How Long Does THC Stay In Your Urine, Saliva, Blood and Hair?

How Long Does THC Stay In Your System?

It depends

The effects from using weed will usually disappear within a few hours of use but the THC metabolites for which labs test can linger in the system for days or weeks. Cannabis detection depends on a few factors including the type of drug test, the frequency of use, the quantity of use and lastly general lifestyle choices. This guide is intended to help the reader make educated choices towards passing their next drug test.  

THC Metabolites

The primary psychoactive ingredient in weed– Tetrahydrocannabinol, will enter the user’s bloodstream shortly after use and then be metabolized over the next 3 to 24 hours. As you’ve likely heard, the remaining THC metabolites are stored in fat and gradually released through the body’s natural detox functions which include urine, feces and sweat. Although it varies person to person, on average 20% is excreted in urine, 65% in feces and the remainder in sweat.

Urinalysis and THC Detection Times

Urinalysis are the most frequently administered type of drug test given their low cost, accuracy and extended detection times. A urine drug test for marijuana is based on THC’s main metabolite 11-nor-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid. Some metabolites have an elimination half-life of less than 24 hours but most credentialed experts agree the remainder won’t be released from the body’s fatty tissues for 15 to 30 days. There have been reports of detection times longer than 30 days but this has been extremely rare; the most credible source and recent (last updated October 2016) study on marijuana detection times has been by the Mayo Medical Laboratories:

  • Single Use: detection time up to 3 days

  • Moderate Use (four times a week): detection time up to 5 days

  • Heavy Use (daily): detection time up to 10 days

  • Chronic Heavy Use (multiple times a day): detection time up to 30 days

Other Types of Drug Tests

Other common cannabis testing methods include saliva, blood and hair; each offer different advantages and disadvantages to the tester.

Saliva Testing

Saliva testing is the second most popular type of drug test simply because it is less invasive then the others. Saliva testing also offers an observed and onsite collection which can deter cheaters. The disadvantage to saliva drug tests are that they can only be used to detect recent drug use, usually up to a few hours and at the most a few days.

Blood Testing

Blood testing for weed is the most expensive and invasive of all drug testing methods and also happens to be the most accurate. Weed is detectable in the bloodstream within minutes of use and will remain as previously stated for up to 24 hours.

Hair Testing

The least popular type of drug testing is from hair follicles. Hair follicle testing can be used to assess marijuana use up to 90 days since it is based off residue left in the hair. The disadvantage of hair testing is that it is often inaccurate regarding amounts and timing of last use. Since much of today’s workplace drug testing is dependent on whether an employee is impaired while on duty typically makes hair drug testing unreliable.

What Other Factors Effect How Long THC Stay’s In Your System?

As previously mentioned, other factors that will help you determine how long THC metabolites are in your system include frequency of use, quantity of use and overall health.

Frequency and Quantity

Do you use cannabis once a month, once a week or every day? Do you ingest or smoke weed? When you do smoke, do you only take one hit or multiple? Again, the more frequently you use (and the actual amount you consume), the more THC and THC-COOH will accrue in the fatty tissue throughout your body and remain until metabolized.

How to Metabolize Weed Faster?

Although how long it takes is different for everyone, eventually your body will remove THC from you system through its natural processes mentioned in the intro. Additionally, there are ways to boost the body’s natural detox systems (urination, feces and sweating) and metabolize THC quicker. If you have at least three weeks until your drug screen and are a fairly healthy person that isn’t a very heavy smoker, then we’re confident you can detox naturally and pass your test by following the below:

  • Abstain from inhaling or ingesting weed– Obvious enough.

  • Eat a clean diet that is low in carbohydrates and sugar - A diet like this forces the body to metabolize fat (where THC metabolites are stored) instead of glucose.

  • Drink at the very least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day; this will help flush your system as well as assist you in maintaining a healthy metabolism.

  • Drink green tea; like water, this will lower THC levels through its diuretic properties and make an individual urinate a lot which technically washes out the kidneys. Green tea can purify your blood and get everything moving on. Additionally, hydration is a key factor for a robust metabolism.

  • Exercise and hit the sauna, steam-room or jacuzzi – All of these will speed up one’s metabolic rate, burn THC metabolites and stimulate waste removal. 

Final Thoughts

Remember, time is your most valuable indicator when determining if THC is still in your system or not; the more time the less likely THC will be detected. Other important variables include frequency of use, quantity of use, metabolic rate and overall health. Home drug test can be used to find out if you’ll definitely fail a lab test but not to find out if you’ll pass; meaning, if you fail a home drug test then it’s essentially guaranteed that you’ll fail a lab test since they’re so much more accurate.

Good luck and please let us know if you have any questions.