Drug tests are different depending on the type used. Several things can factor into how long marijuana can be detected in your body.
Generally, marijuana can be detected in your body’s fluids anywhere from one to 30 days after use, according to Healthline. Hair follicle testing may result in detection windows of up to 90 days.
Marijuana was once considered a scary drug that could prompt people to try harder substances. The general perception of marijuana today is different. Many states have legalized it, and it is the most popular drug in use today, per the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Despite changing attitudes, many employers still test employees for the presence of cannabis. The most commonly used tests are urine and saliva tests, but some places may test your blood or hair.
The main ingredient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Different routes of administration affect how long it takes for your body to metabolize THC and how long it influences your behavior.
Most people who smoke marijuana can expect the drug’s effects to wear off quickly. But metabolites may stay in the body even after you no longer feel high. Cannabis can remain in your body for longer or shorter periods, depending on how often you consume it.
Factors That Can Influence How Long Marijuana Is Detectable
The route of administration can affect how quickly marijuana is processed in your body. In a February 2018 Vice article, experts explain that eating cannabis causes you to feel a longer high because it means you will absorb marijuana’s active ingredients into different parts of your body.
Smoking or vaping means you will ingest fewer active ingredients. Marijuana causes your body to form about 80 metabolites. Tests often look for these metabolites to determine whether or not you are positive for marijuana.
Per NIDA, strains of marijuana are now cultivated to include more of its active ingredient, THC. Higher levels of this active ingredient could pose risks, including adverse reactions. It also means you could get caught much more easily if you get tested for the presence of drugs.
Using marijuana every day increases the likelihood of testing positive for several months after you quit your use. Detection can also depend on the type of test used to see whether or not you are positive for THC or its metabolites.
The window for THC detection can be high because marijuana is fat-soluble. Unlike other substances that exit the body through sweating or urine, marijuana stays in your fat cells. Your sex, age, and body mass index can influence the speed at which your body naturally gets rid of THC traces.
Women are known to take longer to metabolize marijuana compared to men, as reported by Medical News Today. A few known variables that could influence the outcome of your drug test results are:
- Dehydration, which is known to increase concentration levels of THC
- Exercising before taking a test, which may lead to a positive test result
- Metabolism, which can play a role in how quickly your body gets rid of THC
How Tests Measure THC Content
Below are estimates for THC windows depending on the type of test used.
This is one of the most commonly used tests, especially in government and work settings. As Healthline reports, cannabis is detected in people at the following timelines, depending on how often they use the drug:
- Occasional marijuana use (three times per week or less): up to three days
- Moderate use (up to four times weekly): five to seven days
- Daily use: 10 to 15 days
- Heavy daily use: 30 or more days
Follicle testing can detect THC for up to 90 days.
This type of test is usually conducted in a lab to confirm a saliva, urine, or other test. Healthline reports that marijuana appears in the blood within a few seconds if it is inhaled. Average detection times for marijuana in blood tests are for one to two days. Detection windows of up to 25 days have been reported in heavy marijuana users.
Saliva is commonly used for roadside tests, especially in places where marijuana has now been legalized. Detection windows are:
- One to three days for occasional users.
- Up to 29 days for chronic or heavy users.
Is It Possible To Pass A Drug Test Even If I Used Marijuana Recently?
You may be concerned about passing a drug test if you have recently ingested marijuana or if you use it frequently for either medical or recreational reasons.
If you receive a sudden request for a drug test, you will probably fail it. Some jobs may fire you for using cannabis, even if it is legal in your state or municipality. You may be vulnerable to negative consequences even if you have a prescription for marijuana.
The best way to make sure you will pass drug tests of any kind is to quit using marijuana altogether. Various websites and marijuana users have mentioned strategies for quickly passing a marijuana test, but these have not been backed by scientific data.
A few famous methods are:
Watering Down The THC
Many pot users have attempted to flush THC out of their bodies by drinking water and juices. The idea is to induce urination, but this method does not get rid of all metabolites formed by THC. Along with drinking plenty of liquids, some people take vitamin B12 to make their urine appear a bit darker.
Using An Adulterant
Adding something to a urine test is tempting, but testers are prepared for this. Some adulterants are sold specifically to tamper with tests. Other reported substances used to throw testers off the scent include salt, bleach, and Visine (eye drops).
Using A Detox Product
Some health food stores sell detox teas or products that can “clean” your body faster. Available online and usually legal, these tend to be natural products that claim to rid the body of THC. Many of these have not been studied, and their effects are unproven. Even if they did theoretically work, you usually end up having to take them for a while. By the time you finish taking whatever product you purchased, your body may have gotten rid of all THC metabolites on its own.