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Wondering how long after your last joint it’ll take before you test clean?
Marijuana can stay in your saliva for as little as 24 hours and in your hair for as long as three months.
There isn’t a specific period that applies to every person. One person may take a week or two to pass a urine drug test while someone else can take a month or longer.
Your body weight, level of use (occasional vs. chronic user), and various other factors determine how long marijuana remains in your system.
The type of test you get (urine, hair, blood, or saliva) also determines after how long you can be reasonably sure you are in the clear.
In this guide, we discuss how long marijuana sticks around in your body, what determines the length of that period, and what you can do to get it faster.
But first, a quick explainer of how marijuana gets into your system and where it hides.
How Marijuana Gets into Your System
- How Marijuana Gets into Your System
- Factors Affecting How Long Marijuana Remains In Your System
- Marijuana Detection Periods
- Natural Detox
- Detox Pills
- Hair Detox
- Final Thoughts
Whether you smoke or ingest marijuana, it’ll eventually find its way into your bloodstream.
When you smoke, it goes into the bloodstream via the lungs. When you eat an edible, it is absorbed through your stomach.
Once it is in your blood, THC – the active component in marijuana – travels to the brain where it produces the characteristic ‘high.’
Some of the THC also finds its way to the liver, where it is turned into dozens of metabolites. Drug tests look for two metabolites: 11-OH-THC and THCCOOH. That’s because they stick around longer than THC.
Because THC is highly fat-soluble, it easily binds to fat molecules. It can sit in fat cells for days or weeks.
Even if you don’t take any more weed, you may still test positive since fat cells continually release THC into the bloodstream.
THC metabolites in your body eventually get out through urine and feces.
For a deeper dive into how THC is metabolized in your body, how it binds to receptors in your brain, and the difference between inhaling and ingesting weed, read this deeply researched guide.
Factors Affecting How Long Marijuana Remains In Your System
THC is metabolized at different rates for every person. Even people of similar gender and age may have varying THC detection periods.
Here are the main factors that affect how long marijuana stays in your body.
1. Level of Use
If you only smoke occasionally or you are a first-time marijuana user, you can pass a urine drug test after 3-7 days, depending on the sensitivity of the test.
For chronic users, the detection period is longer since there is a buildup of THC in the body.
Some people naturally metabolize marijuana faster than others. For example, some first-time users can test clean the very next day, while others can stay positive for up to seven days.
Metabolism itself is affected by gender, age, and body mass index, among other factors.
If you weigh more than average, you likely have more body fat than average weight individuals. This provides more storage for THC metabolites, resulting in longer detection times.
4. Type of Weed
THC levels vary in different strains of weed.
Potent strains such as Lemon Meringue, Laughing Buddha, and Kosher Kush not only produce a stronger high but also take longer to get out of your system.
5. Test Sensitivity
The sensitivity of the test doesn’t affect how long marijuana stays in your system; rather, it affects your detection period. In other words, how long it’ll take after your last joint or edible to test clean.
Urine THC tests have varying sensitivities depending on the specific requirements of your workplace.
Some tests have a cutoff of 15 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). This is a highly sensitive test and can detect even low levels of marijuana in your body. So you’ll need more time to detox.
The standard cut off is 50ng/ml, but some low-sensitivity tests can have a cutoff as high as 100ng/ml. The lower the test sensitivity, the shorter the detection period, and the easier it is to detox.
Marijuana Detection Periods
How Long Marijuana Can Be Detected In Your Urine
A urine drug test is the most common compared to the hair follicles and blood THC tests. A urine test detects the recent usage of marijuana.
The amount of time marijuana can be detected in your urine depends mostly on your level of use. Here are some general timelines.
First-time users: 1-3 days
Occasional users (1-3 times a week): 3-5 days
Moderate users (4 days a week): 5-7 days
Daily users: 2 weeks
Chronic users (several times daily): a month or more
Remember, several other factors determine how long marijuana stays in your body, including metabolism, body weight, and the marijuana strain you take. So the above are just estimates.
How Long Marijuana Can Be Detected in Your Hair
Many companies are switching to hair follicle drug tests because they are harder to beat and show drug usage over a longer period.
THC metabolites stick around in your hair for longer than in any other part of your body – up to 90 days in most users.
THC in your hair comes from your blood. It remains in your hair follicles as your hair grows.
Note that, even though the detection period for marijuana in hair is 90 days, THC metabolites can stay in your hair for far much longer – up to a year for some users.
But for accuracy, laboratories only test for usage within a 90-day window using a 1.5” strand of hair (hair grows roughly 0.5” a month, so 1.5” can provide a 3-month usage history).
How Long Marijuana Can Be Detected in Your Blood
Blood testing for marijuana is not very common. That’s because it only detects very recent use.
A blood test can detect THC in blood mere seconds after inhalation and up to 1 or 2 days afterward, assuming you don’t use any more marijuana.
One study found that, for occasional users, THC could not be detected in their blood after just 4 hours.
But for chronic users, the detection period can last as long as 25 days. The reason for the longer detection window for regular users is that THC metabolites accumulate in fat cells.
Over time, they are released gradually into the bloodstream. So even if you smoked your last joint days ago, a blood test might still turn out positive.
How Long Marijuana Can Be Detected in Your Saliva
Saliva tests are also not very common, for the same reason as blood tests – they only detect very recent drug usage.
In most jurisdictions, saliva tests are usually used for instant roadside tests.
Basic saliva tests can detect THC in your saliva 4-6 hours after the last use. More advanced tests can detect THC after 24 to 72 hours.
But for chronic users – those who smoke or ingest weed several times a day –THC can remain in your saliva for up to a month.
How to Get Marijuana Out of Your System Faster
Waiting and not taking any more marijuana is the best way to detox. It’ll eventually get out of your body.
But many people don’t have the luxury of time. If you have a drug test coming up soon, waiting it out won’t work.
Thankfully, you can do a few things to quicken your body’s detox process.
Natural detox doesn’t involve any pills, drinks, or shampoos. Instead, you use natural methods to enhance your body’s normal detox.
Natural detox involves three actions:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Eating high-fiber and protein-rich foods
I know, it sounds like things your doctor would tell you to do to lose weight. But doing these three things can help you get rid of marijuana from your body faster.
Drinking water helps flush THC through urine. Eating lean proteins and foods rich in fiber helps get rid of marijuana through stool.
By the way, most of the THC in your system – roughly 65% – gets out when you poop. Only about 20% gets out through urine, that’s why eating the right diet is super important, even if you are also taking detox pills.
Exercising targets THC metabolites that have bound themselves to fat molecules.
As fat molecules burn away during an intensive workout, they release any THC metabolites in them into the bloodstream, where they eventually find their way out of the body.
If you have plenty of time before the drug test (2 weeks for occasional users, a month, or more for chronic users), you can use natural detox on its own to get rid of marijuana from your system.
Buy several urine marijuana tests and keep testing yourself every few days.
Note: Stop exercising a day before the test to prevent additional THC metabolites from being released into the bloodstream. They might show up in your urine.
If you don’t have time for a natural detox, detox pills are the best way to prepare for a urine drug test.
Detox pills work much like natural detox, only faster. They enhance the body’s detox process, helping get rid of more THC metabolites through stool and urine.
That’s why genuine marijuana detox pills contain diuretics to make you pee more, laxatives to make you poop more and fiber to bind more THC to your stool.
Good quality detox pills such as Toxin Rid can shorten your body’s detox time by as much as 50%. While a daily user may have taken two to three weeks to detox naturally, detox pills can help them pass a drug test in just 7-10 days.
Beware of ‘detox pills’ that mask marijuana in your urine rather than getting rid of it. There are also detox drinks that can mask THC.
Masking products can work on short notice – e.g., when you have a drug test tomorrow –but they do not detox.
Additionally, their effectiveness is limited to a few hours, typically 2-5 hours, after which you’ll test positive for marijuana. So you have to make sure you get tested during that window.
If you are getting a hair follicle drug test, you’ll have a harder time beating the test. Detoxing your hair is a bit more difficult.
We know of two methods that have proven successful at getting traces of THC metabolites out of the hair.
They are the Macujo method and Jerry G method. They both involve using specific shampoos and other products to open up hair follicles and scrub out THC metabolites.
These hair detox methods, especially the Macujo one, can be pretty harsh on your hair. But many weed users say they work.
Marijuana metabolism in the body is not an exact science. Each person takes varying amounts of time to clear THC from their system.
But the time ranges we have provided above apply to most people. Use them to determine whether you need to start on a detox program before your drug test and which detox method is best for you.