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CANNABIS SEPTEMBER 05, 2022

How Long Does Cannabis Stay in Your System?

The duration that cannabis stays in your system can vary greatly depending on several factors such as the frequency and quantity of use, your body's metabolism, and your body fat percentage. Generally, a one-time user may test positive for up to 6 days, while heavy users can test positive for up to 30 days, and in extreme cases, even up to 90 days. Remember, these are averages, and individual results can significantly differ.

 

Mining, truck driving, and using heavy machinery are all jobs where you don't want to be "high" while working. Still, Australia has many other industries that will test employees for drugs, including cannabis. Are you a medical patient approved for a script via the SAS scheme? Or maybe you are a casual weekend cannabis enthusiast who likes to consume socially; the truth is it doesn't matter how cannabis gets into your system, as cannabis tests happen in the workplace. We get a tonne of questions on this topic. We have put together this article for everyone who is considering consuming cannabis. Have anxiety and considered using cannabis as a treatment? Read all the details here.

 

The Evolution of Drug Testing

 

Drug testing, a critical tool for law enforcement agencies and healthcare providers, began in earnest in the mid-20th century. The advent of breath tests for alcohol detection in drivers in the 1960s marked a significant milestone in traffic safety. However, the late 20th century saw the landscape of drug testing evolve into its modern form.

 

The Rise of Workplace Drug Testing

 

The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 in the United States mandated federal contractors and grantees to establish drug-free workplace policies. This led to increased pre-employment and random drug testing initiatives, which soon spread across various industries and, later, to other countries.

 

Advancements in Drug Testing Techniques

 

The late 20th and early 21st centuries witnessed significant advancements in drug testing techniques. Innovative hair and oral fluid analysis techniques complemented the most common methods, including urine, blood, and breath tests. As technology evolved, the tests became more precise, detecting a more comprehensive range of substances and their metabolites.

 

Drug Testing and Professional Sports

 

The professional sports world has a long and complex history with drug testing. The use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports became a significant concern in the mid-20th century. The International Olympic Committee introduced drug testing at the Olympic Games in 1968 to tackle this issue, setting the stage for forming the World Anti-Doping Agency in 1999, which was dedicated to fighting drug use in sports through rigorous testing and strict regulations.

 

Unmasking Cannabis - Different Types of Drug Tests

 

Cannabis Buds And A Microscope

 

Cannabis can be detected in the body in many ways. Several tests can be used, each offering a unique approach. Let's dive into the specifics.

 

Urine Tests: The Telltale Metabolite

 

The most common method of drug testing is a urine test. Here, we're looking for the primary metabolite of THC, THC-COOH, which is stored in your body fat. A urine test doesn't measure the amount of THC you've consumed but rather the non-psychoactive byproducts after THC is metabolised. For this reason, urine tests can detect cannabis use days or even weeks after ingestion, particularly in regular users.

 

Blood Tests: Catching THC Red-Handed

 

Blood tests are typically more invasive but can detect THC and its metabolites. Unlike urine tests, blood tests can indicate recent use, as THC is detectable in the bloodstream within seconds of inhalation. However, THC is metabolised rapidly, so it's only detectable in blood for a short period, typically a few hours, although sometimes up to a day.

 

Saliva Tests: Uncovering Recent Use

 

Saliva tests are primarily used to detect very recent cannabis use. These tests are becoming more popular because they're non-invasive and easy to administer. THC is typically present in saliva for only a short period, up to 24 hours in most cases, but can be up to 72 hours with heavier or more frequent use.

 

Hair Tests: Revealing a History of Use

 

While less common, hair tests can reveal a history of cannabis use. As your body metabolises THC, the metabolites are circulated in the blood and then incorporated into the hair follicle. Once there, they enter the hair strands, where they remain. As a result, the test can reveal cannabis use up to 90 day days after your last use.


Each type of drug test has its strengths and weaknesses, and the choice of test will depend on various factors, such as the timeline of use being investigated and the resources and time available for testing. These tests play a vital role in understanding substance use and helping individuals and communities make informed choices about health and safety.

 

Where Will I Get Tested for Cannabis?

 

Testing for cannabis can happen in many ways in Australia; workplace drug testing is the most common question we get asked. These tests can be random or result from a workplace health and safety issue, i.e., you fall down the stairs, and your workplace has mandatory drug testing for any accidents. Most workplaces will notify employees before a drug test occurs but not always. For those that live on-site in mines, for example, these tests can be widespread and unannounced. It pays to check your company policies regarding your rights, who can test you, and when and for which substances.

 

Roadside drug tests have become commonplace in Australia, and each state or territory has a different rollout and implementation program. These roadside tests cost around $6 per test. In Victoria, only highway patrol officers can give a drug test to a motorist. When you get stopped at a drug testing roadblock, for the most part, they are testing alcohol levels. Still, highway patrol officers will always be present to examine any specific cars for drugs, including other narcotics such as methamphetamine.

 

As you can imagine, the cost of these tests means the government will not bulk test motorists regularly, but be careful. At the same time, on the road, if you have ingested any drug - it is vital for your safety and others. We spoke to three police officers recently about this topic, and they all echoed the same opinion - we only stop a motorist to give a drug test if there is an undeniable reason to do so. That means no hotboxing the car on the freeway! We have put together an article that explains why you would want to use CBD only here.

 

Cannabis will stay in your system for up to three days for people who consume cannabis on odd occasions, consuming more than four times per week, and the detection of marijuana is possible for up to a week. 

 

Suppose you are a heavy user consuming cannabis daily. In that case, cannabis is detectable in your system for up to 30 days or more. This study also shows that for chronic cannabis consumers - think Snoop Dogg - marijuana could be noticeable in your system for much longer.  

 

Blood tests will identify cannabinoids like THC in just three hours. Reports have shown people testing positive for marijuana in a saliva roadside test eight days later and urine tests months after use. This is because of how your body handles cannabis; cannabinoids are absorbed into the fat, stored, and then released slowly into the bloodstream. 

 

Because cannabis builds up in your system, the more cannabis you consume, the longer it stays in your body and the higher the chance it's still in your bloodstream or urine, which is something to be aware of, primarily if your workplace conducts regular random drug tests. In case you need to test your animals, read about accessing CBD and Hemp for pets here.

 

Factors Influencing How Long Weed Stays in the System

 

Cannabis Flower With Smoke

 

Just as our bodies react differently to the food we eat, the workouts we do, and the sleep we get, how long weed stays in our system also varies from person to person. Many factors come into play; let's dive into the details.

 

Factor 1: Frequency and Quantity of Use

 

It's simple: the more frequently you use cannabis and the higher the quantity, the longer it's likely to stay in your system. THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, builds up in the body with each use. So if you're a regular user, it might take longer for your body to eliminate THC than an occasional user.

 

Factor 2: Body Fat Percentage

 

Remember how we said THC-COOH, the primary metabolite of THC, loves to hide in fat cells? Well, the more fat cells you have, the more storage space there is for THC-COOH. As a result, individuals with a higher body fat percentage might retain THC metabolites for more extended periods.

 

Factor 3: Metabolism

 

Everybody's metabolism is unique, just like our fingerprints. Metabolism speed affects how quickly our bodies process and eliminate substances, including THC. Faster metabolism equals quicker elimination.

 

Factor 4: Hydration

 

Staying hydrated may help speed up eliminating THC metabolites from your body, but it won't work miracles. However, drinking plenty of fluids can dilute your urine, which might make THC-COOH less detectable in a urine test.

 

Factor 5: The Strength of the Cannabis

 

Not all cannabis is created equal. Some strains are much stronger than others, meaning they contain higher levels of THC. Using potent cannabis could result in a longer detection window simply because there's more THC for your body to metabolise.

 

Factor 6: Physical Activity

 

Exercise can influence how quickly your body eliminates THC. Physical activity helps to burn fat, where THC metabolites are stored. However, intense exercise can also temporarily raise THC levels in the blood as it's released from fat storage.

 

Ultimately, how long weed stays in your system depends on many factors and will vary greatly from person to person. And while we can estimate a timeline, the most reliable way to know if you're clear of cannabis is through a drug test. 

 

In Short:

 

  • A one-time or very in-frequent cannabis user may positive for up to 6 days.

  • A moderate user (consistently, one-two days a week) may show positive for 7-13 days.

  • Frequent users can test positive for 15 days or more.

  • Heavy cannabis users can show positive for up to approximately 30 days.

  • In extreme cases, some heavy users have reported testing positive for 45-90 days after quitting.

 

Remember, these are just average times, and you personally could have vastly different test results. 

 

Can CBD and Other Cannabinoids Trigger a Drug Test?"

 

While the world of cannabis is vast and varied, the primary focus of drug tests is THC, the psychoactive compound responsible for the 'high' associated with marijuana use. However, what about CBD and other cannabinoids? Can they trigger a positive result on a drug test? Let's delve into the details.

 

Understanding CBD

 

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce a 'high' and is often used for its potential therapeutic benefits, such as pain relief, reducing anxiety, and improving sleep. CBD products can be derived from both marijuana and hemp plants, the latter being legal under federal law in many countries due to their low THC content.

 

CBD and Drug Tests

 

Most standard drug tests are designed to detect the presence of THC or its metabolites, not CBD. Therefore, pure CBD should not trigger a positive result on a drug test. However, the key word here is 'pure.' Not all CBD products are created equal; some may contain trace amounts of THC.

 

In countries where CBD products are legal, regulations allow for a certain amount of THC to be present in CBD products. For example, CBD products derived from hemp can legally contain up to 0.3% THC in the United States. While this is a relatively small amount, regular or heavy use of such CBD products could result in enough THC accumulation in the body to trigger a positive drug test.

 

Other Cannabinoids and Drug Tests

 

Besides CBD and THC, cannabis contains over a hundred other cannabinoids, such as CBN (cannabinol) and CBG (cannabigerol). These cannabinoids are typically present in much smaller amounts and are less well-studied. Most standard drug tests do not screen for these cannabinoids. However, it's worth noting that some of these compounds, like CBN, are similar in structure to THC, and there's a small chance they could trigger a false positive on a drug test, although this is relatively rare.

 

Ensuring CBD Purity

 

If you're using CBD products and are concerned about drug testing, there are a few steps you can take to ensure the purity of your CBD:

 

  • Check the Source: Ensure your CBD products are derived from legally grown hemp with a lower THC content than marijuana.

  • Read the Label: Look for 'THC-free' on the label. However, be aware that labelling can be inaccurate, and 'THC-free' does not always mean 100% free of THC.

  • Third-Party Testing: Look for products that a third-party lab has tested. These labs can verify the cannabinoid content of the product, including the level of THC.

 

While CBD and other cannabinoids are unlikely to trigger a positive result on a drug test, the potential presence of THC in CBD products could. If you're subject to drug testing, it's essential to be aware of this risk and take steps to ensure the purity of your CBD products.

 

What Are the Allowable Limits for Testing Cannabis in Australia? 

 

Currently, the allowable limit for cannabis or the cannabinoid THC (remember, the police do not have tests for other cannabinoids like CBD) is 25 nanograms per milligram of THC. Workplace tests can vary, but the companies we spoke with had tests ranging from 50mg/ml and below. If you know there is a requirement to take a test for work, asking what are the limits and type of test beforehand will help determine the appropriate action you can take to ensure the results are in your favour.

 

What Are the Types of Drug Tests for Cannabis in Australia?

 

Police in Australia conduct drug tests in three ways: blood, saliva, and urine. Currently, there's no testing for CBD and other cannabinoids in Australia as they are not psychoactive like THC. THC is the only one authorities are worried about.

 

An important note with blood tests, they also show up a host of other narcotic substances. They can provide a more in-depth analysis of your system for the organisation conducting the test. Don't drink and drive ever; this includes our award-winning cannabis gin! Grab a bottle now. 

 

Roadside cannabis tests in Australia and workplace tests are limited to THC only if you are a medical patient like us and use CBD-high products. The chance of you failing a drug test is minimal. All of our current product range is legal. It can be consumed without worrying about failing any tests; as always, stay safe while driving and if in doubt, catch an Uber! 

 

Need access to CBD? Read our step-by-step guide here.

 

Does CBD Oil Show in a Drug Test Australia?

No, CBD oil does not typically show up on a drug test in Australia. Drug tests primarily screen for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component in cannabis that induces a 'high'. CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in the same plant.

 

While CBD and THC are both cannabinoids, they interact differently with the human endocannabinoid system and have different effects on the body and mind. Because of these differences, standard drug tests are designed to detect THC and its metabolites, not CBD.

 

However, it's important to note that some CBD oils may contain trace amounts of THC, depending on the extraction process and the plant strain used. In such cases, if the concentration of THC is high enough, it could potentially result in a positive drug test. Therefore, it's crucial to ensure the CBD oil you use is from a reliable source and contains no or only legally acceptable trace amounts of THC, as regulated by Australian law.

 

Remember, laws and regulations regarding CBD and its use can vary, and it's always wise to stay informed about the rules in your specific location.

 

Myths and Facts About Flushing Weed from the System

 

Cannabis Plant Image

 

When flushing weed from your system, there's a lot of hearsay and conjecture. So, it's time to separate fact from fiction and shed some light on this topic.

 

Myth 1: Drinking Lots of Water Will Flush Weed Out Faster

 

Fact: While hydration is vital to overall health and can aid in the body's natural detoxification processes, drinking excess water won't speed up the elimination of THC metabolites from your body. It can dilute your urine, which might lower the concentration of metabolites in a urine test, but this is only temporary and doesn't affect the amount of THC metabolites in your body.

 

Myth 2: Exercise Before a Test Will Help You Pass

 

Fact: Although exercise can help burn fat where THC metabolites are stored, it won't rapidly clear cannabis from your system. In fact, exercising right before a drug test might increase the amount of THC metabolites in your bloodstream temporarily, as they're released from fat storage.

 

Myth 3: Detox Drinks and Kits Can Remove Weed From Your System Instantly

 

Fact: Many products claim to "cleanse" your system of cannabis, but there's no scientific evidence to back up these claims. Most of these detox drinks and kits are simply diuretics that make you urinate more, which might dilute your urine but don't speed up eliminating THC metabolites from your body.

 

Myth 4: Secondhand Smoke Can Make You Fail a Drug Test

 

Fact: While it's theoretically possible to fail a drug test from secondhand smoke, it's improbable under normal circumstances. You'd have to be in a poorly ventilated room with heavy cannabis smoke for an extended period to ingest enough THC to fail a test.

 

Myth 5: All Cannabis Users Will Test Positive for the Same Duration After Use

 

Fact: How long THC metabolites stay in your system depends on many factors, including frequency and quantity of use, body fat percentage, metabolism, and the potency of cannabis. Everyone's body processes substances differently so the detection window will vary from person to person.

 

Navigating the cannabis landscape can be tricky with so many myths out there. As always, your best bet is to be well-informed about the science and to use it responsibly. After all, when it comes to your body and your health, facts are your best friends!

 

Conclusion

 

As we have unpacked, understanding the complexities of cannabis use in Australia is a multi-faceted issue. From appreciating the diverse drug testing methods to recognising the impact of varying personal factors on how long weed stays in your system, it's clear that each individual's experience is unique.

 

Moreover, it's also vital to consider the laws and workplace policies that apply to you and the consequences of testing positive for THC. As the allowable limits vary across different settings, knowing your rights and responsibilities is essential.

 

Regarding flushing weed out of your system, we've busted some common myths and highlighted the importance of evidence-based information. There's no magic solution to remove THC metabolites from your body instantly; factors such as hydration, exercise, and detox products limit their effectiveness.

 

Finally, it's crucial to underscore that while there are guidelines on average detection windows, the exact length of time that cannabis can be detected in your system can vary significantly between individuals.

 

In the ever-evolving landscape of cannabis use, staying informed and making responsible choices is key. Whether you're a medical patient, a recreational user, or a curious bystander, knowledge empowers you to make decisions prioritising your health, safety, and well-being.

FAQs

How Accurate Are Drug Tests For Cannabis?

While no test is 100% accurate all of the time, drug tests for cannabis are generally reliable. However, factors such as the timing of the test, the type of test used, and the individual's metabolism can affect the results.

Can Medical Marijuana Patients Be Exempt From Workplace Drug Testing In Australia?

Even if you're a medical marijuana patient, you can still be subject to workplace drug testing. It's important to discuss your medication use with your employer to understand their policies.

Can I Refuse A Drug Test In Australia?

In most cases, refusing a drug test in a workplace or legal setting in Australia can have serious consequences, potentially including termination of employment or legal penalties. It's essential to understand your rights and responsibilities regarding drug testing.

How Long After Consuming Cannabis Can I Drive Safely?

The effects of cannabis can vary greatly depending on the individual and the amount consumed. Generally, it would be best not to drive for at least several hours after consuming cannabis. However, if you're a heavy or regular user, cannabis can be detectable in your system for much longer.

Can CBD trigger a positive result on a drug test?

Pure CBD should not trigger a positive result on a drug test as most tests are designed to detect THC, not CBD. However, some CBD products might contain trace amounts of THC, which could possibly trigger a positive result if used heavily or regularly.

Can drinking lots of water flush weed out faster?

While hydration is important for overall health, drinking excessive water won't speed up the elimination of THC metabolites from your body. It might dilute your urine temporarily, but it doesn't affect the amount of THC metabolites in your body.

Can secondhand smoke make me fail a drug test?

While theoretically possible, it's highly improbable to fail a drug test from secondhand smoke under normal circumstances. Extended exposure in a poorly ventilated room with heavy cannabis smoke would be required for enough THC ingestion to fail a test.

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