Being drug tested is an unfortunate part of life for many marijuana enthusiasts around the world. Despite all of the recent legalization efforts and countless studies, marijuana use still has a distinct negative stigma attached to it that is difficult to overcome. Its users are often times viewed as junkies, lazy hippies, and even outright criminals (technically true in some parts of the world) which can prove to be a significant obstacle with regards to obtaining employment, benefits and even an education.
THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main chemical compound in cannabis. You know, the entire reason people love ganja so much. When you consume cannabis, your body takes in the THC, metabolizes it, and creates metabolites – the most common being THC-COOH.
When people take a drug test, they are actually testing for THC-COOH because, if this chemical is present, it shows that the body has processed and metabolized the THC from the cannabis. But, unlike other substances, your body stores THC-COOH in your fat cells. For that reason, it can take quite awhile for cannabis to fully leave your system.
How Long Does It Stick Around?
The exact time it takes cannabis to completely flush out of your body depends on how often and how much you consume. Heavy smokers need over 2 months to be rid of any traces of cannabis, whereas someone who takes the occasional puff at a party could be clean within a week. Check below to see where you fall on the cannabis-clean timeline.
1 TIME USE: up to 8 days
3 TIMES PER WEEK: up to 15 days
5 TIMES PER WEEK: up to 30 days
DAILY USE: up to 75 days
Keep in mind, there are a few other factors that come into play with cannabis cleansing. Your amount of exercise, your diet, and your personal THC metabolism – how fast your body is able to fully metabolize the chemical – all come into play when figuring out how long cannabis sticks around in your body.
While we agree that it is important for individuals to be fully sober while they are actually working, the fact that it takes marijuana so long to leave your system may put many at a disadvantage, especially when compared to those that use more harmful and dangerous drugs on a regular basis (alcohol, I’m looking in your direction). For daily users it can take close to three months for the plant’s metabolites to leave your system, so while you may have quit weeks ago, a drug test today may get you fired while your co-worker who was hungover during the same test from being out all night drinking doesn’t receive so much as a warning! Follow the link below for some additional information on other types of drug tests and how to avoid unfavorable results in the future!
Got A Drug Test Coming Up?
There are several different ways people will test for THC metabolites. The most common is a urinalysis (the pee-test), but there are also less-common tests done on blood, hair, and saliva. If you have a drug test coming up, make sure you know which type you will be expected to take so you can be prepared.
These tests are one of the least common testing options for employers because THC doesn’t last very long in your saliva. THC metabolites will begin to show up in your mouth within 1 hour after smoking, but can remain detectable for up to 24 hours. If you’re a regular consumer, the time cannabis is traceable through a saliva test could be up to 72 hours. And, if you’re a heavy smoker, you better wait at least one week before the swab test.