This is one of the most prevailing questions among groups who would like to be better informed about drug tests and how they work. Whether you smoke because you can’t sleep , or you smoke because of the pain you endure from working hard, most of us around weed have some level of THC in our system.
It is important to know a few things about the nature of these tests and other drug tests that are related to hair follicle testing before we can have a grasp on how long weed stays in your hair and body.
These days drug tests are much more common, and with employers using them more often, tests aren’t just for athletes or public offenders anymore. Testing is conducted for many different reasons, in many different ways, and can be done to test solely for one substance or multiple ones.
The most common testing for THC is the urine test because it precise and inexpensive to administer. Depending on factors like your metabolism, your height, and how much you smoke, traces of THC metabolites (THC-COOH) are absorbed through your bloodstream, through the liver and expelled through your urine.
THC can also be traced by a hair follicle, saliva or blood sample as well, however, blood testing for weed is quite uncommon because the test will only find traces of marijuana if you have ingested within five hours prior. Traces of weed can be found in your system for days, weeks, and even months after use depending on the testing method used.
In order to have the entire picture we will go over the different type of testing methods, the time period each method has for detecting THC, and the best/worst ways to clean out your system. Everyone has their own reason for knowing how long weed stays in your system, but please keep in mind this is general advice.
Drug Testing Basics:
What is a drug test and what does it check for?
In layman’s terms, a test checks to see what level, if any, of a substance like marijuana, you have in your body. Wees is made up of hundreds of chemicals. THC is the only psychoactive component of the plant that affects behavior, perception, motor skills, and perception.
THC-COOH shows itself in your system once your lever has broken down the THC in the weed you consumed and it is the common component that shows up on an employer’s drug test.
Why Get Tested for THC?
Everybody has different reasons for why you may need to test for marijuana, and most of them are employment related:
- Job Screening
- High-security Positions
- Safety Precautions when operating equipment
- Prevent weed use in schools and companies
- Being apart of a rehab program
- Impairment on the job
Different Types of THC Testing:
THC Urine Test
This is the most common way to screen for weed in your system. A simple urine sample is collected and then sent away to be tested in a lab.
They detect the metabolite THC-COOH. There is a lot of contradictory information as to how long it will take for you to pass a urine test, but the most common cutoff is 50ng/ml of THC. Your body is different than mine and that means that you may metabolize weed much faster than me.
THC Blood Test
A blood test is very uncommon because it test the active THC in your system, which means it will only test positive if you have ingested weed within the last few hours as oppressed to days or weeks.
The only time a blood test is done is when an autopsy or a traffic accident has occurred, and this is only to see if the person was intoxicated at the time of the incident. The levels peak rapidly after smoking and can reach high levels very quickly in the first hours. If you are a chronic smoker such as myself, the weed may stay in your system for up to a week as opposed to a few hours. Taking blood samples is invasive and requires needles, so this method is hardly used for general testing purposes like employment.
THC Hair Follicle Test
A Hair follicle test has shown to be the most accurate out of all the other drug tests. Covering a span over the last 90 days, a hair test’s detection window is the longest out of any other method. THC travels through your bloodstream reaching the blood vessels in your scalp and it is left in the shaft of your hair where it will stay as your hair grows.
A very minute sample of hair is needed to do the test. A small piece around an inch and a half covers the last 3 months. It also shows whether you smoked once in those three months or if you smoked chronically in those three months.
If you smoke heavily, you are more likely to test positive on hair test because of the weed’s metabolites being prominent in your hair for a long time period.
Research has been done and it has been shown that THC can be found in your hair follicle via second hand smoke, or simply by being around smokers. Although hair testing is a reliable way to find out how long weed is in your system, it is more costly than other tests.
Duration of Weed Discovery
How long will I test positive for? This is a common question asked by nearly any weed smoker at least once. This is especially true if you are a long-term smoker and have a career that means a lot to you.
Fitness level, metabolic rate, diet, gender, and even ethnicity often play a role in how long weed stays in your system. Tolerance is one of the biggest factors in the results of a weed test. The type of strain, each with its own potency level, you smoked and how often you blaze are also factors that make it nearly impossible to give a generalized timeline as to how long it will stay.
There is really no black and white answer to this question. The amount of time that THC stays in your hair is different than how long it stays in your urine, and on top of all that, everybody’s body metabolizes differently.
Because THC is fat soluble, a person who has a higher body fat percentage is much more likely to store THC and its metabolites much faster as opposed to someone who is petite. THC likes to cling to the body’s fatty tissues and linger.
It is the slowest rate of elimination when it comes to THC. The fatty cells can store marijuana in your system for up to months depending on how much you consume. The timeframe for detecting weed in your system differs greatly from an occasional smoker to a heave toker.
If you smoke occasionally, THC and its metabolites will stay in your fat tissues for a much shorter time than someone who smokes daily.
THC’s metabolite COOH has an elimination half-life of around five days based on the average consumer.
If you take the time to do some reading you will find lots of scientific-backed studies showing that the average time to get THC out of your system was 4.9 days. However, some of the volunteers it took up to two and a half weeks to eliminate weed from their urine sample.
However, people who ingest weed on an infrequent basis have the THC cleared from their urine in less than three days. Essentially, the more you smoke, the longer weed stays in your urine, blood ,and hair follicle
The window of detection is the number of days that a user will test positive after the last time they used marijuana. A cut off level is a method part of drug testing that determines if a user is m=positive or negative for weed in their hair and body.
Most hair tests use a cut off of 2ng/ml which means that any sample below that cut off limit will return a negative result.
It’s not about how long the THC stays in your body, but how long it has been since you last consumed the substance.
You can still have a small amount of weed in your system and still test negative so long as you have waited since your last session and you are below the cutoff level.
Getting Marijuana Out Of Your Body
Best Method: Abstinence
There is no question that the best and easiest way to avoid testing positive is to not ingest weed before a test. The half-life of THC-COOH is about five days for an occasional smoker, and tops over ten days for a chronic user. It can take up to two months for THC levels to clear from your hair follicle, so make plans and maybe stop smoking in order for levels to subside.
Possible Method: Diluting Urine
A common way to get weed out of your system is to flush it out by drinking copious amounts of water. This is maybe the only other method aside from not smoking that has some science behind it claiming it will work. There are a few studies out there that found if you drink enough water you can lower the THC levels enough to give you a negative result.
By drinking as much water as you can possibly manage a few hours before a test will naturally dilute anything that can be found in a urine sample.
As for a hair test, you cannot dilute your hair follicle and the THC-COOH will stay in the shaft for several months. Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of it would be to shave your head entirely. -Not the greatest choice if you are a female with long hair.
Be warned: drinking more than two liters of water a day is damaging to your health, and any sample that appears too diluted might be rejected by the testing lab.
Challenging a positive result is very difficult, no excuse will help you. Spiking your sample with anything like chemicals, detergents, eye drops, lemon juice, and peroxide is easily detected by the testing lab and will cause you more grief.
There is no proof that any natural remedy, drink, tea, vitamin, activated charcoal, urine cleaners will help you pass a test, they are typically just a money grab and cause you more grief than good.
Using a pain reliever will not affect your test. The best way to get weed out of your hair is to not smoke and wait the 60 days.
Weed Detection FAQ:
Does CBD Show Up On A Hair Follicle Test?
Cannabidiol (CBD) will not show up on a hair test because it is a non psychoactive part of cannabis. Drug tests are designed to test for THC and its metabolites that can affect judgement.
If I Am Around Marijuana But Don’t Smoke, Will I Pass A Test?
Science says yes. It is very common for you to test positive for THC when you are exposed to secondhand smoke. You can test positive on a urine test if you are with people who are smoking in small, non-ventilated spaces.
You will also find small traces of THC in your hair if you have been around people who smoke. One thing to keep in mind is that THC is normally consumed by the smoker when they inhale, so the exhaled smoke you are around has a very small amount of THC. That means you would have to be around smokers frequently in order for you to test positive on a test, which is a very slim chance.
So, How Long Does Weed Stay In Your Hair?
That all depends on you! The differences between how much you smoke and how much you weigh vary between everyone. Yes, there are methods out there that you can try, but very few of them are proven to work.
The best way to get THC out of your hair is to not smoke, or to shave your head. Both options are not fun. You can try drinking copious amounts of water to dilute a urine test, but if it’s too diluted you will not pass the test. Being informed, being proactive, and being aware of when you need a test will all help determine how long it will stay.
If you are truly concerned about weed staying in your hair, then simply don’t smoke, or smoke a CBD only concentrate which will help with your pain symptoms without the psychoactive effects.