Marijuana and Drug Tests
Marijuana, commonly known as weed, pot, or ganja, is a drug extracted from the cannabis Sativa herb. It is a psychoactive substance, which means it makes users feel high. Though illegal in many countries, including the US, many people, both young and older, are using marijuana. Some people use it for recreational purposes, while others utilize it for medical reasons.
In what ways do people use marijuana? Some users smoke it using pipes, while others go to specific joints to experience the high’ feeling. Other individuals get creative by using cigars. They remove tobacco and replace it with marijuana. Besides inhalation, weed is also usable in food where users utilize it in recipes, for example, in making marijuana cookies.
What are the side effects of using marijuana on the body? It’s proved that it may affect people’s memory and sensation. Specific performances are severe anxiety or sudden panic in emotion, or having hallucinations easily, bad memories, and slow response, etc. And eventually, it results in addiction, which will influence your performance in school and work, affect family and social life finally.
Drug tests are a common practice at workplaces, and marijuana is one of the things the experts’ screen for. THC is a component in the Cannabis Sativa plant responsible for making you high. There are several ways of screening for marijuana. They vary in terms of cost and accuracy, and employers use them to ensure their employees are not violating company regulations and laws at large. Below are marijuana testing methods that your organization might employ.
The saliva test involves an expert swabbing your mouth for a sample. The method is not expensive, but it has a limited detection timeline. It can tell if you have used THC in the past few days. It is easy to carry out, allowing random testing without so much preparation needed. It is a matter of getting into a room and asking an employee for a swab, get to the lab, test the saliva for THC, and give the results. Other methods can be more involving than this. Nonetheless, saliva tests can be unreliable.
The blood test involves looking out for THC in blood samples. However, THC stays in your system for up to 24 hours; thus, employees can get off the planned drug test hook unscathed. So it’s a rarely used test method.
As for urine test, it detected THC’s metabolite- THCCOOH instead of THC itself. So it means it can only work when your body start metabolizes it and produce non-psychoactive THCCOOH.
Besides saliva and blood tests, employers also use hair follicle tests. The follicle method can give results that date back to three months maximum.
However, the hair follicle test is a rare method to taste for drugs, including marijuana. It attracts controversial views about its accuracy and efficiency. Urine test is a popular, commonest drug taste. It is convenient and easy to conduct whenever and wherever there is a lab.
Marijuana Detection Window
The detection window refers to the time that a drug is detectable in a biological sample test. It means during a period before and after the detection window, though the drug is present in the samples, it’s below the cut-off level.
Urine testing is the most common test method for marijuana. If you are an occasional user, weed can be detected in your urine three days or less after the day you smoked or ingested it. For moderate users, the detection window is 5-7 days, chronic users it is 10-15 days, while for chronic heavy users, it is more than 30 days.
An occasional marijuana user utilizes it for up to 3 times a week while a moderate user smokes four times a weak. To qualify as a chronic user, it means you use weed every day, but a chronic heavy user inhales or ingests marijuana several times a day. The more the times you smoke weed, the longer it will take to leave your system.
How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System
“How long does THC stay in your system” is not a specific figure. Many factors contribute to the variation. From the test segment, we know that THC can be detected saliva, urine, blood, and hair. The three bodily fluids have varying marijuana detection periods.
How Long Does THC Stay in Your Blood
If your blood sample is being used for a marijuana test, here are a few things you should know. When you draw in THC, it can be identified in your blood within seconds, and it stays in your circulatory system for five hours. However, THC-COOH rests in your body for up to 25 days for detection. Within 3-8 minutes after inhalation, the THC levels in your blood peak. Your dosage and how frequent you use weed will also determine the period it will stay in your body. The more weed you consume and the higher the dosage, the more likely marijuana will linger around in your organs.
In a given 2009 study, researchers evaluated cannabis concentrations in the blood of 25 frequent weed users. They used cannabis and then abstained for a week. During the abstinence period, 9 of the 25 users had no THC in their blood, while the rest had one positive THC result. At the end of the one week, six people still had THC traces, and all subjects had the THC-COOH metabolite.
How Long Does Weed Stay in Your Urine
You may be asking questions like “how long does THC stay in your urine?” If you are worried about that before the test, you should know that the experts use the THC-COOH cutoff concentration. 50ng/ml is a common cut off level. If a chronic weed user adheres to this concentration, it might be impossible to detect THC compounds in their urine 10 days later from the day of smoking or ingesting weed.
The lower cutoff option is 20ng/ml, which is a more sensitive level than the 50ng/ml. With 20ng/ml, lab attendants find the smallest trace of THC in your body. Besides, the metabolites can be detected 21 days after using cannabis.
How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your Saliva and Hair Follicle
Chronic and occasional uses could have traces of marijuana in their saliva. The THC detection widow for an occasional user’s saliva is 1-3 days, while for a chronic user, it can be as far as 29 days after consumption.
There is controversy around the hair follicle test method for marijuana. For example, a weed non-user could get cannabis smoke on his or her air from a marijuana smoker nearby through smoke and contact. Therefore, a hair follicle drug test will show that the person has been using marijuana when, in a real sense, one has not. Such a scenario could cause huge misunderstandings at workplaces, which could cause the dismissal of innocent people.
In given research, exposing subjects to 50mg of THC every day for a month did not leave any THC traces in their hair specimens, but THC-COOH was identified. The detection period for hair follicle is more than that of urine, saliva, and blood standing at 90 days after marijuana usage.
Different bodily fluids retain THC for different periods. Your saliva, blood, and urine have varying detection timelines. Keep that in mind when you go for a drug test. However, random marijuana tests are something else. If you smoked or ingested marijuana and the detection period is not over, then your job is at stake.
What Determines How Long Marijuana Stays in Your System
Various issues determine how long marijuana or THC stays in your body system. Continue reading to find out more.
For starters, the frequency of using marijuana is a crucial aspect to consider here. If you do it often, then there is a buildup of THC in your system, which means THC will take more time to leave your body.
The other factor is THC concentration levels. The higher the levels, the more time it will take the THC to leave your system. Besides, the method of marijuana consumption affects the detection period. For example, when you decide to smoke it, the THC levels in your body peak very fast in seconds and then drop afterward. However, if you ingest marijuana, your body digests it slowly so that it will be detectable for a while.
The weight of a marijuana user also determines how long weed stays in your body. Note that THC is stored in fat cells. Therefore, a user with more fat cells gets to retain more THC than one with less fat. Besides, if you love exercising, your workout fosters fat burning, which causes the THC in the fat cells to dissociate and get back into your system.
That is not all. Some drugs affect the pace at which your body gets rid of THC. Some increase the THC levels while others decrease. Nevertheless, THC also affects the proper functioning of other drugs. Therefore, be careful with marijuana if you are on medication. Seek clarification before using THC with medication.
How to Get Weed Out of Your System
As we discussed earlier, different factors determine how long THC stays in your body system. If you need to quicken the pace at which your body is getting rid of marijuana, below are a few pointers to help.
If you have been smoking or ingesting weed, and yet there is a drug test coming up, first, stop using it. It may be challenging to do so, but it is necessary if you want to get or keep a job. Denying you the puffs for a few weeks is worthwhile. When you stop smoking, you give your body the chance to get rid of the existing THC in your body.
The other way to help get weed out of your body is by drinking more water. We all know that when you do not drink adequate amounts of water, you produce concentrated urine. Therefore, drink water more to help dilute the THC in your urine. That way, you will be safe from the 50ng/ml cutoff mark, which serves as a positive reading for THC-COOH. However, do not drink too much water that you provide a diluted sample. The lab attendants will be suspicious. Besides, urinate several times 24-48 hours before your drug test to lower the number of THC components in your urine.
Consider consuming zinc as well, if you are worried about your THC levels. There have been reports that zinc can help produce false-negative urine results and alter THC detection to your advantage. Take zinc powder or capsules after smoking and before a drug test.
Some people use detox drinks, which increase the number of trips you make to the bathroom. You get to reduce THC metabolites through frequent peeing. However, be careful with these detox drinks. Try the methods we have discussed already before you settle for detoxing.
Since the market has a wide range of products and all manufacturers claim that their products work, make sure to check the price. Do not spend much money on an item that may not work. Do some research before purchase.
Remember, washing your hair using a pricy, special shampoo does not remove THC from your hair. There are no studies to support the idea. Therefore, clean your hair for hygiene reasons and let it shine.
Marijuana is an illegal drug in many countries across the globe. However, that does not prevent people from using it. It has psychoactive properties that might impair a person’s judgment. If you are worried about your next drug test, the above guide is comprehensive enough to illuminate you about marijuana.
You already know the detection window for weed, how long does marijuana stay in your system, a few methods on how to get weed out of your system, and factors that influence how long thc will last in your body.
Besides, we have also covered the different weed test methods, which are saliva, urine, blood, and hair follicle tests. Urine test is a popular, accurate method, but blood and saliva tests are easy to administer and convenient as well. Remember, different fluids have varied detection periods though we have looked at the urine test only.
Whether you are an occasional user, a moderate one, or chronic, you now stand a better chance of taking care of yourself before a drug test. Do not lose your job or an employment opportunity because of marijuana. However, if you know a drug test is coming up, do not smoke or ingest weed to be on the safe side.