Doesn’t marijuana stay in your fat cells and keep you high for months?

No. The part of marijuana that gets you high is called Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Most people just call this THC, but this is confusing: your body will change Delta-9-THC into more inert molecules known as metabolites, which don’t get you high. Unfortunately, these chemicals also have the word tetrahydrocannabinol in them and they are also called THC — so many people think that the metabolites get you high. Anti-drug pamphlets say that THC gets stored in your fat cells and then leaks out later like one of those time release capsules advertised on television. They say it can keep you high all day or even longer. This is not true, marijuana only keeps you high for a few hours, and it is not right to think that a person who fails a drug test is always high on drugs, either.

Two of these metabolites are called 11-hydroxy-tetrahydrocannabinol and 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol but we will call them 11-OH-THC and 11-nor instead. These are the chemicals which stay in your fatty cells. There is almost no Delta-9-THC left over a few hours after smoking marijuana, and scientific studies which measure the effects of marijuana agree with this fact.

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