Recreational cannabis has been legal in Canada for a few years now. Even if you don’t keep up with marijuana-related news, you probably knew that just by watching the sheer amount of cannabis dispensaries that have opened up recently. Cannabis used to be hard to find, but now it feels like there’s a dispensary around every corner. Also, it’s possible to find it online at

Even though public opinion on recreational cannabis use is higher than it’s ever been, there are still reasons to be concerned about how long it can stay in your system. The biggest one being employers given drug tests. For the most part, employers can’t force employees to take random drug tests. But that doesn’t mean they’re obsolete.

If you’re worried about getting trusted that results in a positive reading for cannabis, hopefully the information in this article will give you a clearer idea of your chances of passing.

Why Would My Employer Drug Test Me?

It may seem old-fashioned for organizations to drug test their employees, especially for off-duty marijuana use. And for the most part, it is. However, there are several reasons why you might be subjected to one. Usually, it would be for one of the following reasons:

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  • upon returning to work after a long absence due to an addiction problem;
  • if the employer has reason to believe that the employee represents a potential danger to himself or herself or to his or her co-workers;
  • if the employer has reason to believe that the employee is under the influence at work;
  • following a serious incident or accident;
  • as part of a last-chance agreement in the context of drug or alcohol addiction; or
  • if provided for by the legislation (e.g., airline pilots).

How Long Will Cannabis Stay In My System?

This isn’t an easy question to answer, and there is conflicting research on the matter. There are also many factors at play that intersect with one another. But we do have a good general idea for how long it will last, even though every body and every circumstance is unique. Depending on how frequently you smoke, diet and exercise habits, and the type of drug test, cannabis can be undetected in as little as three days after use or detected as many as 90 days after use. If that seems like a huge range, it is. In most cases, the longest cannabis will stay in your system is around 21 days, and that’s for frequent users.

The Different Types of Drug Tests

There are several different ways to test for cannabis in your body, and each of them has a different time frame where they can detect the traces.

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Urine Test

Due to its ease of use and ability to detect traces of THC pretty accurately, urine tests are the most common type of drug test used. The amount of time it will take for enough marijuana to leave your system and become undetectable by a urine test varies greatly depending on how frequently you smoke.

If you are an infrequent user, around two or fewer smoke sessions per week, you could get a positive result for one to three days after your last puff. But if you smoke several times per week (moderate user) and have been for a while, you can test positive seven to 21 days after smoking. For the long-term daily smokers that have been at it for years, THC can show up on a urine test for a month or more after the last smoke.

If you prefer going to the dispensary for edibles instead of flower, you may produce a positive urine test for one to five days after eating that tasty but powerful gummy bear.

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Saliva Test

There seems to be much less variability with saliva tests than there is with urine tests. Generally, you can test positive for cannabis for up to 34-48 hours after your last smoke.

Hair Test

You’re very unlikely to be subjected to a hair test, but it’s good to know just in case. If you’re getting tested for marijuana with a hair test, traces could show up a whopping 90 days from the last time you inhaled the herb.

You likely have nothing to worry about if you’re a light user because hair tests may not even pick up the smallest amount of THC. But if you’re a heavy, frequent smoker, the odds that your test will be positive are pretty high. No pun intended.

Blood Test

The last type of drug test is a blood test. Again, you are unlikely to get a blood test to find marijuana, but they are used from time to time. Cannabis can show up on a blood test for up to 36 hours.

Why Does Cannabis Stay In The Body For So Long?

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There are many components that marijuana breaks down into after you’ve smoked, but the one that most drug tests are looking for is THC, so we’ll focus on that.

When your liver breaks down THC, it naturally produces something that’s called THC-COOH that gets stored in your body fat. It’s strange to think, but since THC is stored in fat, the only way it can be eliminated from your body is through urine and other less savoury bodily fluids. The reason it lasts so long is that most people don’t shed their fat very quickly. If you’re not burning fat cells at the same rate or faster than your filling them up with THC, of course, it’s going to stay in your system for a long time. This effect is drastically enhanced for frequent smokers.


The amount of time that cannabis can stay in your system varies wildly depending on many factors. The most significant factors are frequency of use, dosage, and the amount of fat you have stored in your body. If you’re more concerned about passing a drug test than if there is actually cannabis still in your body, then the type of test is likely what matters most to you.

Hopefully, you never need to worry about failing a drug test, and maybe you won’t as our culture slowly shifts to becoming more accepting of marijuana use. Just remember the next time you pick up at your local dispensary, the cannabis your buying might be staying with you longer than you think.