way to get it out would be to pluck the hair from the root. Hair retains THC for up to 90 days. One of the trickiest and most troubling factors of hair tests is that secondhand cannabis smoke can trigger a false positive. Your hair might absorb detectable levels of THC that can skew your results. If given the option, pass on a hair test. 

In most scenarios, a urine test will be used. That’s where your personal metabolism and the frequency of your cannabis use come into play. Most tests won’t detect THC if it’s been 30 days since you’ve used it, but some very sensitive tests may be able to pick it up for longer. 

Your body fat

THC is stored in your body fat. If you have a lot of body fat, you likely have a lot of stored THC. It might seem like exercising or losing weight would be a great way to help the THC to leave your system, but you don’t have as much control in that area as it may seem.

Your body pulls fat from wherever it wants. Sometimes it’s uniform, and sometimes it isn’t. Your body might use the fat cells in your right arm more than it uses the fat cells in your left arm. It may ignore your abdominal fat in favor of the fatty tissue on your thighs. The THC is stored wherever it’s stored. There’s no guarantee that things will work out in your favor.

One study found that exercising right before a drug test made THC easier to detect. The body was metabolizing it from fat cells and sending it to the urine, along with the other byproducts from fat metabolism. There’s a good chance that trying to run off your body fat might have the opposite effect. 

Your metabolism

Your metabolism is what dictates how efficient you are at processing substances and burning calories. It’s important to remember that your metabolism is separate from your body fat. People with lower amounts of body fat can have slow metabolisms. 

If you have a slow metabolism, a metabolic disorder, or a condition relating to the health of your thyroid, your body may hold onto the remnants of THC and its metabolites much longer than someone with a fast metabolism, even if you smoked the same amount. 

Can I get the weed out of my system sooner?

No, you cannot. And don’t believe any product that swears it works to “detox” you or help you pass a drug test. 

Your body processes and purges substances in its own time. While it’s a good idea to drink plenty of water, get some electrolytes, exercise, and eat a clean diet, none of these things have been proven to push cannabis out of your system sooner. They will, however, make you healthier. 

How will I know when the weed is out of my system?

When you need to know if the weed has left your system, test yourself. You can order highly sensitive THC test strips for a fairly cheap price. Test your urine every day. If you get five consecutive negatives, chances are good that you’re in the clear. If you’re worried, give yourself a full week after your last negative home test before you take a sensitive lab test. 

Is it bad to have weed in your system?

It’s only bad to have weed in your system if you need to submit to a drug test in a scenario where the presence of cannabis would be problematic. THC isn’t harming you from within your fat cells. You won’t get high again when your body releases it, and there are no known side effects of its metabolites. 

The takeaway

No one can accurately predict how long it will take for THC to leave their systems. Even people with predictable habits find that THC stays around longer than usual from time to time. If your job forbids you from smoking weed and you do it anyway, you need to be careful about random drug tests. You can’t plan for something you aren’t prepared for. 

If you’re trying to apply for jobs in work environments that aren’t weed-friendly, quit smoking weed for at least 30 days. You don’t want to leave anything up to chance. 

If you’re free to smoke as much as you want whenever you want, we’re ready to deliver you some weed. Emjay has a broad selection of strains, and we can bring them to your door in about half an hour.

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