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  • Matthew O.

What Is THC Half-Life & How Is THC Metabolized?

The primary component in marijuana, THC, gives you the high you experience when smoking it. Hemp and other marijuana-based products keep you from passing a drug test since other marijuana constituents don't last in the body for very long.

Three to eight minutes after ingesting marijuana, THC levels are at their peak. After that, they quickly start to decline. Most drug tests look for THC metabolites, which have a half-life of twenty hours. Half of the medication has time to metabolize and leave the bloodstream during this period. The half-life of other THC metabolites in body fat ranges from ten days to two weeks. Marijuana can therefore stay in your system for one to 90 days, depending on how you use it, your health, your way of life, and the test used.

In this blog post, we'll discuss the half-life of THC, or how long it takes for it to get eliminated from the body, as well as the elements that can influence the elimination for people who are interested in the chemistry of cannabis, given that medicinal marijuana is now legal in Mississippi.

THC Chemical Structure

More than 421 different compounds, 61 cannabinoids, are found in the cannabis plant. Interestingly, when cannabis is smoked, more than 2000 compounds are formed by pyrolysis. They come from various chemical classes, including nitrogenous compounds, amino acids, hydrocarbons, sugar, terpenes, and simple fatty acids. These substances work together to give cannabis its distinct pharmacological and toxicological characteristics.

The most psychotropic ingredient in cannabis, delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as 9-THC), is thought to be responsible for the drug's behavioral toxicity. Cannabidiol (CBD) and, in older samples, cannabinol (CBN) are two other chemical compounds found in cannabis that are closely related but have quite different pharmacological effects from THC. Cannabidivarin and cannabichromene are other substances, all referred to as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are not nitrogenous bases, in contrast to many other psychoactive substances.

The Half-Life Of THC

The time it takes the body to break down half of an eaten substance is known as the half-life. According to how frequently it is used, marijuana has a different half-life. Individuals who use marijuana infrequently might anticipate a half-life of around 1.3 days, but those who use it frequently can expect a half-life of between five and thirteen days.

A person who uses marijuana infrequently would eliminate THC in around seven days, whereas more frequent usage can take up to 65 days, according to the half-life.

The liver degrades THC and other cannabinoids. Enzymes are tiny proteins liver cells produce that help break down many drugs, including THC. The subsequent breakdown of THC results in some substances, such as 11-OH-THC or 11-hydroxy-delta-tetrahydrocannabinol, which remain active and give you a high. This is one of the causes of how long marijuana traces can last in your system.

How Is THC Metabolized?

In the liver, THC is metabolized through microsomal hydroxylation and oxidation, both performed by cytochrome P450 (CYP) complex enzymes. THC is quickly absorbed via the lungs when marijuana is smoked and enters the bloodstream in minutes. THC takes one to one and a half hours to enter the bloodstream after oral consumption. THC is a psychoactive substance absorbed into bodily tissues like the brain, heart, and fat after entering the bloodstream. The liver can also change it into 11-hydroxy-THC and carboxy-THC.

To make these main metabolites water-soluble, glucuronic acid is subsequently conjugated. The inactive metabolite carboxy-THC-glucuronide is the most common in urine when these water-soluble metabolites are eliminated. THC is initially swiftly taken up by body tissues before being slowly released into the bloodstream, where it is transported to the liver and processed.

THC accumulates faster than it can be removed in chronic, repeating smokers because it is often retained in fatty tissues.

THC is retained for a longer period due to this accumulation, after which it is removed from the body at a comparatively consistent pace with an estimated average elimination half-life of 18 to 30 hours. Due to factors like THC dosage, frequency of usage, time of urine collection with last marijuana exposure, rate of release of stored cannabinoids in adipose tissue, and hydration level, urinary THC concentrations are highly challenging to interpret. As a result, THC metabolites in the urine are just a sign that a person has previously used marijuana; it has no bearing on their level of intoxication or impairment.

How Is THC Processed Out of Your Body

Cannabinoids like THC can start producing the intended effects once eaten, absorbed into the bloodstream, and disseminated to tissues throughout the body.

THC travels through your body according to the method of ingestion. Cannabinoids and terpenes that are breathed quickly go from the lungs to the blood and brain. However, THC has a more complicated route to the blood and brain. Oral cannabis must pass via the liver before being absorbed from the intestines. Your liver cells will first pass and metabolize any cannabinoids transported there, which is a process known as metabolism.

Cannabinoid metabolism can occur in a variety of ways, just like with other medicines, but it often happens in the following two phases:

  • Oxidation and hydroxylation are the two main processes in phase 1 metabolism. A portion of the cannabinoid is hydroxylated during this phase, adding an oxygen and hydrogen molecule to the compound's structure. This produces 11-OH-THC, a highly pharmacologically active THC metabolite with sedative and psychoactive properties.

  • Phase 2 of the procedure focuses entirely on preparing the medication to leave the body. UGT enzymes can join a glucuronide molecule to THC-COOH in this phase. This transforms the material into a THC-COOH-glucuronide molecule, which the body may easily eliminate through feces and urine. The drug is ready to be excreted from the body once it has been changed into this metabolite. The final stage of this process is the removal of THC metabolites from the body by urination or bowel movements. 80–90% of THC and (mainly) its metabolites are eliminated within five days on average, with more than 65% going through the bowels and 20% going through the urine.

Final Thoughts

Just like how your body digests food or processes water, understanding how your body metabolizes THC is crucial. Cannabis intriguingly interacts with our bodies because it is a natural material. As marijuana becomes less stigmatized globally, as is in Mississippi, maybe more individuals will be able to interact with cannabis.

In Mississippi, where medical use is legal, you might have a prescription for medical marijuana or a desire to consume marijuana or marijuana-infused edibles. Before using cannabis, think about requesting a Mississippi medicinal marijuana card online. This will guarantee that you may take advantage of the myriad advantages of cannabinoids and observe directly how they affect your body.


Get Your Medical Marijuana Card Today

Medical marijuana is legal in Mississippi and you can get your medical card today! You will need your medical card to access any of the licensed marijuana dispensaries in the state. If you don’t already have yours, let us help you!

Finally, patients with their medical marijuana card have access to dispensaries! The program continues to grow each day as more people are recommended cannabis for their qualifying condition.

Schedule a medical marijuana evaluation online today with one of our compassionate, qualified physicians, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as Mississippi’s medical marijuana market is up and running.

You’ll meet with your new doctor and learn what medical marijuana might do for you. Act soon to find out if you qualify for a Mississippi Marijuana Card.

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