How Long Does Weed Stay in Your System?

Most of us are looking for a cannabis product that provides that long-term benefit. Whether we are trying to keep our pain at bay, or are just looking for that long-term mellow feeling, we all want to know if the weed we choose does the job for just the right amount of time. How long does weed stay in your system?



The length of time weed stays in your system depends on a wide variety of variables, which will vary greatly depending on the person. The length of time consists of a handful of variables including:

  • The dose of THC (which stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) ingested, which will affect how long it takes for the body to metabolize it. 
  • How often you use marijuana. 
  • The rate of the release of the THC and other cannabinoids from the tissue. 
  • The level of hydration.
  • The method in which you use it, such as whether it was smoked or eaten 
  • The metabolism of the individual.



Here comes the science part! The weed process is a two-stage one.


Weed is absorbed into various body tissues such as the brain, the heart, and fat. The THC stored in the body tissue is released into the bloodstream. Once cannabinoids, the active chemicals in THC and CBD have been consumed and absorbed into the bloodstream, they will cause the desired effects by the heart sending blood to your liver. The cannabinoids contained in your blood are then metabolized by the liver cells. 


While the liver is the main location where the main metabolic transformations take place, it can also be metabolized in the brain. The metabolization of weed is predominantly done through two processes, hydroxylation and oxidation, where the enzymes hydroxylate part of the cannabinoids, which is the adding oxygen and hydrogen to the structure. After a variety of processes, this results in THC-COOH, an inactive metabolite, which reaches its peak in the body around 30 to 45 minutes after the ingestion of cannabis, resulting in the high you feel. 


The enzymes responsible for this metabolization depend on the individual. It can vary from person to person, as many people will experience the effects of marijuana quicker or longer than others, which is why some people are more likely to fail a drug test, as they have a higher accumulation of cannabinoids in their system.


The second phase is where the weed exits your body. This step consists of UGT enzymes connecting a glucuronide molecule to the THC-COOH, which is easier to excrete from the body through urine or feces. Once it has been transformed into this, the drug is ready to be excreted from the body. The final stages of the process are where the metabolites of THC occur through the bowel movement. It takes an average of five days for 80% to 90% of THC and most of its metabolites to be excreted. But it’s important to note that some of the THC will stay in your tissue, and can be released more slowly, resulting in THC being detected several weeks after use.


There are a number of factors that will result in how long weed stays in your system. Some factors include your age, your gender, and BMI (Body Mass Index). While these are not typically related to the drug, it is how your body processes the drug on an individual level.


Other factors will relate to how you use it, the method in which you take it, the frequency, as well as the dosage, which will increase the amount of time it takes to eliminate weed from your system. For example, weed that is higher in THC will stay in your system for longer, but also, weed that is ingested could stay in your system longer than weed that is smoked.



While you may be using marijuana for medical reasons, sometimes it can be a very sensitive situation. It’s important to note that there are different types of sampling used to detect marijuana, and all have various efficacies in detecting weed use. For example, a saliva test can result in a positive test for weed up to 34 to 48 hours after the last use. Hair tests can detect marijuana for up to 90 days. Blood tests can be used to detect marijuana and its metabolites for up to 36 hours. However, the most common drug test is a urine test. People who use marijuana infrequently can test positive between one and three days after use. A moderate user can test positive between seven and 21 days after use, and a heavy user can test positive for a month or even longer after the last use. People who choose to eat marijuana instead of smoke may produce a positive test result between one and five days.



Sometimes, we want to feel the effects quickly, but make sure it gets out of our system. While you can feel the effects within 15 to 30 minutes after smoking, it may take between one and two hours to feel the benefits after ingesting weed. If you are looking to speed up the amount of time it takes to leave your system, there isn’t much you are able to do, apart from choosing to smoke it. The fact is that once it has entered your system, you have to give your body the time to break it down. While there are little things you can do to help metabolize it, such as keeping hydrated, eating healthily, and exercising, the reality is that you have to give it the time it needs to leave your system.


There isn’t an exact science for how long weed stays in your system because it depends on the individual. However, being aware of the factors and how your body processes weed can help you choose the appropriate dose.