So what is medical Marijuana…
First of all – let me shed some light on what Cannabis actually is and what types currently exist. Assuming you’re reading this because it is your first time or you want to prep for your first time with marijuana. We all already know that it’s a highly complex plant, that is made even more mysterious and intricate by a large range of different strains it has within this category. The medical benefits of marijuana don’t hurt the case either.
In a nutshell, there are three main basic types of cannabis plants: hybrids, indica and sativa.
Each of the types of Cannabis contains its specific characteristics, different combination of active compounds called cannabinoids and a varying balance which makes each type more or less suitable for specific needs and requirements.
At the moment, Science has information on 113 different cannabinoids that we’re aware of, with more being discovered regularly. My friends actually get a kick out of my Periodic Table of Cannabis.
The notorious and widely popular Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of the most talked about and also the primary cannabinoid found in the Cannabis plant. The reason for its popularity is that it’s a primary component responsible for psychoactive properties of Marijuana.
THC works by influencing your Brain through its unique chemical messaging property which in turn, brain recognizes and responds to.
When the THC is attached to your brain’s receptors, it goes on to block the natural chemical processes and shift your brain’s chemical balance. This causes a switch to a different message pathway that result in the sensations.
After the THC’s effects subdue, the chemical balance is slowly returned to its standard form. The chemical messaging process returns to its “normal” balance and the processes continue naturally, unaltered. This continues until THC is fully replaced by natural sensory messages and the coordination and memory are fully restored.
The important question many fail to understand entirely, and most get completely wrong is…
How long do the effects of THC from Marijuana actually last?
The truth is – it depends. There’s no simple, one – handed answer to this complex question.
Let’s take a look at some hard facts…
THC usually affects your brain at the moment of consuming Medical Marijuana, with the effects lasting up to several hours afterwards, 3 – 4 on average.
In essence, through continual dosing, you could theoretically maintain THC’s effects at all times.
Cannabis requires varying amounts of time in order to start affecting and changing your Brain’s chemistry depending on the type you’re using and how you’re consuming it.
Consuming Medical Marijuana by smoking it enables the THC to alter your brain’s chemistry extremely quickly as it’s efficiently absorbed into your bloodstream. Vaporizing cannabis, considering that you inhale it, has pretty much the same effect.
What about topical marijuana products?
Topical Cannabis on the other hand will not give you any psychoactive feelings at all. Well – besides the feelings of absolute joy and happiness you are going to feel once it is absorbed through your skin, starts working on your nerves and completely eliminates all that pain that’s been bothering you for so long. That feeling of joy and euphoria can most certainly be considered as psychoactive as it can get.
Concentrated cannabis products on the other hand, when administered properly through a few drops under your tongue, will immediately and rapidly deliver its healing effect by relieving pain and nausea while aiding relaxation and removal of stress.
The longest lasting effects of Medical Cannabis however, come in the form of products such as edibles and beverages – which are swallowed. Take into consideration that it takes digesting them in order to properly affect your system – which takes much longer to take effect. They also, in turn, last much longer than ingestible products.
Pay attention to the fact that Medical Marijuana administered through edible form is most usually strictly dosed by the producer as dosing it on your own is quite challenging considering the time lapse due to the digesting and the enhanced, concentration effect it has on the brain’s chemistry as it’s concentrated in the liver before reaching your bloodstream.
So how long can THC from Marijuana be detected and traced?
One of the most common misconceptions and myths is assuming that after you stop feeling the effects of medical marijuana – the THC is completely out of your system. Though it may no longer be working on your brain, medical marijuana can remain in your body for a prolonged periods of time.
In case you’re living in a state which prohibits the use of medical marijuana and you can find yourself tested for its use – this could prove to be a major problem.
However, as with all things, there are heavily varying options coming from different variables that determine how long THC actually remains in your system.
For example, a long-time, heavy user of medical marijuana will maintain detectable levels of THC for much longer than an individual who has only used it once or twice.
This is not the only variable. The time period through which THC remains in your body is also determined by your:
· Consumption Method
· History of Consumption
· Bodily Tolerance for THC
But what makes the results even more disproportionate and varying is the type of test administered for detection of THC, as the detection results vastly vary between the different forms of testing.
For example, the THC can be detected in your Saliva for up to 12 hours after the consumption, while a hair test could display and detect traces of THC for a time period ranging up to 90 days!
That’s right – the type of test administered can have up to 3 months of varying detection possibility.
Let’s focus on the most common test for THC that is most usually administered
The urine test. If you’re regularly dosing with medical marijuana, the traces of THC may be detected in your system via Urine Test for up to 30 days after the usage. If on the other hand, you happen to be an occasional user that consumes marijuana when needed for relief and its healing effects, your system will be fully clean of THC after only three days.
The second most popular form of testing for medical marijuana usage is blood test. The blood tests usually manages to detect the THC within your system for up to 48 hours after the consumption. The time ranges differ however, as the frequent users who often administer heavy doses of medical marijuana can take up to seven days for the THC to completely clear out of their system and show negative result at the blood test.
What about the dreaded hair test?
The last, most rarely used and the most efficient THC test is a hair test. The reason why they’re not used more often is because they’re more complex, require lengthier setup and are much more expensive. If by chance you find yourself needing to go through a hair test for THC, it would be worth knowing that it can extremely accurately show patterns of medical marijuana administration over a period of several months prior. In fact, it can detect THC in your system for up to 3 months after the last dosage. Not only that, but a hair test can even provide a timeline of usage.
With all these facts considered, I feel obligated to tell you that in general practice, predicting the amount of time medical marijuana and THC are going to remain in your system can never be perfectly predicted, only speculated. The extremely high amount of variables, most of which you have no control or maybe even knowledge of, influence the amount of time the THC will remain in your system, and thus, completely unable you to predict with certainty whether the test will come up positive or negative.
The only certain option is abstaining from administering Medical Marijuana in general.
Medical marijuana and drug tests
Hiding your medical marijuana usage is not an easy task. Luckily, the growing understanding of Medical Marijuana’s benefits and healing effects have given birth to programs, regulation and a growing awareness of the incredible qualities Medical Marijuana delivers to millions of people, which in turn reduced, or in some places completely eliminated the need to do so. If you have a marijuana test coming up and you aren’t sure if you’ll pass, I recommend dropping a few bucks and getting this 10 pack of at-home tests.
Always make sure you follow the guidelines for medical marijuana program in your state, and that way you fully protect yourself from any negative consequences while ensuring access to the medicine you require in order to function at your best at all times.
Depending on the situation and legality, I think it would be worth considering letting your employer know about your medical need for Cannabis products. Though most employers operate under Federal Law, which makes them able to enforce any anti-drug policy even if you’re using it medically, most Employers have an increasing awareness of the need and benefits such consumption can deliver to the health of its employees, which makes them implement policies that favor a full discloser.
Of course – this is a decision you’ll have to make on your own as it’s worth understanding that regularly bypassing and beating THC tests when you’re a regular Medical Marijuana user is an impossible task.
Besides understanding the regulations, the time period THC remains in your system, your State’s programs and policies, ensuring a safe, secure and beneficial Medical Marijuana usage for yourself absolutely required understanding what activities you should avoid when using Medical Marijuana and adhering towards avoiding them at all cost in order to avoid potential troubles and issues.
Few know that one of the main struggles states have with legalization of medical marijuana…
…is not their psychoactive effects and the way it affects individuals – but a public safety concerns. (…and of course, how to tax it. hehe)
I feel one of the main reasons the FDA classified Marijuana is a Schedule I drug is because they came to a conclusion that it can pose a serious risk to the public health. (*insert eye roll and long sigh*)
You may wonder: “how could it pose a risk to the public health with all the scientifically proven, extraordinary health benefits that it delivers to millions of users on a daily basis”?
You see, the issue is not the risk it poses to the user – but to the public. The psychoactive, relaxation effects of Medical Marijuana can, like many other medicines, impair the effect on the individual’s ability to perform some everyday functions.
One difference between the alcohol and medical Cannabis impairment is that the cannabis can’t be easily measured with blood content, which makes it extremely difficult to monitor and enforce legal limits.
Even though medical marijuana offers many benefits and the ability to enjoy them legally, it does affect your motor skills and judgement for a certain period of time. This is why being aware of this risks and taking necessary precautions is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and the public safety in general.
Side Effects of Medical Marijuana
Besides the exceptional benefits, Marijuana, like all drugs, has certain side effects that make certain activities undesirable after its consumption.
The effects largely vary from one strain to the other, but you should be aware of the short-term side effects that include:
- Impaired Coordination
- Slower reaction time
- Decreased concentration
- Decreased short-term memory
- Altered sensory perceptions
- Decreased balance
It’s important to note that these side effects may not be considered serious or even noticeable for your situation. Depending on the symptoms you’re treating with Medical Marijuana and your daily activities, these effects even prove not to affect your daily life in any way. However, your daily schedule requires activities that may be impaired, it’s worth noting and being aware of them.
Duration of Impairment by Marijuana Usage
It’s extremely important to understand that while consuming Medical Marijuana, you’re feeling the maximum beneficial effects of Cannabis, but your senses are also maximally impaired due to the Medicine’s effect.
It’s crucial to understand what time needs to pass before your system is fully ready for certain daily activities you shouldn’t do while consuming cannabis.
Though the scientific research has proven that the effect of Marijuana on your judgement and motor skills can last up to six hours, it’s important to include all the factors influencing this span of time and never engage in any activity you don’t feel fully capable, ready and prepared to do. This way, you’ll ensure both your and the public’s safety in the best manner.
Some (but not all!) of the situations and activities I believe you should avoid. At least while under the influence of Marijuana. (hehe):
· Operating heavy equipment
· Working around dangerous machinery
· Carrying a firearm
So what’s the moral of the marijuana story here?
The best way to remain safe and enjoy the benefits of medical cannabis is planning and understanding the side effects it delivers, limits it imposes. And lastly, fully respecting the fact that it’s beneficial effects are best enjoyed in a safe environment that doesn’t require your motor and judgement capabilities at maximum performance.
I know this article doesn’t convey my typical playful demeanor. I’ve gotta be a big girl from time to time and provide info for grown folk too 😉
Here’s ’til the next sesh,
So what should you do when you stop feeling it? Check out this article that explains resetting your tolerance with a T-Break
Want to read more about Marijuana tolerance and how to reset yours? Be sure to Subscribe For New Content Notifications when new articles are posted!
I am not a doctor and this is not to be taken, interpreted or construed as medical advice. Please talk with a licensed medical professional about this or any conditions you have or may believe you have. The information in this article is provided as an information resource only. These are just my own personal opinions and not a prescription or a diagnosis or any form of health care whatsoever.
Last update on 2019-04-19 / I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.” / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API