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How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System?

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What is Marijuana?

It refers to a mixture of dry, shredded seeds, stems, leaves and flowers of Cannabis sativa – a strong-smelling hemp plant. It is often used as the ingredients of a pipe or cigarette by drug addicts. Marijuana is an illegal drug that is used most commonly in the U.S. The leaves of this plant are dried and used to manufacture a number of hallucinogenic and euphoriant drugs.

Marijuana Picture

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System?

This is a question that is often asked by weed smokers, particularly those who are supposed to pass a drug test. The answer is not a straightforward one and needs you to understand some basic facts about the drug, its potential and its effects.

The duration of marijuana retention in your body depends on the quantity of the drug that you have consumed as well as the number of which times you have taken it. It may vary from one person to another, and also differ from day to day.

When you smoke weed, it is degraded in your body just like any other thing. It is broken down in the system to yield products known as metabolites. THC-COOH is the primary metabolite of this drug. If your intake of weed is much more than your body can eliminate at a given time, this metabolite would be stored in your body in the form of fat.

If you consume this drug constantly, THC-COOH would be stored in high amounts in your system as fat. This does not mean that you would remain “high” (in an intoxicated state) for a long time. However, the metabolite (THC-COOH) would remain in your system for a prolonged duration. The body would take a long time to get rid of the substance.

Generally, the lower the amount of cannabis consumed and the shorter the duration it is smoked for, the faster it is found to leave the body. Occasional or one-time users are likely to have the decomposed products of weed leaving their body in a few days.

For heavy smokers, who take in weed regularly, the metabolites of cannabis take an average span of 2-4 weeks to leave the system completely. However, the time taken may be longer. Long time cannabis smokers may have the drug persisting in their body even 2-3 months after they have consumed it for the last time.

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your Urine?

The duration for which weed can be traced in your urine sample depends on the frequency of intake as well as the amount of consumption. In case of intake on a frequent basis, over a long time, the drug can persist for up to two months in the urine. The more weed is used, the longer it generally stays in the urine volume. In case you are a first time user, and have tried the drug only once, it is likely to clear up from the urine in about a week.

If you have given up the habit, after using marijuana almost on a daily basis for several months, traces of the metabolite THC-COOH may still be found in your urine for a month or more.

Marijuana in Urine Image

If you have tried the drug only once, wait for 2-5 hours after consumption before going for a urine test.

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your Bloodstream?

The duration for which THC-COOH stays in your bloodstream depends on how frequently the drug is used. Even if you have smoked weed for just once, all traces of its metabolite would take 3-5 days to resolve from your system. If you smoke it occasionally, such as once in a week or after every ten days, THC can remain for as long as 10 days. In regular smokers, the Marijuana metabolite THC-COOH can be detected for up to 90 days (or three months). On the other hand, heavy users may have traces of THC for up to six months in their blood.

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your Saliva?

In most users of the drug, the residues of Marijuana can be detected for approximately 6-24 hours after it has been used for the last time. It is for this reason that saliva test is not a very effective process in determining whether or not a person takes Marijuana frequently. The test is only found to be effective if the person has taken the drug on the day of the test itself. The residues of weed do not stay in the saliva for too long.

A saliva drug screen can effectively detect the drug if it is conducted approximately an hour after weed intake. The test has an accuracy rate of 97-98%, which tends to reduce quickly 12 hours after consumption of this drug. The exam is not a good one for determining a less recent use.

Pictures of Marijuana

The frequency of marijuana intake does not have an impact on the results of this exam.

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your Hair?

As you smoke weed, it enters your bloodstream and reaches all regions of the body that are nourished by blood. This includes the hair. The drug enters the hair follicles as it is smoked. The follicles contain traces of THC-COOH. A sample of hair follicle can confirm a consumption and presence of the drug in the system. The metabolite can take around a week, after intake of the drug, to appear in hair.

As drugs take a long time to degenerate in the hair, even a test conducted many days after consumption can help determine its intake by a person. A standard test, conducted by a laboratory, may attempt to determine results for the last three months. However, a law enforcing institution (such as a court) may attempt to have the hair analyzed for a period extending over 90 days. In case of investigations, special arrangements can be made with laboratories.

Hair testing is considered to be a good medical exam for determining the presence of marijuana in a person. However, THC-COOH does not always successfully adhere to the follicles of the hair. Due to this reason, a more frequent user may be tested negative in this exam while a person having it quite some time back may test positive. Due to this reason, hair testing is not believed to be as effective for confirming marijuana as for other drugs (such as cocaine).

By  April 14th 2013

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