Marijuana contains many compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These compounds remain in the system after use, but many factors can affect how long they stay there. This can influence the length and side effects of the marijuana detox process.
THC and CBD attach to the same cannabinoid receptors as endocannabinoids, which are chemicals that the body produces naturally. Typically, the body releases these compounds through urine and stool.
If a person wants to detox from marijuana, they will need to flush out or wait until the final traces of marijuana have left the body. Until this happens, they may also test positive in drug screening.
Keep reading to learn more about the side effects of marijuana detox, how long the drug stays in the body, how drug tests work, and some remedies that may help in the detox process.
How long does marijuana stay in the system?
According to American Addiction Centers, a person can expect marijuana to remain in their body for the following times:
- Hair: 90 days
- Urine: 3 days to a month or more, depending on usage
- Saliva: 48 hours
- Blood: 36 hours
In addition to these figures, a studyTrusted Source published in 2017 also identified that traces of cannabinoids could remain in sweat for 7–14 days.
How long these compounds stay in a person’s system varies widely. According to another studyTrusted Source published in 2017, one of the factors that affect this time frame is the strain of marijuana a person uses. The strain refers to the specific subspecies of the plant.
Different strains of marijuana may contain varying amounts of cannabinoids, which can affect how long they remain in a person’s body.
How often a person uses marijuana can also affect how long it stays in their body. When a person uses marijuana for an extended period, traces of cannabinoids will remain in their body for a longer time.
This means they may still test positive for marijuana many months after stopping. In some instances, people have tested positive for THC 3 months after discontinuing use.
Some other factors that affect the length of time marijuana traces will remain in a person’s body include:
- how much marijuana they use
- how often they exercise
- the type of exercise they do
- their eating habits
- their metabolism
- the percentage of body fat they have
These varying factors may make it difficult to determine precisely how long marijuana, or more specifically THC, will remain in a person’s system after use.
Learn more about how long marijuana stays in the system here.
Detox and side effects
Marijuana can create dependencies in people who use it heavily for long periods. When a person’s body becomes used to receiving THC and CBD, stopping using it may lead to a period of uncomfortable marijuana withdrawal symptoms as the body readjusts.
However, people respond to detox in different ways, and some may not experience any symptoms when they stop using marijuana.
According to Marijuana Anonymous, the most commonly reported withdrawal symptoms are insomnia and headaches. Other side effects of marijuana detox may include:
- vivid dreams or nightmares starting about a week following quitting and lasting for a month or more
- anger or irritability
- emotional instability ranging from anger to euphoria
- loss of concentration
- night sweats
- coughing up phlegm
- loss of appetite
- tremors or shaky hands
Some remedies that may help with the symptoms of marijuana withdrawal include:
- drinking plenty of water
- reducing the amount of fat eaten
- reducing or eliminating caffeine consumption
- warm baths
Detoxing from marijuana may take a long time because many of its compounds remain in the body.
TetraHydroCannabinol is the most active chemical constituent of the cannabis plant, which is responsible for the drug’s psychological effects. Once ingested, this substance is carried throughout the body by the bloodstream and, being metabolized, is stored in the lipid tissues known as fat. The more fat a person has, the more THC he or she can store.
How Long Does THC Stay in the Body?
No one can accurately say how long THC can be present in the human body since time significantly varies depending on many different factors, such as a person’s weight, age, metabolism, amount and potency of marijuana, and how often it is consumed. On average, THC can be detected in the urine of a casual user for 2–5 days, 1–2 weeks for normal users, and up to one month for heavy users. In the blood, marijuana usually stays only 1–2 days, about 24 hours in saliva, and up to 4 weeks in sweat. Finally, in the hair it stays for much longer period of time — hair follicle test can go back up to 3 months.
How Does It Leave the Body?
THC, as well as other cannabinoids such as CBD, and their metabolites are removed from the system with body wastes, e.g., feces, urine, and sweat. When they leave the body, user may experience mild or severe withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, irritability, decrease in appetite, abdominal pain, sleep difficulties, headache, depression, and others.
How to Get THC Out of Your System Faster
Since we know that traces of marijuana are stored in fat and removed from the body with feces, urine, and other waste products, we can use this to speed up and facilitate the withdrawal process. There are few really efficient and scientifically proven methods to get marijuana out of your system, but the most reliable are:
- Drinking Water. Increase of fluid intake naturally accelerates urination, thus helping the body to get rid of toxins much faster. To detox from weed, it is recommended that you drink at least one gallon of pure water each day for 7 days in equal portions of 3 cups throughout the day. Other liquids, such as juices or beverages, can also be used, but pure water works better.
- Diuretics. Diuretics are usually used in combination with excessive fluid intake. They help a person urinate more and therefore speed up detoxification.
- High Fiber Diet. Since most of THC is removed from the body with feces, products that stimulate bowel movement are also useful for marijuana detox. Eat more beans, fruits, and vegetables, and stay away from foods that are high in fat content. Fatty foods disrupt any detoxing process.
- Sauna. Sweat is also a way out for marijuana remnants as well as all other toxins although to a lesser extent than urine and feces. Anything that makes you sweat, for example, a sauna, will help you achieve your goal.
- Exercise. This is one of the most effective natural ways to get weed out of your body and also improves physical fitness and health. An intensive workout helps break down the fat cells and therefore eliminates THC stored there. Exercise also leads to sweating and excessive drinking, which also help clean out your system. The most recommended exercises are rebounding, running, swimming, and bicycling.
How to Detox for a Marijuana Drug Test
Detoxification from marijuana to prepare for a drug test is completely different from cleansing for all other purposes. As long as usual marijuana detox is a long-term goal and takes a lot of time, it is inappropriate for drug testing that requires a fast cleanse and instant results in the form of a clean urine sample. That’s why preparing for a drug test means using completely different methods.
For example, exercises are not only useless but can also even have adverse effects for a drug test because they release THC from the body fat into the urine, thus increasing the concentration of its metabolites in a testing sample. Exercising before a drug test actually decreases chances to test negative. A high-fiber diet and sauna are also ineffective because they take too much time to achieve results.