Marijuana is one of the most popular federally illegal drugs on the market. While some states have legalized it for recreational and medical use, other states are still stuck in the stone age. But regardless of whether you live in a free state or a state still under the grip of prohibition, it’s possible that your employer may require you to undergo a urine test.
While we can debate the merits of this backwards, privacy-invading practice all day long; the fact remains that drug tests are something that most of us will have to face at some point in our lives. So let’s get to the point: how long does THC from vaping last in your urine?
How does THC get into your urine to begin with?
Urine tests don’t actually test your pee for THC. What?
Despite the common misconception, urine screenings are actually testing for THC waste products known as metabolites. This waste product, which is known as
THCCOOH, is what your body produces when metabolizing the THC from the marijuana you consume.
Your excretory systems are designed to remove waste metabolites like this from your body. To do so, the THCCOOH pairs up with glucuronic acid, which then leaves your body through your urine.
To sum things up: When you smoke weed, you’re inhaling THC. Your body then rapidly metabolizes it, getting you high. Your metabolism takes that psychoactive THC and turns it into non-psychoactive THCCOOH which you urinate out.
How long does THC stay in your urine?
We now know that urine drug tests aren’t actually testing for THC, but are instead looking for evidence that your body is eliminating the waste products that your body creates after THC consumption.
There is no way for the urine test to reveal when the last time you smoked was. It can’t determine whether you were high at the time that you took the test. All it can do is determine if your body is still working on eliminating the metabolite THCCOOH.
This makes it complicated to determine how long marijuana use is detectable in your urine. While we can’t give you a specific, straightforward answer; we can give you a rundown of the different factors that affect how long THC metabolites remain in your urine.
Researchers are fairly certain that about 15 to 20 percent of delta-9 THC (the marijuana component that makes you high) from each dose is eliminated via urine. What does that mean for your upcoming drug test?
It means that the more potent the bud that you smoke, the more metabolites that will end up in your pee. That’s how the person who administers your test is able to correlate the small amounts that they detect in your urine with a real dose of cannabis.
It may seem obvious, but if you smoke or vape more often there will be more THC that is detectable when you take your urine test.
A lot more.
If you’re using marijuana for the first time, your urine will most likely test clean within 5-8 days. If you’re a few-times-a-week smoker, then your urine will test hot for 1-2 weeks. If you consume marijuana most days but not daily, then it will be detectable for 1-1.5 months. Daily smokers can expect to test hot for marijuana for the next two months. So it all depends on how often you’re vaping cannabis.
To sum it up, here are the average detection levels. Keep in mind that these are averages, and your unique body composition and consumption habits can cause these numbers to vary wildly:
- 1-time use: clean in 5-8 days
- 2-4 times a week: 11-18 days
- 5-6 times a week: 33-48 days
- Daily use: 50-65 days, up to 77
Do detoxification programs work?
There are detox programs available with home testing kits that can help you naturally cleanse your body and clear out the THC from your system before your drug test.
There are also detox drinks that claim to help clear your urine at the last minute, keeping you clean for four-to-six hours.
Edibles vs. smoking
Does your method of cannabis consumption affect how long your urine will test positive for? Actually, yes.
If you consume edibles, the THC will remain detectable in your body for longer than it would if you smoked or vaped instead. It’s not a significant difference, but it will stay in your system for up to a day longer than the reefer than you vape or smoke.
Your body processes THC differently when you eat it—converting it to a psychoactive metabolite called 11-hydroxy-THC, and then into the inactive THCCOOH the test detects—which means that you’re going to be at risk of failing a drug test for slightly longer compared to vaping or smoking pot.
Bottom line: how long does THC from vaping last in urine?
The bottom line is that marijuana stays in your system for a hell of a long time. If you know that you have a urine screening coming up soon, your best bet is to refrain from consumption until after the test so your urine sample comes back clean. Hopefully, as marijuana becomes more socially and legally acceptable, companies will stop testing everyone for this harmless substance. Until then, drug testing will be a part of our life for the foreseeable future. Refer to this guide to find out how long cannabis from vaping is detectable in your body.