Immunisation or ‘immun-highsation’? If you’re lucky to live in the state of Washington, US, you’ll now be able to get the best of both worlds: a free cannabis joint with your COVID-19 vaccination. Puff, puff, jab. Forget the grinder or papers, this scheme will offer anyone over the age of 21 receiving their COVID jab a pre-rolled spliff—meaning you’ll be able to spark up fresh out of the vaccination clinic. The scheme, catchily dubbed ‘Joints for Jabs’, aims to promote Washington state’s vaccination efforts. Let me explain.
On Monday 9 June, 2021, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) gave the go-ahead for state licenced cannabis retailers to offer out free joints “to adult consumers who received a vaccination at an in-store vaccination clinic.” The promotion applies only to joints, not to other products like edibles.
The scheme was set up to promote and support the state’s vaccination efforts. According to the WSLCB’s official news release, it had received multiple requests from licensed cannabis retailers to help in the efforts. Community spirit at its finest, right?
The scheme will run until 12 July, so if you’re wanting to take up the offer of free green best get yourself down to the clinic and receive your shot soon. Incentivising citizens to get vaccinated isn’t a new phenomenon—last month, Washington also partnered with businesses to allow them to offer one free alcoholic beverage to customers with proof of vaccination. Across the US, many other states have offered other (less PG) incentives, ranging from free Krispy Kreme doughnuts to baseball game tickets.
It comes after the US vaccination rates, which are currently one of the highest in the world, have begun to slow—leading government bodies to come up with creative solutions. According to CNN, 48.7 per cent of Washington residents are fully vaccinated. The state’s goal is to hit 70 per cent by 4 July.
It’s all spliffs and roses on the surface, but it begs the question—while free joints are given to vaccinated citizens, what about the thousands of people (disproportionately people of colour) who are incarcerated across the US for possession of cannabis? While I’m sure the scheme is well-meant—a creative solution to a problem—dig a little deeper and it feels somewhat hypocritical.
According to Human Rights Watch, every 25 seconds someone is arrested for drug possession, a number that has tripled since 1980. In 2015, 1.3 million arrests were made for drug possession in the US. That’s six times the number of arrests for drug sales. 456,000 individuals, equating to one fifth of the incarcerated population in the US are serving time for drug charges. Admittedly, not all of these are from possession charges but doesn’t it seem a little immoral that state officials are now practically showering citizens with free weed? Then again, what does it mean to be moral in the US?
It’s shown that locking people up for drug-related offences has little impact on substance misuse rates, and is actually linked with increased mortality from overdose. Likewise, incarceration has shown to have a negligible effect on public safety. While the western world, particularly the US, is opening its eyes to the positive benefits, both medicinally and economically, that weed can bring to society—‘Joints for Jabs’ being a prime example of this—it’s important to remember the thousands still locked away for possession of the very same plant only a few years ago.
On Tuesday 20 March 2021, many of us will be celebrating 420, also known as weed day. After the year the COVID-19 pandemic made us go through, we deserve this sesh, to say the least. But, as fun as 420 is, we’re also aware that for some, smoking cannabis—and therefore having it in your system for a little longer—can be an issue for many different reasons. That’s why, in anticipation of the day, we tell you everything you need to know about exactly how long for traces of your Tuesday smoking sesh might still be detectable in your system. You’re welcome!
Marijuana is usually detectable in bodily fluids for one to 30 days after last use. And just like with other drugs, cannabis may also be detectable in your hair for several months. The type of cannabis you consume also plays a factor. For example, using THC capsules in Canada versus edibles will have a different impact on your body and how long it stays in your system.
Weed detection windows depend on how much you smoke (or ingest), as well as how often. In general, higher doses and more frequent use are associated with longer detection times. For daily users, it may be detectable for several months after last use. The longest-reported detection times are over 90 days.
So, how long is weed detectable in your system via different types of drug testing?
According to an article in Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, weed is typically detectable in the blood for one to two days. However, in some cases, it’s been detected after 25 days! As mentioned above, chronic heavy use increases the length of time that it can be detected.
Weed becomes detectable in someone’s bloodstream within seconds of inhalation. It’s distributed to the tissues, while some of it is reabsorbed in the blood and broken down. Its metabolites—which are what drug testing methods will notice—may remain in the bloodstream for days.
Urine testing tends to be the most common testing method when it comes to cannabis usage. Weed is detectable in urine for the following amounts of time after last use:
– Occasional users (up to three times a week): 3 days
– Moderate users (four times a week): 5 to 7 days
– Chronic users (daily): 10 to 15 days
– Chronic heavy users (multiple times a day): more than 30 days
According to a 2014 research on cannabinoids in oral fluid, weed is detectable in saliva for the following amounts of time after last use:
– Occasional users: 1 to 3 days
– Chronic users: 1 to 29 days
Weed can enter the saliva through smoking and exposure to smoke. However, its metabolites are only present in saliva when it has been smoked or ingested, so no, your secondhand high doesn’t count.
Hair follicle tests assess drug use for up to 90 days. After use, weed reaches the hair follicles via small blood vessels, which is why trace amounts may remain in the hair.
“Since hair grows approximately 0.5 inches per month, a 1.5-inch hair segment taken close to the scalp can provide a window of weed use for the past three months,” writes Healthline.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to speed up the amount of time it takes for weed to leave your system. Once it’s entered your system, your body simply needs time to break it down. Exercising, eating healthy, and staying hydrated may help, but not drastically.
Online, many advise drinking a lot of water to dilute your urine, and then using herbal supplements such as creatinine or vitamin B-12 to mask the dilution. These kits aren’t fully reliable.
All in all, weed may stay in your system anywhere from several days to several months after last use. Detection windows depend on the drug test used and other factors such as whether you smoke or ingest weed on a regular basis. So don’t go too hard this Tuesday if you’re worried about the aftermath of your 420 celebration.