Detectable amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may remain in the body for days or even weeks after use. Upon consumption of marijuana, THC is absorbed and stored by various body tissues and organs. The drug is primarily broken down by the liver. The by-products formed by the breakdown are immediately cleared via urine. However, THC stored in the body tissue gets continuously released back into the bloodstream over time, where it continues to be broken down by the liver and cleared in urine until all of it is depleted from the body. In a chronic user, the excretion rate of THC through urine is less, so it builds up in the liver.

What is marijuana (cannabis)?

Marijuana
Detectable amounts of THC may remain in the body for days or even weeks after use.

Marijuana, also known as weed, pot, or ganja, is a medicinal plant of the cannabis family. It contains a psychoactive compound known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that has major intoxicating effects. The leaves, seeds, stems, or roots, are mainly used for intoxication purposes. Marijuana preparations are usually smoked in pipes, joints, or water pipes (bongs). Marijuana users also add it to food or brew it as tea. Marijuana is the most abused substance in the United States. Approximately, 11.8 million young adults used marijuana in 2018.

When will marijuana show up on a drug test?

Several tests are used to detect the presence of marijuana. They include:

  • Saliva test: A person can test positive for marijuana for up to 34 to 48 hours after the last marijuana use.
  • Urine test: Infrequent users test positive for one to three days, moderate users can test positive for 7 to 21 days and a heavy user can test positive for a month or longer after the last marijuana use.
  • Hair test:  Marijuana can be detected in a hair test for up to 90 days.
  • Blood test: Marijuana will be visible in a blood test for up to 36 hours.

How to get marijuana out of my body fast

Abstention is the best way to rapidly remove marijuana from the body. It involves cutting off marijuana completely for a while so that the body can fully eliminate it from the system. This is also called detox, which can result in withdrawal symptoms such as

Detox can be performed using the following:

However, detox should be performed by a medical professional and never tried at your own risk. Detoxing at home without medical help can lead to relapse of symptoms, which may become difficult to address at home. At a medical facility, withdrawal symptoms may be addressed in a healing and constructive manner.

Apart from detox, there are natural ways to remove marijuana from the body, which include

  • Follow a healthy diet by avoiding processed food, preservatives, flavor enhancers, and coloring agents
  • Add more green vegetables and fruits to enhance the fiber content in your diet
  • Drink more water to flush out toxins
  • Take hot baths to soothe physical pain and for mental relaxation
  • Exercise regularly to improve mood and physical health
  • Eliminate caffeine until anxiety and irregular sleep patterns are gone

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What happens when you smoke marijuana?

Marijuana, when inhaled, exhibits short- and long-term effects on the brain.

Short-term effects

  • After smoking marijuana, THC passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, and it is carried to the brain and other organs. The effect is generally felt after 30 minutes to one hour. THC activates parts of the brain, which produce the primary psychoactive and the intoxication effects. Other effects felt are:

Long-term effects result in some permanent changes to the brain, such as losing mental abilities and functioning.

Other physical changes are:

What are the treatments options for marijuana abuse and addiction?

Currently, there aren’t any medications approved by the US Food and Drug Administration that specifically treat marijuana addictions. Marijuana addiction is mostly treated in a rehabilitation center. A combination of behavioral therapies is effective in treating marijuana addiction, which includes

  • Motivational enhancement therapy (MET): It motivates the individual to give up marijuana. It focuses on an individual’s motivation to change. Often, people with marijuana addiction may have little motivation to change their self-destructing behavior, which has a negative effect on health, family life, or social functioning. Hence, MET can be a blessing to people who wish to change their addiction but fail to due to a lack of motivation.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: It is a common type of talk therapy that teaches the user to stop using drugs and ways to avoid or manage other problems. It makes you aware of your inaccurate or negative thinking associated with marijuana disorder.
  • Contingency management: It involves exchanging vouchers as a reward for not taking drugs. However, it is only recognized by a few psychiatrists. It is potentially beneficial for people with severe marijuana addiction.

Although medications may not be effective in treating addictions, some antidepressant medications help manage withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapses.

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Medically Reviewed on 3/25/2022
References
Medscape Medical Reference