Everyone is different, and how long marijuana stays in your system is a great example of that. While there are hard time frames for different situations, the time it takes for marijuana to exit your system completely depends on a variety of factors.
Here are the factors that contribute to the length of time marijuana stays in your system, along with some suggestions on how to break the high when you are in a bind:
The duration of time that marijuana stays in your system can vary depending on the dosage, how it is used, and personal factors that affect its stay. Here is a breakdown of how long marijuana stays in your system, depending on these factors:
Dosage: Of course, it makes sense that the more of something you take, the longer it will stay in your system. Although, weed detection windows are determined through more than strictly the dose. Higher THC weed strains or cannabis concentrates like Afghan hash will last longer than a low THC/high CBD strain. The method of ingestion and the frequency of use plays a big role in the amount of time marijuana stays in the system too.
For instance, smoking weed loses its bioavailable THC contents by up to 40 to 50% compared to ingesting, depending on whether you hit a joint or a bong.
Additionally, the more of a drug you consume, the body must continually process larger quantities of it and that takes place over a longer period of time. This results in more frequent users having detectability for several months after their last use.
The longest reported detection times are more than 90 days.
How You Use Marijuana: The method of usage when it comes to marijuana is also extremely important. The way that the drug enters and is metabolized by your system affects the length of time it is detectable (and active) in your body. This also affects the timeframe in which you want to get high and come down from that high.
Smoking a joint, bong, or a vape with marijuana will cause the drug to enter your bloodstream quicker. Inhaled weed enters your system through your lungs.
This is compared to ingesting marijuana orally; likely in the form of edibles. When you eat marijuana edibles instead of smoking it, the THC needs to be released from the food and metabolized into your bloodstream. Therefore, the high is delayed. Edibles kick in after 30-minutes to as much as 2-hours to take effect. Thus, it makes sense that this delay would also be apparent on an immediate test, such as a blood test.
Fortunately, the general maximum length for a marijuana high is at most, around 6 hours. Yet, the length of time within that 6-hour window can vary depending on certain personal factors. These factors include tolerance, familiarity awareness, age, height, and weight; or simply one’s Body Mass Index (BMI).
Tolerance: Tolerance is one of the main factors that contribute to how much marijuana it will take to get you high, and how long it takes for marijuana to then become undetectable in your system. If you are a daily marijuana partaker, the THC does not have enough time to pass completely through your system before you are adding more. Thus, the more you enjoy marijuana, the longer it will take for it to completely metabolize and shift out of your body.
Familiarity Awareness: This factor extends beyond tolerance, as it is associated with the way people metabolize substances as an individual. This works basically the same way as a person that can eat a lot but not gain a pound, or a person who watches their weight carefully but continues to have diet issues. Everyone has a different metabolism. It isn’t usually something you can help; it is just the way your body is made up. Some people can metabolize weed far quicker than others. Thus, their high passes much quicker than someone who metabolizes weed slowly.
Age: The metabolism slows down as you age. When you are young, in your twenties and thirties, your metabolism can sift out the THC in your system much quicker than when you are in your forties and older. This means that marijuana is likely to be detectable for longer in an older individual.
Weight and Height: While weight makes THC trackable for longer in the body and height does not contribute at all to the length of time marijuana is trackable, both of these factors play into your tolerance. If you are a bigger person, in either height and/or weight, it is going to take a higher threshold of THC to get you high than a lighter person (given that your tolerance levels are about equal in all other aspects).
Body Mass Index (BMI): Having an increased BMI (or increased body fat) results in more marijuana chemicals accumulate and are stored in the body, instead of being metabolized. Therefore, they persist longer in the body.
Method of Detection
When you are talking about how long marijuana stays in your system, the reason is likely because you fear detection. The truth about tests that detect marijuana use is not all tests are created equal. The timetable of exactly how long marijuana can be detected in your system depends entirely on the type of drug test that is taken. Here are the most common drug tests issued and the length of time each of them can detect marijuana in your system:
Urine Test: This test is non-invasive, but it can detect marijuana in the urine from 3 until up to 30 days after use.
Saliva Test: This is probably the least invasive test but it can only detect marijuana for between 24 and 72 hours after use. (However, it is much more common for a saliva test to detect marijuana for only about 24 hours.)
Hair Test: Hair tests are the most sensitive, as they can detect THC for up to 90 days after use. However, these tests are picking up on the oil in skin that transfers to hair. Therefore, they may occasionally show a false positive. A person who comes into contact with a THC user could, theoretically, test positive on a hair test.
Blood Test: Even though it is the most invasive test, it can only detect THC for 3–4 hours.
Life happens. Sometimes, when you think you are going to have a day filled with nothing but relaxation, with nothing standing between you and the bud but your chosen method of partaking, something happens that ruins those plans. When this happens, it is often necessary to quickly lessen the effects of marijuana.
Fortunately, in times like this, there are a few different ways to tame marijuana intoxication:
Sniff Black Pepper: Yes, sniffing black pepper is gross and it likely won’t be pleasant but if there is an issue or you really need to come down from your high quick, there is nothing quite like a nostril full of black pepper. In addition to being unpleasant and probably feeling like a smack in the face, there is actually a scientific reason for it; there is a compound in black pepper called caryophyllene. This compound acts as a sedative against the effects of marijuana. This helps you come off your high and if you are getting paranoid, it will help you calm down.
Pine Nuts: If you’re looking for clarity in addition to being calm, eat pine nuts. Not only are they much easier to consume than taking pepper up the nose they also contain a compound called pinene. Pinene has natural calming effects and will help improve your clarity.
CBD: This might sound strange, but researchers have found that CBD may in fact counteract the effects of THC. Of course, both cannabidiol (CBD) and THC are cannabinoids but there is a difference in the brain receptors these compounds interact with. While THC causes the high you get from cannabis, CBD has a calming effect that may help dull your high.
In summation, marijuana can stay in our bodies from several days up to several months after last using it. Plus, as with any controlled substance, marijuana can affect everyone differently. Therefore, it is difficult to predict the exact period of time it will remain in an individual’s body. However, an approximation can be formulated from considering the factors of marijuana potency, the dose, and your general health.