As someone who’s tried concentrates, I can tell you that dabs offer a more potent cannabinoid experience compared to smoking pot, regardless of whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned user. Marijuana flower might contain up to 30% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), while concentrates have at least 70% THC, with some even exceeding 90% THC. Count me in!
If you’re curious about how long dabs stay in your system, the answer depends on several factors: the type of concentrate, how often you use it, and your metabolism. Since dabs have a much higher THC content than flower, many users are left wondering about the long-term effects of dabs and how long a drug test can detect them.
So, how long does a dab high last?
Despite having a higher percentage of psychoactive cannabinoids, the effects of dabs don’t usually last longer than those experienced when smoking flower. The main differences between hitting a bong or a rig are intensity and onset: dabbing gives a more intense high with effects that can be felt almost immediately. The peak of a dab high can last between one to two hours (or even more for infrequent users) before the effects subside.
But how long can dabs be detected in drug tests?
Sadly, there’s no straightforward answer to the question, “how long does THC stay in your system?” THC levels are influenced by age, gender, body mass, metabolism, dosage, usage frequency, and other factors. Regular users might still have small amounts of detectable metabolites months after using cannabis.
Drug test detection times: urine, saliva, blood, and hair
THC and its metabolite THC-COOH can be detected in various test samples, including urine, hair, saliva, and blood. Urine tests are the go-to choice for employers, probation officers, and parents alike, thanks to their affordability and convenience.
The table below provides approximate estimates of the amount of time it takes for dabs to no longer be detectable in various forms of drug tests. Please keep in mind that these drug detection times are just estimates and can vary depending on your specific circumstances. We don’t have scientific evidence to back up our estimated detection times – all of our estimates are solely based on experience. The dab detection times below are all estimates grounded in a worst-case scenario.
In blood testing, THC-COOH can be detected one to two days after dabbing. However, for heavy users, it can be detected for up to a month. Some blood tests have found THC in heavy users after 25 days. For saliva testing, THC can be detected one to three days after the last use for occasional users and up to a month for chronic users. Hair testing can detect marijuana use for the longest time, up to 90 days, depending on hair length.
Other factors to consider
When THC enters your body after dabbing, it’s absorbed into your bloodstream right away. You might begin to feel the effects within a minute of inhalation. THC is broken down in your body into molecules called metabolites, which are stored in organs, body fat, and the bloodstream. People with a quick metabolism or lower body fat can remove THC from their system faster than those with a slower metabolic rate.
Factors affecting drug test detection times
The drug test detection times above are provided as approximate estimates. The actual time it will take for THC from dabs to no longer be detectable in your body varies based on numerous factors listed below.
Consumption Levels: As detailed in the table above, the key factor affecting how long dabs remain detectable in your body is the quantity and frequency of consumption. Dabs will stay in the system longer for a regular user than for an infrequent user.
Stress Levels: Your stress levels impact the amount of time it takes for THC metabolites to exit your system. The more stress you experience, the longer it takes for carboxy-THC to be purged from your system.
Your Metabolic Rate: The number of days dabs are detectable in your system directly correlates with your metabolic rate. The faster your metabolism, the quicker dabs will be purged from your system.
Body Mass (Body Fat Content): Your body stores excess THC metabolites in fast-growing cells like your body fat, hair, and nails, though the highest concentration is in fat cells. These metabolites leak back into your system over time, prolonging the time it takes until THC is no longer detectable in your system.
Your Physical Activity Levels: This is tied to the previous point. The less physical activity you do, the more body fat cells you will have, and the longer THC metabolites will remain detectable in your system.
Your Age: The human metabolism generally slows down with age. For this reason, dabs will remain in the body longer for older people than for younger people.
Your General Healthiness: Since your body metabolism slows down during periods of ill health, a healthier person will process and purge THC metabolites faster than an unhealthy person.
Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions can impact the time it takes for THC metabolites to be removed from your body. For example, medical conditions that affect your kidneys or liver can influence drug-detection times. It is not possible to determine the impact without proper diagnosis.
Your Genetics: Some people are genetically able to process drug metabolites faster than others. This is due to the presence of drug-metabolizing enzyme CYP2D6, as documented by the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. People who have less of this enzyme will experience longer drug-detection times.
Use of Other Drugs: Our bodies have a limited capacity for metabolizing drugs from our systems. If your body is overloaded with various drugs, this will prolong the drug-detection time.