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How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System?


How do you know how long marijuana will stay in your system? Marijuana is detectable in the body long after the “high” wears off. There are a lot of different factors that affect how long it stays in your system and how long tests will be able to return a positive result. A few factors are how tall you are, how much you weigh, how much muscle vs. fat you have, and how fast your metabolism is.

Common tests used to detect marijuana in your body include:

  • Blood tests.
  • Urine tests.
  • Saliva tests.
  • Hair tests.

How Marijuana Is Absorbed Into the Body

THC – also known as tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-9-THC – is the active ingredient in marijuana. Smoking the drug means a rapid absorption of THC into the blood while ingesting it through the stomach delays the absorption of THC by about 20 to 90 minutes. When THC is metabolized, it turns into metabolites – about 80 different kinds. These metabolites are stored in the body’s fat stores and excreted over time. How long does it take until your body excretes every remaining metabolite? It depends upon how often you abuse the drug and how you ingest it.

Types of Drug Tests That Look for Marijuana Abuse

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Saliva tests
  • Hair tests

Testing for Marijuana

Blood tests and saliva tests are only effective in detecting marijuana use if they are administered very shortly after the drug is used. For this reason, most places that test for drug use opt for urine tests – they are less expensive than hair tests and can detect marijuana up to two weeks after use depending upon how much was used and the rate of elimination from the body, which is variable. Some evidence suggests, however, that if someone uses the drug chronically and in large amounts, it can be detected after as long as 45 days for regular users of the drug and 90 days for heavy users.

Medical Marijuana

The federal government says it’s illegal. Several states say it is legal. The states that have legalized it have seen a huge increase in marijuana abuse among teens and young adults, but patients fighting cancer and chronic pain swear by its efficacy. Will the federal government eventually accept and regulate marijuana prescriptions? Or will the states that have legalized the drug for medical purposes ultimately overturn the legislation? Time will tell.

Is Marijuana Addictive?

In order to be classified as addictive, a drug must be physically as well as psychologically addictive. While this is a highly debated question, in some states, marijuana is the number one drug listed as the reason for seeking treatment. It can certainly be psychologically addictive and, while the jury is still out on whether or not it is physically addictive, those who seek treatment know that they are unable to stop smoking without help – and they desperately want to stop smoking the drug.

Do You Need Marijuana Abuse or Addiction Treatment?

  • Do you smoke instead of doing things that are productive or that you need to do in order to take care of your family or meet your responsibilities?
  • Have you tried to stop smoking but have been unable to do so for any length of time?
  • Do your friends and loved ones express concern over your use of marijuana?
  • Have you experienced health problems, gotten into an accident, or allowed accidents to befall those around you because you were high?

If you are endangering yourself or others with your behavior under the influence of marijuana or you want to quit using the drug and can’t do it alone, contact us at the phone number listed above today to talk about your options in treatment.

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