March 14, 2022

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System?

A sand timer is measuring how much time marijuana stays in your system for.

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Weed is likely the most common name for a popular recreational substance called Marijuana. Users take the dried leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant and smoke it in cigarettes, blunts (larger, cigar-like forms), pipes, or water pipes. Vaporizers are also popular for inhaling marijuana smoke. A common question is, “How long does weed (marijuana) stay in your system?”

The fact that this question is even raised reveals that users know there are negative health effects. Nevertheless, there is a strong movement in the United States to legalize its use for recreational purposes, and to a lesser extent, medical uses. In states where its sale is legal, it is often mixed into food, including:


      • Brownies

      • Cookies

      • Gum

      • Candy

      • Tea

    It is important to note that recreational use of marijuana is legal in 16 states and Washington, D.C. In 19 states, medicinal use of marijuana is legal for specific patients. However, under federal law, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse, lack any medical value, and cannot be safely prescribed.


    Marijuana is a psychoactive substance, meaning that it causes an altered state of mind. In fact, it is this altered state of consciousness that users seek to experience. The culprit causing this psychoactive state is THC, or delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol. It is one of over 490 constituents of marijuana.

    Marijuana (weed) plant

    Because THC causes this state of altered consciousness, marijuana is classified as a drug. The more THC that a person ingests, the more harm is possible. Although discounted by many, especially those proponents of legalizing its use, marijuana is addictive.


        • 1-in-6 people who start using the drug before the age of 18 can become addicted.

        • 1-in-10 adults who use the drug can become addicted.

      The length of time marijuana can be detected in your system varies, according to the strength of the THC you have ingested and your rate of usage. A one-time user may only be detectable for a day or two. In regular users, marijuana can be detected from 1 to 90 days. It can be detected in the hair of a daily user for several months.


      Marijuana use is dangerous to a person’s mental and physical health. Prolonged use can have long-term effects on health, and can lead to other powerful addictions. Because many users become bored with the “high” obtained from marijuana, they are more likely to experiment with stronger, even more addictive and harmful drugs.

      panic attacks young girl

      Marijuana can affect your daily life, slowing reactions, cognizant brain functions, and information processing. This can influence your performance at work and at school. It can impact your relationships with loved ones and others. Driving while in a mind-altered state can be extremely dangerous, raising your risk for serious or fatal accidents.

      Marijuana can also affect:


          • Brain health — Marijuana causes permanent loss of “IQ points” (up to 8 when using from youth), which do not regenerate even after stopping use.

          • Mental health — Research proves that marijuana use is linked to anxiety, depression, psychotic spells and even suicidal thoughts and attempts.

          • Physical health — Research also shows that marijuana use over time affects movement, coordination, and timing, harming your physical abilities for work, sports, and leisure.

          • Pregnancy — Marijuana use while pregnant is proven to raise the risks for premature birth, stillbirth, fetal growth restriction, and poor cognitive function in the baby. The THC in marijuana can also be transferred to your baby through your milk, impacting its development.

        Prolonged use of marijuana keeps harmful substances in your body that can be detected longer, creating potential problems at work, school, and in other circumstances. Plus, the debilitating effects on your physical and mental health are not worth the desired benefit.


        The amount of time weed can linger in the body depends on a few different factors, including the amount and frequency of use, how it’s being consumed, and the how each individual’s body processes the drug. THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, is metabolized and eliminated from the body at different rates depending on these factors.

        In general, THC can be detected in the body for up to 30 days after the last use for frequent users, while those who only use it every so often will probably only have detectable levels for up to 10 days. However, this is just a general guideline, and results may vary person to person.


        It’s also important to consider that even after the effects of weed (marijuana) wear off, THC can still be present in the body and can impact things like cognitive function and driving ability. It’s also important to consider the legal implications of drug testing, as THC can be detected in urine, blood, and hair samples.

        Overall, it’s best to be aware of how long weed can last in the body and to use it responsibly and in moderation. If you have any concerns or questions, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider.

        Need Help With A Weed (Cannabis) Addiction? Help is Available at Gratitude Lodge

        Contact the team at Gratitude Lodge for more information about drug addiction recovery and help with sober living.

        How long does marijuana stay in your system FAQs

        No matter what advertisements claim, there’s no fast way to get rid of marijuana from your body. The only surefire way is to stop using it completely.

        Getting marijuana out of your system can take some time, ranging from a few days to a few weeks. However, for most people, it can be detected in their body for about 3 to 7 days. But, if someone has been using it regularly for a long time, it might be detectable for up to 3 months.

        Yes, using weed/marijuana just once can produce a positive drug test. Studies indicate that single exposure to marijuana in nonusers can show up on a drug test for up to 3 days after initial use.

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        Joe Gilmore

        Joseph Gilmore

        Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
        Jenni Bussi

        Jenni Russe MS, LPCC

        Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

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