How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System [Fully Explained]
March 4, 2019

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

The comprehensive guide
MarijuanaBreak Staff MarijuanaBreak Staff / Updated on March 4, 2019

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.

how long does thc stay in your system

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’).

how long does it take for weed to leave your system

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).

how to get thc out of 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.

| Detox methods do not work 100% of the time as it depends on the amount of weed you consume on a daily basis.

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.

how long does it take for marijuana to leave 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. Jodi
    Certo helps (it's a form of Jello)

    Certo helps! Look it up.

  2. Debbie
    Just Curious

    @Marco… Why wouldn’t you just pee in the cup, wipe, pull up your undies and such, and THEN just stir your nail in the cup and go and wash your nasty hands?

  3. Shanguns
    Awesome info.

    Awesome info. THANKS so much. I like to add I had a a ex who past a urine test next day after sweating himself out ALOT. I’m talking shower on high wearing sweats and jumping jacks as well as sit ups for a few hours. Stops and starts again. He was and still is a huge smoker! Just adding some info!

    1. mcluvin
      tips and tricks

      -you can eat healthy foods
      -drink lots of water and detoxs (but not too many)
      -exercise 1 to 2 everyday ( doing hardcore exercise will help because you are burning fat and getting rid of –toxins quicker but you are going too be tire so you would need a lot of potassium)
      – the day before you have the drug test drink the most water you need
      – on the day you have your drug test, don’t exercise because thc might be release from you fat to your system
      -try eating foods with b12 and a powerade so your urine won’t looked like it was detox because that will be a red flag
      -if you are skinnier or healthier, you will have a bigger advantage over the fatter person because the thc is storeted in fat
      -most important prey to god

  4. Pete
    Passing drug test or cleaning system

    I stop smoking April 30, I have a pre-employee swap test on May 24, I have been a Avidly smoking for the last 15yrs I really need some advice on how to detox my system or pass in general

  5. marshall
    use your head

    Im 175lbs, smoked low grade cheap weed twice a day,passed a federal,parole drug test 17 days after totally not smoking,drinking 8 glasses of water a day and waliking a mile everday,and doing yard landscaping work.failed when i smoked high grade 26 dayslater doing the same routine.smoke cheap stuff,exercise, and be skinny.

  6. Betty Dillon
    ACDC Detox?

    I am a heavy smoker, mostly the ACDC strain. I have a blood test next week, about 6 days to go, and I am using a detox kit. Are there any more tricks that can help me pass the test?

    1. Ji
      Be strong

      Yeah stop

  7. Marco
    Passing urine test It Works

    Ok This is for real. I have passed 3 tests this way. I am told to take a drug test This Is What I Have Done. First of all I make sure I have fairly long finger nails at least my thumb and pointer finger. ( now not talking to long ) I work around a lot of trucks and other vehicles I go to the battery and you know the acid that accumulates around the posts iput some under my nails and when I pee in the cup I pee on my finger thumb nails making sure it mixes with the urine and there you have it. No joke have passed 3 times that way don’t know what it does but it PASSES

  8. Ryan Williams
    Does it stay so long?

    Practical is really different form theory. Or maybe I am someone peculiar. I gave a drug test, very confidently, as I had quit weed about 6 months before, so did not detox or anything. However, it was a hair test, and I still failed it. Not sure if it was some fudging on part of the lab, or the weed stays so long int he system for some people.

  9. Kaitlyn
    Any help?

    I’m a female weighing 95 lbs at 5’2. I’ve smoked persistently every day for the last 2 years. I drink a lot of water and go to the gym almost every day. Do you think I would be clean by 3 months?

  10. Jay
    HEAVY user clean in less than 3 weeks! Tested myself twice

    I can say for a fact that marijuana for heavy users does not stay in your system that long. I am more on the skinny side but not skin and bones. I’m 6ft 3 about 195lbs. I have tested this theory twice both times from scared of random drug tests. I have smoked everyday since high school and I’m 26 now. And both times I have stopped have been after HEAVY use sometimes smoking 5 or 6 bowls a day. When I have quit I would go to the gym 2-3 times a week and I stay active at work. Just doing this and drinking water I bought a home drug test and tested after 17 days I was clean. Could have been clean earlier idk because i didnt test earlier. The 2nd time i quit again after months and months of everyday use doing the same thing working out and drinking water, this time i tested myself after about 20 days….and was clean. Also my pee was not diluted i tested when it was yellow. Luckily the random tests never came. So I now have 2 trials of data on how long it takes me to get clean. I understand everyone is different but go to the gym a bit sit in the sauna a bit and drink water, stay active and you will be fine after 3 weeks to a month or sooner. And I just want to say again i smoke heavily! Sometimes hitting a hash pen up to 20 times throughout the day… idk how they come up with the 2 months or more data. Unless u are very obese it’s not true!!!!

    1. Ramy Fouad Baghdadi

      So to the comment of it taking 2-3 months isnt a lie, it is proven that working out helps remove THC from the system, mainly because of interchanging fat cells. (Fat cells that you work off and more would take there place making them THC free.

    Less is More

    I’m 30 % fat supposedly and 280 lbs I don’t smoke regularly. I smoked for the period of one week, a few rips a day or so. I was clean within a week & a half or so. I smoked two rips off a dab pen and I’m already showing a faded line by the next day second piss mid stream with no flush a month or so after the week of use stated above. If you stick with the less is more attitude you should be clean fast. If you smoke like I used too it’s in your system for 2-3 months. That’s how long it took me after consistent heavy use.

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