These days, especially in the US, companies can do random drug tests on their current and prospective employees. And we’re sure you’ve probably seen the drug testing for sports events on TV. You may be wondering, how long does marijuana stay detectable in the body?
The answer to that question is: it really depends. How often you use it, the potency of the marijuana (also known as cannabis, weed or pot) used and whether you smoke or eat it are all factors affecting its detection. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or simply THC, is the active chemical in marijuana which enters the bloodstream quickly after marijuana use. It’s rapidly converted into THC metabolites. Being fat soluble, THC metabolites are stored in fat cells and will only gradually leave the body through urination or defecation, which is why marijuana takes longer to be fully flushed out of the body than other common drugs. The stronger the marijuana, the more THC it has.
If you ingest marijuana, such as mixing it in food or drinking it as a tea rather than smoke it, a longer time (usually between 30 minutes and one hour) is needed for you to feel ‘high’.
According to an estimate by the US National Drug Court Institute, a first-timer or occasional user would probably test positive for up to four days after the last marijuana use; 10 days for a frequent user; and as long as one or two months for a heavy user.
Are marijuana tests effective?
Most private employers in the US have the right to test their employees or job applicants for a range of substances. The THC urine drug test is one of the most common tests for marijuana use. The laboratory first screens the urine sample by mixing it with specific chemicals. If the result returns positive, the sample is tested for the second time using a sophisticated gas chromatograph mass spectrometer (GCMS) method. As this method produces very accurate results, false positives for marijuana use are extremely rare.
Can you fool the test?
Many urban legends of beating the marijuana urine test run rampant online and in magazines. These include a water flushing method which requires massive amounts of water to be drunk 24 hours before the test and urinating at least once before the test. This method may only dilute the amount of THC in the urine, it doesn’t however, totally get rid of it. Besides, force-drinking a lot of water within a short period of time may lead to water poisoning or water intoxication, a potentially fatal condition.
Avoid marijuana abuse
Though marijuana has been used as medicine to treat certain diseases or symptoms, the US Drug and Food Administration (FDA) has yet to approve its use for medical purposes. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, research suggests that 30% of users may develop a certain degree of dependence on marijuana. Addiction may even occur in severe cases.
There are short and long-term effects of marijuana abuse. Short-term effects include altered senses as well as impairments in memory and physical movements. Long-term damage may include mental illnesses, depression and anxiety.
Ultimately, although there is much supporting evidence for medicinal marijuana, the conventional view is that marijuana use may lower the quality of life and adversely impact your health. Use with care, if you must.