How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System?
Cannabis consumers often want to know how long cannabis stays in their body to gain more knowledge about their long-term health. Surprisingly, cannabis does not 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 plant's chemical components (cannabinoids) get transported to our brains from our stomachs or lungs via our bloodstream. During this process, the THC and CBD cannabinoids bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain - CB1 and CB2. The interaction between our body's endocannabinoids and the cannabis cannabinoids produces feelings of relaxation, impaired reaction time, and other therapeutic effects.
After consuming cannabis, the levels of THC immediately diminish. THC-COOH - the compound of interest for diagnostic purposes - among other compounds break down, fading the high in a matter of minutes. Technically, THC-COOH and other THC byproducts are responsible for getting someone high, not THC itself. While THC gets a bad reputation for making us fail a drug test, it is THC-COOH that the system is detecting.
Factors That Influence Detection Times
Many online sources agree that about 30 days is how long cannabis remains in the body's system. However, scientific studies have found this average can vary widely depending on the individual's consumption method, frequency of consumption, and how their body reacts to the cannabis plant.
Frequency of Use
One of the most critical factors that affect THC absorption rates is how much THC is in your weed and how often one consumes it. Not only will higher levels of THC and frequency of use get you more stoned, but it will also take the body much longer to flush out THC toxins.
Being a heavy cannabis user - smoking daily or almost every day - will increase how long weed stays in your system since the THC metabolites build up over time. How often the person uses marijuana, how much they use, and how long they have been using all play a role in how long cannabis is detectable.
Interestingly, women often metabolize THC at a slightly slower rate since they tend to have higher body fat levels than their male counterparts.
The faster your metabolism can function, the faster the body will rid traces of THC. Age, physical activity, and certain health conditions are all factors that can influence the metabolism's functionality.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Personal factors like body fat impact how long the plant stays in your body. Since THC is fat-soluble, people with a higher body fat percentage tend to store the chemicals for longer, increasing removal time.
The length of time this chemical stays in the body or continues to show in a drug test depends on many factors. These include:
- how much body fat a person has
- the frequency of consuming the drug
- how much someone smokes
- the sensitivity of the drug test
Not All Ways Of Consuming Cannabis Are Created Equal
Answering the question: how long does weed stay in the system? It also depends on how the cannabinoids enter the body. In other words, the consumption method of cannabis is a large factor in how long weed stays in the system. For example, edibles containing THC produce highs that last longer compared to when smoking flower. Remember THC-COOH? This chemical is responsible for this more prolonged high as more THC reaches the brain after digesting the edible.
From smoking to vaping to eating, there are many ways to consume cannabis. Yet, the method of use also impacts the detection time. If cannabis is smoked or vaped, the THC levels in the body will drop faster than if you ingest it. Edibles take longer to break down in the body, ultimately leaving your system. Accordingly, edibles have a much longer half-life compared to, say, a joint or vape pen.
How long does THC stay in the body's system from smoking a joint compared to eating an edible gummy? Assuming both have the same THC levels, expect the cannabis from the edibles to stay in the body almost twice as long compared to smoking the plant.
CBD In The Bloodstream
The other well-known cannabinoid, CBD, is sold in many states for its medicinal and therapeutic properties. While CBD does not get you high or produce psychoactive effects, it can help with a range of medical issues, from arthritis to nausea. Although it's not usually the case to fail a drug test with CBD in the system, some are curious how long CBD stays in the body's system.
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 remain in your system longer if you have a higher body fat percentage and lower metabolism.
Long-Term Cannabis Effects
The immediate effects of lighting up a joint may make someone overlook any longer-term effects of cannabinoids staying in your system. THC and its byproducts 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. The prolonged effects of cannabis are a sign our body takes a long time to remove the cannabinoids from weed use thoroughly. There are many unknowns when trying to answer the question of 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 consumption habits. And now you know!
Weed On The Mind
Talking about how long weed stays in your system sure must be making you think about smoking it. Well, don't just think about it. Why don't you do something about it!
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