How Long Does Weed Stay in Your System?

Posted 7 years ago by Ian Shutts

Even though weed is legal in so many parts of the USA now, there is still a huge stigma surrounding it. There are still employers out there who require drug tests from their potential and existing employees. So if you’re about to apply for a dream job (or just want to keep the shitty job you already have) you might want to know how long weed stays in your system. What can be frustrating about this question is that there is no real solid answer. The only true way to answer this question is: it depends.

How long weed stays in your system will depend on how often you smoke and the different ways that weed can be tested. It can even depend on the health and metabolism of the person being drug checked. To ease some of the anxieties, I’ve put together the different ways that you can even be tested for THC – along with how the frequency of cannabis use might affect the outcome.

How chronic are you?

How long does THC stay in your system? Weed might not stick around in your system if you’re an irregular user. A joint every couple of months at a party could mean that THC only sticks around in your saliva or urine for a few days after use. However, unlike many other drugs and substances, THC has a cumulative effect in the body. That means the more frequently you use it, the more likely it is that it’s going to stick around for a long time.

There have been some reported instances of people testing positive to THC more than 90 days after abstaining. But that’s only in the case of someone who smoked a lot of weed for a long time. In general, a chronic smoker will require quite a decent time of abstinence before he or she is going to test negative for THC whereas a social user might only need a few days abstinence.

Another factor I find interesting with THC is that it binds to fats. That means the higher your body fat percentage, the more likely it is that you’ll test positive to THC for a long time after stopping use. For example, a frequent user of 30% body fat might retain THC in the body for up to 60 days. Someone who uses the same amount but only has 15% body fat could get rid of the THC in their system in less than half the time.

Saliva testing
saliva testing

Saliva testing for drugs is a common way for police to test on the spot and quickly. It’s unlikely your employer will ever take a saliva test because THC doesn’t live in saliva for too long, generally. If you’re going to be going on a road trip, you should abstain from marijuana use at least 12 hours before driving. In general, no toxins will be detectable in the mouth or saliva 12 hours after stopping use. However, it can take up to 24 hours for some. To be on the safe side, give it a day for the weed to come out of your system before doing a swab test.

Urine testing

The most common way to be tested for drugs in the USA is through urine. In fact, if it’s your urine being tested, the authorities are not testing for THC. They are testing for a metabolite of THC called THC-COOH. Unfortunately for ganja lovers, this metabolite stays in the body (liver especially) for much longer than THC. And as I mentioned earlier, it has a cumulative effect – meaning the more you smoke, the longer it takes for it to leave your system.

There is a general time frame (which says nothing at all) of 7 – 100 days. Most users wont even get 7 days notice of a urine test, let alone 100 days. If you only use marijuana rarely, then it is unlikely that it will be detectable after 7 days. In fact, it will probably be flushed out of the system within a few days. The danger lies in those chronic smokers who have been using it for a long time.

It’s kind of strange and unfortunate that other drugs, which are far more detrimental to the body, are flushed out much faster. The THC metabolite (THC-COOH) takes an unusually long time for the human system to clean out. So if you smoke every day and have smoked for some years, it could literally take over three months for your urine to be clean.

Drinking loads of water might help the body clean it out faster, but because it is attached to the fatty parts of the liver, it will continue to come out through the urine. And be warned that urine tests that are heavily diluted are a good sign you’re trying to cheat it.

Blood and Hair follicle testing

In general, it’s not common to be tested for drugs through blood or hair follicles. The reason hair follicle tests aren’t used very often is because they cost a lot of money and require a lot of expertise to conduct. Blood tests, on the other hand, can tell the authority the exact amount of THC in the precise moment of the test – but they don’t say much else. Within a few days, THC won’t be detectable in the blood anymore.

So unless you’re a criminal on trial, chances are you won’t be hair tested. For your informational understanding anyway – your weed use can be detected 360 days back if it’s being tested from your hair. Now, that doesn’t mean that there’s weed still in your system. But they can know if you smoked even at least once in the last year. The only way to really pass hair follicle tests is to shave all of your hair off – including body hair.

Blood tests needn’t strike up any fear in cannabis lovers because they don’t reveal a lot to authorities. It’s also extremely unlikely that your boss is going to want to take blood to test for drugs. It’s much more likely he or she will opt for a urine test.