Cannabis, also known as marijuana (among other names) is one of the most common drugs used worldwide. Nowadays, in a lot of countries and some states in America, cannabis is being prescribed to manage various medical conditions. 

However, the big question here is, how long does the effects of marijuana or cannabis last? Or how long before cannabis leaves the system entirely? Keep on reading to find out.

What are the Effects of Cannabis On the Human Body? 

Cannabis can have varying long-term and short-term effects. Some of these effects can be considered beneficial, while others require a more careful approach. 

The two main components that give cannabis its signature effects are known as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Of these two, THC is the main psychoactive compound that gives the ‘high’. 

Whereas CBD is most commonly associated with reducing pain and inflammation. It’s not responsible for giving the ‘high’, which is why most medical cannabis has higher levels of CBD than THC. 

The effects of cannabis can fade within hours, but the most common short term effects are: 

  • Mental and physical relaxation 
  • Heightened senses of sound and sight
  • Increased giddiness 
  • Feeling hungry
  • Creativity and focus

It’s important to note that these effects are only possible with higher levels of THC as compared to CBD. 

For some people, cannabis can have some different side effects such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty in coordination 
  • Increases heart rate
  • Blood pressure

How Long Do These Effects Last?

The effects of cannabis can last from 2 to 3 hours to a maximum of 15 hours, depending on the quality of cannabis and the amount of THC. It’s important to note that these can vary from person to person as their body metabolizes the substances at different rates. 

Other factors include:

  • Frequency of cannabis usage
  • The rate of release of the cannabinoids or THC from the tissue
  • Dose of THC intake
  • Amount of cannabis used
  • Hydration levels

How Long Before Cannabis Leaves The System Entirely?

Even though the effects of cannabis go away within hours, the drug can be detected in the body for weeks and even at times, months! 

The time it takes for the active ingredients to be metabolized and broken down by the body can vary from person to person. However, the active cannabis ingredients can be detected in the body for up to 90 days. 

In order to check whether cannabis is in the system or not can be done via tests such as:

  • Urine test can detect cannabis for 30 to 45 days
  • Blood test can detect cannabis for 60 to 75 days
  • Hair follicle test can detect cannabis for upto 90 days

So by looking at these, it’s safe to assume that for cannabis to leave the system completely, it can take upto 90 days. There are other factors that contribute to this timeline. 

Common cannabis tests are done using a urine test

Cannabis Detected in the Urine

When testing the presence of cannabis in the urine, the amounts of time are as follows:

  • Those who take cannabis 3 times a week on an occasional basis have cannabis present in the urine for 3 days.
  • Those who intake for around 4 times a week can have the cannabis detected for around 7 days
  • For chronic or heavy users, those who take it daily and on multiple occasions, it can be detected for 15 to 30 days. 

The cannabis metabolites get attached to fat molecules as they are fat soluble. Because of this, the time it takes for them to be metabolized and leave the system can take time. 

Cannabis Detected in the Blood

For occasional users, cannabis can take 3 to 5 days to leave the system. Blood tests have shown that for chronic and heavy users, cannabis can last for up to 75 days in the blood. When cannabis is ingested or inhaled, it is immediately absorbed in the blood and broken down. Because it binds to the fat molecules in the bloodstream, the cannabis metabolites remain in the blood for days.

Saliva Detection

Cannabis can be detected in the saliva as well. It can be detected in the saliva even when exposed to smoke but that’s only detectable for a day or two. However, for occasional and chronic users , it can take for 3 to as long as 30 days to clear the system. 

Saliva is most common for roadside testing.

Hair Follicle Detection

Cannabis metabolites can reach the hair follicles through the blood vessels. Because hair grows as much as 1 inch to as low as 0.5 inch every month, the trace amounts of cannabis can still be detected in hair taken close to the scalp. 

How Long Before Cannabis is Metabolized and Excreted from the System?

The active ingredient in cannabis, THC, gets stored in the body among the fat tissues around different organs. When blood enters the kidneys, THC is reabsorbed back into the blood. 

THC has more than 80 metabolites which are broken down in the liver. Even though THC leaves the system, it’s these metabolites that are still present in the bloodstream that can get detected. They’re eventually metabolized and excreted through stool and urine. 

How to Speed Up the Process 

There are no scientifically proven ways of speeding up the process of metabolizing cannabis faster so it leaves the system as quickly as possible. The best thing you can do is to let your body get to work. 

Some detox suggestions that may help include:

  • Drinking a lot of water 
  • Herbal teas such as green tea 
  • Dietary supplements like milk thistle, vitamin B3 and vitamin B-12
  • Cranberry juice 
  • Eating healthy and daily exercising

Even though these are not proven methods, they may help in hastening the metabolization of cannabis in the system. 

If you have a drug detection test coming up, using a herbal supplement like creatinine can mask the presence of cannabis in the system. 

Regardless of the case, once cannabis has been ingested into the system, it can take time for it to leave. Depending on the level of intake and how often it is inhaled or ingested, the short term effects will take a few hours to go away. As for the cannabis in the system, depending on which part of the body is used for detection, it can take weeks and even upto 3 months to leave the system entirely.

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