It is probably one of the most frequently asked questions you can find on almost every health forum. Most people want to know exactly how long medical cannabis stays in their system so that they can successfully pass a drug test. Despite all the information and tips out there, the task is still quite challenging.
There a few methods of testing for weed levels, and blood tests are the most common, especially when driving under the influence of drugs is suspected.
The amount of time that THC stays in your blood depends on lifestyle factors, including how, how often, and what kind of strain the user consumed, as well as his body's rate of metabolism.
For successfully passing a marijuana drug test, it is important to understand what THC exactly is and how it works in our bodies.
THC, or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, is the primary chemical compound in the marijuana plant responsible for the euphoric high experience. It belongs to a unique class of ingredients called cannabinoids. Other cannabinoid called CBD is non-psychoactive and actually blocks the high associated with THC.
Cannabinoid receptors are concentrated in certain areas of the brain associated with pleasure, memory, thinking, coordination, and time perception. Attaching to these receptors, THC activates them and affects the consumer.
THC stimulates cells in the brain forcing them to release dopamine, creating euphoric effects and inducing hallucinations, sedation, relaxation, and pain relief. It is also an extremely potent medication used to prevent or treat nausea, lack of appetite and sleep, and even vomiting associated with cancers.
After the inhalation, THC immediately enters the bloodstream through the lungs. Due to the rapid circulation of the blood, THC, as well as other compounds, affects the endocannabinoid system by interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors located throughout the body.
Unlike urine tests that measure THC metabolites' levels (THC-COOH) known to remain in the system form much longer, blood tests determine the levels of active THC and therefore can only detect recent marijuana use.
As far as the detection period of blood tests is concerned, many simply stick to the general estimate of a month. This is probably the reason why so many employees test positive and get kicked out of their workplaces.
Blood tests are more sophisticated than we think. While THC can be detectable in the blood of non-regular marijuana smokers up to 27 hours after consuming, regular smokers can be caught within up to nearly 90 days. Furthermore, it is not for sure: in some cases, the detection period turns out to be even longer. And there is no way to find out the exact detection time period, as it depends on many factors, including body fat, the amount of the drug used, the rate of metabolism, the depth and frequency of smoking.
THC and its metabolites are retained by body organs for much longer than by the blood. It is basically stored in fat tissues, and with regular use, it can stay there for up to 30 days.
As you may guess, there could be no definite answer, just approximate figures. Anyway, oral digestion of weed leads to a very different pattern of THC levels.
Studies have found that the peak in blood levels of THC occurs between 1 to 5 hours after the ingestion. Another study involving hemp oils showed that the THC blood levels fell below detection limits within 25 hours after oral consumption.
Ninety percent of THC is eliminated by the body within the first five days after consumption, primarily in the form of its metabolites: more than half is excreted in feces and 20 percent in urine.
In some cases, the compound remains in the blood of regular users for up to 90 days after the last episode of smoking, ingestion, or vaporizing marijuana.