How Long do Drugs Stay in Your System?

How Long do Drugs Stay in Your System?

We present the information on this page as a generalized, educational overview. Specific details below regarding treatment protocols may not reflect the protocols utilized by Compass Recovery.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you would like to learn more about Compass Recovery and our individualized programs for those struggling with substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Introduction

The abuse of both prescription and illicit drugs in the US is reaching an all-time high. At the same time, more employers and court systems are requiring drug tests.
However, how long a drug stays in your system can be challenging to determine. Several factors are at play, including the amount and frequency of use and the person’s body mass.
Some drugs are detectable for only a short time, while others have longer detection times.
This guide shows the drug detection window for ten common substances in urine, hair, blood, and saliva drug tests.

Factors That Determine How Long Drugs Stay in Your System

Type of Drug

How long a drug stays in your system depends on several factors, including the type of substance. Some drugs are metabolized more rapidly, while others take days to be entirely eliminated from the body.

Amount of Drug

Another factor that affects drug detection times is the amount of the drug. For example, short-term use of a drug and smaller amounts might be detectable for a short period. On the other hand, heavy use can lead to longer detection times.

Drug's Half-Life

Different drugs have different half-lives. For example, Adderall has a longer half-life of 10 hours, while heroin has a shorter half-life of around 30 minutes. Some drugs will remain in your system several days after use, while others weeks.

Body Mass

Body mass is also a factor in how long a drug can be detected in the body. Drugs can have longer detection times in people with higher body mass as some drugs accumulate in fatty tissues.1

Metabolic Rate

Drug detection times can also depend on the person’s metabolic rate, which varies from person to person. Metabolic rate can be affected by age and some health conditions. In general, the higher the metabolic rate, the shorter the time a drug can be detected in the body.

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System?

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana, also known as cannabis and weed, is the dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It is the most commonly used illicit drug in the US. In 2018, more than 11.8 million young adults reported using it in the past year.2 It contains psychoactive compounds such as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and other compounds such as cannabidiol, or CBD, which are not mind-altering.

Half-Life

Although marijuana contains several different cannabinoids, most tests look for metabolite THCCOOH, which has a longer half-life. THCCOOH has a half-life of 20-57 hours in occasional users and 3-13 days in regular users.3

Urine

Urine tests only show recent marijuana use, not current intoxication or impairment. Marijuana can be detected in urine for 3-30 days after use.

Hair

The most sensitive tests are hair tests. They can detect the presence of THC for up to 90 days after use.

Blood

Blood tests can detect THC for 3 to 4 hours.

Saliva

Saliva tests can detect marijuana up to 72 hours after use.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?

What is Alcohol

Alcohol is a drink containing ethanol, an ingredient produced by the fermentation of grains, fruits, and other sugar sources. For example, wine is produced from the sugar of grapes, while vodka is made from the sugar found in potatoes.

Half-Life

Alcohol has a half-life of 4 to 5 hours. Generally, alcohol is absorbed faster into the system than it is metabolized.

Urine

Urine tests look for traces of alcohol metabolites in the body. Alcohol metabolites can be detected for 12-48 hours after drinking in standard urine tests.

Hair

Alcohol can be detected in a hair follicle for up to 90 days.

Blood

Alcohol can be detected in a blood test up to 12 hours after use.

Saliva

A saliva test can detect the presence of alcohol for up to 3 days.

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a brand name for the combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. It belongs to a class of drugs known as stimulants. It is a prescription drug that is generally given to treat symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy (sleeping disorder).

Half-Life

Dextroamphetamine, which is the primary ingredient in Adderall, has a half-life of 10 hours.4 In other words, 50% of the drug will be eliminated from the body in 10 hours. It takes 5.5 half-lives for the drug to be entirely out of your system, which comes down to two and a half days.

Urine

On average, urine tests can detect Adderall for about 2 to 4 days after last use.

Hair

Adderall can be detected in a hair follicle about a week after use and for up to 90 days.

Blood

Adderall is detectable in a blood test 12 to 24 hours after dosage and can be detected for 24 hours.

Saliva

Saliva tests can detect the presence of Adderall about 5 to 10 minutes after use and for up to 72 hours.

How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System?

What is Xanax?

Xanax is an antianxiety medication that belongs to the benzodiazepines family. Benzodiazepines produce a calming effect by acting on the brain and central nervous system, making them a commonly prescribed medication for anxiety and panic disorders.

Half-Life

Xanax has an average half-life of 11 hours in adults.5 Around 50% of the drug will be metabolized and eliminated from the body in that time frame. It takes about 2 to 4 days for the drug to leave the system altogether.

Urine

Urine tests can detect Xanax for up to 4 days.

Hair

Xanax is detectable in hair follicles up to 90 days after the last use.

Blood

In blood tests, Xanax is detectable for up to 24 hours.

Saliva

Saliva tests can detect the presence of Xanax for up to 2 days.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is an illicit stimulant drug made from the coca plant’s leaves, native to South America. In the US, cocaine is a Schedule II drug for its high potential for abuse and severe psychological and physical dependence.

Half-Life

Cocaine has an average half-life of 10 hours.6
The metabolization of cocaine by enzymes in the liver and blood happens so rapidly that it is not detectable in most screening tests. Cocaine screening tests usually search for traces of benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine that is detectable in the body for a more extended period than cocaine.

Urine

Urine tests are the most commonly used tests for the detection of cocaine. A urine test can detect the presence of cocaine metabolites for up to 3 days after use.

Hair

Cocaine metabolites can be detected in hair follicles for up to 3 months after the last use.

Blood

Cocaine is detected in blood tests for 12 hours, while benzoylecgonine can be detected for 48 hours.

Saliva

Saliva tests can detect the presence of cocaine metabolites for up to 2 days after use.

How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System?

What is Heroin?

Heroin is a semi-synthetic opioid that has been chemically processed, made from naturally occurring morphine found in poppy plants. It is a Schedule I drug with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Half-Life

Heroin has an average half-life of 3 minutes. It is metabolized to 6-acetyl morphine and morphine. The half-life of 6-acetyl morphine is around 30 minutes.7 Morphine has a half-life of 2 to 4 hours. Heroin’s short half-life makes it challenging to detect in standard drug screenings. However, some metabolites produced as heroin breaks down can be detected on drug screening tests for 1 to 4 days.

Urine

Urine tests can detect traces of heroin 1 to 4 days after the last use.

Hair

Heroin can be detected in hair follicles for up to 90 days after use.

Blood

Blood tests are not commonly used to detect heroin due to its short half-life. Heroin is detectable through blood tests only for up to 6 hours after the last use.

Saliva

Like blood tests, saliva tests are not often used for heroin detection due to heroin’s short half-life. Heroin is detectable in a saliva test up to 24 hours after use.

How Long Does LSD Stay in Your System?

What is LSD?

LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) is an illicit hallucinogenic drug. It is made from a substance found in ergot, which is a fungus that infects rye. LSD belongs to a class of drugs called psychedelics that can produce visual hallucinations and distortions of space and time.

Half-Life

The half-life of LSD is between 3 and 5 hours. Once it enters the system, LSD is quickly processed by the liver and metabolized into many other inactive metabolites. The drug will be entirely metabolized and excreted within 24 hours.

Urine

Urine tests can detect LSD and its metabolites for up to 2 to 4 days after the last use.

Hair

The presence of LSD can be detected with a hair follicle drug test for up to 90 days.

Blood

LSD has the shortest detection window in blood tests. A standard blood test can detect LSD only 6 to 12 hours after use.

Saliva

The drug can not be detected with standard saliva tests.

How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in the cannabis plant. Although CBD is a component of marijuana, it does not possess mind-altering properties. It has become a popular ingredient in products like oils and edibles for its ability to produce feelings of relaxation and calm.

Half-Life

The half-life of CBD, when taken orally, is around 1 to 2 days. A moderate dose of CBD will be fully metabolized within 3-4 days of initial consumption.
Drug tests only screen for THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana. As many CBD products contain traces of THC, using CBD might lead to a positive drug test. You will only get a positive drug test if enough THC is present.

Urine

THC can be detected in urine for 3-30 days after use.

Hair

Hair follicle tests can detect the presence of THC for up to 90 days after use.

Blood

Blood tests can detect THC for 3 to 4 hours.

Saliva

Saliva tests can detect THC up to 72 hours after use.

How Long Does Morphine Stay in Your System?

What is Morphine?

Morphine is a strong painkiller that belongs to drugs known as opiate (narcotic) analgesics. It works by blocking pain signals from traveling along the nerves to the brain. It is commonly prescribed for treating severe pain, such as a severe injury or pain from cancer and heart attack.

Half-Life

The average half-life of morphine is 2 to 4 hours.8 It takes around 12 hours for morphine to be eliminated from the body.

Urine

In urine tests, morphine can show up to 3 days after the last dose.

Hair

Hair follicle tests can detect morphine for up to 90 days after use.

Blood

Morphine is detectable in blood tests for up to 3 days.

Saliva

Morphine is detectable on a saliva test about 3 days after the last use.

How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is the brand name for a pill that contains two different medicines: buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is used to reduce unpleasant withdrawal symptoms from opioid drugs such as heroin. Naloxone is a drug that reverses the effects of heroin and other related drugs.
It is commonly prescribed in recovery to treat some symptoms of opioid addiction.

Half-Life

Buprenorphine has a long half-life of 24 to 42 hours. Naloxone has a much shorter half-life of 2 to 12 hours. This half-life means buprenorphine can be detected in drug tests even eight days after it has been last taken.

Urine

Buprenorphine is detectable in urine tests 40 minutes after consumption and can be detected for up to 6 days after the last use. In some people, the drug will show up for up to 2 weeks after consumption.

Hair

Buprenorphine and its metabolites can show up in hair follicle tests for up to 3 months.

Blood

Blood tests can detect the presence of buprenorphine for up to 2 days after the last consumption.

Saliva

Saliva tests show buprenorphine for around 3 days after the last use.

Final Word

There are many factors at play when it comes to how long a drug stays in your system. Each person is different, and the drug detection times vary from one type of drug to another. The best way to avoid a positive drug test is to abstain from using drugs.
If you or someone you know finds they can not stop misusing drugs or consuming alcohol to pass a drug test, a substance use disorder may be present. The best way to treat a substance use disorder is to ask for professional help.

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