How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System?

Do you have random drug tests? Or simply want to know how long you'll be stoned after a joint? Well, let's take a look.

Cannabis as a drug is growing more popular and mainstream by the day. Last year, the United Nations rescheduled cannabis, five U.S. states legalized it for either recreational or medicinal purposes, and a growing number of employers are no longer testing for marijuana use at work.

Most notably, the NBA and the MLB have both put a halt on testing their athletes for marijuana use, with the NBA pausing testing for 12 months and the MLB simply removing cannabis from its list of banned substances.

That being said, the industry has a long way to go before it achieves mainstream acceptance, and drug tests that look for THC will likely remain a requirement for many jobs for years to come.

Though we should note, if your job role involves the use of heavy machinery or driving, you should avoid consuming any kind of drug beforehand!

Now let's look at how long marijuana stays in your system.

How long does a marijuana high last?

Firstly, it's important to note that there's a difference between how long cannabis intoxication lasts, and how long the drug stays in your system.

Cannabis gets users high due to the psychoactive cannabinoid THC, which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. If users consume a product without THC, or with minor amounts of THC, such as a CBD isolate or full-spectrum CBD, they won't get high.

However, in the case of full-spectrum CBD which typically contains minor amounts of THC, users still won't get high, but the THC they consumed will show up in their system on a drug test.

Similarly, even if you smoke a joint or consume an edible, and you feel you've sobered up over many hours, THC will still present itself in drug tests.

Let's first look at how long people typically stay high.

While it varies for every person based on their gender, size, body fat, tolerance level and many other factors, a typical cannabis high can last anywhere between 3-12 hours.

Smoking a bowl or joint will get you high more quickly, while consuming an edible will have a slower onset but often more pronounced effects over a longer period. A common mistake for those unfamiliar with cannabis edibles is to consume more than they should simply because they don't yet feel high, and then when the effects kick in, they kick in hard.

As such, the misuse of edibles is often what leads to cannabis hospitalizations in states where cannabis has recently been made legal, because people aren't yet accustomed to how edibles work.

With all that said, let's finally look at how long marijuana stays in your system.

How long does marijuana last in your system?

While the high from cannabis, particularly when smoked, can dissipate within several hours to half a day, the THC consumed will remain in your body much longer.

According to American Addiction Centers, "THC is detectable for up to 90 days in hair, anywhere between 3 days to a month or longer in urine (depending on how often the person uses), up to 48 hours in saliva, and up to 36 hours in blood."

This is important, because while you may no longer feel intoxicated following cannabis use, if you are given a roadside drug test, which is typically done through taking a sample of your saliva, you will test positive for up to 2 days for THC.

There have been criticisms of this testing method, as it doesn't necessarily test for intoxication, and someone who has consumed cannabis over 24 hours prior to their roadside drug test may well test positive for THC without actually being intoxicated.

Efforts have been made to create cannabis breathalyzers, but nothing has been released to market yet.

As such, we recommend not consuming cannabis if you have plans to operate a vehicle within the next few days!

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.