Marijuana Is Quickly Metabolized But THC Metabolites Can Linger
The high of smoking marijuana can disappear within a couple of hours, but the actual mechanism that gets one high can be detected in the system for weeks and even months depending on the frequency and quantity used.
The active property in marijuana – Tetrahydrocannabinol, delta-9-THC or simply THC - enters one’s bloodstream soon after absorbing via marijuana smoke inhalation or oral ingestion.
THC is typically only detectable in the bloodstream for 2-4 hours because it is quickly metabolized into molecules known as metabolites. There are at the very least 80 different THC metabolites formed from this process. As you likely know, these THC metabolites are stored in fat and gradually released through the body’s excretion systems (urine, feces and sweat).
Because cannabis metabolites stay in the blood for a short time, testing blood for marijuana is not used very often. A urinalysis screen is much more common when administering a drug test (accounting for approximately 75% of all pre-employment drug tests).
How Long Can THC Metabolites Be Detected By Labs?
Some THC metabolites have an elimination half-life of less than 24 hours. Most credentialed experts agree the remainder is stored in body fat and won’t be released for 15 to 30 days (at which time it is detectable). This of course is dependent on how often a person smokes, how much they smoke and their metabolism (diet and exercise). Some steady smokers have reported positive drug test results as long as 2 since last use and heavy users have reported positive tests 3 months after the last time they smoked.
Accuracy of a Urinalysis Screen?
False positives are rare for cannabis due to how commonly it’s tested (because of how often its used). Labs are very sophisticated and kept up to date on how individuals cheat these tests. The laboratory first screens the sample with an immunoassay screen (also called an EMIT and or RIA). False positives are rare because if a positive result is returned, the sample is again screened with a (GCMS, which is much more costly but also much more accurate
Can You Cheat Your Drug Screen?
There are a lot of suggestions online about how to cheat a drug test; labs are well aware of these and thus they rarely work. Some of the common recommendations for cheating include:
- Dilution - This includes drinking a lot of water and urinating several times before the test. This is helpful for lowering THC levels in your system but would not be a fail safe.
- Masking Agents - Some companies sell various substances that mask a drug sample. These typically return false positives and require the lab to legally take a second sample, one which the individual often fails.
- Tampering - This requires adding something to the urine to contaminate it and through off the lab results. Like above, this will only return a false positive and require the lab to legally take a second sample, one which most certainly the individual will fail.
If you have to take a urine screen for employment or other purposes then we highly recommend you do a full detox and not attempt to "cheat" the test. Natural ways to detox include:
1. Abstain from inhaling or ingesting marijuana.
2. Eat a clean diet that is low in carbohydrates and sugar.
3. Drink lots of water and green tea.
5. Get a detox kit.
True detox kits that remove detectable THC metabolites from your system are a way of filling the gap that detoxing naturally can't. If you're short on time (less than a week or two) or would like more confidence going into your drug test, then we recommend Verdant Herbal's 48 Hour THC Detox Kit. Verdant Herbal's detox kit is a unique THC cleanse that has evolved over the past 8 years using customer research, feedback and independent studies done within the industry. They have isolated the most effective ingredients and brought them all together into one comprehensive formula using only pharmaceutical grade (certified) natural extracts.
Remember, when preparing for a drug screen, time is your friend. If you're short on time, then extra measures should be taken to ensure you pass your test without any issues. Good luck to all!