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How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your System? - Hair, Blood & Urine Info

How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your System?


A lot of people ask questions regarding how long drugs stay in their system hoping they’ll receive a clean-cut answer. 


They may want to know how long the high from a particular substance will last, how long it will be until the substance will no longer be detectable by a drug test, or how long it takes after using a particular drug to experience a “crash”. 


No matter what the reason is, the answer remains the same— every drug is different, and therefore each drug may take a different amount of time to be eliminated from the body.


Plus, there are many factors that can influence how fast a person’s body metabolizes a substance. 


Some of the most common factors include:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Dosage amount
  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Tolerance levels
  • Purity of the drug
  • Method of administration (smoking, injecting, snorting, etc.)
  • The presence of other drugs in the system

Despite these variables, many reputable sources, including the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, have established general guidelines for drug detection times.


These established drug test detection times can be viewed in the graphic below:

SUBSTANCE

DETECTION TIME

Marijuana (THC)

1-21 Days 

Xanax

1-7 Days

Valium

7-9 Days

Klonopin

1-14 Days

Ambien

1-3 Days

Morphine

1-3 Days

Oxycodone

1-4 Days

MDMA

3-4 Days

Amphetamines

1-4 Days

Methamphetamines

1-7 Days

Cocaine

1-4 Days

Heroin

1-7 Days

Fentanyl

1-3 Days


Another important metric to consider when determining how long drugs stay in your system is their half life time.


A drug’s half life refers to the amount of time it takes for levels of a specific drug in the body to be reduced by 50 percent. It is often associated with how long it takes until the user will begin to feel the effects of a drug start to lessen, as well— although this can vary depending on a person’s tolerance.


The below graph includes the half life times for many of the most commonly abused drugs, as stated by ARP Laboratories:



SUBSTANCE

HALF LIFE

Marijuana (THC)

4-12 Hours

Xanax

6-27 Hours

Valium

21-37 Hours

Klonopin

19-60 Hours

Ambien

2-3 Hours

Morphine

1.3-6.7 Hours

Oxycodone

3-6 Hours

MDMA

6-12 Hours

Amphetamines

7-34 Hours

Methamphetamines

6-17 Hours

Cocaine (Powder and Crack)

0.25-1.5 Hours

Heroin

0.1-0.25 Hours

Fentanyl

3-12 Hours



How Testing Methods Impact Drug Detection Times


The answer to the question “How long do drugs stay in your urine?” is significantly different than the answer to “How long do drugs stay in your hair?”. 


This is why it is crucial for those who are curious about drug test detection times to become familiar with screening methods.


Below are some of the most important general rules of thumb:


  • A hair follicle drug test will have the longest detection window, with the most drugs being detectable for 90 days.
  • Urine tests are the easiest screening method to manipulate.
    • Blood tests are the most conclusive drug screening method, but they must be completed by healthcare professionals. They also have shorter detection times, with an average window of 1-3 days.
    • Saliva tests are more difficult to manipulate than urine tests, but certain drugs only remain present in saliva for a brief period of time, including cocaine, which can be undetectable in a saliva sample after as little as two days.

    As you can see, when researching how long drugs stay in your blood, urine, saliva and hair, you want to make sure you pay close attention to each method to ensure you’re getting the most accurate information.


    The Significance of Health and Genetic Factors


    As we mentioned above, there are many different elements that can influence how a drug is processed and how it makes the user feel. Let’s take a closer look at these factors.


    When a person is elderly, for example, the body stops being able to process and eliminate drugs from its system as easily as it could in earlier stages of life. This can cause the effects of a substance to be intensified for older drug users.


    Weight is another critical factor. Many drugs are absorbed into the bloodstream via fat cells, while others are water soluble. Since blood flow is slower in individuals who are obese or overweight, it can take longer for drugs to be absorbed into their system.


    Lastly, drug tolerance is a major component that can alter an individual’s drug test results, as well as their reaction to a drug. Human minds and anatomical systems are extremely intelligent, and adapt quickly when they are exposed to new chemicals. Morphine, for example, activates immune receptors in our brains, which causes our dopamine terminals to release more dopamine. When a person begins to develop a tolerance for morphine, however, their brain adapts and the receptors stop responding to these triggers, dulling the “high” sensation that is felt after taking the drug.


    What to Do If You Are Struggling With Drug Addiction

    If you are concerned about being tested for drugs because you have recently used a substance, or if you are trying to avoid symptoms of withdrawal, there are resources and support systems available to you.


    It is always best to be upfront and honest with your test administrator about your drug use. The majority of healthcare professionals, legal representatives, and employers understand that addiction is a legitimate and complicated health condition. 


    By discussing your drug use, you increase the likelihood of finding the assistance you need to achieve recovery.


    Are you looking for the most accurate and conclusive drug testing devices on the market? At Countrywide Testing, we offer a range of drug test products to meet your needs. All of our products come with a 99% accuracy rating— making them the most precise and dependable over the counter drug tests on the market today.