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What Is THC half-life, and how is THC metabolized


Most people now know that you can get high if you take too much cannabis because of its THC. The cannabis industry has experienced tremendous growth in the past few years, so the awareness of how THC runs in the body has increased too.


People now have access to tricks on extending their high, how long the cannabis stays in the body, and how long it takes for drug tests to detect it. It is a great advantage to know how cannabis reacts in your body.


Gone are the days when cannabis had a low acceptance rate in many states, including Texas; now, it is legalized in more places, increasing people’s interest in its make up. As people continue exploring the properties of cannabis, new medical discoveries keep coming out. This is why you must understand its reaction in your body on the biological level.

What exactly is THC, and how is it metabolized? Continue reading.


What Is THC?

Weeds have two cannabinoids, one of which is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabinoids are the reason for the sensation and the reaction your body develops when you use cannabis. Cannabidiol is the second property of cannabis, and along with THC, they are responsible for the medical component of the substance.


As soon as you consume cannabis, it travels to the cannabinoid cell, which belongs to the endocannabinoid department of the body. The receptors influence the reaction so that it can only trigger those effects that are typical of cannabis only.


Regardless of how often you take cannabis, one thing is sure; it stays in your system for a particular period even after the effect is no longer there. This is how cannabis travels through the body, and knowing the pathways, including how long it takes to leave your body completely, will be a great help, especially when planning to take a drug test at your job or wherever you want to detox.


How Does THC Travel Through the Body When You Consume Cannabis?

Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol or delta9-thc also known as THC is the hallucinogenic property in cannabis. It is the primary cannabinoid that triggers the “High” or “relaxing” sensation people get after consuming cannabis. Note that THC also has medicinal advantages.


Knowing how the THC travels through your body from the moment you smoke or eat it to the time it fades off will aid the understanding of its half-life. One of the main factors determining the duration of THC absorption in your body is the consumption mode.


Usually, when you inhale cannabis, it travels very fast to your bloodstream through your lungs, and within seconds it spreads all over your blood plasma. It will reach the highest concentration level in your bloodstream within 3-10 minutes. On the other hand, when you ingest cannabis, the absorption process is always slow.


Slow distribution accompanies cannabis ingestion because the reactions will be put on hold until edibles digest. As a result, THC will reach the highest concentration level in your bloodstream within 2 hours after consumption.


The Metabolism of THC

THC is lipophilic, meaning it binds to fat, and as a result, it starts its journey from the bloodstream into the fatty tissues, such as the liver, spleen, and lungs. As mentioned earlier, it may take close to 10 hours for the THC to eliminate completely from your system and bloodstream, depending on whether you inhale or ingest it.


When the THC gets to the liver, it goes through a particular process that turns it into byproducts called metabolites. This process is aided by the cytochrome P450 (CYP) system, which is one of the common enzymes that metabolize medications, drugs, and of course, the THC. 80-90% metabolism process of the THC takes place in the liver and converts to other compounds while the remaining evacuate your body unprocessed.


The THC is first converted to an active metabolite called 11-OH-THC (11-hydroxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or 11-hydroxy-THC); it produces a similar reaction as THC but is less concentrated. The 11-OH-THC is paramount when you ingest cannabis, which is why the euphoric effect of edibles last longer. 11-0H-THC is the common metabolite in feces.


Later, the active metabolite 11-0H-THC is further broken down to an inactive metabolite called THC-COOH (11-nor-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC). It is the main metabolite on which most drug tests are focused because it spends a longer time in the body than the active metabolite.


THC-COOH is common in urine, hence the popularity of urine drug tests. After this, both metabolites go back to the blood plasma and to the body fat, where it stays for a longer period. As time goes on, they vacate your body through excretion or urine.


The Half-life of THC

Half-life refers to the duration it takes for 50% of a substance to be eliminated from your body system. As stated earlier, the THC-COOH stays longer in the body because it is inactive; knowing its half-life will help you correctly predict how long it will take to vacate from your body completely.


Also, you need to note that you can not constantly predict or determine the half-life value of the THC because it depends on several factors. For instance, it breaks down into several by-products and travels to certain body parts, so each property can’t have a fixed or the same half-life.


Generally, the fastest route for THC out of the body is through the blood or oral fluids; using this route, the substance will be out of your body within hours. For urine, it can take days or even weeks before THC completely fades off from your body system. This is because the metabolites stay longer, especially for habitual cannabis consumers.


Factors That Can Affect THC Half-life

Several factors can influence the duration of the elimination of THC from your body; some of these factors can change from time to time.

  • THC gets eliminated faster from the body of infrequent smokers compared to the body system of someone who smokes regularly.

  • Another factor is the dosage. A low quantity of cannabis will be eliminated from the body faster than if you consume a large quantity.

  • There are different strains and categories of marijuana or cannabis, and which one you consume will affect how long its THC lingers in your body.

  • Your body's metabolism also affects how long the THC stays in your body. If you have higher metabolisms, THC will evacuate from your body faster than someone with low metabolisms.

Get Your Medical Marijuana Card in Texas

Although Texas has a medical marijuana program in place, it’s restrictive and doesn't fully meet the needs of Texas patients. There are only three dispensing organizations in the entire state and over 37,000 patients. But we have some good news!


The Texas House approved a bill this past Wednesday that would expand eligibility to more people and increase limits on the medicine, and it will now head to the Senate! Despite some lawmakers voting against it, there was no debate on the House floor over the bill.

Book an evaluation online today with one of our qualified, compassionate doctors. You’ll meet with your doctor virtually using your smartphone or computer for a telemedicine appointment. Together, you’ll discuss your qualifying condition and how you might benefit from medical marijuana, all without leaving your home!

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