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If I Smoke Weed Once, Will I Fail a Urine Test?

Many occasional smokers think they will fail the urine drug test because they smoked weed once before. Could this be true? The answer is complex. Therefore, read on, as we break down this question into smaller parts.

Table of Contents

How Long Does Weed Stay in Your System?

Whether you smoke occasionally or are new to cannabis, having information about how your body reacts to weed is essential.

Marijuana contains THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), a psychotropic or euphoric substance that stimulates part of your brain and causes a “high.” A drug test is not usually administered to detect the THC molecules in your urine but rather the waste products your body produces after smoking weed.

When you smoke marijuana, THC metabolizes in your body, which gets you high for a few hours as your body processes the psychoactive content. The end products, which are called metabolites, store in your fat cells and organs of your body from several days to several weeks until fully clean. The time it takes for the metabolites to clean from your system depends on how often you smoke, your metabolism, and the amount of fat you have in your body.

How Much You Need to Pass a Urine Test

A urine test is considered noninvasive and relatively accurate. Technically, weed doesn’t stay in your urine, but its waste products do. A urine drug screen for marijuana contains immunoassays with antibodies that are made to detect THC’s main metabolite 11-nor-delta-9 Carboxy-THC (THC-COOH).

The accepted cutoff level for THC-COOH in a urine test is 50 ng/mL, which means that your result is considered negative if you have less than 50 ng/mL; otherwise, it’s positive. When the initial urine screen is positive, a Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry test will be used to verify the result at a cutoff level of 15 ng/mL.

How Much Is 50 ng/mL?

CarboxyTetrahydrocannabinol is the most abundant metabolite that stores in the system and ultimately the compound of interest during a urine test. According to studies, the average joint gives about 150–200 ng/mL peak concentration of THC-COOH in urine 4 hours after smoking. So, 50 ng/mL is about one-fourth or one-third of a joint, but it strongly depends on your cannabis potency.

THC Half-Life

Half-life is the time frame it takes for a substance to reduce by half its initial value. The half-life of THC is not the same as how long you stay “high.”

The half-life of THC in urine is about 30 hours, which means that THC concentration in urine is reduced by half about every 30 hours. So, having 200 ng/mL after smoking a joint will give you about 100 ng/mL the next day and about 50 ng/mL 2 days after smoking.

This calculation is very rough because half-life depends heavily on many factors, such as:

  • the route of administration
  • the frequency of marijuana use
  • body structure
  • drug potency
  • fluid intake
  • metabolism rate

Will I Pass a Drug Test If I Smoked 1 Week Ago?

Regardless of all the information about whether or not you will pass a drug test, it still depends specifically on your body and the potency of marijuana. In most cases, a week is long enough to flush THC out of your body. So, yes, if you smoked only once, you are very likely to pass a urine test after one week. After 2, 3, 4, and more weeks, chances are 100%, but 1 week is also close to 100%.

Will I Pass a Drug Test If I Smoked Weed a Few Days Ago?

The short-lived effect of THC does not prevent evidence of marijuana from lingering in your body. For as long as the chemical exists in your body, you risk failing a drug test. If you had smoked weed just a few days ago, your chance of passing is 50–50, depending on the potency of the marijuana and your metabolism. Having a few puffs will give you a THC-COOH level under 50 ng/ml in 1–2 days. After one joint, you can pass the test in 3–5 days.

Can I Pass a Drug Test the Next Day?

The time it takes for weed to get out of the system depends on how often, how much, and for how long the user has been smoking. If you don’t have a history of marijuana smoking and you had just a few puffs, it’s possible but not guaranteed that you will pass a drug test the next day. After a joint or even half of a joint, you will fail.

Can I Pass the Urine Test in a Few Hours?

Surprisingly, yes. As was said before, urine tests check for THC-COOH, not THC itself. THC-COOH is a metabolite of THC, and the body needs some time to metabolise THC into THC-COOH and excrete it through urine. According to studies, the peak concentration of THC-COOH in urine comes about 4 hours after smoking. So, 1–2 hours may not be long enough to accumulate 50 ng/mL in urine so that you can pass. This is why saliva tests are used to detect recent cannabis use.

So, the main question is:

Will I Fail a Urine Test If I Smoke Weed Once?

Several factors can improve or decrease your chances of passing a drug test. Studies have shown that occasional smokers can pass a urine test in a few days.

If you had just 1–2 puffs, the chances are that you will pass even the next day if your strain was weak.

If you had a full joint, you would fail in the next few days, but it’s impossible to say for sure how many days you would need to get clean. It depends on weed potency and your metabolism.

You will pass the urine test for sure about one week after smoking weed once.

Important Notice

This information is for only one smoke, not for regular users! Even if you had smoked a few weeks ago, some residue might stay in the body and affect test results.

The calculations above are rough. In the end, it all depends on weed potency and your metabolism! You should not rely on this information when preparing to pass a drug test.

To know if you are ready for a drug test, you need to be able to determine the number of metabolites in your urine. You can use the THC calculator to calculate your approximate level of THC-COOH. It also helps to understand the probability of passing a test.

When your chances of passing a drug test are slim or you are not sure about the result, use THC detox kits that clear THC metabolites from your system. They include high-quality detox drinks that will help dilute your urine. These detox drinks contain vitamin B and creatine that will help hide that your urine is diluted.

Many occasional smokers think they will fail the urine drug test because they smoked weed once before. Could this be true? The answer is complex.

How Long Does THC Stay In Your System?

Do The Words “Drug Test” Give You a Panic Attack?

Many different methods exist for testing for drugs, but most employers, insurance companies, government agencies, etc., will ask for a urine test, as this is the industry standard for workplace drug testing and the only method approved for federally mandated drug tests.

What Are They Looking For During A Drug Test?

Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a cannabinoid found in cannabis, is psychoactive and credited for creating euphoric and psychoactive effects. Your urine is used to test for the amount of just one of the metabolites of THC. A metabolite is basically a chemical produced by the body from another chemical taken in by the body. The metabolite they are looking for is THC COOH.

“It is difficult to say the length of time that you will test positive for cannabis use since the metabolic process of your body converting THC into THC COOH can vary from person to person.”

While THC COOH has no psychoactive effects, it can be detected in your urine for weeks, even months. It is not a marker for current impairment, so it is arguably useless, but nevertheless, THC COOH has become the standard of evidence for determining if you test positive for marijuana use.

How Long After Smoking Marijuana Will I Test Positive?

It is difficult to say the length of time that you will test positive for cannabis use since the metabolic process of your body converting active THC into inactive THC COOH can vary from person to person. Factors such as the quantity of marijuana consumed, frequency of use, method of consumption, and even what you eat and drink can modify the amount of time that traces of THC COOH will be detectable in your urine come test day.

It Was Just One Night… Does That Make a Difference?

It depends. There are several studies that suggest a smaller “window of detection” (the number of days following the last use that a urine sample will produce positive results) and others that suggest a larger window, especially for chronic users.

Most will agree, a one-time user is typically vulnerable to testing positive for up to three days after use. After that, the chances of testing positive greatly decrease because any trace of THC COOH will likely fall below the required threshold for a positive result. The standard for most employment and government testing programs is 50 nanograms per milliliters (ng/ml). It is possible, however, to test positive 7+ days.

Frequent, regular cannabis consumers should not be surprised to test positive for a minimum of one week to 10 days after their last use and up to 100+ days thereafter.

What Can I Do To Ensure I Pass The Drug Test?

As you may expect, there are numerous products on the market that claim to cleanse your system or mask your use. There are even some companies that offer “clean” urine. There are many reasons to be doubtful of these products and their claims. Most do not work, are expensive, and can even be identified in a drug test. Collection facilities and labs have become more sophisticated in detecting a specimen that has been influenced or altered. Cheaters typically get caught.

But don’t panic. There are some simple, inexpensive and legal things that you can do to help lower the amount of metabolites in your urine and influence your test –

  • Using a safe detoxification product that naturally accelerates your bodies normal detoxification systems can allow you to cleanse your blood and urine of toxins like marijuana in roughly 3-6 days depending on how many toxins are stored up in your body.
  • Never use the first urine of your day. This is typically referred to as “the first void.” Even if you have to stay awake all night or get up early the day of the test, each time you urinate will make a difference. Also, try to avoid collecting the beginning of your urine stream, as this will have the greatest amount of metabolites in it.
  • “Flushing” your system – this should only be done with caution. This involves putting large amounts of liquids (not including alcoholic beverages) into your body so that the metabolites will be washed away faster. Although this may be an effective method, it can also be dangerous. Ingesting too much water can cause water poisoning or water intoxication and can make you very ill or even cause death. Cranberry juice is a natural diuretic and will help flush your system faster than water alone. Coffee and tea also act as diuretics. But remember, if your urine is overly diluted, it may raise a flag. To enhance the coloring of the urine so that it appears more yellow, you can add a B vitamin to your diet a day or two before the test.

There is a lot wrong with urine drug testing — accuracy, privacy violations, proof that it improves workplace efficiency or safety. Unfortunately, until alternative methods are more widely available and accepted, it remains the go-to method in the work place.

So how long will marijuana show up in your urine after you smoke it? It depends. Medical Jane explains how long THC stays in your system and more.