There are many jobs in this day and age that continue to subject their workers to random drug tests. There are also other reasons you may have to deal with a drugs test, for example if you are being tested for sports, etc.
While certain tests don’t really care if you test positive for the likes of marijuana, for the most part it is a big deal. Therefore, you need to know everything about these tests and what you can do to ensure that you prepare in the best way possible when you are facing one yourself.
While some people end up giving up marijuana consumption completely if they are regularly being tested, for most people this isn’t really an option. Therefore, educating yourself about these tests is the next best thing you can do.
The role of THC in the body
Perhaps the most famous compound in the cannabis plant is THC. This is the compound that is the main psychoactive element, and it is the one which gives you the high associated with consuming marijuana.
As it is fat soluble, it can be found in the body’s fat cells after you consume cannabis. As a result, tests will be able to identify the presence of THC in your blood, fingernails, hair, urine and saliva. This is the compound that a tester will be looking to identify when they are administering a drug test.
The way that THC operates is by attaching itself to cannabinoid receptors that are found in the brain. This leads to certain sensations becoming enhanced, occasionally including paranoia and food cravings.
The quickest way that the body absorbs THC is by smoking marijuana, which is also the most popular consumption method. It can take as little as 9 minutes for THC to hit peak levels in the body after smoking it. Marijuana can also come in an infusion or edible form. These options are not as popular as smoking, and they also take longer for the body and mind to feel the effects.
How long will THC remain inside your body?
This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on a variety of variables. For the most part, the half-life of THC is around one week.
After the week has finished, the metabolites, which are the products that result from the breakdown of THC, will be halved. In total, the body doesn’t get rid of all the THC for between 3 and 4 weeks in most cases.
People who consume marijuana regularly will have the THC in their system longer than those who only sporadically consume it. If the quantity of marijuana that you smoke in a given session is high, the THC will remain present for longer periods.
Certain types of weed contain higher amounts of THC in them depending on the strain, which will lead to the THC staying in your body for longer.
Lifestyle factors can also play a role on how long THC stays in your body, such as your diet, the amount of exercise you do, and your metabolism.
Some people like to try and detox their body in different ways, as it is thought that this may help with ridding their body of THC much quicker than if they let the body naturally process it.
Methods of drug testing
As mentioned, the presence of THC can be detected in a variety of different areas of the body. Different tests look at different things, as demonstrated below.
The urine test is by far the most common type of testing procedure that you will see. This is because it is the cheapest way to test, it is very easy to collect, anyone is able to collect it, and THC stays in urine longer than any other type of testing method.
Approximately 75% of all drug tests are going to be urine tests. These tests will not be looking for THC itself; rather they look for the presence of THC-COOH, which is the main product created in the breakdown of THC.
Usually, the person being tested will need to go to a facility away from their place of work whereby they will have their sample collected and will be subsequently screened. Another popular method that is becoming more common by the day is by using screening on-site and then sending away the samples to be tested.
As a rough guideline, the presence of THC for a one-time user of marijuana will be there for about 5-8 days following consumption, 11-18 days following consumption for those who use it occasionally, 33-48 days for those who use it regularly and up to 90 days for those who use marijuana on a daily basis.
Testing through hair
The hair follicle test is one of the more expensive forms of testing, but it is effective and is usually used for scenarios which are highly sensitive.
Only one inch of hair is required, whether it is from the person’s leg, arm, pubic region or scalp. These tests will be able to identify the presence of marijuana between one week and 3 months following the consumption of cannabis.
Recent studies do show that there can be false positive for marijuana when using this test due to subjects being exposed to cannabis second-hand.
Testing the blood
The test for identifying the presence of THC in the blood is a bit harder to administer, so it is not as popular. For people who only occasionally use marijuana, THC will be present in the blood for between 6-24 hours.
Following this length of time, the THC will enter the liver to be metabolized and then dispersed throughout the cells. For people who frequently use marijuana, it will be identifiable in the blood for up to a week.
As a result of the somewhat limited screening period, it is not really used often. Most of the time, this testing method is employed for people who are involved in DUI incidents.
When it comes to testing saliva, it is extremely easy to collect and is one of the favorite options for employers. All you need to do is take a swab of the inside of the subject’s mouth, which is very easy to do. This is the shortest detection period of time for THC, with its presence remaining just for the initial 24 hours after consumption.
As there are different forms of drug tests, you should be informed about whichever particular test you will be facing. This will allow you to tailor your approach to consuming marijuana depending on which testing method you are going to be subjected to.
While there are a lot of companies out there promoting all sorts of detox products that are supposed to clear THC out of your system quicker, there have been little to no studies on these methods, so they are probably not something you should bank on working.