Marijuana can be good for a lot of things, but helping you pass a drug test isn’t one of them.
How can I clean weed out of my system?User from San Jose, CA
There are many reasons why people want to ‘flush’ their system of marijuana. The most common situation is a drug test for employment purposes. Drugs screens typically involve urinalysis (testing your pee) for metabolites.
Metabolites are a byproduct of a substance after it has been processed by your body. In the case of marijuana, the levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in your blood stream will immediately increase. In order for THC to be metabolized, the specific cannabinoid processes to the THC metabolite, tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (THC-COOH)
Note that THC, the most recognized cannabinoid known for its psychoactive effects, is responsible for getting you “high”. Having said this, both THC and the non-psychoactive metabolite, THC-COOH, will remain in your body’s fat tissue for varying lengths of time depending on a variety of factors.
To figure out if you are ‘clean’ for a drug test, you need to be able to determine the amount of THC and its metabolites in your system, the type of test you’ll be required to take, as well as the testing levels for your drug screen.
How much THC is in my body?
There are a handful of factors that will help you determine how much THC and THC-COOH are in your body after any length of time, post-consumption.
- How often you consume. When determining how much THC is in your system, you must take the frequency of consumption into consideration, first and foremost. Do you smoke once a month, once a week, everyday? When you do smoke, are you only taking one hit or enjoying an entire joint (or two)? Obviously, the more frequently you use (and the actual amount you consume), the more THC and THC-COOH will accrue in the fatty tissue throughout your body.
- Total body fat. As we just mentioned, THC and THC-COOH store itself in fat cells, no matter how often or little you use. As a result, the more body fat you have, the more THC and its metabolites will be inevitably stored.
- Metabolism & overall health. It makes sense that the healthier you are, the better off you’ll be (in all aspects in life). When it comes to THC and its metabolites, they have less of a chance of storing themselves in your body fat, if there isn’t a lot of body fat in the first place! Having said this, everyone has varying metabolisms that break down THC at different rates. Although exercise can potentially push THC back into your blood stream at a faster rate, this doesn’t mean that you should throw away healthy habits into the wind. Simply maintain a healthy lifestyle and don’t work out too much before a test.
- What you’re consuming. Depending on what you consume (flower vs. concentrates) and even the quality of what you consume (top shelf flower vs. schwag) will greatly effect how much THC and THC-COOH are released into your body.
How long does THC stay in my body?
Typically speaking, psychoactive THC cannabinoids can be found in the system for 1-2 days after consumption for very infrequent users, while those who consume everyday frequent users can expect it to remain in your body for 7-14 days.
The half-life of THC metabolites is 7 days. Meaning every 7 days, the amount in your body will decrease by 50%. With this number in mind, most people can assume their body will be clean of THC metabolites within 3-4 weeks -- more or less depending on frequency, body weight and amount consumed.
THC is fat soluble and as a result, it gets stored in your fatty lipid tissue. Because of this, your fat cells will secrete THC metabolites into your bloodstream at a constant rate. As a result, many different cleansing techniques are ineffective, as your fat cells will continue to release THC metabolites into your system over time.
Types of drug tests
Similar to the variety of factors that can define how much THC is in your system, there are a number of ways your (future) employer can test you. They include urine, blood and hair.
- Urinalysis (UA) is the most common type of drug test. It’s used in many businesses because it’s less expensive than other modes of testing and is fairly accurate. Note that urine drug tests detect THC-COOH (metabolized THC), versus THC itself.
- Blood Test identifies THC in your bloodstream. Unlike urinalysis, a blood test will show impairment. For those who rarely consume, THC might not be measurable several hours afterwards, however for those who use everyday, THC could remain in your bloodstream for a much longer period of time.
- Hair Test is a less common form of testing, however does take place in some work places. Because it measures THC-COOH remainders in the hair follicle over the past several months, it’s often difficult to get around this one.
How can I pass a drug test?
The best way to pass any drug test is to not consume at all. Having said that, don’t worry if it’s “too late”. There are ways to mask THC in your system, so do your best to follow our tips below – and think about a backup plan in case you might need the extra help.
It may sound silly, but as soon as you know about your drug test, stop consuming marijuana in any form! Additionally, the longer you have before your test, the better your chances will be of actually passing.
To pass a marijuana drug test, specifically urinalysis, you don’t need to be 100% free of THC metabolites. Rather, you need to have levels below the threshold for the test. Typically the threshold is 50 ng/mL, which is higher than you may think. As long as you register under this value, your test result will be negative.
The primary method of passing a drug test is to dilute your urine enough where it will be below the 50 ng/mL threshold. It’s a simple as that, but with a hitch… Drug testing labs are on the lookout for diluted urine samples. So in order to be an effective technique, you need not only dilute your urine, but to mask the fact that your urine is diluted.
Here are tips to mask diluted urine:
There is no reason to start pounding water weeks and days before your test. It’s a waste of time as it only temporarily dilutes your urine. Your best bet is to drink 2-3 liters throughout the day before your test, and then around 1-2 liters several hours before your test. Don’t drink too much water though, as it can be dangerous. Start with 2 liters max and be sure to know your limits.
After drinking this much water, your pee will be colorless and have low levels of creatinine. These are both red flags for any testing lab to indicate diluted urine.
You’ll need to make your pee yellow, and the best way to do this is by using vitamin B. Vitamin B-2 or B-12 seem to be the most effective for this purpose, so take 50-100mg several hours before your test.
Creatinine is a chemical waste product produced by muscle metabolism. Creatinine is naturally occurring in the human body and is one way labs determine if your urine is diluted. It has a half-life of three hours, so no reason to start taking it more than a day or so before your test.
You can buy creatine supplements from almost any health food store. Creatine then gets broken down into creatinine by your body and is flushed out in your urine. You should take an above-average dose several hours before your test.
There are many so called ‘detox drinks’ on the market. In reality, these drinks use the same technique we have addressed above, which is dilution. They also contain creatine as well as vitamin B to mask the fact your urine is diluted. While they are more expensive than buying creative and vitamin B a la carte, it can make sense for a convenience factor, as well as ensuring you are ingesting the correct amounts of vitamin B and creatine before your test.
If you're looking to order a detox drink online, TestNegative.com is a reputable vendor that offers a variety of detox products under the brand 'Clear Choice'. They also have a handy product selection guide to help you pick the best product to beat your test!
Exercise will break down your fat cells, which will release any THC metabolites into your system. As a result, you should not exercise for at least 24 hours before your test. Failing to do so can cause a spike in THC metabolite levels in the blood.
If you have a couple weeks before your test, it does make sense to exercise to break down those fat cells and release the THC metabolites, but make sure you stop a couple days before your test.
Don’t Give the Beginning or End of Your Urine Stream
When peeing into a cup, the first and last parts of your urine stream will contains the highest amount of metabolites. As a result, you want to provide some urine from the ‘middle’ of your pee stream. Simply start urinating in the toilet, stop and provide a sample in the cup, and then finish as normal. This is a very important step, so don’t forget to do it!
If you are a heavy consumer or have a high fat level in your body, then dilution may not be an effective method for beating your test. In this case, another option is substitution. In other words, substituting your urine with either fake urine, which is commercially available, or with the urine of somebody who is a non-user.
The advantage of substitution over other techniques is that you know the sample you provide to the lab will be clean. The disadvantage is you need to conceal the clean urine when entering the testing facility, and then add it to your sample cup during the testing process without detection.
Now if you’re doing a pre-employment drug screen, they almost never watch you when you pee in the cup. They usually will provide you with a private bathroom, during which you can pee in the toilet (sometimes they listen outside the door to determine if you actually urinated), then pour the synthetic/clean urine into the sample cup.
Be aware that labs take the temperature of your urine right after your submit your sample, so you’ll need to ensure that it registers close to normal body temperature otherwise it can be flagged. Usually you can microwave the urine to a temp of 100 fahrenheit, then rubber band a hand warmer around the sample to keep it warm until testing time.
Being subjected to a drug test is a stressful experience that can cause anxiety and worse. Remember that by using these tips you can drastically improve your chances of passing. We hear from people all the time thanking us for our tips, and we’ve successfully used them ourselves at one point or another.
Good luck and let us know how it goes!
Photo Credit: byrev (Public Domain)