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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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).
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.
(January 2019) How long can you detect marijuana in the body? Medical News Today. Retrieved April 2019 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324315.php
(August 2018) How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System? Healthline. Retrieved April 2019 from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-weed-stay-in-your-system
(April 2019) How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System? VerywellMind. Retrieved April 2019 from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-long-does-marijuana-stay-in-the-system-67791
(June 2018) What is marijuana. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved April 2019 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana
(February 2018) Why Do Edibles Give You A Different High Than Smoking. VICE. Retrieved April 2019 from https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/bj5mza/edible-high-vs-smoke-high
(February 2018) Routes of administration for cannabis use – basic prevalence and related health outcomes: A scoping review and synthesis. International Journal of Drug Policy. Retrieved April 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29277082