How is cannabis stored in the body?

How to avoid any sticky situations.


One of the reasons authorities struggle to implement road-side testing for cannabis is because of how our bodies store the cannabinoids. Unlike alcohol, cannabis can remain in the body for a long time, even longer if you are a frequent user.

There can be a huge variance in how cannabis stored in the body and for how long. We want you to understand how your body processes cannabis, how it’s stored in the body and how you can apply this knowledge to ensure you are still being safe.

How does the body process cannabis?

When smoked, cannabis permeates the blood-brain barrier and enters the body’s systems almost immediately (five to 10 minute onset) and can last two (or more) hours. When consumed orally, it is processed by the liver and onset can take 45 minutes to an hour, and the effects can last six to eight hours.

The different bodily systems by which the cannabis is processed is what causes longer impairment periods.

Cannabis is fat-soluble

Cannabis is lipophilic, meaning fat-loving. The compound stays in your fat cells which is why it can stay in the body for such extended periods. This is also why when we make edibles, the base should come from a fat source (butter, oil, etc) as the cannabinoids better adhere to your solution.

The longevity of cannabis in the body

For single use, cannabis could be in the body for approximately eight days. Of course, this will vary based on the individual’s body composition. With cannabis being lipophilic, it will likely stay in females for a longer time. For heavy user consumers, cannabis is found in the body anywhere from 45 to 77 days after use.

Again, there are many factors that will affect the time frame of complete metabolism, including THC levels. It’s difficult to nail down a precise time due to individual circumstances.

So, what can I do and what can’t I do?

Taper your highWhile there are some tactics to help if you’ve consumed too much, these methods will not decrease the impairment enough to safely drive or reduce the THC in the body, they will simply reduce the psychoactive effects.

Donate blood – interestingly enough, once the initial consumption/impairment period has passed, you can donate blood! Just a little fun fact we wanted to share.

Pass a drug test – depending on the frequency of use, you may not pass a drug test. This can be an issue for those who do trade work, work in the public sector or have mandated drug tests. While cannabis is legal, your employer does maintain the right to test for the presence of drugs to ensure the safety of their employees. Keep this in mind if your job may require a drug test!

/ DriveAfter the initial impairment period, you are fine to drive. But remember, depending on your method of consumption, this could range from two to eight hours. Authorities can press charges if they find two nanograms or more of cannabis in the body. Please keep this in mind and plan a safe ride!