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How These Factors Affect the Time Required to Detox
THC metabolites are excreted primarily through the kidneys. The liver removes THC metabolites from the bloodstream and excretes them into bile. Other routes of excretion include saliva, sweat, and respiration.
As you age, a few factors related to your kidneys begin to decline, just like it happens with many other organs. These factors include blood flow to the kidneys, renal mass and the functioning of the renal tubules that are tasked with the responsibility of urine formation.
These changes affect how fast THC metabolites can be excreted from the body. When this happens, THC metabolites will accumulate in the body and be present for a longer time.
In a nutshell, the THC half life of an older person is significantly increased; sometimes the increase can be as great as a fourfold increase.
The decline in hepatic function as one ages also has a role to play in how fast THC can be removed from the body. The decrease in hepatic function means the half-life of THC is prolonged commensurately.
The half-life of THC in a healthy adult is between 28 hours to 36 hours, for a regular user. In an elderly person, the half-life is prolonged and may take up to 120 hours, depending on the exact age and other individual factors.
The same goes for young children below the age of 12. However, we do not expect children this young to be consuming THC, unless it is prescribed by a licensed and qualified physician. In that case, the rate of excretion is much slower because of the physiological difference in both the kidneys and liver.
THC is lipophilic, meaning that it binds to fat as opposed to binding to water. When THC is inhaled, it is rapidly absorbed into the lungs and the bloodstream. From the bloodstream, the THC is distributed into other organs and fat. Once the THC levels in the blood begin to drop the following metabolism in the liver, the fat cells are forced to give up the THC that they are holding.
A person with a higher fat percentage will have a prolonged rate of excretion of THC because they have more fat cells holding on to THC and its metabolites.
For fat to be released from the fat cells, it has to be broken down (lipolysis). It so follows that people with more body fat percentage will store THC for longer and consequently will take a longer time to excrete the stored THC.
It is not always that people with greater weight will have more body fat. Men, for example, may weigh more than women but have less body fat percentage. They may also burn fat more quickly than women do. All these factors eventually play a role in how fast THC is released from the body.
How often you smoke THC infused pot will affect how long it stays in your system, and consequently how much longer it will take for it to be completely excreted from your system. THC is fat soluble and easily binds to fat molecules in your body. Over time, the THC metabolites build up within your body with each subsequent intake. These accumulated THC metabolites are broken down over time and get released into your bloodstream. What this means is that for a chronic user, it will take a longer time for these THC metabolites that have built up over time to be completely removed from the body.
Amount smoked each day
The amount of THC smoked in a sitting influence how fast it will be excreted from the body. A study conducted in 2007 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse compared a low dose THC with a high dose THC group. Both groups comprised of non-regular smokers of marijuana. The results revealed that the group given a higher dose of THC took twice as much time to eliminate the THC from their bodies. The low dose group took between 3-12 hours while the high dose group took between 6-27 hours to completely eliminate THC.
Weekly cardio level
THC and its metabolites accumulate in fat cells in the body from where they are able to move back into the blood. A study conducted by the University of Sydney in 2006 revealed that exercise prompts the body to go into lipolysis (fat breakdown) and release THC stored in fat cells. The more regularly you exercise the faster that you are able to release THC from the fat cells into the bloodstream. A person exercising regularly will have a shorter THC half-life than a person not exercising regularly, even when they have the same body fat percentage.
A higher cardio level will ensure that you store less THC in fat cells and that the THC stored is released faster into the bloodstream and gets excreted.
It is important to remember that other factors come into play when considering how fast THC gets eliminated from the body.
A THC calculator will take all your unique factors and use them to give a close estimate of how long THC will be present in your body.
- How to Pass a Drug Test: https://greenfleets.org/pass-drug-test/
- Geriatric Physical Therapy (2012): Geriatric Pharmacology. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/book/9780323029483/geriatric-physical-therapy
- XPharm (2007): The Comprehensive Pharmacology Reference. Retrieved from Decline in hepatic function as one ageshttps://www.sciencedirect.com/referencework/9780080552323/xpharm-the-comprehensive-pharmacology-reference
- Journal of Addiction, Research, and Therapy (2016): Pharmacology of Marijuana. Retrieved from https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/pharmacology-of-marijuana-2155-6105-S11-012.php?aid=84733