Every cannabis user has tested positive for marijuana or had a close call. While businesses are becoming more open-minded regarding marijuana and employment, multiple scenarios require a drug test for THC.
We’ve dedicated this post to help people who enjoy the cannabis sativa plant and may have an upcoming test. Education is the best form of preparation, so before you start to panic, review the information and assess if you have a chance of passing a drug test.
Factors that Contribute to How Long Marijuana is Metabolized
Drug screeners test for the chemical compound derived from marijuana that produces the intoxicating effects, THC. While marijuana consists of hundreds of cannabinoids, most people are only concerned with the one that gets us high.
After you consume THC, your body begins metabolizing or breaking it down. The process takes anywhere from 24 hours to 30 days, depending on a number of factors and the type of drug test.
Urine analysis, the most common drug screen type, detect a THC metabolite called 11-nor-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid (9-carboxy-THC). The compound found in the plant, delta-9 THC, is broken down fairly quickly. 9-carboxy-THC remains in the system much longer. Therefore, drug tests target the metabolite rather than the plant-derived compound to maximize detection windows.
Below are the factors contributing to how long marijuana will stay in your system.
Chronic Users or Substance Abuse
The frequency of marijuana consumption significantly influences the amount of time it will spend in your system. Quantity also plays a significant factor. People experiencing drug abuse tend to consume at a higher amount.
Chronic users or people who have a marijuana addiction consume large amounts every day. This increases the amount of THC in the body. For example, if you are an everyday smoker, you will likely test positive for 30 days after your last consumption period.
While consumption rates are possibly the most significant driving factor, the potency of the marijuana you consume and your metabolism also plays a role in detection times.
Body Mass Index
THC is stored in our fat cells. Therefore, the amount of body fat will influence THC levels. Chronic users with a lot of fatty tissue and who don’t drink enough water could test positive after 30 days.
Substance abuse and body composition extent the detection window, meaning infrequent users with low body fat will experience shorter wait periods before testing negative.
If you smoke a small amount of marijuana for the first time in months and you are relatively healthy, THC may only stay in your system for a couple of days.
Types of Drug Tests
The type of drug screen also plays a factor in how long THC stays in your system. Urine tests are the most common, which is likely the type you will get for a job or ordered by probation. However, more advanced jobs like working for the government may require more accurate, effective, and hard-to-allude type of test.
The chances that your impending drug test is a urinalysis are high. These are the most common and cost-effective. They also do an excellent job detecting marijuana because they test for the metabolite that stays in your system the longest.
Blood tests for marijuana are usually given after an accident. They detect if you are currently high or have consumed marijuana recently. Blood tests are more useful in a trial because they are administered immediately after a crime.
If you ever crash a car or have an accident operating heavy machinery at work and a suspected of being high, you will be asked to submit a blood test.
Saliva tests are the second most common type of employment screening. Many business owners have switched to this type of test because they are less expensive and less intrusive. They detect if the subject has consumed marijuana in the past 24 hours.
If your test is with saliva and you have a couple of days to prepare, you will be fine if you don’t smoke marijuana 24 hours before the test. When a user can’t pass a scheduled saliva test, this is a sign they are suffering from substance abuse or marijuana addiction.
Law enforcement also uses this type of test after a crime to accurately detect if the consumer has used it recently.
The most effective among all drug screening methods is a hair test. You can test positive for up to 90 days with a hair test; however, they are costly and rare. Only high-level government or corporate jobs dish out the money necessary to complete a hair drug analysis to detect marijuana.
How to Avoid Detecting THC
The only fool-proof way to avoid detection is not to smoke. While there is no shortage of home remedies and detox kits available online, none are 100%. Hopefully, you have a couple of weeks to flush the marijuana out of your system. Don’t ruin the process by consuming more marijuana if this is the case.
Your THC levels are dependent on the type of cannabis you consume. For example, low potency flower will eliminate THC out of your system much faster than highly concentrated marijuana extracts. Conversely, if the THC potency is high, the amount of time it will take to get out of your system increases.
Drinking Lots of Water
If you have a couple of weeks to prepare for a urine analysis, drinking lots of water every day will flush out the THC with time to spare. Using the water method is less effective when you have under one week. While you will find anecdotal evidence to suggest you could potentially flush the THC within a couple of days, everyone’s consumption and metabolism are different.
Intense exercise paired with drinking water will expedite the process. For example, a long run in the sun while drinking plenty of water will speed up your metabolism because it will force you to drink more water and urine frequently.
The fatty tissue burning supplement niacin is a popular treatment. However, we don’t recommend going this route because taking too much can have serious consequences. Niacin literally burns your fat cells. Even taking the recommended amount will be highly unpleasant.
You will find hundreds of home remedies promising to flush THC from your system if you search online. However, going this route is extremely risky. Relying on a comment on Reddit or a blog post is not a viable solution to beating a drug test.
Home remedies include mixtures of vitamins, lemon juice, vinegar, and other household items. While this may seem like an easy way out, we highly recommend using a different method to get THC out of your system.
Online head shops will claim that detox kits will avoid a positive test. There’s no doubt that this method can allude a test designed to detect marijuana, but saying it’s a certainty is misleading.
Some detox kits use a combination of vitamins, minerals, and herbs to delude your urine. Others will cause you to urine more frequently. If you decide to go this route, make sure to follow the directions to a tee.
What Recent Marijuana Users Should Know About Detox Kits
If you have just consumed marijuana and find out you have a urine test in a few days, a detox kit may be your only option. Drinking water will likely dilute the results, only delaying the positive test.
Make sure you consider the amount of marijuana you’ve consumed, your body mass index, and the type of test.
If you have more than a couple of days and your consumption is low, you may be safe with drinking a lot of water and doing some intense cardio. Remember that the amount of time that marijuana stays in your system depends on the type of test.
Detox kits will only work for a urine analysis; if you get a hair test or saliva test, the detox kit most likely won’t work.
Detox kits aren’t a guaranteed solution. The only guarantee regarding how long THC will remain in your system is time.
Are False Positives Possible?
Even if you don’t enjoy smoking marijuana, a drug test can be a nerve-racking experience. False positives are rare but possible, but most testers are understanding and will let you retake the test.
How Long Does Cannabidiol Stay in Your System?
Drug tests for marijuana test for THC, the cannabinoid that gets users high. Since the rise in demand for CBD or cannabidiol, many people have shown concern about testing for marijuana after using CBD.
Because CBD doesn’t deliver a high, you won’t be tested for the compound, but experts report that the compound remains in your system for 2-5 days.
If you are a CBD user, be conscious of the amount of THC in the product. While the potency should be under 0.3%, regular use could trigger a positive test for THC.