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How Long Does Delta-9 THC Stay In Your System?

Fri, Aug 05, 2022 | Reading Time: 4 minutes

How Long Does Delta-9 THC Stay In Your System?

Delta-9 THC may be one of the most famous cannabinoids of them all…but that doesn’t mean it’s not still shrouded in a little bit of mystery. 

Whether you’re a fan of hemp, cannabis, or some combination thereof, you might be wondering: “how long will delta-9 THC stay in my system?” 

Maybe you’re concerned about drug testing…maybe you just want to know how long delta-9’s effects will stick around. 

But it turns out this question leads to a whole bunch of other questions. How often are you using delta-9? How much do you take? Do you have a fast metabolism? How exactly are you measuring your body’s THC levels? 

In other words, it depends. Don’t be daunted by the details, though — in this article we’ll be covering the most important aspects of delta-9’s pharmacology. Here’s what you should know about how long delta-9 THC stays in your system. 

  • Delta-9 THC 101
  • What happens when delta-9 THC enters your body
  • How long does delta-9 stay in your system?
  • How long do delta-9 gummies stay in your system?
  • How long do THC+CBD stay in your system?
  • How to get THC out of your system faster

Delta-9 THC 101

Delta-9’s full name is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. It’s obvious enough why the shorter term stuck!

You’re probably at least a little familiar with what delta-9 THC is, what it does, etc — at least on a basic level. (If not, feel free to read our article about the many types of THC.) Delta-9 THC is a cannabinoid, or cannabis compound, that’s produced in large quantities by cannabis and in small quantities by hemp. Delta-9 is the compound responsible for much of cannabis’s characteristic high. The compound is created from something called THCa when it’s lit on fire or processed into a final product. [1

Delta-9 THC may be best-known for its ability to get a person high, but that’s definitely not all it does. In the last ~60 years researchers have found that it’s also able to confer plenty of health benefits:

  • Pain relief
  • Better sleep
  • Immune regulation
  • Appetite regulation
  • General neuroprotection
  • Antimicrobial/antibacterial effects
  • Increased emotional intelligence

Another interesting thing about delta-9 THC? The way it’s absorbed and processed by your body. Ingested delta-9 is processed in the liver before being released into the bloodstream; with smokable/vape-able delta-9 this order is basically flipped. (Since our products are ingested, not vaped or smoked, we’ll be focusing on how delta-9 THC works when taken in the first manner.)

What happens when delta-9 THC enters your body

The moment you ingest a product containing delta-9 THC it begins a slow, meandering journey to your liver. Once it reaches the liver it's processed by liver enzymes (notably enzymes in the CP450 family) into over 80 different compounds. These compounds, which scientists call metabolites, are structurally similar to delta-9 THC and largely responsible for its effects. 

Over time both delta-9 and its metabolites are excreted from your body via urination. Until this happens, expect waves of heavy, psychotropic euphoria! Some of these THC-related compounds may also get sequestered into your body’s fat stores. By that point, though, their more tangible effects will have already worn off. 

How long does delta-9 stay in your system?

Most people find that ingestable delta-9 THC stays active for 2-8 hours post-ingestion. During this time you’ll experience a variety of mental, physical, and even spiritual effects. Most people feel calmer, happier, and more thoughtful within this timeframe. Don’t be surprised if you start viewing everything as being super funny and begin laughing hysterically. Drowsiness, the munchies, and mild anxiety are also potential effects — particularly if you took more delta-9 THC than your liver was able to process on its ‘first-pass.’ [2]

Just keep in mind that delta-9 THC (and its metabolites, of course) will actually stay in your system for far after their high wears off. It’s also worth stating that your liver isn’t the only vital organ that’s involved in THC processing. Once the liver has released THC and co. into the bloodstream, these compounds also end up in the kidneys. 

This interplay between THC within the liver, bloodstream, and kidneys is responsible for the wavelike effects that sometimes occur with large doses of delta-9. These waves typically grow stronger for the first hour or two of the high before fading away in the same fashion they came in. Some of the metabolized cannabinoids that get created during this ebbing and flowing haven’t even been studied yet!

Remember how we mentioned just how dependent delta-9’s pharmacology is on variable factors — factors like how often you imbibe and how much you took? Yeah…these factors are still relevant. Here’s a fuller explanation of how various factors can affect how long THC stays in your system:

  • How often you’re using delta-9 THC products
  • How much delta-9 you took — particularly relative to what you normally take
  • Your metabolic rate — faster metabolizers can process THC faster than normal
  • Your age — older users may metabolize and process THC slower than they used to 
  • How you’re measuring THC levels — THC will stay in your fat cells and hair follicles far longer than it’ll stay in your urine or bloodstream! 

How long do delta-9 gummies stay in your system?

Delta-9 THC gummies tend to stay in your system for about as long as other types of edibles. Here are some rough guidelines of what you can expect:

  • Tangible effects: 2-8 hours
  • Detection in urine: 3-5 days
  • Detection in fat stores: up to 28 days
  • Detection in hair: up to 90 days

And, as we’ve mentioned above, dosage matters. Are you taking a single THC gummy, or chowing down on half the bottle? A recent study done by the Mayo Clinic found that urine tests are especially sensitive to your THC dosage and usage frequency. Here are the details: [4]

  • 3 times/week THC use: detection period up to 3 days 
  • 4 times/week THC use: detection period of 5-7 days
  • Daily THC use: detection period of up to 15 days

These findings make it clear that frequent delta-9 THC use has a cumulative effect. The more often you take delta-9, the longer it’ll stay in your system! 

How long do THC+CBD stay in your system?

It’s one thing to talk about how long delta-9 THC stays in your system. But what happens when you combine THC and CBD? 

The research we have available seems to hint that CBD may stay in your system for slightly longer than THC. A 2020 study published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology found that a single moderate dose of CBD stayed detectable in urine for up to 5 days after ingestion! Other studies show that even a CBD microdose of 1.35 milligrams may stay in your system for up to 6 hours. [5

Could it be that THC and CBD cause eachother to stay in your system for longer — like some sort of chrono-specific entourage effect? Given that these two cannabinoids synergize with eachother in practically every other way, it’s definitely possible. 

If you’re ready to experience this synergy for yourself, we can help. Browse through our CBD+THC products by going to our shop page and clicking the 21+ filter. 

How to get THC out of your system faster

There are several potential reasons you might feel like getting THC out of your system fast. Maybe you’re not liking the intensity of the high you’re experiencing…maybe you’re anticipating an upcoming drug test at work. 

Regardless of your reason, we have good news: it is indeed possible to speed up delta-9 THC’s transit time. It’s as simple as speeding up your overall metabolism! Here’s one way you may be able to get THC out of your system faster:

  • First, stop using THC entirely (the trace amounts of THC in CBD products are okay)
  • Next, make a focused effort to stay hydrated with plenty of water, tea, and sodium
  • Third, eat a healthy diet rich in healthy monounsaturated and saturated fats
  • Make sure to exercise consistently (even walking counts!)
  • If you tolerate it, drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages may help your body ‘release’ THC-containing fat cells
  • B vitamins, notably niacin, may also speed up THC’s departure from your body

Click here to read our recent article if you’d like to learn more about delta-9’s role in drug testing.

Summing things up

Delta-9 THC stays metabolically active for hours and stays in your system for days, weeks, or even months. As we said in the intro to this article, figuring out the duration of its stay can be complex! Always err on the side of caution when it comes to something as powerful as THC. When in doubt be sure to balance it out with some high-quality CBD. 

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