The physical effects of marijuana may fade quickly but the presence of it in a blood test can be long-lasting. If you need to know how long weed shows up in a DUI blood test, we cover estimations based on test type and use frequency.
In this article, we also discuss the significant factors that affect marijuana detection and California’s DUI testing process. These cases tend to move fast, so let our Los Angeles DUI attorneys provide a free session to discuss DUI case strategy.
How Marijuana Shows Up in Your Blood
Within seconds, THC is detectable in your bloodstream. According to The National Library of Medicine (NLM), the THC metabolites attach to the body’s stored fat cells and are eliminated gradually through digestive mechanisms. Every person is different, so how long weed shows up in a DUI blood test can vary.
Factors That Affect Marijuana Detection
The ability to detect marijuana in your system depends on but is not limited to the following factors:
- Frequency of use
- Time of consumption
- Test type
- Test sensitivity
- Dosage administered
- Genetic makeup
Drug Testing Methods with Detection Times
If pulled over by law enforcement and suspected of impaired driving, they can choose to administer the following test types. We’ve collected an estimation of how long weed shows up in a DUI blood test or any alternative testing.
This breathalyzer-type device is a common and least invasive way to be tested for marijuana. The THC that is transferred from the bloodstream into the lungs is detected on your breath. The detection window is a short 2 to 3 hours after the last consumption.
In jurisdictions where marijuana is legal, an oral swab test may be administered. The NLM also confirms that cannabinoids are detectable in saliva. For occasional users, weed can appear in the system from one to three days, or up to 29 days for chronic users.
It can take time for traces of weed to be undetectable due to its ability to bind to fat molecules in the body. According to the Mayo Clinic, weed is detectable in the urine of occasional users up until 3 days after their last use and a minimum of 10 days for chronic users.
After consumption, small blood vessels carry traces of marijuana to the hair follicle. This type of test is objectionable because it is most indicative of regular use versus occasional use. The residue from weed takes about 7 to 10 days to absorb into the follicle. This test evaluates drug use for up to 90 days.
Blood tests are commonly administered for DUIs because it measures active THC. Shortly after inhalation, it reaches the tissues or is absorbed by the blood. Weed can show up in a DUI blood test for one to two days, and for heavy users, after 25 days.
DUI Testing Procedure in Los Angeles
If stopped and suspected to be under the influence, the person is asked to step out of the vehicle to perform roadside sobriety testing. While you may refuse to take an initial test, it does not guarantee that you will not be detained.
If arrested, the person’s license is confiscated and they will be taken to a local hospital or police station to perform drug testing. Comply with the formal blood test, as refusal may lead to additional penalties under the California Vehicle Code.
The timeframe for obtaining the DUI blood sample lab results can vary.
Alternative Evidence Used for Weed DUI
After being pulled over or entering a DUI checkpoint, officers check for visible signs of alcohol or drug use such as:
- The smell of weed in the car
- An open marijuana container or cannabis paraphernalia
- Physical signs of impairment with a negative alcohol breath test
If police have probable cause, they can cite you with a DUI for weed.
Why It’s Complicated to Charge Drivers Impaired by Weed
Cannabis can remain in the bloodstream for extended periods. Prolonged detection creates difficulty in charging someone with marijuana DUI. How long weed shows up in a DUI blood test can be misleading about the time consumed and if the impairment truly is cannabis-related.
Also, in California, there is no set limit stating what constitutes impaired driving pertaining to weed. If you have additional questions, check out our FAQs for more information. It is the job of the attorney to mitigate the impact of a DUI charge.
Don’t Panic—Try a Free Consult With Our DUI Attorneys
If you or someone that you know was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of marijuana in Los Angeles, CA, contact us to explore your defenses. Our Los Angeles DUI attorneys are known for successful outcomes and offer a free assessment and consultation.