Cannabis contains many compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These compounds remain in the system after use, but many factors can affect how long they stay there. This can influence the length and side effects of the cannabis detox process.

THC and CBD attach to the same cannabinoid receptors as endocannabinoids, which are chemicals that the body produces naturally. Typically, the body releases these compounds through urine and stool.

If a person wants to detox from cannabis, they will need to flush out or wait until the final traces of cannabis have left the body. Until this happens, they may also test positive in drug screening.

Keep reading to learn more about the side effects of cannabis detox, how long the drug stays in the body, how drug tests work, and some remedies that may help in the detox process.

a woman sat down as she is feeling spaced out from a cannabis detoxShare on Pinterest
Depression and loss of concentration are common side effects of cannabis withdrawal.

According to American Addiction Centers, a person can expect cannabis to remain in their body for the following times:

  • Hair: 90 days
  • Urine: 3 days to a month or more, depending on usage
  • Saliva: 48 hours
  • Blood: 36 hours

In addition to these figures, a study published in 2017 also identified that traces of cannabinoids could remain in sweat for 7–14 days.

How long these compounds stay in a person’s system varies widely. According to another study published in 2017, one of the factors that affect this time frame is the strain of cannabis a person uses. The strain refers to the specific subspecies of the plant.

Different strains of cannabis may contain varying amounts of cannabinoids, which can affect how long they remain in a person’s body.

How often a person uses cannabis can also affect how long it stays in their body. When a person uses cannabis for an extended period, traces of cannabinoids will remain in their body for a longer time.

This means they may still test positive for cannabis many months after stopping. In some instances, people have tested positive for THC 3 months after discontinuing use.

Some other factors that affect the length of time cannabis traces will remain in a person’s body include:

  • how much cannabis they use
  • how often they exercise
  • the type of exercise they do
  • their eating habits
  • their metabolism
  • the percentage of body fat they have

These varying factors may make it difficult to determine precisely how long cannabis, or more specifically THC, will remain in a person’s system after use.

Learn more about how long cannabis stays in the system here.

Cannabis can create dependencies in people who use it heavily for long periods. When a person’s body becomes used to receiving THC and CBD, stopping using it may lead to a period of uncomfortable cannabis withdrawal symptoms as the body readjusts.

However, people respond to detox in different ways, and some may not experience any symptoms when they stop using cannabis.

According to Marijuana Anonymous, the most commonly reported withdrawal symptoms are insomnia and headaches. Other side effects of cannabis detox may include:

Some remedies that may help with the symptoms of cannabis withdrawal include:

  • drinking plenty of water
  • reducing the amount of fat eaten
  • reducing or eliminating caffeine consumption
  • exercising
  • warm baths

Detoxing from cannabis may take a long time because many of its compounds remain in the body.

Whether a person smokes, vapes, or ingests cannabis, cannabinoids enter the bloodstream. Cannabis contains at least 104 different cannabinoids, but THC is the one responsible for producing the high effect that recreational cannabis users experience.

However, once the high has worn off, the cannabinoids ingested as a result of using the cannabis will remain in a person’s body for a time.

Though THC remains in the blood for only a short period, it is fat-soluble. This means the body absorbs it through fatty tissue, and as a result of this, small deposits of THC can remain in the body’s fat deposits for several weeks.

A drug test identifies traces of the cannabinoids, specifically THC, in the person’s system. The most common type of drug test for cannabis is a urine test. Doctors often use a urine test because it is easy to perform and because, unlike other tests, it can still identify the presence of cannabinoids and metabolites up to 3 months after use.

Other types of drug tests may include:

  • hair testing
  • blood testing
  • saliva testing

Drug tests look for the presence of THC and its associated metabolites. The metabolite most drug tests search for is THC-COOH. Because the body stores THC in the fat cells, the compound remains in the system for longer.

Several products claim to help a person rid their body of cannabis traces. These products take the form of:

  • tablets
  • capsules
  • mouthwashes
  • shampoos

Depending on the type of drug test a person has, detoxes may not be effective. For example, detoxes that focus on cleansing the urine may end up producing a contaminated urine sample.

This is because detoxes that affect the urine work by flushing out the kidneys. In the process of removing THC, they can also remove creatine and reduce the natural density of the urine. Both of these issues can make the test appear contaminated, which could mean the person needs to do the test again.

Cannabis can stay in a person’s body for a long time, depending on the person’s body type, how much and the potency of the cannabis they use, among other things.

A person who is a heavy cannabis user can expect to wait the longest time before their system is clear of cannabis traces. Heavy users may also experience a more difficult detox process due to withdrawal.

However, this is only a general rule. It is not possible to predict how long cannabis will stay in an individual’s system or whether they will experience withdrawal symptoms when they quit using it. Successful detox and the severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on the individual, as well as other contributing factors.