Congratulations! You got that job you’ve been hoping for! But, wait… What? Do you have to take a drug test? But, you live in a state in the U.S. where the consumption of cannabis is legal, and so you’re a regular cannabis user. Is this legal? Can your new workplace really conduct drug screening of its employees?
Unfortunately, the answer is: “Yes, employers in most places where the use of cannabis products and flower is legal are allowed to require their employees to take a drug test–especially if you are working for a federal agency, which can include the post office, federal parks, TSA, etc., as marijuana in all its forms is still illegal on the federal level.”
Regardless of the reason why you’re needing to find a detox method that works quickly in helping to flush THC out of your system be it for an upcoming urine test or you’re simply just wanting to take a break as a heavy user and do a detox as a means to help reset your system, this article is for you.
How Long Does Weed Stay in Your System?
The general range for traces of THC being detected in bodily fluids like your saliva or urine is 1-30 days and three or more months in your hair follicles. Basically, THC is out of the body in about a month. To pass a urine test with a urine sample you should quit using pot for 3-30 days after consumption, 1-7 days for saliva or blood testing, and about 3 months for a hair follicle drug test. These are just general approximates though as there are several factors that affect how long THC metabolites will stay in your exact body.
Provided below are some of the main factors that affect how long it takes for your body to metabolize THC.
Individual Genetics and Body Fat
Some people just have a higher metabolism than others, and some people were “gifted” with the genes to metabolize THC faster than others.
In regards to body fat, THC is stored in the body’s fat cells, so a person with a higher body fat percentage will store more, and those with less body fat will store less. Also, while body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage often get used interchangeably, in reality, BMI is a measure of your body fat based on your weight and height, whereas body fat percentage is the percentage of your body that is “composed” of fat. So, for example, if you work out a lot and have a lot of muscle, you could have a really high BMI without having much body fat because muscles weigh more than fat does. All of this is to say, you shouldn’t necessarily look to your BMI as an indicator of how many fatty tissues you have that THC could bind to.
Frequency and Quantity of Use
How much and how often you use marijuana is a huge factor. If you’re an infrequent user with a low THC tolerance level, your body is able to process the THC out of your system much faster than if you’re a chronic cannabis user using potent strains on a daily basis. In addition, weed products like edibles tend to stay in the human body longer than smoking.
Basically, the more you use and the stronger the product you use the more drug metabolites there are in your system. So, if you’re a heavy daily user, you will need to take a more extended break from weed than a light user if you aim to pass a drug test.
As indicated above, the strength of the strain is also a big determining factor in how long traces of weed will be detectable in your body. The stronger the THC level in a strain is the longer it will hang out in your body.
THC Detox Methods
A quick search online will bombard you with seemingly hundreds of ways to detox from marijuana, with some THC detox products promising a same-day detox to companies selling expensive detox kits, weed detox drinks, and detox pills that claim to work overnight, etc. It can be incredibly overwhelming and confusing, which is why we wanted to present a few viable options and debunk a few popular ones as well so as to save you time and money.
Detox Teas: While they are definitely helpful, detox teas won’t flush all traces of cannabis from your system in a short amount of time. As such, detox teas, which often contain liver-cleansing ingredients like dandelion and milk thistle, are a good aid but are not a miracle solution for detoxing from weed. Green tea is also quite good as it’s high in antioxidants.
One-Day Detox: This is also a waste of time and money as THC is stored in fat cells, so it is 100% physically impossible for your body to rid itself of THC in one day.
- Weed Detox Kits: In general, weed detox kits don’t work and will basically just cause you to spend money for no reason.
- Detox Teas: While they are definitely helpful, detox teas won’t flush all traces of cannabis from your system in a short amount of time. As such, detox teas, which often contain liver-cleansing ingredients like dandelion and milk thistle, are a good aid but are not a miracle solution for detoxing from weed. Green tea is also quite good as it’s high in antioxidants.
- One-Day Detox: This is also a waste of time and money as THC is stored in fat cells, so it is 100% physically impossible for your body to rid itself of THC in one day.
- Cranberry Juice Detox: This one is a little bit of both in terms of how effective it is in flushing THC from your body. It is true that cranberry juice is healthy for you and is often used to flush toxins out of the body, this is also not a guaranteed way to rid your body of THC. As such, it could maybe be used as a helpful aide, but not a solution in and of itself.
- Drinking Lots of Water: Drinking plenty of water every day is always good for your body, but attempting to drink say 5 gallons or 640 ounces of water in one sitting as a way to clean your system out in 24 hours is not advisable. Essentially, too much water could dilute the enzymes that are actually expected to appear in a urine drug test, which could result in your sample being flagged as unacceptable. Like cranberry juice and detox teas, it’s a great aid but not a solution. Drinking several glasses of water a day and maybe a few additional ones in the days and weeks leading up to a test will help rid your body of THC, but drinking gallons of it in the morning isn’t going to flush it from your system overnight.
- Physical Exercise: Regular exercise is definitely an effective way to eliminate THC from your body for a few reasons. One, THC is stored in fat tissues, and exercise that involves cardio and weights helps to promote the burning of this same fat where the THC is stored. Second, having regular times of exercise serves to help your body’s naturally-occurring endocannabinoids to kick into gear, which aids in the process of cannabis being flushed from your system in a natural way. Overall, physical exercise can help in flushing THC from your body weeks before your test, but if you have a drug test coming up in a couple of days, know that any fat your burn can result in more THC metabolites being released into your system, which could result in a spike.
- Take a Break: While this isn’t going to be the advice that everyone wants to hear and may be especially difficult for chronic users, the best way to completely rid your system of THC and its metabolites is to stop using weed. Depending on the type of test, the frequency of your usage, etc. the longer your break may need to be for your body to be completely free of THC. If you’re worried about withdrawal symptoms and have enough time to do so, you may want to try cutting back as opposed to just going cold turkey. However, if you choose that option, know that your body won’t be able to begin to detox until you have completely stopped using weed.
- Detox Shampoos: While proponents of detox shampoos swear by their effectiveness, it is important to point out that there is currently no real scientific evidence to support these claims. That said, detox shampoos that contain ingredients like activated charcoal and bentonite clay do have anecdotal evidence for being effective at adsorbing toxins from the hair and scalp, and when massaged into the scalp, they may help to remove toxins, like THC, from the hair follicles. However, it is not recommended that you rely solely on detox shampoo if you have a hair test coming up. Instead, like water, fruit juices, and teas high in antioxidants, and exercise, using a detox shampoo may help somewhat but they are unlikely to be the thing that allows you to pass a hair follicle drug test.
- Eat Healthy Foods: Whether you have a urine, hair follicle, or blood test coming up, being conscious of your food intake and eating healthy in the days/weeks/months before your test will also be a big help in flushing cannabis from your system. Fruits; vegetables, especially leafy greens like kale and spinach; lean meats; and fibers like beans, nuts, and legumes, which are all high in vitamins and iron serve to increase your metabolism, which helps your body to detox that much more quickly. On the other hand, red meat and fast food, which are high in fat, sugar, and sodium, slow your metabolism and increase water retention. As such, avoiding these as much as possible during your weed detox will be nothing but beneficial for you and in helping you to pass your drug test with flying colors.
While there is no overnight miracle for flushing THC from your system quickly, there are so many easy and affordable ways in which to detox all traces of weed from your body–all of which come with the “fringe” benefit of being incredibly healthy for you and helping to improve your overall quality of life.