How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System [Fully Explained]
November 26, 2018

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System [Fully Explained]

The comprehensive guide
MarijuanaBreak Staff MarijuanaBreak Staff / Updated on November 26, 2018

How long does weed stay in your system

It’s something that we have all thought about — how to get drugs out of your system, and how to do it fast.

I mean, we all love the effects of weed, but what about tomorrow? Do we need to worry about random drug tests at work? While the actual effects of weed tend to fade quickly, marijuana can be detected in your body for weeks after you’ve consumed it, and sometimes even longer. The length of time that weed can be detected in your system will depend on how often you smoke, and how much weed you consume.

Whether you are new to smoking weed and curious as to how long it will stay in your system, or if you are afraid of potential drug screening at work, knowing how weed interacts with the body and knowing how to clean out your system (based on how long it is detected for in various parts of the body) is no doubt invaluable information. After all, it’s always nice to know if you are safe from random drug testing.

In this article, for all of you people out there wondering “how long does pot stay in your system” or “how to clean out your system fast,” we will hopefully be able to provide some valuable information that’ll set your mind at ease, and set you on the right path to getting ready for that all-important drug test.


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How long does THC stay in your system

How long does THC stay in your system

Tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC, is the active ingredient in marijuana that is responsible for the plant’s psychoactive effects. In other words, it’s the compound that causes the high.

When addressing the question of how long it takes weed to leave your system, we need to look at THC and how long this compound “lingers around” for.

When smoking marijuana, the THC will enter your system almost immediately. However, if ingested (eaten as an edible), the process is a little longer – usually 20 minutes to half an hour. But whichever option you choose, the result will be the same; your body will quickly process all the psychoactive compounds, and therefore you won’t stay high for days at a time.

Because THC is broken down rapidly and modified into molecules known as metabolites, it may only be detectable in the blood for a few hours (which may seem like good news for those of you wondering how to how to clean your system in one day).

However, when the liver breaks down THC, it forms at least 80 different metabolites, one of which is known as THC-COOH. This is the metabolite that is primarily screened in drug testing. As you can see, the question of how long THC stays in your system is a very complex one, which makes determining how long cannabis stays in your system a difficult task.

Truth be told, the amount of time that THC stays in the system will vary from person to person. To add to the confusion, there are also hundreds of different strains of marijuana available on the market, and each one has different potencies and varying levels of THC.

In terms of its chemistry, THC is fat soluble, and this means that it will embed itself into the body’s fat tissue. As a result, THC and its metabolites are stored more readily in people with higher body fat compared to people who are slim. To put it bluntly, in other words, the “fatter” you are the longer weed will linger in your system.

In fact, THC is eliminated the slowest when it is stored in fat tissue – it may be present for days, weeks, or even months depending on how much weed was consumed. The difference between occasional users and frequent users can also be very vast, where frequent users are likely to retain THC metabolites in their fat tissues for a lot longer than occasional users (so, if you’re a habitual pothead and are frantically scouring the web for how to clean your system fast, be advised that you’re probably S.O.L).

On average, THC-COOH will take about four days to exit the body. In a study done a few years ago on 52 test subjects, it was found that it took an average of 4.9 days for THC to be entirely cleared from the system. However, it took up to 18 days for THC-COOH (the trace metabolite) to be eliminated from some of the volunteer’s urine.

In a different study, it was found that THC stays in the system of infrequent users for 48 to 72 hours, while detectable amounts were seen anywhere from 9 to 12 days after THC exposure in more frequent users.

How long does weed stay in your urine?

When it comes to the question of how long does marijuana stay in your system, it’s ultimately connected to the amount of time that it stays in your urine. (This is why when people ask how to flush your system efficiently, what they really mean is how to clean urine to the point where THC metabolites can no longer be detected).

Drug testing has become a very popular practice among companies all over the world, and many employers require that their employees undergo a test revealing the absence of drugs. Of course you likely already know this, though, since you’re already here online searching for how long weed stays in your system for!

Apart from blood and saliva tests, urine testing is one of the more effective ways to screen a person for marijuana use (it’s also no secret that one of the most frequently-searched terms online is ‘how to clean your urine’).

Urine testing is the cheapest method of drug testing, and it also has the longest detection period. Therefore, it’s essential that you know how long weed can be detected in your urine after consuming it.

Most drug tests that are used to detect the presence of marijuana and its metabolites, including urine testing, will test for the presence of THC-COOH rather than THC specifically. As we have explained above, THC-COOH is a metabolite that forms when the liver breaks down the active THC compound. If this metabolite is present in the urine, it means that the body has recently processed THC.

How long THC shows up in your urine for will ultimately vary depending on how often you consume marijuana; the more marijuana you use, naturally, the longer it will be detectable (and this will ultimately determine the specific method(s) you choose to employ for how to clean your system from drugs).

Here’s a general guide of how long cannabis can stay in your urine for:

  • For single use (i.e. once in a 30 day period): up to 8 days
  • For regular use (i.e. 4-6 times over a 30 day period): up to 15 days
  • For frequent use (i.e. 10 – 15 times over a 30 day period): up to 30 days
  • For heavy use (: i.e. 20+ times in a 30 day period): up to 45-77 days

As you can see, not exactly “excellent” news for all of your stoners out there that are wondering how to clean system of drugs in one day.

How to pass a urine test

How to pass a urine test

Based on the above information, you may be reasonably worried if you are a regular or heavy marijuana smoker, and have to take a drug test soon. One to three months is a long time, and you may need a little help to pass a urine test. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way of beating the system without any traces of THC in your urine. The good news is that there are a few products and methods out there that can help you.

Detox drinks and Detox pills are available to be purchased and are a relatively decent solution for how to clean your system, especially for the purpose of cleaning your urine to eliminate drug traces and detectable THC metabolites (you can also try drinking excessive amounts of water to dilute your system).

However, keep in mind that if your urine is too diluted, you run the risk of voiding your drug screening.

One of the more commonly used methods to pass a urine test (a favorite among the most desperate consumers) is the fruit pectin method. Fruit pectin is a starch which is derived from the cell walls of produce, and is often found in jams and preservatives. The fruit pectin is mixed with an electrolyte drink like Gatorade, and then consumed at least two hours prior to a urine test (and possibly a day or two before as well). After drinking the Gatorade/pectin mixture, you should then follow up with a bottle or two of water and some B vitamins. The theory behind the fruit pectin method is that because it is a naturally occurring fiber, it makes THC exit the body through the bowels and not the urine, as it usually would.

While all of the above methods have the potential to help you pass your urine test, keep in mind that none of them are guaranteed to be 100% effective – even if you follow all the directions to a T, you may still ultimately fail your test.

Moreover, some detoxes could even make you sick, given the presence of compounds that your body might not be used to. If you are aware of an upcoming drug test and/or are concerned about your job, your best bet would be to slow down on your marijuana consumption (as hard as that might be), rather than rely on one of the above tricks.

How long does it take for marijuana to get out of your system?

How long does it take for marijuana to get out of your system?

Finally, we get to the question of how long does it take for marijuana to leave your system. Previous research that has been conducted has shown that the amount of time that marijuana remains in the body is affected by how much a person smokes, how often they smoke, and for how long they have been smoking.

For most people, marijuana will stay in the body in quantities that can be detected for anything between 10 days to a month. But as we’ve mentioned, the length of time can vary drastically. Individuals considered to be regular smokers have had drug tests that produce a positive result up to 45 days after their last use, and heavy smokers have reported positive tests up to 90 days after quitting.

Here are a few factors that could affect how long it takes marijuana to leave your system:

  • Body Fat Content – The chemical compounds that are responsible for the effects of weed on the brain is stored in fat cells. Thus, the higher your percentage of body fat, the longer cannabis will be present in your system.
  • Metabolism – The metabolism of an individual will affect the rate at which their body can eliminate cannabis. It will also affect their body fat content, which further influences cannabinoid detection.
  • Drug Strength – Different cannabis strains have different levels of strengths; the stronger the strain, the higher the concentration of THC. This could result in more cannabinoids being left in your body, which may take longer to eliminate.

How long does THC stay in your saliva?

How long does THC stay in your saliva

For anyone wondering how long does weed stay in your saliva, we need to first determine how long the THC has been present.

Typically speaking, THC is detectable for the least amount of time in the saliva, which is of course great news for anyone who undergoes drug testing via the means of testing the saliva. (Coincidentally, this is also a popular method used by traffic police to test drivers for possible “drug-driving” offenses).

THC metabolites will be detected in your saliva for about an hour after smoking, and can remain in your saliva for up to 24 hours – even after just a single smoking session. For regular smokers, it could even reach 72 hours. Heavy smokers are advised to wait at least a week before taking a saliva test, as THC has been known to accumulate in the salivary glands over time.

How long does weed stay in your hair?

How long does weed stay in your hair?

Hair is often a big concern when it comes to the length of time that weed is present in your system, and it is actually believed that cannabis has the longest detection window in hair. In fact, the hair drug test was developed to identify long-term users rather than one-time or infrequent users. Standard hair tests will typically look for drugs in the system over the last 90 days.

So how long does marijuana stay in your hair? Generally speaking, Cannabis metabolites can be detected in the hair for up to seven days after the consumption of pot. Just like other weed test methods, though, hair follicle tests look for the presence of the THC byproduct known as THC-COOH, rather than THC itself. Also, it’s interesting to note that first time users and infrequent users of weed are much less likely to test positive for weed by a hair follicle test, as it takes a fairly heavy amount of consumption for cannabis metabolites to reach hair follicle tissue.

How long does weed stay in your blood?

How long does weed stay in your blood

Just like every other question we’ve answered, in order to determine how long weed stays in the blood for, we need to look at the THC element and its metabolites. Blood testing for cannabis use is actually not a very common method, but it’s still important to understand for those who know they’ll have to undergo this particular screening.

The good news is that cannabinoids prefer nice, fatty parts of the body to reside in rather than the bloodstream – therefore THC and its metabolites don’t stay in the blood for very long. First time and infrequent users, for instance, can expect THC to show up in the blood for up to 24 hours after consuming weed. In more frequent users it could show up for three days, and for “regular” users it’s recommended they wait for up to a week before taking a blood test

As we can see, there shouldn’t be too much worry surrounding the use of cannabis if you need to undergo a blood test, as long as you’ve had enough time beforehand to “prepare” for the screening. As we mentioned, blood tests for cannabis use are not very common.

Final thoughts on how long weed stays in the system

While this article has given insight and guidelines that have hopefully answered most of your questions regarding how long weed stays in your system for, it is very difficult to give an exact answer. As we have seen, there are a number of factors that can affect the outcome – the most obvious of which is frequency. If you are a newbie or a “now-and-then” kind of consumer, you should have minimal concern since the length of time that weed will stay in your system is a lot lower. Here is a quick general recap:

how long weed stays in the system


We have also seen that the type of drug test that you undergo will have a major impact on the test results. For example, a urine test will show weed in your system for a much longer period than will a blood test. If you are seriously concerned (and/or the thought of drug testing makes you anxious) your best bet is to probably hold off or at least minimize your weed intake for the time being, since it’s impossible to know exactly how long weed will show up in your system.

And lastly, it’s important to note that this article has been composed only as a GENERAL GUIDELINE – it is by no means 100% “scientifically” accurate, and definitely is not a guarantee that you’ll pass a drug test – even if you follow one of the above recommendations. Keep in mind that everyone’s biochemistry is different, and thus outcomes will differ from person to person.

Want to know how long THC can stay in your system? Try out our THC Drug Test Calculator.

Article Sources
  1. Sean

    Smoke occasionally. 2 to 3 times a day every now and then. How long does it take to clear system for a is test at the Dr thanks

  2. Christopher Groelsma

    I am o. Probation and am tested once a week. I took a hit last night and gotta test today. What’s the best way to pass this test so I dont violate

  3. Taylor
    Blood test! Help!

    So I have a blood test which I’m scheduling it for next week probably Thursday and the last time I smoked was last Monday. I smoked Friday Saturday Sunday & Monday of last week but only a little bit off the dab pen. I’m taking a blood test for a life insurance next Thursday and I am trying to see if I will still come up positive? I use to smoke everyday but about a month ago I stopped & started smoking last week like i said those 4 days. Should I be clean by next Thursday ? I am a female, I weigh 120 about if not less and am 5’2. Help!

  4. Jay
    Positive at 90 days...

    I’m a medical user and when recently volunteering I was taking urine tests at home and I was still testing positive at 90 days. So don’t bet on the 30 day thing….

  5. Steven O'Brien

    I smoked a bowl and a bit of resin the next day its probably been about 2 months sense my last use I’m 5’11 180 pounds I’m curious if anyone knows how long ill be dirty the calculator says 1-3 days is this accurate?

  6. Corky
    Getting tested for thc for opioid use

    I use a high thc containt marijuana’s daily. For anxiety and stress. It’s 27.4% thc. I’m 5’ tall and weigh 126lbs. I also use it for appetite. As , with the stress I tend not to want to eat. Used to weigh 150lbs. Now been down so low as 110lbs. If I smoke I tend to eat more. But the new doctor I have will not prescribe the pain meds I have to take do to spinal degeneration, if I test positive for thc. Is what works best for me instantly. How do I address this to him in a way that he can understand ?

    1. Brandy White

      I’m in almost the same boat. I hope someone educated gives you an answer…👀

      1. Julien

        There are a LOT of us caught in this nonsense. Suffering for no reason other than someone else (someone young, healthy, and self righteous) thinks they know what is best for us and they seem to think that it is evil to take something to actually feel better… I mean, they add Tylenol and ibuprofen to opioids to make them more dangerous to your health.
        It is all absurd. These things all grow on this earth and belong to us by birthright.

  7. Matt
    pretty much everything you need to know

    Verdant Herbals has the most reliable detox kit that I’ve tried. I’ve been through a bunch of drug testing over the years for the military and work (insurance purposes), tried green gone, pass your test and clear test… only one that hasnt failed me was verdant

  8. Salina

    Well sh*t how do I start… before I got on probation I was a very heavy smoker, like shit it was insane, but now with that bs going on allot of stuffs piling on top one another and it’s just really stressing me out. I’m fine with a blunt a month, but I’m just very anxious. This is the first time I’ve ever had to do this out of all these years smoking. I have tests on a monthly basis, but I just wanna see if I’m safe with at least a blunt a month. I do drink allot of water also. If anyone could let me know please do. I am 220 lbs, 5’6, but I do drink allot of water. I also have herbal detox pills i don’t really know if it would help but I’m giving it a shot.

  9. Jon mann
    Fuck me running

    So im a pretty regular smoker about a bowl or two a day and maybe more on the weekends, hardly ever concentrates or edibles but usually top shelf bud but i took 2 weeks off and then 2 weeks on before i found out about an upcoming dot 5 panel test, i havent smoked for a week now and still have a week or two before my test ( my job is pretty flexible about when i take it) im 6’1 205 lbs with a relatively fast metabolism, i used to work out religiously but ive slacked for the last 6 months or so because of school and a really busy work and home schedule. Recently got back into the gym and sauna, and i stay relatively hydrated. What are the chances id be able to pass this test? Really fucking nervous as this could be the difference in a big pay raise and my career. Im in aviation so 2 failed tests means permanently banned from commercial operations in the USA. Such a shame to be worried about using a plant but these are the times we live in i guess. Hopefully only for now.

  10. Joe blow
    I need some insight

    I’m 6′ about 220 (I got a gut but I’m not super fat, chubby well say)29 yrs old, and I don’t work out like I should . as a teen and into my mid 20s I smoked multiple times a day. About 2.5 years ago I stopped because I wanted to get a better job now I am looking to apply for an even better job. I usually get an eighth moderate to high moderate potency, hard to tell since I end up building a tolerance all over every time)3-4 times a year when I get it I usually smoke it in about a month. Maybe a bowl worth per day(I usually only pack a hit or two at a time maybe two bowls worth on the weekend,but an eighth isn’t much. I’m wondering how long this will take to clear my system. It’s been about a week since I smoked some resin about two weeks since I smoke any bud. About how long should it take to clear up. I got another 2 weeks to apply before they close out the job opening so maybe 3 weeks till I’d get sent for a test if I get picked for the job. I see a lot of info on usage frequency but no mention of amounts smoked smoking an eight daily over a month period is going to be different than smoking and eighth every day for a month.

  11. Jimmie Hall
    Its all rigged

    I smoked about 1 to maybe 2 grams per day, not every day but at least five times a week. I am 67 yrs old, 5’6″ and 245 pounds. I have COPD and get very little exercise. I took a VA administered Urine test. The Federal guidelines state 50 NG/ML is the cut off for Negative. I had a doctor that went ahead and resubmitted even though I was below the limit. After abstaining for a total of 60 days I tested for 35NG/ML I am now going to wait another 100 days and retake this test. If after 160 days if I am positive I a going to go to a civilian test center take a test and if it shows Neg, I’m getting a lawyer. What I smoked in a week would not file a sewing thimble, I feel the government test are rigged

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