Weed, also called marijuana, pot, and ganja, is a psychoactive drug derived from the Cannabis sativa plant that is commonly smoked in pipes, joints, or bongs. It is also sometimes brewed as a tea or added to foods, such as edibles.
The amount of time weed stays in a person’s system depends on a number of factors, such as:
- How often it’s used
- Length of time since the last use
- The level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), believed to be the primary mind-altering chemical found in the cannabis plant, in the marijuana
- A person’s metabolism and how quickly they process THC
- A person’s level of hydration
Several different types of tests are used to detect the presence of marijuana. THC, the active component, can be detected in:
- Urine (the most common type of test used)
- One to three days for infrequent users (less than twice/week)
- One to three weeks for moderate users (several times/week)
- One month or more for heavy users
- One to five days for people who eat marijuana, such as in edibles
- Hair: for up to 90 days
- Saliva: for up to 48 hours
- Blood: for up to 36 hours
What Happens to the Body When You Smoke Weed?
When a person smokes weed, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) passes through the lungs into the bloodstream, where it is transported to the brain and other organs. THC interacts with what is called the endocannabinoid system, which consists of natural cannabis-like lipid-based neurotransmitters produced by the human body, where the THC can impact parts of the brain that affect sensations, movement, coordination, memory, reward, and judgment.
The effects of weed are felt right away when it’s smoked, and the sensations typically last for one to three hours. If eaten, such as in edibles, the THC may not take effect for 30 minutes to an hour, but the effects can last for several hours.
Side effects of marijuana use may include:
- Altered senses
- Distorted sense of time
- Decreased coordination
- Difficulty thinking clearly or problem-solving
- Memory problems
- Mood swings
- Increased appetite
Is Weed Addictive?
Regular use of weed (marijuana, pot, and ganja) can lead to dependence and withdrawal. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates about 30% of those who use weed will develop a marijuana use disorder.
Many who become addicted develop dependence, and when they suddenly stop using marijuana, they can develop withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Sleep problems
- Abdominal pain
- Decreased appetite
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