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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.

How to Flush Marijuana Out of Your System

Friday September 18, 2015

M arijuana can be good for a lot of things, but helping you pass a drug test isn’t one of them. Many people ask us how to flush marijuana out of your system. Well, it starts with a bit of knowledge and a marijuana detox.

How can I clean weed out of my system?

There are many reasons why people want to ‘flush’ their system of marijuana. The most common situation is a drug test for employment purposes.

Workplace drug tests typically involve urinalysis (testing your pee) for metabolites. Metabolites are a byproduct of a substance after it has been processed by your body. When you consume marijuana, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels in your blood stream will immediately increase. As your body cleanses the THC out of your blood stream, metabolites are left behind.

Note that THC, the 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 and how to get weed out of your system, you need to be able to determine the following:

  • The amount of THC and its metabolites in your system
  • The type of test you’ll be required to take
  • 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 can expect it to remain in your body for longer.

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. Don’t worry though, you do have options available which we address below.

How Do 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.

Typically, random drug tests are delivered with short notice, which means you won’t have as much time as you’d like to prepare for a drug test. It may sound silly, but as soon as you know that you’re going to have to take a marijuana drug test, stop consuming cannabis in any form! Whether you’re a heavy user or casual user, do yourself a favor and stop all cannabis consumption.

Note that the longer you have before your drug test, the better your chances will be of actually passing.

It’s important to realize that marijuana cannot be flushed out of your system using cranberry juice, niacin, vinegar, large amounts of water, creatine pills, ginger root tea, surejell, bleach, etc. In fact, most of these products continue to remain top of mind due to incorrect drug testing myths but they won’t actually help you pass modern drug testing techniques.

Instead, here are three ways to pass a drug test:

Detox, naturally.

Forget detox pills, detox programs or detox kits! A normal healthy, in shape person can rid their body of toxins in 4-6 weeks with a great diet, water and plenty of exercise. Obviously, those with a fast metabolism, lower water retention and overall low BMI will be able to do this faster.

Detox in 3-6 days, with detoxification products.

If you’re on a tight time frame, then you probably just received notice about a marijuana drug test and need answers now. Thankfully, there are many detoxification products available (which we cover below) to help your body rid itself of harmful toxins in approximately a week. They’re successful by leveraging herbal supplements to cleanse your body. Be sure to use a home drug test kit after to ensure you’re fully clean of THC.

Detox in 24 hours, with same day cleansers.

If you’re truly panicking a day or two before your test, it might be worth your while to try a same day cleanser from a company like TestClear.com (available online). Such products temporarily target the urinary tract to flush metabolites to give you a brief period for which to give a clean urine sample, meaning you could technically pass a drug test in 24 hours.

Tips to Pass a Urine Drug Test:

As we mentioned, piss tests are more common than a hair drug test. To pass a marijuana urine test, also known as a urinalysis test, 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 urine 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.

Water

There is no reason to start drinking excessive amounts of water weeks or 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, so there are some additional steps you need to take.

Vitamin B

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 stop by your local drug store and take 50-100mg several hours before your test.

Creatinine

Creatinine is a chemical waste product produced by muscle metabolism. Creatinine is naturally occurring in the human body and is one method labs use to 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.

Whether you’re applying for a new job or trying to hold on to the one you’ve got, passing a marijuana drug test can be an important step. Here are several tips on how to clean THC out of your system, starting with a weed detox.