Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, is commonly found in marijuana plants. The chemical in the plant is responsible for making people feel high. It can stay in the body for several days or even weeks. The amount of time that THC can remain inside your body, or continues to show even after you take a drug test, will all depend on plenty of factors. These include:
- How frequently do you consume or ingest marijuana
- The amount of body fat you have
- How much you smoke it
- How sensitive the drug test is
Other drugs, including alcohol, can disappear from your body in only a matter of hours. Meanwhile, marijuana’s effects tend to last longer.
Can 0.3% THC Show Up in Drug Tests?
Drug tests can easily detect THC inside your hair, blood, or urine samples for many days after usage. Meanwhile, a salivary test can only detect THC in your body for a couple of hours. This is because of how your body can metabolize THC after ingestion.
THC itself is a type of lipid-soluble chemical. This means that it can attach itself to the fat deposits inside your body. In turn, this will increase the amount of time it’ll take for somebody to get rid of THC completely. Plenty of research regarding the amount of time a drug test has spotted marijuana shows plenty of averages. This research from 2017 has estimated that a detection window after smoking a marijuana cigarette can last up to 3 days.
The study has also revealed that:
- If you smoke marijuana for the first time, the drug tests can catch it for around three days.
- For those who smoke it at least three to four times every week, the detection window could go for five up to 7 days.
- And if you smoke marijuana once a day, or even twice a day, then a drug test can detect it in your system for 30 days or even longer.
These “Detection windows” will also depend on the kind of test you take. The general estimation for the following marijuana tests is:
- Urine tests can spot marijuana for around 3 to 30 days after using it.
- Salivary tests can spot marijuana for at least a day after usage. Specific saliva tests, meanwhile, have spotted marijuana for around 72 hours.
- Hair tests are usually the most sensitive tests out there, as they can spot THC in your system for up to 90 days after ingestion. But it would be best if you remembered that these particular drug tests are testing out the oil inside your skin, which travels to your hair. This is why they can show up as a false positive. People who come into contact with a THC user can test positive on a hair test as well.
- Blood tests can spot THC for around 4 hours.
Facts About THC
THC is a chemical that contains most of the psychological effects found in marijuana. It acts similarly to plenty of cannabinoid chemicals that your body naturally produces. These cannabinoid receptors are all concentrated in a particular area of the brain, notably those connected to coordination, pleasure, memory, thinking, and time perception. THC connects itself to these receptors and begins to activate them. These can then affect a person’s memory, movements, way of thinking, pleasure, coordination, concentration, and sensory perception of time.
THC is a compound usually found inside the resin secreted by the marijuana plant’s glands. Plenty of these glands are located around the plant’s reproductive organs, more so than any other area of the plant. Aside from THC, you can also find other compounds unique to marijuana – These are known as cannabinoids. CBD, another cannabinoid found in marijuana leaves, is non-psychoactive and won’t make you high, unlike THC.
THC works to stimulate the cells found in your brain, triggering dopamine release. This release gives you the feeling of euphoria and interferes with how information is processed in your brain, specifically, the part where new memories are created. Other side effects of ingesting THC include hallucinations and changes in how a person thinks or sees things. The effects of THC are felt around 30 minutes after ingestion. These effects will last for a maximum of two hours. Meanwhile, psychomotor impairment will continue to go on, even after the high has worn off.
THC as Medicine
The National Cancer Institute mentioned that marijuana had been used as an all-natural medicine for at least 3000 years. In 2017, at least half of the United States had officially legalized the usage of medical marijuana. Meanwhile, Canada has legalized the usage of marijuana for both medicine and recreational purposes in 2018. You can extract THC from marijuana leaves or create a synthetic version of it in a lab.
American-based studies have shown that using THC properly can give you even more medical benefits. For instance, THC can significantly improve your memories when you ingest it in smaller doses.
THC gets exposed to air by whatever means, and it starts degrading into cannabinol, a type of cannabinoid that has its own set of psychological effects. The concentration of THC in a product also depends on how the marijuana it came from is cultivated. Hemp is another member of the cannabis family with a small amount of THC, going for as low as 0.5 percent. Hemp extracts are often used for medicinal, wellness, or industrial purposes.
Certain strains can have as little as over 0.3 percent of marijuana. Meanwhile, when it comes to other strains, THC comprises at least 20 percent of the weight in a sample strain. It has been said that the average THC concentration in marijuana can go from 1 to 5 percent. In hashish, it goes from 5 percent to 15 percent. For hashish oil, it has an average content of 20 percent. The amount of THC you ingest for recreational purposes can be highly varied. So this means that the lower the amount of THC is in the strain, the more you need to consume to feel its effects fully.
Marijuana Detection in Drug Tests
A drug test can detect even the tiniest hint of THC in the body. The amount of THC placed inside a marijuana cigarette varies as well. Studies show that frequent marijuana smokers are twice as likely to fail a drug test compared to those who only use the drug sparingly. A study conducted in 2012 once conducted a test on marijuana users who smoked a cigarette, which had 6.8 percent of THC. When handing a urine sample, concentrations of THC were measured up to 0.6 percent, even several hours after they were done smoking the cigarette. And when the experts conducting the research did a sensitive urine test on the participants, they found THC in the urine of over 100 percent of frequent marijuana users and 60 to 100 percent of those who didn’t use it often.
Another study conducted in 2017 involved acquiring hair samples from 136 test subjects who smoked heavy or small amounts of marijuana. During these experiments, the researchers snipped their subjects’ hair into sections, all measuring 1 centimeter, to test for THC exposure for up to a month. It was then revealed that around 77 percent of heavy marijuana smokers and 39 percent of non-heavy marijuana smokers tested positive. Meanwhile, the participants who weren’t marijuana smokers all tested negative, which suggests that the false positives usually revealed during hair drug tests are rare.
What Factors Can Influence THC Detection in Drug Tests?
There are plenty of factors out there that can significantly influence whether a test can spot marijuana or THC in the system, which includes the following:
Because marijuana always ends up inside a person’s fat deposits, those who have more significant fat concentrations in their bodies could metabolize marijuana more slowly than a slimmer person. Checking a person’s BMI (body mass index) is an excellent way to judge a person’s body fat. But because weight and BMI tend to increase when they gain muscle mass, then BMI isn’t an accurate way to measure a person’s body fat at all.
The person’s gender also factors here – Women have more body fat than men. This means that when they smoke marijuana, females could metabolize the marijuana in their bodies slower.
If you want to test negative for THC or marijuana, your body has to get rid of the THC from your system as fast as possible, along with all of the metabolic chemicals connected to THC usage. An individual with a faster metabolism can get rid of THC in their bodies much faster than those with a slower metabolism.
Exercising doesn’t change the rating at which your body can metabolize THC – But this can be possible if you exercise a few hours before taking the drug test. A short study involving 14 marijuana users was asked to jog or walk 30 minutes on a treadmill or ride an exercise bike. The results afterward showed that THC in their bodies increased by a rather significant amount. This proves that exercising before taking a drug test can increase the chance of testing positive afterwards. The people conducting the research then had this belief that exercising will cause your fat cells to release THC. When the results showed up, it was revealed that people who had higher BMI had a much more considerable increase in the THC levels in their bodies.
We need to remember that those individuals who went through these drug tests and experiments were asked to take THC and not marijuana. So the amount of THC that a person has consumed will play a huge factor here. When it comes to THC, the effects can be pretty cumulative. This means that an individual who gets to smoke it several times over one week or more has already consumed a much larger amount of THC in comparison to someone who only tried it once. This is why the former is more likely to test positive than the latter. There’s also the strength of the THC they took, which matters. Without the aid of sensitive lab equipment, there would be no way for these researchers to gauge the strength of THC in their test subjects accurately. How high the individual feels while they smoke marijuana isn’t a reliable way to measure it, either, since there are plenty of factors, aside from THC dosage, which can weaken or intensify the psychoactive effects after smoking.
Dehydration also increases the concentration of THC in the body. Even though drinking plenty of water is unlikely to affect a drug test significantly, there’s a chance that severe dehydration might do the opposite. So ultimately, there are two types of strategies that can work for this situation – Speeding up your metabolism and decreasing the concentration of THC in your marijuana. Drinking plenty of water can stop a drug test from showing an unusually high concentration of THC. For those individuals whose test results are somewhere in between negative or positive, this means that dehydration or not drinking enough water before going through a drug test can increase the chance of a positive result.
There isn’t any dependable way for you to speed up your metabolism – This factor all depends on the individual and how their body works. Exercise could help your body to metabolize higher amounts of THC. However, exercising just mere hours before taking a drug test can yield a positive result. So the single biggest factor here is the time that goes from the individual’s last exposure to marijuana or THC to the time they took the drug test.
There isn’t an accurate way for you to predict the exact time that it takes for you to metabolize the THC in your body and get rid of it from your body. But you can always purchase a home drug test at the pharmacy or online, which allows you to test yourself for the presence of THC in your system. THC should probably disappear or have very low concentrations in 30 days for a lot of individuals at most. And if you don’t smoke it too often, it’ll take at least ten days or less for the THC concentrations to leave the body altogether.
Can CBD Show Up in a Drug Test?
Drug tests usually identify THC, along with its metabolites. Even though these drug tests don’t screen for CBD, some CBD products still include a low quantity of THC. And if detected, then this could, theoretically, make a person fail a drug test. Most CBD products are usually taken from hemp, another THC type of cannabis. But the difference is that hemp is federally legal compared to marijuana. Even though certain CBD products don’t usually include THC, the contamination of THC in the product could have happened while the product was being manufactured. The label found on the product’s packaging might be incomplete in some instances.
Theoretically, a person can also fail a drug test if they consume CBD products infused with even a tiny amount of THC. A product filled with CBD can be derived from either hemp or cannabis, both of which include a complete spectrum of cannabinoids such as THC. During a 2019 analysis in which 67 CBD-infused food products were tested, researchers have discovered that 25 percent of the food samples did include THC, usually above the average dose of 2.5 milligrams with each serving. This meant that consuming these CBD-infused products could get you high.
Even though these CBD product manufacturers have stated that they usually get rid of the THC from their products, this isn’t the case for all manufacturers. The reason for this is that sometimes the CBD-infused product has not gone through a third-party tester or is inappropriately mislabeled, sometimes not even including the real THC dose in the product.
And during a urine-based drug test, people can also obtain a false-positive result for THC if they utilize other medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs. According to one study, it was discovered that even those individuals who were exposed to either second-hand or passive cannabis smoking can still test positive on a saliva-based drug test.
Marijuana-free volunteers sat inside an unventilated room for a few hours, accompanied by five more individuals who smoked a marijuana joint. Those who conducted the research then spotted THC in the saliva of marijuana-free volunteers. However, the percentage of marijuana eventually disappeared the longer they stayed inside the room. The researchers are uncertain whether the volunteers’ exposure to second-hand marijuana smoke resulted in a positive saliva test outside of the place where the test was held.
A study conducted before that also tested whether second-hand marijuana smoke can also produce a positive result in a urine-based drug test. These researchers collected over 80 urine samples from their volunteers a day after exposing marijuana-free participants to smoking marijuana cigarettes. Only two of these samples tested positive. However, none of the samples had a percentage above federal thresholds for marijuana use.
So this shows that a drug test doesn’t screen for CBD because CBD doesn’t produce intoxicating effects as THC does. And it’s also not an illegal controlled substance as THC usually is. Nevertheless, people who use CBD regularly can still fail a drug test. Those products that include CBD could state that they have zero or only a tiny amount of THC in them. Still, they could be contaminated with the cannabinoid or mislabeling due to the manufacturers.
Meanwhile, other drugs could readily interfere with urine-based drug testing results and result in a false-positive test. Suppose you want to avoid getting a positive test result for THC during a drug test. In that case, you should only get CBD products from a highly dependable source, especially ones that truthfully confirm that their products do not contain any THC.
How Long is CBD Detectable in Urine?
Among the many drug tests available, urine-based ones are perhaps the most popular and common drug testing method for future employers. However, the detection window used for THC using a urine drug test can vary. This will all hinge mainly on the amount of CBD you took and how often you ingest the product. Usually, the metabolites found in THC or even CBD can appear on a urine test from anywhere between three days to two weeks at maximum, after the last time you took the THC or CBD-infused product.
The Mayo Clinic has said that these THC or CBD metabolites can be spotted in a test for as long as 15 days after ingesting the product, especially if you happen to be a daily or at least a frequent CBD user. But research also claims that the numbers will all vary depending on the dosage.
Hair tests are different because they can detect drugs in your system for an extended period. The tests will spot the THC metabolites inside CBD for around three months after the administration. But these hair tests don’t happen too often for THC and CBD screenings.
Even though blood tests aren’t that common either, especially when compared to urine tests for CBD and cannabinoid screening, they can still spot THC metabolites in the body. The only reason why they’re so rarely done is that THC is eliminated quickly when it passes through the bloodstream. Usually, THC is only spotted inside the body’s plasma for around five hours after ingestion. But the metabolites found in both CBD and THC can stay in your body for up to a week.
And just like hair, saliva-based tests for THC and CBD are also rare due to legal and employment reasons. But when this is conducted, the drug components in your body can be spotted in a few minutes after taking it. It could also last for around 36 hours, depending on how frequently you use it, as well as the dosage.
If you’re a CBD consumer who ingests it in large amounts and regularly as well, then it’s entirely possible that a saliva test – As well as other tests – Can detect CBD or THC in your body for much longer.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does CBD Stay in Your Body?
Just because you no longer feel the effects of CBD doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t be detected anymore. CBD’s half-life usually lasts for 18 up to 32 hours. But it can still be spotted on certain lab tests during a much more extended period than that.
The average drug test screens for THC use and not CBD. THC, as mentioned earlier, is one of the biggest components of marijuana. But some CBD products do contain trace amounts of THC. If you still pass a drug test after ingesting CBD, that doesn’t always mean you have traces of THC inside your body. It just means that it’s only below detection level. Several drug tests start at a different cut-off level. Legally, plenty of hemp-based products, including CBD, can include 0.3 percent of THC.
And what’s more, there are still a few tests that are highly effective at spotting THC in the body and for a more extended period. The type of drug test you take part in – As well as how long it’s been since you last ingested CBD – Could still influence whether it’s detectable or not. Remember that the more frequently you use THC-laced products or marijuana, the more comprehensive these detection windows become.
Is There a Difference Between Broad Spectrum CBD, Full Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate?
Broad Spectrum CBD, Full Spectrum CBD, and CBD Isolate refer to several kinds of cannabis extracts. These are also referred to as concentrates. The terms are all meant to indicate the amount of plant-produced therapeutic chemicals found in the product and the main cannabinoids (Which can either be CBD or THC). It’s a shorthand way of telling you about the diversity of bioactive material in the product in any given extract.
To learn more about the relevance of phytochemical diversity in developing CBD products, how these terms came to be, and how CBD experts interpret them today, you have to learn about the Entourage Effect and the endocannabinoid system. You can also learn everything about CBD here if everything about this seems new to you.
How Do Drug Tests for Marijuana Work?
We’ll use a urine drug test as a sample here. These drug tests are often referred to as an “immunoassay test” because it utilizes antibodies that are meant to attach to a particular drug or the metabolites in the drug. In this case, it’s the presence of THC and its metabolites. If these antibodies can identify a drug, they’ll start producing a signal which results as positive in a test. There are concentration levels meant for urine drug testing. If a test spots a drug under a particular concentration threshold, it’ll give off a negative result. So if you test positive during the initial screening, you have to go through follow-up testing.
How Long Does It Take to Break Down Marijuana Compounds in the Body?
THC is the most active ingredient in marijuana. It enters your body after ingestion and is absorbed into your bloodstream. Specific amounts of THC are stored inside your body’s fatty deposits and organs. Meanwhile, in the kidneys, THC can be reabsorbed into your bloodstream. THC is eventually broken down when it reaches the liver. The average dose of THC contains at least 80 metabolites, but the most common ones include 11-OH-THC and THCCOOH. A drug test tends to look for these metabolites, which will remain in your body for longer periods than the THC itself. Eventually, THC and the metabolites found in it all leave your body through waste.
What About THC Metabolites Like Delta 8?
Like THC, how long does Delta 8 stay in your system will depend on plenty of factors, even though lots of research has said that Delta 8 can remain inside your body for around three days? Taking a standard drug test of any type will help detect Delta 8 inside your system. Delta 8, a product of Delta 9, is a type of psychoactive cannabinoid found inside marijuana plants. Delta 8 works by attaching to a certain brain cell receptor, including neurochemicals known as dopamine. Whenever Delta 9 THC binds itself to these receptors, it starts a reaction that leads to that high feeling commonly associated with marijuana usage.
What Are the Benefits of THC and CBD Use?
Is THC needed? It has generated plenty of critics, and many believe that this compound doesn’t have any medicinal value. However, science has proven that this isn’t the case. When partnered up with other cannabinoids such as CBD, THC has been found to help people deal with physical and mental issues. And a lot of THC-rich products, if given the right dosage, actually contain a lot of great benefits for a person’s everyday health.