How Long Does Cannabis Stay in Your System in Ohio?
How Long Does Cannabis Stay in Your System?
The length of time cannabis stays in the body is dependent on a number of factors. Drug tests can be run on many biological specimens, such as saliva, urine, blood, and hair. The tests screen for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as it is the chemical responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Drugs such as alcohol can leave the body within a few hours, but in comparison, cannabis takes much longer to be processed by the body. This window of time varies between a few days to a few weeks depending on several factors, especially the body mass index. As THC is lipid-soluble, it binds to body fat, so the length of time it takes to metabolize depends on an individuals’ body fat percentage. Read on to learn more about the factors that contribute to the length of time cannabis stays in the system.1
If you’re wondering if medical marijuana (MMJ) is right for you, schedule an exam with one of our Ohio Medical Marijuana Doctors. Completing our eligibility survey takes only 5 minutes. Find out if you pre-qualify for a recommendation!
How Does the Body Process THC?
THC gets absorbed into organs and tissues like the heart, brain, and fat. The liver also metabolizes THC into metabolites 11-hydroxy-THC and carboxy-THC that are excreted quickly in the urine. It takes more time, however, for the THC that remains stored in the body to find its way back into the bloodstream. Once it does, the process is repeated as the liver metabolizes the THC and it is again excreted through the urine. Those who use significantly more cannabis start to build up a store of THC that outpaces the body’s capability for elimination. This means that a drug test could find cannabis in the system of a heavy user several days after the last use.2
Drug Testing Methods
There are various testing types that may be used to screen for THC, such as saliva, urine, blood, and hair testing. Each testing type has a different time frame during which cannabis, or its resulting metabolites, may be detected. The most common method of screening for THC is urine testing. Cannabis is detectable based on the metabolites, or by-products, that stay in the system even after the psychoactive effects of THC have worn off. From proceedings published in Ther Drug Monit,3 laboratory testing out of the Clinical Biology Laboratory, Ghent University Hospital in Ghent, Belgium found smoking habits to be a major contributing factor to the time it takes for the body to metabolize cannabis. They provide the following timeframes where cannabis may be detected in the urine after it is last used:4
- “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”
In summary, urine tests can be used to detect cannabis in a users’ system for about 3 to 30 days after last use. Blood tests may only be used in instances where detection of recent use is necessary as THC may only be found in blood between 3 and 36 hours after last use.1-2 The most sensitive form of testing, hair tests can detect THC for up to 90 days after last use. Unfortunately, these tests present the possibility of a false positive, since they screen for skin oils that have transferred to the hair. In that regard, anyone who comes in contact with someone who smokes cannabis could potentially test positive on a hair follicle test.1 In addition, . . . “studies have argued that a hair test is most reliable for daily or near-daily users and is not as likely to detect the presence of marijuana in light users.2
Other Factors that Impact Detection
Besides testing types, there are other factors that affect the timeframe in which the body eliminates THC. While a rough estimate is attainable, it is not possible to accurately predict how long it will take for someone to test clean because of the following factors:2-5
- Potency THC in cannabis.
- How often cannabis is used.
- How long it has been since the last use.
- Tolerance levels
- Hydration levels during testing.
- Body fat percentage.
- Genetics – some are able to metabolize THC faster than others.
- General health – Some medical conditions have an impact on how the body stores, retains, and metabolizes cannabis.
- Drug interactions – Some other drugs along with cannabis interact with CYP2C9 and CYP3A4 enzymes.
- Gender – females typically have a higher BMI than males resulting in a slower processing of THC.1
Can I Rid My Body of THC Faster?
Generally speaking, there are two main ways to speed the body’s elimination process of THC. The first one is to use cannabis products that have a lower THC content. The second is to find ways to increase the speed of the metabolism. As mentioned, proper hydration is important, as it can mean the difference between a positive and negative test. As such, someone on the border of receiving a positive test result could receive a negative test result because they are properly hydrated at the time of the test. There is no proven way to speed the metabolism. While exercise can help the body process THC faster, exercise before a test can also cause a false positive. The highest determining factor to receiving a negative test result is the time between when a person last used cannabis to the time of the test.5
Is Medical Marijuana Right for Me?
Whether medical marijuana will help your condition depends on many factors best evaluated by a medical doctor. If you feel you may benefit from medical marijuana, the first step is to take our eligibility survey. In just 5 minutes, you could pre-qualify for a Ohio medical marijuana recommendation. An Ohio Medical Marijuana Doctor can then determine if you qualify during an in-person exam. For more information, visit https://docmj.com/states/ohio-medical-marijuana-card/.