How Long Does Hash Stay in Your System?

The Persistence of THC in Your Body Has Many Variables

Woman Smoking Hash Pipe
Woman Smoking Hash Pipe. © Getty Images

Hash or hash oil may be used as forms of medical marijuana and may be allowed in states where marijuana has been legalized. It can be used in preparing edibles, smoked, or ingested in other ways. How long does the THC from hash oil stay in your system and what factors might influence it?

Difference Between Hash, Hash Oil, and Weed

First things first: It's a good idea to understand the differences between hash and weed, the other common form of marijuana.

Weed is essentially an unprocessed form of marijuana, which includes the leaves and buds of the Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica plants. Unless someone adds other "enhancements," the only preparation of weed is drying the leaves and buds.

Hash, on the other hand, is a preparation of marijuana made from the resin of the Cannabis Sativa or Cannabis Indica plant, which is extracted with solvents. Hashish oil, or hash oil, is the strongest form of marijuana since it's so concentrated, with a pound of marijuana yielding just an ounce or two of hash or hash oil.

As the processing of marijuana into hash oil isn't standardized, even from legalized production it is difficult to know just how much of the active ingredients are present in the hash oil. It can contain anywhere from 15 to 60 percent THC.

How THC Enters Your System from Hash

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive compound in marijuana.

THC enters the body's bloodstream rapidly after smoking marijuana or hash oil, with effects felt within minutes and peaking in about 30 minutes. If marijuana or hash oil is ingested, such as in baked goods or edibles, it takes longer to be absorbed into the blood, usually from 20 minutes to an hour and a half.

Once in your system, users may think the effects have passed after two to three hours, although there can be some impairment for as long as 24 hours. The time frame is extremely variable. It depends on the concentration of THC, which is not standardized with hash oil, even where it can be produced and purchased legally.

The effects of THC on attention, concentration, and working memory generally have passed by six hours after ingesting or smoking THC-containing products if the user is only a light user. Your psychomotor skills are affected during this period and you should not drive or operate machinery. In a traffic stop, you could be charged with DUI, even if you have a prescription for medical marijuana.

For heavy users, there can be residual effects for as long as 28 days after they cease all use of THC-containing products.

Side Effects of Hash in Your System

The physical side effects can be increased heart rate, red eyes, dry mouth, increased appetite, and vasodilatation.

Due to the uncertain concentration of THC in hash oil, a medical user should be cautious about the amount they take. Taking a large dose may enhance the mental effects to an unpleasant degree, with fatigue, paranoia, altered mood, memory problems, fragmented thinking, and altered sensations.

The antidote is time as these effects will wear off over the course of a few hours.

Drug interactions with other substances include alcohol, which should be avoided. The THC in hash can interact with medications for anxiety, asthma, colds, irritable bowel disease, motion sickness, Parkinson's disease, seizures, ulcers, or urinary problems, as well as amphetamines, barbiturates, muscle relaxants, sedatives, and sleeping pills. If you are on any medications, discuss your use of hash oil and other THC-containing products with your doctor as it may influence your dosages.

How Long THC from Hash Stays in Your System

Some of the THC in your bloodstream is rapidly metabolized into over 80 different chemicals, known as metabolites.

Some of these then are excreted in your urine. But THC and its various metabolites are also stored in body fat and these remain in your system for much longer, on the order of almost two weeks. They accumulate, so heavy users will have more stores of THC in the body and may take much longer to eliminate it from their systems.

Some of the THC is stored unchanged, so when it is released from fat into the body, it can again exert its psychoactive properties, as well as be metabolized and be excreted in the urine. The half-life of fat-stored THC is about 10 to 13 days. THC can also be stored in hair follicles, where it may be detected for up to 90 days. This long elimination period is of concern for a medical marijuana user who may need to take a urine drug screen.

Sources:

American Association for Clinical Chemistry "Drugs of Abuse Testing" Lab Tests Online. Revised  January 2013.

Cannabis / Marijuana. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/job185drugs/cannabis.htm.

Crean RD, Crane NA, Mason BJ. An Evidence-Based Review of Acute and Long-Term Effects of Cannabis Use on Executive Cognitive Functions. Journal of Addiction Medicine. 2011;5(1):1-8. doi:10.1097/adm.0b013e31820c23fa. 

Jacquette, D. and Allhoff, F. (Editors). Cannabis: Philosophy for Everyone. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell. 2010.

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