THC can last for a while
While the euphoric effects of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) fade away quickly when inhaled, this psychoactive chemical and its metabolites can stay in your body for days -- even weeks -- after consumption. This may put you at risk for failing a drug test.
According to reports, cannabis is the most preferred illegal recreational drug in Australians.
Both the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and researcher Dr. John Jiggens cite cannabis as having the largest share in Australia’s illicit drug market. Source
What factors affect how long Cannabis stays in someone's system?
The length of time THC stays in the body depends on many factors. The body fat of the consumer is one factor that affects how long cannabis stays in the system. Fat stores cannabis and, therefore, people with higher body fat metabolize the drug more slowly than a consumer with less body fat. As the weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) increase, BMI becomes less of an accurate measure of body fat.
The age and gender are not related to cannabis, but to how the body metabolizes the drug. Other factors are the frequency and quantity of cannabis smoked. Higher doses and more frequent uses increase the amount of time cannabis stays in your system.
More potent cannabis, with a higher amount of THC, also stays in the body longer. When ingested, cannabis may also remain in the body slightly longer than smoked cannabis.
More sensitive cannabis tests can easily detect even lower cannabis doses. Test methods include blood, hair, urine, and saliva.
What tests are available to establish how much Cannabis is in someone's system?
Cannabis tests measure the presence of THC and its by-products, or metabolites. The most common drug tests for cannabis are:
- Urine testing -- Urine testing is the most common method of testing cannabis in the body. Cannabis is detectable in urine for up to three times a week among occasional users, for 3 days in moderate users, and for 10 days in chronic users.
- Blood testing -- Cannabis is detectable in the blood for around 1 to 2 days. In some cases, it can be detected after 25 days, especially after chronic heavy use. Cannabis can be detected in the bloodstream within seconds of inhalation. Some of the drugs are reabsorbed into the blood and broken down. Its metabolites remain in the bloodstream for several days.
- Saliva testing -- Cannabis is detectable in saliva for 1 to 3 days for occasional users and 1 to 29 days for chronic users. The drug can enter the saliva through cannabis smoking or exposure to smoke. Metabolites only exist in saliva when the drug has been ingested or smoked. In regions where cannabis is legal, oral fluid is often used for roadside cannabis testing.
- Hair testing -- The hair follicle tests assess cannabis consumption for up to 90 days. After use, the drug, via small blood vessels, reaches the hair follicles, and trace amounts may remain in the hair. Given that our hair grows about 0.5 inches every month, a 1.5-inch hair segment close to the scalp has been considered enough to detect cannabis use for the past three months.
How do residual levels of cannabis impact people's ability to drive?
Using cannabis can impair your motor coordination, ability to judge and concentrate, and slow your reaction time. Anytime the skills for safe driving are impaired, the chances of having an auto accident increase.
THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. This chemical enters your body and gets absorbed into the bloodstream, while some of this compound is temporarily stored in organs and fatty tissues. The kidneys reabsorb THC into the bloodstream, where it is broken down in the liver in more than 80 metabolites. These metabolites impair the consumer’s driving ability.
Cannabis may stay in the body anywhere from a few days and weeks to several months after last use. Detection windows vary depending on the drug test used and several other factors, such as whether you ingest or smoke cannabis on a regular basis.