You’ve just started a new job and you quickly find out that your employer partakes in random drug testing, but you rely on your cannabis to get you through the day without pain, anxiety, and pain.
Because of this, it’s important to know how long cannabis will affect you and how long it can stay in your system. That way, you can keep your job and your treatment going without any hiccups.
There are tons of answers online stating how long cannabis will stay in your system and it’s difficult to understand why the times vary so much. The bottom line is the duration is different for everyone but this article will help you narrow that down!
One of the major factors that affect how long you’ll be affected is the way in which you consume cannabis. Inhalation (which includes smoking and vaporizing) and ingestion (which includes oil, capsules, or homemade edibles) affect you and how long the effects will last differently.
Inhalation typically affects people instantly and can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. Whereas ingesting cannabis can take effect within 30 minutes to an hour depending on how fast you metabolize, what you ate prior, your body mass and more. The high from ingesting cannabis can also last anywhere from 4-8 hours.
However, these effects can last shorter or longer depending on a few other factors. These are good to be aware of in case you plan on driving after or heading to work. The first of those factors is the THC content of the strain. A quick rule of thumb is the higher the THC content, the “higher” you’ll feel and the longer you’ll typically feel the effects. Another factor involved is one’s body fat content. THC will often attach itself to the fat in foods, like yogurt or cheese, causing people to feel the effects of cannabis longer. It actually reacts the same in the human body when it comes to one’s fat content, heavily involving one’s metabolism as a large part in the process.
Along with body fat content and metabolism comes to exercise. Exercising regularly can help reduce the risk of THC coming up in a drug test. This is due to the fact that fat loss while exercising can have the potential to rid of any fatty tissue that THC may have attached itself to, as well as burn off the cannabinoids that may be sticking around in the body. One of the biggest contributors to exercise as a whole is hydration. It can help when it comes to cannabis and drug tests because becoming dehydrated means that there will be less water in your blood or urine, which can increase the concentration of cannabinoids in those fluids. This is unwanted because there will be a greater chance that those traces of cannabinoids from cannabis will be detected.
Another factor that will greatly affect whether you’ll test positive in a drug test is how often you ingest cannabis. If you’re an avid user and have been for years, it’ll take much longer, sometimes around 5 weeks, for all traces and by-products to be eliminated in your system. This varies greatly with someone who only partakes on occasion, who might lose all traces of cannabis within 10 days.
Now that you know more about how THC and cannabinoids metabolize in your system, it’s easier to figure out which methods of drug testing might bring up traces of cannabis after you’ve consumed it.
- Urine Test
The first method and most common option is a urine test, or “urinalysis”. This will typically recognize cannabis consumed within the last 7 days. However, a note of warning, if you smoke frequently, it might show for as long as 3 months.
- Blood Testing
Another method is blood testing, which can detect cannabis use within 2 to 7 days for regular users but might only recognize cannabis consumed with 24 hours for the occasional user. This varying time frame is why workplaces often test using blood.
- Hair Follicles
Another method of testing for cannabis is through hair follicles. This can be a very effective way of testing for cannabis because it can pick up someone with an active use for months after consumption, even if they’ve stopped use after that. However, it isn’t as effective with users who consume on occasion.
The final method of testing for cannabis is with saliva. Saliva drug testing will pick up cannabis use within the last 4-6 hours. This is what’s commonly used by law enforcement when someone is pulled over.
When driving, it’s important to know that generic lengths of time have been quoted for how long cannabis might last in your system, but it’s important to know that you should not be working, driving, or operating machinery if you still feel impaired in any way. It’s also good to note that the only surefire way of definitely passing a drug test is to abstain from cannabis use altogether.
To find out about laws relating to drug-testing or roadside testing in your area, contact the drug-related branch of your local law enforcement.