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How To Eliminate THC From Your System: A Complete Guide

Drug tests are never fun, especially when you’re a regular cannabis user. But fear not; if you’ve got a drug test coming up, here are some simple ways to help flush THC from your body.

Use this guide to help eliminate THC from your system!

  • 1. How long does cannabis stay in your system?
  • 2. Factors that affect how quickly you metabolise THC
  • 2.a. Dosage and frequency of use
  • 2.b. Body fat and overall metabolic rate
  • 2.c. Sensitivity of the drug test
  • 3. Drug tests and detection times
  • 3.a. Urine testing
  • 3.b. Saliva testing
  • 3.c. Blood testing
  • 3.d. Hair testing
  • 4. How to get THC out of your system
  • 5. How to ingest activated charcoal
  • 5.a. Charcoal bread recipe
  • 6. Wrapping up: How to eliminate THC from your system
  • 1. How long does cannabis stay in your system?
  • 2. Factors that affect how quickly you metabolise THC
  • 2.a. Dosage and frequency of use
  • 2.b. Body fat and overall metabolic rate
  • 2.c. Sensitivity of the drug test
  • 3. Drug tests and detection times
  • 3.a. Urine testing
  • 3.b. Saliva testing
  • 3.c. Blood testing
  • 3.d. Hair testing
  • 4. How to get THC out of your system
  • 5. How to ingest activated charcoal
  • 5.a. Charcoal bread recipe
  • 6. Wrapping up: How to eliminate THC from your system

Good news! You just got your dream job. But, your new career comes with a catch—a zero tolerance drug policy. Do you give up weed? We know that might be intolerable or even impossible. There are many reasons why people choose to use cannabis, and we don’t judge; we just puff, puff, pass.

So, you make your best choice and continue to partake. But, you suddenly find yourself facing a drug test. Eep! What to do!? Read on to find out how to get THC out of your system.

HOW LONG DOES CANNABIS STAY IN YOUR SYSTEM?

The length of time cannabis stays in your system is affected by your unique biology and habits. While everyone is different, cannabis is usually detectable in fluids like urine and saliva from 1–30 days after last use. It may be detectable in hair for months.

THC is metabolised in the liver, where it gets broken down into over 80 metabolites. Eventually, THC and its metabolites are excreted, leaving your system. However, many of these compounds linger in your system longer than THC itself. Most drug tests are designed to detect certain metabolites, like tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (THC-COOH).

FACTORS THAT AFFECT HOW QUICKLY YOU METABOLISE THC

So, how long does it take for any trace of weed to leave your system? Your own THC timeline relies on numerous factors, including:

• How much/how frequently you consume cannabis
• How much body fat you have/metabolic rate
• How sensitive the drug test is/type of drug test

DOSAGE AND FREQUENCY OF USE

The amount (and frequency) of cannabis you regularly consume is perhaps the biggest factor. This one really is a no-brainer: The more cannabis you consume, the more metabolites there are knocking around in your body. Cannabis taken orally, like edibles, may also linger in your system longer than smoking.

Consumption rules apply to both individual doses and long-term habits. Two grams of weed will take longer to leave your system than one. Weed that’s more potent will take more time to clear out too. If you’re an occasional user, your system will eliminate THC faster. So, take note! If you’re a chronic user of cannabis, you may need extra time to abstain before you can pass a drug test.

BODY FAT AND OVERALL METABOLIC RATE

THC is detectable for longer in chronic users because THC metabolites get stored in fat cells (they are lipid soluble). A person with less body fat will store fewer of these molecules, and a person with more body fat will store more. That’s why sex can sometimes be a factor as well. Females tend to have more body fat than males, so women may metabolise cannabinoids more slowly.

A person’s overall metabolic rate also plays a large role. Some people can burn calories just by sitting around, while others struggle to lose weight even with an active lifestyle. Those with a faster metabolism will process and eliminate cannabinoid metabolites more quickly. Just be aware, if you exercise heavily before a drug test, the fat you burn could release more THC metabolites into your system, causing a temporary spike.

SENSITIVITY OF THE DRUG TEST

Different drug tests—urine, hair, saliva, blood—have different detection windows. Many, like hair and urine screenings, measure the THC metabolite THC-COOH, while blood tests measure levels of THC itself. Of all the standard testing methods, urine testing is by far the most common [1] . If you’re being drug tested at work, it’s almost always going to be a urine test.

Test sensitivity refers to the cutoff concentration of THC or its metabolites, above which a test is considered positive. The cutoff for most cannabis urine tests is 50ng/ml of THC-COOH. However, it is possible for the cutoff to be set as low as 15ng/ml. The more sensitive the test, the longer the detection window is.

DRUG TESTS AND DETECTION TIMES

According to available research, these are the most common detection windows for different drug tests. Keep in mind, the timeline varies according to your unique physiology and personal habits.

URINE TESTING

Cannabis and its metabolites are detectable in urine [2] for varying amounts of time after last use, depending on how frequent of a user you are:

Occasional user (one to three times per week): 3 days
Moderate user (four times per week): 5–7 days
Chronic user (daily): 10–15 days
Heavy chronic user (multiple times per day): 30+ days

This is, of course, assuming the test sensitivity cutoff is a standard 50ng/ml.

SALIVA TESTING

Roadside saliva tests may be used to detect impaired driving in some jurisdictions where cannabis is legal. According to a scientific review [3] , cannabis can typically be detected in saliva for:

Occasional users: 1–3 days
Chronic users: up to 29 days

BLOOD TESTING

Blood testing is relatively costly and invasive, making it less common than other testing methods. However, blood tests may be used in some clinical or emergency settings. Unlike urine tests, which detect metabolites, blood tests typically look for the presence of THC itself. THC is almost instantly detectable in the blood upon inhaling cannabis, making blood tests ideal for determining recent drug use.

Research shows [4] that cannabis remains detectable in blood for 1–2 days. However, in certain cases it has been detected up to 25 days later. Heavy, chronic use of cannabis can increase the length of the detection window.

HAIR TESTING

Following consumption of cannabis, THC reaches the hair follicles through small blood vessels. Trace amounts can be detected in hair for up to 90 days, as confirmed by a 2015 study [5] . Typically, a 4cm section of hair taken from near the scalp indicates cannabis use over a three month period (hair grows at an approximate rate of 1.2–1.5cm per month).

If you’re required to take a hair follicle drug test, around 100 hairs will be taken from near the crown of your head. Washing, dyeing, or styling your hair with products will have no effect on the accuracy of the test.

HOW TO GET THC OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM

So, you’ve got a drug test coming up and you’re feeling uneasy. Don’t get defeated! Here’s how you can try and beat it.

STOP CONSUMING CANNABIS

This may seem obvious, but the first thing you should do if you have a drug test coming up is stop using weed. The aim here is to purge any trace of THC or its metabolites as thoroughly as possible. The longer you cease smoking beforehand, the more likely you are to pass the test. Depending on the type of test and your smoking habits, you may need to take a longer break to fully flush your system.

DRINK LOTS OF WATER

Speaking of flushing your system, there’s nothing better than good ol’ H₂O. Of course, drinking water is most effective for passing urine tests. Luckily, that’s the most common type of test.

To help cleanse your system, pee as much as you can 24–48 hours before your test. Keep hydrating on the day of your drug test. The goal is to dilute your urine, making it harder to detect any residual metabolites.

Just don’t overdo it. Drinking too much water will result in an obviously diluted sample, potentially leading to a retest or increased suspicion. You need to drink plenty of water, but not so much that it becomes obvious. This is indeed a balancing act.

TAKE ZINC

A 2011 study [6] found that zinc is an effective urinary adulterant, with the potential to produce a false negative test result. Research suggests that oral consumption of zinc supplements after light cannabis use could interfere with detection of THC metabolites in urine for between 12 and 18 hours.

Zinc supplements are widely available over the counter in pharmacies and health food stores. So, if a drug test gets sprung on you or you need some extra assurance, you might want to swing by the vitamin aisle. Just make sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist first if you take any regular medications.

DETOX DRINKS

If you want to kick it up a notch from water, try a detox drink. Detox drinks work on the premise of expelling or masking the presence of THC and its metabolites. Many of them use diuretic substances to make sure you are passing urine frequently.

Consumer detox products can be quite expensive. If you don’t have the cash, focus on simple detox drinks you can make at home, like coffee or cranberry juice.

ACTIVATED CHARCOAL

Another method to prepare your body for a drug test is activated charcoal. Charcoal is often used to medically manage overdoses; it binds to different substances and helps the body eliminate them. That’s because charcoal molecules have a negative electrical charge; they bind with positively charged molecules in different drugs, trapping them.

The binding process works with THC metabolites. THC metabolites circulate many times through your system via a process known as “enterohepatic recirculation”. They move from blood to liver to bile and into the intestines, before being reabsorbed back into the bloodstream. The cycle then repeats, with a portion of the metabolites excreted as waste each time. Eventually, after many cycles, all metabolites are flushed from your system.

Research [7] shows that activated charcoal binds to metabolites like THC-COOH and THC-COO-glucuronide, preventing their reabsorption into the bloodstream and speeding up their elimination. That means charcoal could help you pass a drug test faster.

HOW TO INGEST ACTIVATED CHARCOAL

So, what’s the best way to take activated charcoal? Thanks to its purifying properties, charcoal has gained popularity as an addition to cosmetics, health products, and even food. The simplest way to take it is via capsules. But, let’s be honest, it’s more fun to do a little baking! The recipe below for charcoal bread results in a unique, black loaf that looks badass and still tastes great.

Please note that you should be careful when ingesting activated charcoal—it could interfere with absorption of medications and vitamins. If you have concerns or take regular meds, check with your doctor or pharmacist before trying it.

CHARCOAL BREAD RECIPE

This gothic dough will turn any sandwich into a conversation piece.

INGREDIENTS

• 240g plain flour
• 7g dried yeast
• 50g caster sugar
• ½ tsp. salt
• 2 tsp. activated charcoal powder
• 140ml warm water
• 30g butter

HARDWARE

• Large bowl
• Cutting board/breadboard
• Bread tin
• Kitchen towel
• Roasting tray
• Wooden spoon

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Add flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and charcoal powder into a large bowl and mix thoroughly.

2. Add water to the bowl and continue to mix until the mixture becomes dough.

3. Sprinkle flour over a breadboard and knead the dough whilst adding the butter one small piece at a time. Knead until all of the butter has merged with the dough and it becomes soft and stretchy.

4. Add the dough to a greased bread tin and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Place a roasting tray underneath the bread tin and pour boiling water into it. Place tin and tray into the oven. Return 30 minutes later to add more boiling water.

5. Once another 30 minutes have elapsed (1 hour total), carefully separate the roasting tray from the bread tin and bake alone in the oven for a final 15 minutes.

6. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool.

WRAPPING UP: HOW TO ELIMINATE THC FROM YOUR SYSTEM

Here’s a quick recap of the main points:

THC gets broken down into metabolites like THC-COOH by the liver, and this is what many drug tests look for.
Different drug tests have different detection times, which are also influenced by body fat, metabolism, and how much/how often you use cannabis.
Urine tests are by far the most popular method, especially among employers.
If you have a drug test coming up, you should stop using weed immediately.
To speed up excretion of THC or to help mask its presence, drink lots of water (but not too much!).
You can also try: zinc, detox drinks, and activated charcoal.

Ultimately, there’s no fool-proof formula to flush THC out of your system quickly. There are just too many variables. But, that doesn’t mean you’re powerless. Research shows that the methods we discussed could help speed up the process. With knowledge on your side, and a little bit of luck, you’ll be flying high in your free time and nobody will be the wiser. Because, let’s be honest, it’s nobody’s business.

Drug tests are a stoner's worst nightmare, and can mess with even casual users' lives. Here are some tips and tricks to help you beat the THC heat.

THC Detox: 3 Ways to Pass a Cannabis Drug Test

Of all the intoxicants in the world, THC is one of the stickiest; it stays in the system for a long time. This is inconvenient for people who take mandated drug tests, or for those who live in places that perform roadside drug testing. Do you need to pass a drug test and want to flush cannabis out of your system? Check out these 3 detoxing methods.

Despite the fact that the world is becoming ever more cannabis-friendly, there are still some logistical hurdles for cannabis users. In some countries, it is common practice for certain professionals to take a mandatory drug test. Roadside drug testing has also become more prevalent over the years.

The classification of cannabis is still debated, and despite progress in the legalization movement, it is still considered a dangerous intoxicant by most governments. In fact, even in places where cannabis is legal, it is still taboo to drive under the influence or to test positive in the professional context. Naturally, this situation can make a patient or recreational customer’s cannabis experience difficult and less than ideal – especially if they were to test positive for cannabis.

How long does THC stay in your system?

When drug tests are performed, they are virtually never testing for THC. Rather, they are testing for a metabolite of THC that is produced in the liver: In THC’s case that is THC-COOH. This THC metabolite lives in urine and blood for much longer than THC itself. The evidence reported a THC-COOH plasma-elimination half-life of up to 12.6 d in a chronic cannabis user, which means that every 13 days, whatever amount of it present in your body will decrease by 50%.

According to a factsheet issued by the National Drug Court Institute, one-time (or very sparse) consumers can eliminate cannabis in a matter of days. If consumed more frequently, it can take longer for the body to flush out the accumulated cannabinoids: at a cut-off concentration of 50 ng/ml, an occasional user urine sample wouldn’t contain detectable cannabinoid metabolites levels 3-4 days after smoking, the detection period being up to 10 days for a chronic user.

Cannabis detection is influenced by many factors such as the potency of the cannabis itself, the frequency with which it is used and the state that your physical body is in (metabolism, body fat, and amount of physical exercise).

Your body itself is a prime factor in the equation, as THC is stored in fat cells. These fat cells progressively release THC, along with other cannabinoids, into your blood. Fat cells are a prime factor in gaining or losing weight. Although not confirmed by scientific studied, it might be theorized that when more fat cells are present in the body, more THC can be stored in that body.

How to pass a drug test in 2 days

To succeed in flushing cannabis out of your system in time for a test also depends on what kind of drug test is being administered. Most employer mandated drug tests are urine tests, whereas most roadside drug tests are saliva swabs.

For infrequent cannabis users, cannabis can be detected in urine 3 to 4 days after consumption with most urine testing facilities. Saliva swabs detect THC and its metabolites for up to 30 hours after use at most.

This window grows increasingly large the more you consume, except in the case of saliva testing, in which the frequency with which you use doesn’t really matter. This is why the best way to avoid testing positive on a drug test is to abstain from use. That’s an unlikely and unwanted solution for many consumers, so good timing and preparation are the next best solutions.

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Cannabis DNA Tests: Do They Work & Are They Worth It?

There’s no sure-fire way to detox from cannabis and its metabolites rapidly, regardless of what certain detox products will tell you. There are too many factors that play a role, and most of those factors vary from person to person. However, there are ways to prepare for a drug test and reduce the chances of testing positive.

1. Detox with diet: Consume detoxifying foods and drinks

This one’s tricky. Detoxing with foods is a debatable topic altogether. Detox diets are popular, and generally have two goals: To help you lose weight, and to help you release toxins. The first goal is not the focus of this article, but the second one is.

Do detoxifying foods help you release toxins? That hasn’t been proven yet. Hopefully more research will emerge, since so many people follow these diets. Anecdotal reports do suggest some dietary changes that might help you though:

Increase your fluids intake

Fluids help dilute metabolites in urine. Metabolites are a chemical produced by the body from another chemical taken into the body, THC COOH in the case of delta-9 THC. Drug tests are designed to measure a certain amount of metabolites, and under the specified threshold, results are considered negative. This means it is not necessary to eliminate every single trace of those metabolites to pass a drug test.

However, drinking high amounts of water can result in urine with low levels of creatinine. In drug testing, urine samples should be tested for creatinine, and if creatinine is below a certain threshold (less than 4.0 mmol/L), negative results may not be valid. Many labs specialized in drug testing consider this an obvious attempt at diluting one’s urine, and it has been known to be flagged as “suspicious” (and could result in a positive test, or an invalid test result).

An alternative would be a drink that provides other elements besides its fluid nature; for instance, a natural detox drink such as cranberry juice, or green tea. If you are taking the non-organic path, several energy drinks contain minerals and/or electrolytes, which can make your urine a more ‘electrically conducting solution’.

Focus on fruits, vegetables and healthy beverages

Carbohydrates and fat are two elements found in many, many foods. For the most part, if you consume processed foods, it is nearly impossible to avoid them. In the case of detox, the more you replace processed food with healthier items such as vegetables or fruits, the more chances you have to detox faster. It’s also worth noting that fruits and vegetables are full of water, helping you with the first suggestion; hydrate yourself!

High quantities of fat in your digestive system can slow down its ability to detox. THC is fat soluble, which could suggest that increasing fat contents can trigger a brand new lifecycle for the cannabinoid.

Lemon juice / lemon water

Everybody knows a health-conscious person who drinks some lemon juice mixed with warm water (lemon water) in the mornings. This is because lemon juice increases metabolism, especially with respect to the way that the body metabolises lipids (fats) – which is exactly where cannabinoids are stored in the body. If you’ve got notice for a drug test, start consuming lemon juice in the mornings as soon as possible.

Cranberry juice

Naturopaths and herbalists often prescribe cranberry juice as a detoxification method, although there’s little scientific evidence to support this. This suggestion mainly rests on anecdotal evidence of success when it comes to THC detox. In any case, the consumption of a cranberry juice beverage lowered the number of clinical urinary tract infection (UTI) episodes in women with a recent history of UTI ; this is the main reason that cranberry juice is used in naturopathic practice.

Be warned: drinking cranberry juice makes your pee turn pink! So try not to consume cranberry juice the day before the drug test, or it might otherwise be very obvious that you’ve tried to detox.

Green tea

When looking for ways to detox from THC, green tea is an option that comes up a lot. It has antioxidant qualities and is said to be very good at flushing the system from contaminants.

However, you would have to consume a lot of green tea to flush THC out of your body. One could consider consuming green tea in tablet as opposed to a green tea beverage, suggesting tablets may be an effective way to enhance plasma antioxidant capacity by green tea, but it’s best not to use it as your final resort option. It’s more of a complementary tool.

Coffee

The active ingredient in those little black beans we all love to consume is caffeine, a natural diuretic. This basically means that it opens the floodgates when it comes to urine. Consuming coffee with large amounts of water and electrolytes can help to pass more liquid from the body, and hopefully that liquid contains a lot of the THC metabolites that have been trapped in your body.

And in addition to the above-mentioned suggestions, certain other detoxifying foods such as greens, garlic, and cilantro, may help as well.

2. Sweat detox: Can you sweat out THC?

Many believe that you can detoxify your system through your sweat. The skin is sometimes likened to the third kidney, especially by practitioners of natural medicine. This is because despite it going on more or less without our conscious knowledge, the skin is one of the biggest excretory organs in the whole body. This is what the principle of the sweat detox rests on. However, there are conflicting beliefs about this method of detox, with some scientists suggesting that detox through sweating is a myth.

If you want to give it a try though, participating in cardiovascular activities such as running, jogging or walking naturally helps to increase sweat production. On top of this, cardiovascular activities also help to burn fat cells, which are the number one place for THC molecules to park themselves. Alternatively, you could try spending time in a sauna to encourage sweating – although research has yet to confirm that suggestion (and what a lovely study that would be!).

3. Only true way to detox: Take a tolerance break from cannabis

Sleeping is another way your body detoxes naturally on a daily basis. Being anxious and stressed, on the other hand, slows down your body’s detoxing efforts. If you can get full night’s sleep and relax, you’re in a much better position to give your body all the tools it needs to detox naturally. You can try activities such as reading or yoga which may help you relax enough to get a restful sleep.

And finally, there’s that truth that many cannabis consumers don’t want to hear: stop consuming cannabis the moment you are notified of a drug test. A tolerance break truly is the most natural form of THC detox. Plus, you’ll be surprised how much your body may benefit from such a detox. But more importantly, giving your body the time to naturally shed any THC in the system is the best way of passing a drug test.

Be careful of store-bought “detox” products

It’s worth a word of warning about some of the detox products that may be marketed to you as a result of your Google search for the important question of THC detoxification. Yes – products exist that are made for this kind of circumstance, whereby supposedly the product will detox you just enough and for just long enough for you to pass a drug test. Most, if not all of them, are not formulated on the back of any scientific evidence, and they can even be dangerous.

These products are not fool-proof, and may result in a failed drug test or even in some adverse symptoms. So be mindful of that before trying any detox products.

There are also home drug testing kits that you can purchase to know “where you’re at” before taking the official drug test. This is highly recommended, because even though they’re not the real deal, you at least have an idea of the potential outcome before you take the test.

Do you know how to flush cannabis out of your system? There is no sure-fire way to do it, but there are tricks to help your body detox. Read more here.