Marijuana, cannabis, or weed is one of the most consumed illegal drugs in the world. At the same time, it comes with numerous health benefits, which is why states all across the US decided to allow both medicinal and recreational consumption.
However, the main problem lies in the idea that weed is still illegal on the federal level. That is why employers can test you and terminate your contract or reject your application if you have traces of THC metabolites within your system.
As soon as you check here, you will learn everything about weed detoxification.
Remember that the Department of Transportation regulated industries come with mandatory screenings at least once a year, which is why you will not be allowed to work in case you consume weed for medicinal purposes.
It is essential to understand how cannabis acts inside your body so that you can determine the best course of action before the screening.
Cannabis features THC as the primary compound that causes euphoric experience. This particular compound if hydrophobic, and it gets broken down into numerous metabolites that will linger your system quite sometime after consumption.
Since metabolites also come with hydrophobic nature, it means that it will not react with water and dissolve as a result, similarly to other substances such as alcohol.
Instead, the metabolites will enter your body fat, which means that you will need to wait for at least a week to get rid of it.
Drug screenings are not checking for active THC but its metabolites, because that is the proof that you consumed weed. Generally, all tests will check out for THC-COOH.
Even though it is impossible to determine whether an individual is currently intoxicated or not, employers have zero-tolerance, and failed tests will lead to a disciplinary committee, among other things.
Everything depends on the method of consumption. For instance, the most common way to consume weed is through smoking. As soon as you inhale it, the THC will enter your bloodstream through the lungs.
The compound will rapidly react with the end cannabinoid system we have in our body, and CB1 and CB2 receptors. According to studies, THC is immediately detectable in the body. After smoking, blood levels of THC will reach a peak in ten minutes.
If you consume low dosages and infrequently, cannabinoids within the blood will drop in a matter of hours. Chronic users will have to wait up to two days for bright bloodstream.
At the same time, after you finish smoking, the active THC concentration will decrease and break down into the metabolites. Remember that if you have a high percentage of body fat, some of it will enter inside the tissue, and it will spike the bloodstream with small levels of THC.
Over time, THC molecules will get back into the bloodstream, and the liver will continue to metabolize it into THC-COOH, which is the compound most drug tests are checking.
Cannabis Detection Times
It would help if you remembered that we could differentiate two types of drug test when it comes to THC: present intoxication and historical use. Historical use includes urinalysis as well as a hair follicle drug test.
Of course, they will target the metabolite such as THC-COOH molecule, which is not psychoactive and will not affect the current state of mind and lead to intoxication. However, it is great to determine whether someone has consumed in the past during personal time.
On the other hand, the best way to detect current intoxication is through saliva or blood tests. They will detect the active molecules, which is the standard indicator of current impairment, especially since weed will not remain for a long time inside the saliva or blood.
According to laboratories, these tests are accurate based on their detection window. For instance, blood tests can detect the consumption in the last few days, while the heavy users will require an even more extended period to get clean.
The most common drug test conducted by DOT is urine screening. Generally, the test is non-invasive, which is the main reason for its popularity.
You need to go to a proper laboratory and provide a particular sample within the premises. They will use an immunoassay test to detect the sensitivity level.
If the percentage of metabolites is below the standard, which is 50ng/mL, then you will be negative, which means that you will pass the test, and they will not conduct further actions.
In case you fail the immunoassay, then the sample is positive, which is why they are taking it to confirmation to reduce the chances of false positives.
The second test uses more advanced equipment than first, including GC/MS or Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometer for additional screening.
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