Josh Chandler | November 16, 2023

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in the Bloodstream?

Similar to any other substances, the length of time that marijuana stays in your bloodstream will depend on your unique circumstances and body. Several compounding factors can influence the time that marijuana remains in your system and it’s important to remember that your experience will depend on your specific history with marijuana use, your physical health, and how you process substances. As marijuana use becomes more prevalent in Western culture and there are ongoing changes to legal reforms about marijuana use along with an uptick in marijuana being used medicinally, it’s important to educate yourself about the use of cannabis to make informed decisions about your use of marijuana. Continue reading to understand THC, marijuana use disorder, and how to test for marijuana to ensure that you have the right information to make the best choices for you and your specific circumstances.


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The Growing Prevalence of Marijuana Use

Over the last decade, there has been a significant shift in the acceptance and prevalence of marijuana use. What was once a taboo subject has now become at the forefront of many legal reforms and has become a socially acceptable substance for recreational and medicinal purposes. As the prevalence of marijuana use continues to grow, many questions are arising about the impacts of long-term usage, understanding how long it stays in your bloodstream, and identifying concerns about developing a marijuana use disorder. To make the most informed decision on marijuana use and if it is right for you, it’s imperative to gain the knowledge and understanding of the effects and impacts so that you can make the best decision for you and your health. 

Understanding THC: The Active Compound of Marijuana

The key compound of marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC. This chemical compound is the acting agent that produces the plant’s psychoactive effects and is found within the leaves and flowering parts of the marijuana plant. THC will release dopamine within your brain and trigger the “feel good” emotions and responses including relaxed, euphoric states of mind and body. 

After smoking marijuana, THC enters through your lungs and into your bloodstream where your body absorbs this compound. The liver then metabolizes THC into metabolites before they are passed through urine or feces. Your body will metabolize THC differently and depending on the length of time that this process takes, marijuana will remain in your bloodstream for longer. 

Depending on the method in which you consume THC whether it be inhaling, vaping, concentrated oils, or in edible forms, the way your body metabolizes THC will vary. Each form of THC will be made with varying strengths and levels of THC will alter the period that THC remains in your bloodstream and how long you will experience immediate impacts and influences from marijuana usage. Other factors such as the frequency of your use and your unique metabolic rates can alter how your body processes and absorbs THC in your system. As you gain an understanding of the process of metabolization of THC in the body, you’ll be better able to grasp how long THC will remain in your bloodstream. 

Can You Overdose on Marijuana?

As the prevalence of marijuana continues to grow, there are many myths and unknowns about the effects and impacts of marijuana use. It is important to dispel any myths and provide accurate facts for users to make informed decisions about their use of marijuana. 

The current opioid epidemic has brought great concerns around substance use and the potential for overdose regarding other substances such as marijuana. Unlike other chemical substances, marijuana doesn’t pose a risk of fatal overdoses. This is due to the distribution of cannabinoid receptors in the brain that control functions like respiration that allow you to maintain vital functioning even while under the influence of marijuana. 

It is important to note that although the risk of overdose is low, there are still potential risks to be mindful of when engaging in marijuana consumption. There is potential for users to experience adverse effects of anxiety, paranoia, and impaired cognitive functioning when engaging in excessive use of marijuana. To mitigate these adverse effects, it’s critical to understand the dosing of marijuana to maintain recreational or medicinal usage without tipping over into an excessive amount that can pose a risk to your psychological health. 

how does your body process thc

Testing for Marijuana Presence: Detection Methods

The increase in the prevalence of marijuana use has raised concerns about the prevalence of detection methods for marijuana presence. Although some places have lifted the criminality and legality of marijuana use, it is important to note that marijuana is still a mind-altering substance that can influence your day-to-day life. In certain circumstances, the use of marijuana can be prohibited such as driving or while you’re working. In these cases, there may be protocols to test for the presence of marijuana. 

 There are several detection methods when testing for marijuana use. One common method for testing is through a urine test. Urine tests can detect marijuana metabolites for longer periods including up to weeks after the last time someone used marijuana. Hair tests are another method of detection that is based on historical usage so they can identify marijuana use after a longer period. If you’re seeking a testing process that provides immediate results, blood tests will provide data on recent usage of marijuana and offer quick detection windows.

It is important to understand how these detection processes work so that individuals undergoing testing are provided with accurate assessments and results that take into consideration their unique metabolic rates and personal history of marijuana use.  


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Marijuana Use Disorder: When Use Becomes Problematic

While there are many instances where individuals use marijuana recreationally or medicinally, there are times when some folks end up developing problematic usage of marijuana that can lead to Marijuana Use Disorder. It is important to understand the signs and indicators of Marijuana Use Disorder to know when it is time for someone to seek professional help to overcome their problematic use of marijuana. 

Marijuana Use Disorder is characterized by the consistent use of marijuana regardless of the consequences that may be occurring. Oftentimes, individuals living with a marijuana use disorder identify a desire to lower their consumption rates or quit entirely but find they no longer have control over their consumption. The impacts of a marijuana use disorder can include impaired mental health functioning, inability to maintain daily functioning, and a decrease in physical and psychological health. If you or someone you know is demonstrating signs of a marijuana use disorder, there is help available through addiction treatment programs that will provide early intervention and support to overcome the psychological dependency that has developed. 

Making Informed Choices About Marijuana Use

Marijuana use has become a common topic and occurrence within Western society and you must have the essential knowledge and understanding of the impacts, risks, and areas of problematic use to ensure that you make an informed decision about your marijuana use. While there are ways for someone to engage in marijuana use recreationally or medicinally, it’s important to continue to increase your understanding and awareness of this substance to ensure it is a safe option for you to engage in.

At Muse Treatment Centers, we are here to provide our patients with the best knowledge and awareness of the potential risks and impacts of marijuana use so they can remain healthy and safe. Call us at (800) 426-1818, and we will be happy to answer any of your questions and provide you with options for addiction treatment support if needed. 


Drug Addiction,Drug Detox,Drug Rehab,Marijuana Rehab,
Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.
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