Cannabis consumers often want to know how long cannabis stays in their body to gain more knowledge about their long-term health. Surprisingly, cannabis doesn’t leave our system when the euphoric effects of THC wear off. Many different factors impact how long it takes for our bodies to digest weed including how often we consume the plant and our body type. In this article, we’ll break down these different factors to answer the question: how long does weed stay in your system?
How Do Our Bodies Absorb Cannabis?
Whether smoking or ingesting cannabis, the chemical components of the plant (cannabinoids) get transported to our brains from our stomachs or lungs via our bloodstream. During this process, cannabinoids like THC and CBD undergo changes and react with cannabinoid receptors in the brain. This causes feelings of relaxation, impaired reaction time, as well as some medical benefits.
After consuming cannabis, THC fades in a matter of minutes as it is broken down into THC-COOH and other chemicals. Technically, THC-COOH and other THC byproducts are responsible for getting you high, not THC itself. While THC gets a bad reputation for making us fail a drug test, it is actually THC-COOH that is detected in our system.
How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System: Different Factors
Many online sources agree that about 30 days is how long cannabis remains in your system. However, scientific studies have found that this average can actually be completely different depending on how the cannabis was taken, how often the person consumes weed, and how their body processes the plant.
One of the most important factors that affect THC absorption rates is how much THC is in your weed. Not only will more THC get you higher; your body will take longer to remove the chemicals from your body. Being a heavy cannabis user (smoking daily or almost every day) also increases this removal time since the chemicals build up over time.
Personal factors like metabolism and amount of body fat impact how long the plant stays in your body as well. Since THC is fat soluble, people with a higher body fat percentage tend to store the chemicals for longer, increasing removal time. Additionally, a faster metabolism will decrease removal time.
So what is the exact answer to how long does weed stay in your system? The fact is, there isn’t a consistent answer for everyone. But research studies seem to agree that THC has a half-life of about a day in very infrequent users and 5 -13 days for heavier users. A very heavy cannabis user with a higher body fat percentage can have trace amounts of cannabinoids in their body 90 days or more after they stop consuming the plant.
Not All Ways Of Consuming Cannabis Are Created Equal
Answering the question, how long does weed stay in your system will also depend on how the cannabinoids enter your body. Cannabis connoisseurs will be aware that the high you feel from smoking weed can be vastly different than that felt after eating a brownie. Edibles that contain THC produce highs that last longer compared to smoking the plant. Remember THC-COOH? This chemical is responsible for this longer high as more of it reaches the brain after eating an edible.
So how long does a joint stay in your system compared to edible gummies? Assuming both have the same amount of THC, you can expect the cannabis from the edibles to stay in your body almost twice as long compared to smoking the plant.
The other popular cannabinoid, CBD, is used in many states for relieving a range of medical issues from arthritis to nausea. While it doesn’t get you high, some users are curious about how long CBD stays in their body. As a general rule, CBD stays in our body as long as THC does, with frequent use causing longer-term buildups of the cannabinoid. Like THC, CBD will stay in your system longer if you have a higher body fat percentage and a lower metabolism.
Long-Term Cannabis Effects
The immediate effects of lighting up a joint may make you overlook any longer-term effects of cannabinoids staying in your system. THC and its sub-chemicals produce immediate feelings of euphoria and relaxation after toking up. THC also has some medical benefits like pain relief and appetite stimulation. The effects of cannabis usually last for a few hours before wearing off.
Although THC impacts memory and attention immediately, heavy users can experience these effects for up to a week after they stop consuming the plant. This is a sign that our body takes a long time to fully remove the cannabinoids from weed use. There are a lot of unknowns when trying to answer the question how long does weed stay in your system. How long cannabis will remain present in your body will largely depend on your lifestyle, consumption method, and consumptions habits. And now you know!
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