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How Long Do Dabs Stay in Your System?

Dr. Adil Maqbool (MD, MRCP)

Written by: Dr. Adil Maqbool (MD, MRCP)

Updated on December 1, 2023

How Long Do Dabs Stay in Your System

Dabs, concentrated forms of cannabis, are gaining popularity among enthusiasts looking for a more potent experience. This increase in consumption has led to concerns about how long dabs stay in the system. Whether it’s for employment drug tests, health issues or personal curiosity, knowing how long dabs linger in the body is a growing concern for many. This article will delve into the absorption and metabolism of dabs their detection in different bodily systems, factors that influence their stay and methods to speed up their removal. This offers a complete guide for those interested in this distinct facet of cannabis consumption.

How are Dabs Absorbed and Metabolized in the Body?

Dabs have a reputation for quickly entering the bloodstream. This swift absorption results from the high concentration of THC,  the psychoactive compound in cannabis. When dabs are inhaled through a dab rig or vaporizer the THC is promptly absorbed into the lungs and enters the bloodstream almost instantly.

dabs are inhaled through vaporizer

The process of “how long dabs stay in your system” starts with understanding their absorption. Unlike traditional methods of consuming cannabis, dabs offer an intense and immediate effect. The concentrated form of THC in dabs enables faster and more efficient absorption into the bloodstream.

Once in the bloodstream, THC spreads throughout the body, specifically to fatty tissues where it resides. The liver is essential in metabolizing THC, converting it into various metabolites. These metabolites, not the THC itself, are typically what drug tests detect. The main metabolite of THC is 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC (THC-COOH) which may linger in the system for an extended time.

dabs-metabolizing-process
Overview of the major THC metabolic pathway. (A) Chemical structures of relevant cannabinoids and CYP2C-generated THC metabolites. (B) Schematic of FABP1-mediated transport of THC for subsequent metabolism by intracellular CYP450 enzymes. – Image source: nature

The metabolism of dabs depends on several factors such as the individual’s metabolic rate, body fat percentage, frequency of use and the potency of the dabs. For example a person with a higher metabolism rate might process THC more quickly, while someone with more body fat might retain THC metabolites for a longer period.

The distribution and metabolism of dabs are multifaceted and can differ among individuals. Understanding how long does a dab stay in your system requires an in-depth examination of these variables. The quick entry of dabs into the bloodstream marks only the beginning of a complex journey through the body.

Overall, dabs are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream due to their high THC concentration. They spread throughout the body and are mainly metabolized by the liver. The metabolites, especially THC-COOH, remain detectable in the system. Factors such as metabolism rate, body fat, frequency of use and potency can influence your system, making this a highly individualized process.

Detection Windows: How Long Do Dabs Stay In Different Systems – Urine, Saliva, Blood and Hair

How Long Do Dabs Stay In Different Systems – Urine, Saliva, Blood and Hair

The detection of dabs in various bodily systems is a complex subject, influenced by numerous factors.

  1. Urine: Urine testing is the most common method for detecting cannabis use, including dabs. THC metabolites can be detected in urine for up to 3-7 days in occasional users and up to 30-90 days in chronic users. Factors such as frequency of use, body fat and metabolism can affect the duration of dabs in the urine.
  2. Saliva: Saliva tests are used to detect recent dab use. THC can be found in saliva for up to 24 hours after use in occasional users and up to 72 hours in regular users. The swift detection in saliva reflects dab stay in your system for short-term analysis.
  3. Blood: Blood tests provide a window into recent dab consumption. THC can be detected in the blood for up to 24-36 hours in occasional users and up to 30 days in chronic users. Understanding it requires considering factors like the potency of the dabs and individual metabolism.
  4. Hair: Hair testing offers the longest detection window for dabs. THC metabolites can be found in hair for up to 90 days after use. This method is less common but provides insight over an extended period.

The detection windows for dabs vary significantly between different systems and individuals. Here’s a detailed exploration of each:

  1. Urine: The metabolites of THC, particularly THC-COOH, linger in urine, providing a broad detection window. The duration depends on factors like frequency of use, body composition and overall metabolism.
  2. Saliva: Saliva testing is more indicative of recent use. It’s often used in roadside testing for impaired driving.
  3. Blood: Blood tests are invasive but can provide a clear picture of recent dab use. They are often used in legal or medical settings.
  4. Hair: Hair testing provides a long-term view of dab use. It’s less common but can be used in specific legal or employment scenarios.

The detection of dabs in urine, saliva, blood and hair offers different windows into cannabis consumption. The stay time in each system is influenced by various factors, including the type of dabs, frequency of use, individual metabolism and testing method. Understanding how long does dab last in these different systems provides valuable insights for both personal knowledge and legal considerations.

Usage Frequency Urine Test Saliva Test Hair Test Blood Test
Single Use 7 days 24 hours Up to 90 days 1.5 days
Up to Twice Weekly 14 days 2 days Up to 90 days 1.5 days
Three or More Times Weekly 30 days 3 days Up to 90 days 2 days
Daily Usage 30+ days 3 days Up to 90 days Up to 30 days
Chronic Long-term Use Up to 90 days Up to 30 days Up to 90 days Up to 30 days
The table presents the estimated detection windows for dabs in urine, saliva, hair and blood tests, categorized by usage frequency.

Factors Affecting Dabs Stay in the System

The time dabs stay detectable in the body is a complex matter, shaped by various factors. This complexity leads to significant variations among people. Below, we’ll explore the contributing factors:

Frequency of Use

How often a person uses dabs is crucial in detection times. Regular users will have THC metabolites in their system longer than occasional users. Continuous use leads to these metabolites building up which prolongs how long dabs stay in the body. For instance, daily users might find THC in urine for over 30 days, whereas a one-time user may have a 7-day detection window.

Potency of Dabs

Different dabs have varying THC concentrations. The higher the potency the longer it might stay in the body. More potent dabs could even double the detection time compared to less potent forms.

Body Composition

People with more body fat may retain THC longer. Fat cells store THC, slowing its removal and affecting the retention time.

Metabolism Rate

Metabolism speed affects how quickly THC breaks down. A quicker metabolism may lead to faster elimination, while a slower one may prolong its stay.

Hydration and Diet

Staying hydrated and eating a nutrient-rich diet can affect how quickly the body processes THC. Drinking enough water and eating a fiber-rich diet can help in elimination.

Method of Consumption

How you consume dabs, like using a dab pen, may change detection times. Inhalation methods could cause quicker absorption, influencing retention.

Physical Activity

Regular exercise may aid in metabolizing THC more efficiently. Physical activity helps with blood circulation and fat breakdown, possibly accelerating elimination.

Overall Health

Health conditions such as liver and kidney function can impact how the body processes THC. Chronic issues might slow down metabolism, extending detection times.

Co-Consumption with Other Substances

Mixing dabs with substances like alcohol may alter THC metabolism, creating unpredictable detection windows.

Gender and Age

Gender and age can influence THC metabolism. Hormonal differences and age-related changes may affect retention.

Environmental Factors

Factors like ambient temperature may influence metabolism. Colder environments might slow down processes, while warmer ones may speed them up. The time dabs remain in the system is determined by a mix of these factors. From potency and frequency of use to individual metabolism and overall health, each part plays a role in detection and elimination. Understanding these factors offers valuable insights for users, healthcare providers and legal authorities.

How Can You Speed Up the Elimination of Dabs from Your System?

While no method can instantly remove dabs from the body, certain strategies might assist in this process:

  1. Hydration: Drinking sufficient water may aid in flushing out toxins such as THC metabolites. However, drinking too much can cause water intoxication so maintaining healthy limits is essential.
  2. Exercise: Regular physical activity can enhance metabolism and promote the breakdown of fat cells storing THC. It’s noteworthy that exercise right before a drug test may temporarily boost THC levels in the blood so timing matters.
  3. Diet: Consuming a fiber-rich balanced diet can facilitate digestion and elimination. Foods that bolster liver function could also assist in metabolizing THC more effectively.
  4. Avoid Re-Consumption: Abstaining from further use of dabs or other cannabis products is key to lowering THC levels in the system.
  5. Sauna or Sweat Therapy: Although unproven scientifically some think that sweating through sauna sessions or rigorous exercise might help in expelling toxins, including THC.
  6. Consult a Healthcare Provider: If you have specific worries about, seeking personalized advice from a healthcare provider is the safest way.

It’s vital to understand that these techniques are not infallible and individual results can differ. Factors like metabolism rate, frequency of use, potency of dabs and overall well-being will affect how swiftly dabs can be removed from the body. Misinformation and misconceptions regarding accelerating THC elimination are widespread so leaning on credible sources and expert advice is paramount.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or professional advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider or a qualified professional regarding any questions or concerns about your health or the consumption of cannabis. Individual experiences with cannabis may vary and laws related to its use differ by jurisdiction.

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Dr. Adil Maqbool (MD, MRCP)
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