If you smoke marijuana, you know that no matter how much you enjoy the benefits of weed, the possibility of testing positive on a drug test will make you second guess your consumption habits. Urine, blood, and saliva tests are typically the most common types of drug testing conducted; however, some governmental organizations or law enforcement positions request more accurate testing to identify whether an applicant has a long-term history of drug use. Many people fear hair follicle drug tests, and with good reason. Evidence suggests that hair follicle drug tests are by far the most accurate at detecting cannabis use and the best for identifying whether an individual has a history of use.
Hair follicle drug tests help detect Tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) or THC in the system much, much further back. No other test compares to the effectiveness of determining long-term use as the hair follicle drug test. Salvia drug testing may be more common and effective for determining very recent use, while urine and blood drug tests will be most accurate at detection within days/weeks of use.
How Long Does Marijuana Stay In Your Hair Follicles?
Wondering exactly how long does marijuana stays in your hair? Unfortunately, there is no exact formula to determine the length of time THC stays in your hair. Many factors will influence the frequency of use, the amount of THC present, and the user's metabolism. With uncertainty like that, maybe the question you’re really asking is, ‘How do I pass a hair follicle drug test?’
Before diving deeper into marijuana follicle drug testing and the common misconceptions around this type of test, we’ll get into the main factors affecting the length of time weed stay in your hair follicles.
Stay tuned to the end, where we’ll share with you 5 Things You Need To Know About Hair Follicle Drug Testing & we’ll answer your most burning question…
‘How do I pass a hair follicle drug test?’
Factors Affecting - Metabolism of Weed & Detection Time
To better understand how long does weed stays in your hair, there are several factors we’ll have to examine closer. The most important factors affecting the metabolism of weed are The frequency of use, Amount of THC, and the Metabolism of the individual user.
Continue reading for the factors affecting detection time
Frequency of Use
The casual user will, in general, be able to metabolized THC at a faster rate than someone who uses the substance often. However, if the individual consumes on a more regular basis or is a chronic user, then it’s highly likely that the THC has built up in their system and thus will take much longer to metabolize out.
Amount of THC
Depending on the strain of cannabis you use, you’ll notice that the effects will be very different. The greater the amount of THC in the consumed strain, the longer it will take to work its way through your system.
Specific Metabolism of User
The physical activity level of the user will affect the level of tolerance they will have. Active individuals will notice that THC will exit their system much faster than those mildly or severely inactive. THC is stored in the body's fat cells, thus meaning; the more body fat an individual has, the longer it will take to metabolize the weed in their system.
Factors Affecting Detection Time of Weed
In addition to the frequency of use mentioned above, the dosage of THC and the date of last use are all critical factors that affect the detection time of weed, but they aren’t the most important. The detection time when looking at weed use from an individual's hair follicles depends greatly on the specific type of test used, the sensitivity of the equipment, and the particular process of the test.
Most labs will use mass spectroscopy and other methods to accurately detect the presence of the metabolite THC-COOH, a non-psychoactive by-product of THC.
Marijuana Follicle Drug Testing
Typically two substances are being tested for when determining whether an individual has marijuana in their system. If you’ve ever gone for a drug test, I’m sure you’re familiar with what exactly they’re testing if don’t worry; in 1 minute, we’ll bring you up to speed. The two compounds you should be familiar with are THC and 9-carboxy-THC. The signature chemical present in marijuana is THC, which many associates with the high felt after consumption. Metabolites, by-products of the process of THC breaking down, such as 9-carboxy-THC, are chemical compounds that stick in the fatty tissues, thus meaning the process of metabolization takes much longer.
With 7 days of use, you can detect these by-products in a follicle hair test. The metabolites in the body will pass first through the bloodstream and then to the hair follicle; many sources concur that the detection of these metabolites will be possible up to even 90 days after marijuana use.
A hair follicle drug test is simple and painless. It involves having a technician cut a sample of your hair, roughly 3 sections of 50 strands each. A sample of roughly 1.5 inches is taken; however the further back they are looking for drugs in the system, the larger the sample they may take. The sample is typically taken from the back of the head, and those who are bald will take the sample from another part of your body.
THC remains in the hair follicle just as long as 9-carboxy-THC
You may have asked how long does THC stays in your hair. Well, the answer is, before it reaches the hair, it travels from the lungs to the bloodstream and then binds with the fat cells; typically being metabolized into the by-products. This means that it’s not the actual THC that makes it to the hair follicles; rather, it is the 9-carboxy-THC, the by-product of this metabolization, which finds its way into the fatty tissues and sticks around for a heck of a lot longer.
Single use will show cannabis consumption in a hair follicle test up to months after.
We’ve already identified that metabolites such as 9-carboxy-THC can remain in the system for an extended period of time and are detected up to months, if not years when a hair follicle test is performed. So for all you who have used cannabis only once or on rare occasions from time to time, there’s nothing much you have to worry about. In a hair follicle test, cannabis use is typically detected from chronic users who consume daily over an extended period of time.
Shaving my head will immediately pass me on the drug test.
The complete opposite is true actually; shaving your head will, in most cases, immediately result in you failing the drug test. If you think that by shaving your head, you’ll be in the clear, think again! If you’re lucky and the organizer who has ordered the test doesn’t fail you immediately, they will probably proceed to take hair follicles from your arms or other parts of your body. If you have a history of drug use and you thought you’d get away scot-free with your bright idea to shave your head, you’ll be in for more trouble if a hair sample needs to be taken from another part of your body. The hair found on the arms and legs often displays drug use even further back than hair follicles from your head would.
Second hand smoke will result in a positive test result.
Rest assured, there’s no need to panic if you’re exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke continuously. If you’re worried that you’ll test positive for chronic use of marijuana, there’s absolutely no reason to lose sleep because it’s actually almost impossible to test positive and here’s why… Drug metabolites will not be present in the hair of someone who has been exposed to secondhand smoke. There may be trace amounts of airborne compounds, but none of these are of concern on a hair follicle drug test.
Passing A Hair Follicle Drug Test
As covered under the last common misconception around the detection time for THC in your hair, Shaving your head will not immediately pass you on a hair follicle drug test. Sorry to say, it just won't work for those of you with any other crazy ideas like shaving your head. Curious what will and won’t work for passing a hair follicle drug test?
How To Fail A Hair Follicle Drug Test
Trust Your Luck
If you’re feeling like testing your luck on a natural home remedy, such as the ones displayed on Toke Titans, go right ahead but there is no confirmation that methods such as these have any effectiveness in helping you pass a hair follicle drug test.
This may seem like an unrelated point, but it is actually quite relevant to the outcome of your test. Drug testers are highly trained to pick up on odd behaviours, nervousness or other out of the norm habits you may be displaying. Indeed, your behaviour won’t alter your test results, but it could cause the examiner to take note and order additional testing to be run on your sample.
How To Pass A Hair Follicle Drug Test
Abstain from use for 120 days & Wait for the drugs to naturally clear.
For extra measures, get a hair cut to trim off old ends. The waiting and abstaining game, typically has a high if not 100% success rate.
Consume CBD only Products
If you’re managing pain symptoms and cannot go without smoking, you can switch over your current product to one that doesn’t contain THC. Also, if you choose to consume these CBD only products, it is recommended to do so in a form other than smoking such as by consuming CBD edibles.
Using A Hair Detox Product
There are plenty of gimmick products online claiming to effectively detox your hair. Many simply try and work at the hair follicle, to remove the drug, which is actually highly ineffective. Without destroying the actual hair follicle, you won’t be able to get rid of the drug. Among all the ineffective options for detoxing your hair, there has been lots of positive talk around the item Ultra Clear Shampoo. Several reviews sighting its effectiveness prove to be promising.
Things You Need To Know About Hair Follicle Drug Testing
The Final Verdict
So there you have it; if you’re worried about an upcoming drug test and fall into the single-use or infrequent use category, you’re not completely in the clear for testing negative on a hair follicle drug test; however, rest assured, the likelihood of testing positive is slim to none. On the other hand, chronic users should be aware that extended use of cannabis will detect metabolites in the hair follicles months and sometimes years after, depending on the degree of testing that is conducted. The answer to how long marijuana stays in your hair follicles will depend on the factors discussed above. Still, in general, for regular users, THC can be detected in the hair follicles for up to around 90 days, if not more. Remember that hair follicle testing has the longest detection period. Thus, when a hair follicle drug test is ordered, it’s serious business and not something to take lightly. When you’re finally ready to go for your test, ensure you are relaxed and calm, and you’ll be fine! The more you act suspicious, the greater your tests will go through the more extreme analysis and result in a failed drug test. The only sure way to test negative on a drug test is by simply abstaining for a length of time from marijuana use.