How Long Does Cannabis Stay in your System?
There are general rules of thumb to follow, but your body’s metabolism also plays a major role in how long cannabis stays in your system. Traces of cannabis, even from just being in the room with someone that is smoking it, can be detected in hair follicles. Hair follicle tests can actually breakdown the time frame of your last exposure to the plant.
The potency of your cannabis does not play much of a role in how long it will stay in your system – contrary to popular belief.
Frequency of Use
If you have only used cannabis once or twice in a month, or only tried it once, don’t panic. With a bit of activity, you can get most of the THC out of your blood and urine streams within a few days – (3–5 days on average).
It's best to try to wait at least 7 days to be scheduled for a drug test if you have only tried cannabis once, just to be safe.
Daily users are likely to still test positive more than 30 days after last consumption period. If you are a social cannabis user, it's best to wait 30 days after your last use of cannabis to have the lowest levels of THC possible present, if at all.
💡Note: Even after 30 days of abstaining from using cannabis, you can still show a trace of THC in your blood.
As mentioned above, your metabolism plays a major factor in how your body processes THC. Metabolites, for this purpose, are THC and CBD. The lipid-soluble metabolites build up in your fat cells and release over time.
Now, if you only use CBD strains, you are not likely to test positive if it has been several days since your last use of cannabis. CBD strains tend to carry 3% THC or less in them, so they tend to metabolize out of your body a little faster.
Hair Follicle Tests
Hair follicles hold THC the longest. If you are a daily user of cannabis or are exposed to cannabis smoke daily, it can be detected in your hair follicles for roughly 6 months – at the very longest. Strands of hair have to be at least 1½ –inches in length to be a viable sample. It typically takes 3 days to analyze a hair follicle test.
- Hair from your head will detect THC for up to 90 days after use or direct exposure
- Body hair (hair from anywhere other than your head) can detect THC for up to 180 days.
What most employers and drug testing facilities are not going to tell you is that there are pre-set sensitivities of drug tests. Employers can set the sensitivity as they wish, as can a state/federal government. Depending on the sensitivity level of the test, a trace amount or small amount of THC may not be detected.
If you are unsure as to how long cannabis is going to stay in your system, take advantage of the over-the-counter at-home drug tests available at most mass retail stores and pharmacies. You can order the tests online too.
It helps to know how long your body takes to process THC completely out of the body. THC hugs your fat cells, so those with larger body masses are likely to take a bit longer to process THC. THC is not like alcohol where you can go out drinking one night and within 24 hours pass a blood alcohol test.
As a general rule, it is likely for cannabis to stay in your system for 30 – 45 days if you are a regular/heavy user.