How Long Does THC Stay in Your Saliva? - International Highlife

How Long Does THC Stay in Your Saliva?

As more and more states regulate medical and recreational marijuana, saliva tests are becoming increasingly popular for employers. It’s not surprising that people are nervous, how long does THC stay in your saliva? If you smoked a joint last night, can your employer do a quick test in the morning and kick you off the job site? What if you smoked last week? Or last month? Jobsite testing is a reality these days.

The difference between a urine test and a salvia test comes down to what question the test is looking to answer. In a urine test, the tester wants to know if someone uses cannabis at all. In a saliva test, the tester is asking if someone has used marijuana within a recent time frame.

Oral swabs have a short window of accuracy. Employers are looking to see if someone is too stoned to be fit for work. Other times, they may request a random drug screening of all their staff, as random drug testing is usually the most accurate. After all, its hard to prepare for a test you didn’t know about!

What Happens to THC in your Body?

The second you inhale, smoke enters your lungs, and the cannabinoid called THC enters your bloodstream. The bloodstream circulates throughout your body for upwards of six to eight hours until cleansed by the liver. Unfortunately, if you have a urine test in your future, it’s going to take more then time to cleanse the body of THC.

Many of the compounds removed from the blood are transformed by the liver into new compounds. This process includes the THC molecule. The liver turns THC into something called THC COOH. This new metabolite becomes a problem because it sticks around in the body’s fatty tissues. Depending on your body size and how much weed you smoke, it can potentially linger for months.

Urine, hair, and blood tests all look for this long-term metabolite. If you have smoked weed in the past two to three months, there is a chance that these longer terms tests will come back positive for THC COOH.

But what about saliva tests? If you foresee an oral swab in your future, you may be in luck. Saliva tests only test for the active compound, THC. THC is usually just found in your mouth through a swab. In most cases, any trace is absorbed into the bloodstream after eight hours. If you are a heavy user though, THC could potentially linger for longer.

How Do Saliva Tests Work?

As mentioned, saliva tests work by testing the active compound found in your saliva. They cannot check for THC COOH. Most oral swabs currently in circulation are quick, cheap and easy to use. This makes them extremely popular among employers.

An oral test works much like a pregnancy test. It tests for THC based on a specific ratio. The test can only give back one of two answers. Yes, there is detectable levels of THC, or no there is not. Usually, a saliva test uses a ratio between 25 ng/ml to 50 ng/ml.

What Affects the Level of THC in my Saliva?

Although easy to use and quick to test, on the job saliva tests are perhaps one of the least accurate drug tests on the market. Different brands will have varying degrees of accuracy, including varying base levels. On top of the differences between brand names, there are a number of other factors that can influence a positive test result.


For those lucky enough to have a speedy metabolism, it might also speed up the absorption time of the THC molecule through their saliva. There is some evidence suggesting metabolism can influence the length of time THC is detectable through saliva, and also once transformed into the THC COOH.

Potency of Weed

Obviously stronger marijuana has higher levels of THC. Therefore, if you tend to smoke the potent stuff, your chance of testing positive increases. Alternatively, if you prefer weed that has a more balanced cannabinoid content, a saliva test will be far less accurate. Saliva drug tests are only capable of testing for THC, none of the other cannabinoids even register.

Mode of Consumption

Depending on whether you eat edibles, or smoke a joint, your test results could vary. On top of that, if you chose the to eat your weed, it will likely stick around in your system for longer. Inhaling THC goes straight into your bloodstream, but the THC an in edible takes much longer to process through the digestive tract.

How Much and How Often

Probably not surprisingly, if you’ve only smoked one puff over the last few months, there is less THC detectable. It won’t stick around for long. However, if you are a heavy smoker, your system will be rampant with excess THC and THC COOH compounds. The compounds stick around much longer in the saliva of the heavy user.

Overall Health and Wellness

Are you hydrated? Do you ear tons of fruits, vegetables, and clean foods? These may seem like silly questions, but a healthy body promotes a fully functional system. Maintaining an optimal level of health and wellness will provide your body what it needs to detoxify. Without regular exercise and healthy foods, toxins tend to linger.

The bottom line when it comes to saliva tests is that their accuracy varies widely. Despite this, they are increasing in popularity and precision. Keep in mind that a mouth swab can only trigger positive results with recent cannabis use. Although it will vary depending on the circumstances mentioned about, usually it can only find THC up to two days after use. Even a heavy user that abstains for a couple of days, will likely test negative because there will be no trace of THC left in their saliva.

How To Pass A Mouth Swab Drug Test

It’s all well and good to know what kinds of lifestyle changes you need to make to improve your chances on a future drug test, but what about a test tomorrow? How can you pass a saliva test within the next few days? Despite what you might think, there are ways to dilute the potency of the THC in your saliva. There are also ways to cleanse your mouth of any remaining weed traces. Make sure to read our article about how to pass a mouth swab drug test.

Thankfully, THC never lingers long in your saliva. Within 48 hours all traces of THC should have long flushed out of your oral cavity. Even with heavy smokers, you need only be concerned for the first 72 hours.

Still, you might want to try some do-it-yourself oral cleanses before taking the test. There are many oral detox types of mouthwash on the market, but also some more natural alternatives to explore:

  • Stop smoking weed. This step should be obvious.
  • Brush your teeth thoroughly, and much more frequently than usual. 
  • Drink lots of water and chew as much ice as you can.
  • Eat high-fat meals, to help facilitate speedier THC absorption.
  • Cleanse your mouth three to four times daily with vinegar or lemon juice.

While nothing is ever for sure, many pot smokers have reported negative test results after trying one or more of these steps. We’d love to hear from you, what have you tried in the past? Did you pass?

22 responses to “How Long Does THC Stay in Your Saliva?”

  1. Bethany clayton says:

    I smoked 2 bowls day before yesterday and drank 2 gallons of water afterward, brushed and used mouthwash 6 times…i ended up smoking another bowl last night and drank about 1 1/2 gallons of water, 8 packs of green tea and brushed/mouthwashed only about 3 times today. I smoked the bowl at 9pm and didnt end up getting tested until 5:30 tonight, about 20hrs afterward. Im freaking out a little bit now, are the chances good that i passed?

  2. Tim Penner says:

    Hey all, I decided to write a little experience comment, because every where I looked online I couldn’t find a solid answer to someone passing a saliva drug test.
    I’ve read multiple pages claim 24-72 hours abstinence from weed will be enough.
    I’m pumped because I just passed my drug test (for a job I really wanted) and I last puffed the golden stuff 23 hours ago.
    I smoke regularly and usually concentrate, so needless to say I was worried.
    The key is brushing of the teeth. Do it like you haven’t visited the dentist in years and are about visit again. I brushed everything inside my mouth, gums, tongue, even the cheeks. Every single millimeter inside, better safe than sorry. I brushed 3 times the day before and 4 times the day of.
    Also drink copious amounts of water, use mouthwash every time you brush, and I even went a little extra with gargling vinegar and water right before heading out to test.
    Passed the saliva drug test no problem, good luck to everyone!

    • IHL says:

      thanks for the input 🙂

    • Bob says:

      I am a daily multiple x’s per day user for the past couple of years, eating & smoking it. I was told for me 7 days would be plenty if I stopped… and I water pik daily, brush three times a day.. eat low fat meals.. body fat very low. and I still failed my saliva test… now its been 21 days, and I have another test coming up for a possible job.. I self tested my urine and of course its still testing hot, so I bought a detox mouthwash that I am praying works.

  3. Cole Cowman says:

    Thanks for the comments. A few people have asked about using GNP rather than GDP in the analysis. Assume initially that that the two are growing at the same rate, but allow them to have different starting levels (say GNP is 80 percent of GDP). This does not change the basic result of the model as it will lead to proportional changes in both the initial debt to income ratio and the critical (or theshold) value. In other words, if there is fiscal space when the model is speciifed in terms of GDP there will be fiscal space when it is specified in terms of GNP. Allowing for different growth rates does make a difference. Worryingly, the IMF forecasts that Irish GNP growth will lag GDP growth out to 2015. If, as commenters suggest, GNP is more relevant for fiscal capacity, then this lowers the critical debt to income value and thus lowers the fiscal space. @DE I am not quite sure what you are getting at in relation to the base conversion. My hunch is that you are not making a correct adjustment here, but I may not have properly understood your point. @Tunafish Interest on foreign borrowing has no affect on GDP. However, it is subtracted to calculate GNP. Roughly, GDP is a measure of the output produced in the country whatever the ownership of the factors of produciton. GNP is the value of income produced by a country’s factors of production, where ever that economic activity takes place. That is why we subtract the profits of multinationals from GDP when calculating Irish GNP. We must also subtract interest payments to foreign bondholders in the GNP calculation.

  4. Enrique says:

    I’m not. A regular person that brushes my teeth but I do I have 22days till my next use will I be clean

  5. Enrique says:

    I the 21 days till y get test will I b clean if I smoke 1 time I haven’t smoked in 3yrs

  6. Your website is really great, thank you so much for providing this content!

  7. Seldom User says:

    Well we are gonna have a test next week at work and Last time i smoke was 3-4 week before. According to my knowledge they are using a device and it uses saliva only. I was comfortable but someone Said the device is so good it detects back to one year usage. Is that really possible from saliva? Are there such device exist? Any risks for me? from saliva?

  8. Joe says:

    I haven’t in 2 weeks would i still pass?

  9. Brandy Ward says:

    The last time I smoked was April 9th. My saliva test is tomorrow do you think I’ll pass?

  10. Jim Gibson says:

    What a very informative article! I hope I will pass the saliva drug test. Thanks for the info you have given to us! I’ll do some preparations.

  11. Jim Gibson says:

    Good thing I abstained from cannabis since I read your post. Just had a saliva test!

  12. Maria says:

    On june 28 2018 i have a saliva test n last time i smoke was on june 23 2018 almost 7 days clean will i pass the saliva test

  13. Niyah says:

    I smoked exactly a month before I took my test will I pass?

  14. Karen Page says:

    Don’t kiss while the weed is active! Just kidding! Great post!

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