Will smoking one joint show up on a drug test?
The short answer is: it depends. Many factors affect how long weed (cannabis) stays in your body from one hit or more. When you smoke or consume cannabis, these compounds enter your bloodstream through your lungs or digestive tract. Your body then processes them through its normal channels to be excreted along with everything else you’ve consumed—which means if you’ve been smoking weed regularly, traces could remain in your system for much longer than a single day. I’ve often consumed an edible and don’t notice the physical effects until hours (see the video), sometimes even days later. Usually, I experience a case of the munchies, and it’s a sign my body hasn’t rid of the THC and forces me to wonder how long weed stays in my body after exposure to cannabis.
Is there a way to test how long weed stays in your body?
The easy answer is yes; however, testing for how long weed stays in your body after one hit or more and time accuracy depends entirely on the individual. These results depend on how much cannabis you consume and what you’ve eaten. Other factors that affect how long weed stays in your body include the amount of THC consumed, frequency and method of consumption, overall health and metabolism, gender, and age. The best way to see how long weed stays in your body is by doing drug tests after consuming cannabis.
What’s the Difference Between THC and CBD?
THC and CBD are the primary and most common cannabinoids in cannabis plants and substances. Both have medicinal benefits but can have different effects on your body and remain in your system for varying amounts of time.
CBD (cannabidiol) is non-psychoactive, which means it doesn’t make you high. It has been shown to help reduce inflammation and pain in people with severe health conditions. According to Healthline, CBD is not a metabolite screened for on drug tests nor a legal indicator of cannabis consumption if found in the system unless it contains traces of THC. Meaning the CBD-based substance’s quality may be compromised with THC during production. So it’s crucial to ensure that you review product labelling and there are quality assurances in place to ensure that the product you purchased is a reliable source.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is psychoactive because it activates receptors in your brain similar to dopamine or serotonin. Which are neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of pleasure and happiness, among other things – making consumers feel euphoric when consuming products containing THC, commonly referred to as feeling or being high. But the real question is, how long does weed stay in your body after one hit? After the high wears off or the psychoactive effects wear away, are there still traces of cannabis in your body that can be detected?
How do cannabis drug tests work?
When screening for cannabis, THC-COOH is the metabolite that affects how long cannabis remains in your system after you’ve consumed cannabis. All drug tests will test for this metabolite to indicate the presence of cannabis in your body. While it is possible to detect THC (the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis) in your system after being exposed to cannabis, there is no single way or method to determine whether someone has recently consumed cannabis.
Drug tests use various methods and detection times based on the type of test used, and each test can bring varied results and, therefore, will have different lengths of time for cannabis to be entirely cast out of your system. Here are some testing methods and a general estimate of how long cannabis will still be detectable in your system based on the drug test.
Blood testing for THC is the most reliable way to detect cannabis in your system and can give you an approximate idea of how long weed stays in your body. It’s done by taking a blood sample and sending it to a lab, which analyzes the sample for active THC in your bloodstream. Still, blood testing isn’t always reliable for determining if someone might have consumed cannabis earlier than 24 hours ago.
For example, if someone has been smoking daily for several weeks or months, the concentration of cannabinoids (including THC) will be higher than that found in someone who only smoked once two days earlier. It also depends on how much they consume and how efficiently their body processes these substances; sometimes, it could take longer than 24 hours before THC traces are detected through blood testing alone.
Urine testing is the most common and least expensive method of detecting THC in the body. Urine tests can detect drugs for up to 3 days afterwards, depending on how much weed you smoke and how long your system takes to process it. When smoking a joint, THC travels from your lungs into your bloodstream, circulating throughout your body.
When blood levels peak, they typically drop within three hours; however, traces can remain in urine up to 30 days after consuming cannabis. However, the average detection time for cannabis is between 2 and 7 days; this timeframe usually depends on how frequently you smoke, your body weight, and your general health.
Hair testing can detect traces of THC in your system up to 90 days after smoking a joint or consuming edibles. But unlike blood testing, hair tests won’t tell you exactly how much THC was in your body at the time of testing—only that you consumed cannabis recently enough for it to show up in your hair. Hair follicles grow new hairs every three months, so this method of drug testing provides an average picture of how often you consume cannabis over 1–3 months instead of a snapshot at one specific moment like urine or saliva.
Saliva testing is another method to detect THC, and it is easier to administer but is less precise than blood or urine. So long as you haven’t eaten anything in that time that could mask the weed in your system, saliva tests can detect cannabis consumption within the last day or two. A saliva sample takes just 2 minutes and can detect cannabis within 12 hours of consumption.
So, how long does weed stay in your body?
There is no clear or solid answer for how long weed stays in your body after consuming cannabis. Although you can test for weed in your body, how long cannabis stays in your body varies. Many factors affect how long cannabis can remain in your system, depending on your consumption method, frequency of consumption, and general health, such as age, metabolism, and body weight.
However, despite drug testing and all of the factors that affect the presence of cannabis in your body, it should be clear that when consuming cannabis, individuals must exercise safe and responsible consumption practices. Whether a veteran or a social consumer, be aware of your body’s reaction to the substance, take precautions, and make accommodations around your consumption lifestyle.
Tell us in the comments how long you think cannabis stays in your body after one hit or from one sesh. We’d love to know how you know.
Please note this article is written for general and public education purposes only. However, we conducted our research on this topic from sources that are believed to be reliable. We do not claim the information presented here is accurate. The team at Very Jessica Fung is in no way responsible for injury, loss, or damage, personal or otherwise, that could occur when consuming cannabis and/or drugs. If you or someone you know is experiencing drug addiction, please contact your local drug addiction helpline.