The main active ingredient of marijuana (dried Cannabis sativa plant) is tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC). This very substance is responsible for the mind-altering effects after marijuana is used by a person. It’s not necessary to only smoke a cigarette with the drug – cannabis can be ingested in other forms too. THC and other chemicals will enter the body anyway and stay there for a period of time.
When marijuana is inhaled by a smoker, the THC goes straight to his (her) lungs. The lungs’ surface is covered with millions of alveoli, responsible for gas exchange in the organism. The surface area is really vast, covering a much larger surface then the skin. That’s the reason of the absorbing process being so rapid and easy. Seconds after the inhalation the lungs absorb the smoke and the active chemicals, which continue their way through the blood to the brain.
After the THC has entered the body it can be stored as chemical remnants or cannabinoids in person’s:
And these are where the cannabinoids can be found during the drug tests. How long do the remnants stay there?
Fat tissue is the main storage for THC. From the fat cells it slowly spreads to the blood. Recent scientific research found out that exercise causes the chemical release into the blood. In a regular smoker’s fat cells marijuana can stay up to a month and its presence there is in close connection with metabolism process. If the person is overweight and the metabolism process goes slow, it may stay even longer.
THC remains in the blood for about a week. It depends again on the frequency of marijuana use. Cannabinoid remnants can be spotted in urine even after a long period of the person’s withdrawal. Again, THC can be still found there even after thirty days.
Even after one stops using marijuana the chemical traces linger in the body cells. The time needed for total detoxication varies and depends on:
- the amount, frequency and method used;
- the person’s weight and metabolism rate;
- the concentration of THC in the drug taken.
If you are going to take a drug test for marijuana, there are is an essential thing that is important to know. The product of metabolism of THC is 9-carboxy-THC. It can still be detected in the body’s blood and fat even after the common THC isn’t detected any longer. This is the reason why drug tests, especially those checking urine, are aiming at detecting 9-carboxy-THC.