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How long does weed stay in the system of an athlete

Nervous about clearing a dope test? Or just excited to perform big in an upcoming league?

A concerning question for weed smokers is, "How much time does the weed reside in their system?". There are so many explanations to this question, and none of them is right or wrong. The more weed you consume, the longer it will take to excrete out. 

Weed is banned in almost every sport because there's a common stigma that it can affect an athlete's performance. That's why athletes are often subjected to drug tests. If you are in such a position, you'd possibly be wondering how long does the weed stays in your body. The article is all about this question and more.

Which compound is the culprit?

Among different cannabinoids and terpenes in the weed, tetrahydrocannabinol is the one that causes intoxication. Within a few hours, the actual compound, tetrahydrocannabinol, breaks into inactive metabolites that are stored in the body fat cells. Therefore drug tests are designed to look for tetrahydrocannabinol and its metabolites.

How does weed travel through the body?

It is essential to know how weed interacts with the body to understand how long the weed stays in an athlete's system.

When weed is smoked, tetrahydrocannabinol first goes to the lungs and enters the bloodstream. The blood takes it to the heart, which pumps it throughout the body, including the brain, where tetrahydrocannabinol acts on the endocannabinoid system to exert its effects. Tetrahydrocannabinol is also distributed to the liver, where it is metabolized into numerous metabolites. Some metabolites of tetrahydrocannabinol are stored in the body, while others are excreted out.

The process is a bit different in the case of oral ingestion. Weed enters the circulation from the stomach and intestinal walls, traveling straight to the liver, where most of it breaks down into numerous metabolites. Then metabolites and remaining tetrahydrocannabinol are sent to the heart.

How long does weed stay in the system of an athlete

According to some studies, weed can last for almost three days in the body of a first-timer. While for frequent users, it can take 5-7 days to eliminate completely. Regular smokers can test positive for at least 30 days after the last smoke from the pipe, joint, or weed vaporizer. Weed and its components stay for a shorter period in the athlete's body compared to ordinary people because of:

  • Active Lifestyle 

An active lifestyle can make your metabolism faster, which means traces of weed get eliminated more quickly from an athlete's body. Moreover, exercise makes you sweat more, eliminating tetrahydrocannabinol from your body pores.

  • Well Hydrated

Athletes are well hydrated due to high water intake. The water helps to excrete tetrahydrocannabinol faster from the body; plus, it can dilute weed components concentration in urine. 

  • Low Body Fat

Tetrahydrocannabinol and its metabolites are stored in the body's fat cells, but athletes' low body fat does not allow large amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol to store in the body. Hence tetrahydrocannabinol stays in athletes’ bodies for a short while.

Other factors of how long does the weed stay in the system of an athlete

Weed in the body of an athlete depends upon various factors such as:

  • Dosage

If you have consumed high amounts of weed, its metabolites will stay for a long time in the body.

  • Frequency of Consumption

The overall frequency of consuming weed greatly influences the time weed stays in your body.

  • Genetics

Some people have a different genetic profile, affecting the tetrahydrocannabinol modifying enzymes such as the cytochrome P450 superfamily. Therefore, if the enzyme concentration is less in the body, weed will stay longer.

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