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Cannabis in Body

How Long Does Cannabis Remain in Your Body?

How long does cannabis remain in your body? That is one of the most asked questions and one of the most complicated questions to answer. When answering this question, we may be either referring to the active delta-9 THC with its psychoactive effects or to the inactive THC-COOH, the waste metabolite of THC. It all depends on which system we are talking about; blood, saliva, urine or hair. Delta-9 THC doesn’t remain in your system for very long. But, THC-COOH can be detected for much longer. That is because it is a lipid-soluble molecule, capable of dissolving in fats, oils, and fatty tissue. It diffuses to locations anywhere in the body and ends up accumulating in your fatty tissue. The THC-COOH molecules are slowly released over time until your body purges itself of all traces of cannabis.

Starting from the shortest amount of time to the longest, here is how your different body systems process THC or THC-COOH:

Blood 

THC stays in your blood for the shortest amount of time. It makes its way into your blood via your lungs when you smoke and via your stomach when you ingest it. It ultimately makes its way to your brain where you feel the euphoria. Your body quickly metabolizes the THC so that it only stays in your blood for a day or two for the casual user. The seasoned user who smokes on a daily basis should expect for the THC to remain for up to a week.

Saliva 

THC remains in your saliva for about the same duration as in your blood; one to two days for the casual user and up to a week for the seasoned user. It is soaked up by your saliva glands after smoking. If you use edibles, your exposure is even less. It just stays in your saliva until you swallow enough of it to eliminate the THC from your mouth. If you drink a lot of water, brush your teeth, use mouthwash and eat fatty foods, that can help get rid of the THC in your mouth.

Urine 

It is the inactive THC-COOH which is found in urine. Even though you are no longer under the influence of the psychotropic effects, it still remains in your system as THC. The amount of time cannabis stays in your urine depends on how often you use it. In addition, there are several other factors that play a role. These include:

  • Dosage and Potency of Your Cannabis
  • Your Weight – the greater your fatty tissue, the longer it stays in your urine
  • Exercise – the more you exercise, the faster it exits your urine
  • Your Metabolism – the faster your metabolism, the faster it exits your urine
  • Your Liver Health – the healthier the liver, the faster it exits your urine
  • Your Hydration Level

Based on a research study of 60 cannabis users, here are the results:

  1. 1-time user: gone in 5-8 days
  2. 2-4 times per week: gone in 11-18 days
  3. 5-6 times per week: gone in 33-48 days
  4. Daily user: gone in 50-65 days but up to 77 days

Hair

Evidence of THC stays in your hair follicles longer than in any other system in your body. For those who have used cannabis for decades, it can remain for years. You can test hair follicles which take a sample from the root to 1.5 inches. Head hair grows on average of .5 inches per month, so the 1.5 inches of hair would indicate 3 months of hair growth. If THC is detected it indicates that you used cannabis 90 days prior. It won’t show up for one-time or occasional users. However, with regular users, it remains in your hairs follicle forever!

I hope this article has been helpful in answering that age-old question.

Source: HighTimes.com, How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System, Adam Drury, October 30, 2017

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