Weed detection windows depend on how much you smoke or ingest, as well as how often. In general, higher doses and more frequent use are associated with longer detection times.
For daily users, cannabis may be detectable for several months after last use. The longest-reported detection times are more than 90 days.
Read on to find out the detection windows for cannabis in urine, blood, saliva, hair, and more.
Marijuana detection windows
Research on the amount of time a test can detect marijuana shows a wide range of averages. Research from 2017 estimates a detection window for a single marijuana cigarette of about 3 days.
The same study emphasizes that detection windows vary and depend on how often a person smokes.
- For someone smoking marijuana for the first time, tests may detect it for about 3 days.
- In someone who smokes marijuana three or four times per week, the detection window is 5–7 days.
- For people who smoke marijuana once a day or more, tests may detect it in their system for 30 days or longer.
Detection windows also depend on the kind of test a person undertakes. General estimates for various marijuana tests are as follows:
- Urine tests can detect marijuana in the urine for approximately 3–30 days after use.
- Saliva tests can detect marijuana for approximately 24 hours after use. Some saliva tests have detected marijuana for up to 72 hours.
- Hair tests are the most sensitive tests, detecting THC for up to 90 days after use. However, these tests are testing the oil in skin that transfers to hair, and so they may occasionally show a false positive. A person who comes into contact with a THC user could, theoretically, test positive on a hair test.
- Blood tests can only detect THC for 3–4 hours.
How long is it detectable via drug testing?
Drug tests measure weed and its by-products, or metabolites. These metabolites remain in your system long after weed’s effects have worn off.
According to Mayo Clinic Proceedings, weed is detectable in urine for the following amounts of time after last use:
- Occasional users (up to three times a week): 3 days
- Moderate users (four times a week): 5 to 7 days
- Chronic users (daily): 10 to 15 days
- Chronic heavy users (multiple times a day): more than 30 days
Cannabis metabolites are fat-soluble, which means they bind to fat molecules in your body. As a result, it can take some time for them to leave your system.
Urine testing is the most common testing methodTrusted Source.
According to an article in Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, weed is typically detectable in the blood for 1 to 2 days. However, in some cases, it’s been detected after 25 days. Chronic heavy use increases the length of time that it can be detected.
Weed is detectable in the bloodstream within seconds of inhalation. It’s distributed to the tissues. Some of it is reabsorbed in the blood and broken down. Its metabolites may remain in the bloodstream for days.
Blood testing may be used in laboratory settings or to indicate recent use of weed.
According to a 2014 reviewTrusted Source on cannabinoids in oral fluid, weed is detectable in saliva for the following amounts of time after last use:
- Occasional users: 1 to 3 days
- Chronic users: 1 to 29 days
Weed can enter the saliva through smoking and exposure to smoke. However, its metabolites are only present in saliva when weed has been smoked or ingested.
In jurisdictions where weed is legal, oral fluid may be used for roadside testing.
Hair follicle tests assess drug use for up to 90 daysTrusted Source. After use, weed reaches the hair follicles via small blood vessels. Trace amounts may remain in the hair.
Since hair grows approximately 0.5 inches per month, a 1.5-inch hair segment taken close to the scalp can provide a window of weed use for the past three months.
How long does it take to break down (metabolize)?
The active ingredient in weed is a chemical substance called THC, which stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. THC that enters your body is absorbed into the bloodstream.
Some THC is temporarily stored in organs and fatty tissues. In the kidneys, THC can be reabsorbed into the bloodstream.
THC is broken down in the liver. It has more than 80 metabolites, but the most significant ones are 11-OH-THC (11-hydroxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and THCCOOH (11-nor-9-carboxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol).
Drug tests look for these metabolites, which stay in your body longer than THC. Eventually, THC and its metabolites are excreted in urine and stool.
What factors affect how long it stays in your system?
A number of factors affect how long weed stays in your system. Some of these factors, such as your age, gender, and body mass index (BMI), aren’t related to the drug itself, but to how your body processes and metabolizes the drug.
Other factors are related to weed and how you use it. This includes how much you take (dose) and how often (frequency). Higher doses and more frequent use tend to increase the amount of time it takes to eliminate weed from your system.
More potent weed, which is higher in THC, may also stay in your system for longer. Weed that’s ingested may also remain in your system slightly longer than weed that’s smoked.
Is there anything you can do to metabolize it faster?
There isn’t much you can do to speed up the amount of time it takes for weed to leave your system.
Once it’s entered your system, your body needs time to break it down. Exercising, eating healthy, and staying hydrated may help, but not drastically.
There are a number of weed detox remedies and kits available on the internet. Many require drinking a lot of water to dilute your urine, and then using herbal supplements such as creatinine or vitamin B-12 to mask the dilution.
These kits don’t work reliably.
How long does it take to feel the effects?
Weed’s effects appear quickly, usually within 15 to 30 minutes after smoking. It can take one or two hours to feel weed’s effects when it’s ingested.
Weed’s active ingredients produce a short-term “high.” Common effects include:
- sense of well-being
- sense of relaxation
- feeling that time is slowing down
- giggling or chattiness
- altered sensory perception
Other short-term effects include:
- inability to focus
- increased appetite
- coordination problems
- rapid heart rate
- dry mouth and eyes
- feeling sick or faint
- anxiety or paranoia
In rare cases, high doses of weed can cause hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis.
Smoking or ingesting weed on a regular basis can have additional effects on your mind and body. You might be at an increased risk of developing:
- cognitive impairments
- memory impairments
- learning impairments
- cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke
- respiratory illnesses, such as bronchitis and lung infections
- mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety
- hallucinations and psychosis
If you use weed while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, there’s a greater chance that your baby will have birth defects or problems with brain development.
How long does it take for the effects to wear off?
Weed’s short-term effects start to taper off after one to three hours. Some effects, like memory problems or trouble sleeping, can last a few days.
Researchers don’t know how long the effects of chronic use last. Long-term effects can last days, weeks, or months after weed use has ended. Some effects may be permanent.
The bottom line
Weed may stay in your system anywhere from several days to several months after last use. Detection windows depend on the drug test used and other factors, such as whether you smoke or ingest weed on a regular basis.