How Long Does Weed Affect Your Body?

How Long Does Weed Affect Your Body

When cannabis is smoked, its various plant chemicals interact with our bodies. This contact is the sole reason people have turned to marijuana for many reasons. The body’s reaction to this compound explains why cannabinoids and their byproducts stay in the body for extended periods of time after use.

To answer the question, “How long does marijuana stay in your system?” we must first concentrate on THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive cannabinoid that causes euphoric and sedative effects. Because THC is still a prohibited drug in the United States, standard cannabis drug testing only looks for THC and its metabolites or byproducts that are generated when THC is metabolized in the body.

What happens to cannabis after it enters the body?

To fully comprehend how long cannabis may remain in your body, you must first understand how THC is carried throughout the human body and interacts with it. THC enters the circulation through the lungs when cannabis is smoked or vaporized. It is carried in the bloodstream directly to the heart and pumped throughout the body, where it binds to CB1 receptors located in the brain, various organs, and central nervous system as well as CB2 receptors in the spleen and immune system. 

THC is continuously passed through the liver and broken down into metabolites as blood circulates throughout the body. The most common method of drug testing, which looks for one metabolite called 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC, or THC-COOH, to detect cannabis in the body.

What Is THC-COOH? Although it is not technically the same as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), this inactive metabolite of THC, which is stored in body fat and eliminated through urine and feces, stays in the system far longer than active THC. That’s why so many cannabis detox drinks and kits claim to hide.

When cannabis is ingested via smoking or vaporizing, the chemicals enter the body through the lungs and are carried by blood to various organs. When taken by mouth, THC goes straight to the liver, where it is either eliminated or metabolized. The heart then transports them throughout the body.

Factors that affects the duration weed stays in your body?

There are a number of variables that can influence how long THC remains in your system.

The constancy of weed use

The total duration of time has an impact on how long marijuana remains in your body. THC stays in the bodies of chronic users for a considerably longer period than one-time or even occasional users, according to most studies on cannabinoid detection. Long-term, high-frequency cannabis use is also a significant risk factor for experiencing cannabis withdrawal symptoms.


THC’s half-life is also affected by genetics. People have different versions of the cytochrome P450 superfamily of enzymes, which change THC levels in the body and cause it to be eliminated through the urine.


The greater the amount of THC, the longer it takes the body to break down and process cannabis after it has been consumed.


THC and its metabolites may be detected in the body for a shorter duration if the body has higher metabolic functions, enabling it to break down cannabinoids faster.

Because it is dependent on so many variables, there is no set time frame for how long marijuana remains in someone’s system. THC and its by-products may be found in blood, urine, saliva, and hair. However, existing research allows us to form a more complete picture and provide well-informed estimations for various systems.


Another detail to consider is the amount of fat in the body. THC-COOH, which is fat-soluble and binds to fat molecules, can be stored for a long time in the body. In a similar manner, exercise may also have an impact on measurable THC metabolites levels. When fat is broken down, THC present in the fat may be released into the blood and excreted through urine or feces.

[Also Read THC ( Tetrahydrocannabinol ): A Brief History and Overview]

How long does the affect of weed last?

Active THC can be found in the circulation within seconds after inhalation and is present in plasma for several hours, depending on usage and dosages. THC plasma concentration peaks three to eight minutes following inhalation and then falls rapidly with a half-life of around 30 minutes, according to a 2004 review published in Therapeutic Drug Monitoring. THC is said to be present in the blood for approximately five hours, with THC-COOH having a detection period of up to 25 days. According to a 2009 research published in the journal Addiction, researchers followed cannabinoid levels in the blood of 25 frequent cannabis users. During seven days without cannabis usage, nine participants, or 36% of them, showed no THC in their urine. The remaining 16 had at least one positive THC test over the same period. After the weeklong period ended, six of the participants still had measurable THC levels and all of them exhibited THC-COOH amounts.

While active THC does not stay in your bloodstream for lengthy, THC metabolites may be discovered in the body weeks after use.

How long does weed stay in your urine?

Urine tests, which are regarded as the gold standard in drug testing for cannabis, are frequently used as a reference to detect for cannabis use. The majority of urine examinations include a specific sensitivity for the THC-COOH lower limit. The most popular cutoff concentration is 50 ng/mL, as recommended by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

THC detection times seldom exceeded 30 days, according to a 2005 review published by the National Drug Court Institute. Despite the many variables that influence how long marijuana stays in the system, the study aims to offer “practical cannabinoid detection advice.” According to the study, a chronic cannabis user is unlikely to have detectable THC metabolites in their urine longer than 10 days after the most recent smoking session if the suggested cutoff concentration point of 50 ng/mL is used. However, at a more sensitive 20 ng/mL cutoff concentration, metabolites in cannabis users with long-term usage might be detected for up to 21 days following consumption and possibly longer in certain rare cases. However, for one-time users, the same study revealed that even with the more stringent 20 ng/mL cut-off level point, it would be extremely unlikely for a drug test to detect THC metabolites in urine after seven days.

Weed can be detected in urine for up to three days in occasional users, five to seven days in moderate users, 10 to 15 days in daily users, and more than 30 days for chronic consumers who consume multiple times a day, according to a May 2017 review published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

How long does weed stay in your hair?

Hair follicle drug testing methods are unable to accurately detect marijuana, according to research published in Scientific Reports. THC and THC metabolites can be transferred to non-user hair follicles through contact with hands, sweat, or exhaled smoke, according to the evidence presented in the journal Forensic Anthropology.

THC may be transferred to the head or body hair of a non-user if someone smokes a joint and then exhales near them. The same Scientific Reports research revealed that, after giving participants 50 milligrams of THCA every day for one month, no THC was found in the hair sample samples, but THC-COOH was still present. As for the detection period, hair follicle drug testing can often detect THC 90 days after usage, whereas urine and blood tests can identify it up to 90 days after use.

On the other hand, a 2017 research published in Drug and Alcohol Review studied hair samples from 136 people and found THC in 77 percent of chronic users, 39 percent of light users, and zero non-users, suggesting that the probability of finding THC in hair is higher for those who use it more frequently. While the research team acknowledged that hair analysis is a useful tool for detecting cannabis use, they also acknowledged that it isn’t reliable for identifying light cannabis users.


420VL Team

Author Since:  July 2, 2022

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