If you like to indulge in cannabis every now and again, there’s a danger that your habit could cost you your existing job – or a chance at a new role.
Moreover, if your employer subjects you to a drug test and you use cannabis (or have used cannabis in the recent past), the THC in the plant could potentially land in serious trouble. Fortunately, though, there are ways to safely and effectively detox your body and ensure that your test comes back all clear.
Marijuana and its active ingredients are interesting compounds in terms of how they are metabolized in the human body – unlike other herbal supplements which are digested and excreted within days of consumption; it can be relatively difficult to detox for cannabis, given that many of the active compounds are stored long-term lipid (fat) deposits.
Keep reading to learn more about the safest and best way to detox, and also about things to ignore…
What is a Detox for Weed?
The term ‘detoxification’, better known as detox, is the process of avoiding a given substance to ensure your body has eliminated it. When it comes to cannabis use, you have to steer clear of it until your body has successfully flushed it out of your system. If you’re a heavy user, it will take a lot longer to detox your body and could result in withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, depression, and irritability.
If you’re scheduled to have a drug test at work, you may need a little ‘help’ to remove the THC, and this simple little necessity has spawned a multi-million dollar market. There are hundreds of detox products on the market, and while most don’t explicitly state that the product is for THC detox, that’s what many people use it for.
How Long Does Weed Stay in the System?
According to Ryan Vandrey of Johns Hopkins University, there is no typical detection window when it comes to drug testing and cannabis, as there are numerous variables including rate of use, BMI, the frequency of exercise, and metabolism. Here are some standard periods to help give you a ballpark figure:
- Blood: 1-7 days.
- Saliva: 1-7 days.
- Hair: Up to 90 days.
- Urine: Anywhere from three days for light users to 77 days for heavy users. The ‘average’ is between 10 and 30 days.
As you can see, it is difficult to pinpoint an exact figure, so if you have an impending drug test, a THC detox might be the only way to pass.
There have been a few studies over the last few decades which attempted to determine how long cannabis typically stays in the system. In 2005, for example, a review by Paul Cary of the University of Missouri discovered that it is rare for THC to be found in the system for more than 30 days after it was last consumed.
Moreover, a study by Johansson and Halldin, which was published in 1989, analyzed the detection time in chronic users. The duo discovered that the ‘maximum’ detection window was 25 days, and this was only at a sensitivity of 20 ng/mL. Also, only one of the subjects tested positive after 14 days, and it took just 9.8 days on average for the THC levels to no longer be detectable.
And lastly, a 1984 study by Swatek tested chronic users at the 50 ng/mL cutoff point and found that the longest time it took to get clean was 40 days. However, 80% of the subjects passed the test within 13 days. In other words, reducing your THC levels to a point where you pass a urinalysis is individualized, but probably doesn’t take as long as you think.
I Don’t Have an Impending Drug Test, Why Else Would I Embark on a THC Detox?
For some users, when they smoke cannabis for a long time, its effects begin to dissipate. This means you have entered the dreaded marijuana tolerance zone, and implies that you need more cannabis to achieve the same effects as before. A tolerance break could potentially rejuvenate cannabis’s effects, while also giving users the opportunity to consider the intention of their usage.
Once you begin your tolerance break, continue abstaining from cannabis until the THC has completely left your system. As you’re in no particular hurry, you don’t need any special THC detox products – unless, of course, you’re eager to get back to smoking!
What Happens in a Drug Test for THC?
In the United States, at least 40 million drug tests are carried out annually, with urine testing being the most common method. When you use cannabis, your THC levels temporarily rise. While these THC levels will fall rapidly over the next few days (as long as you don’t smoke again), regular users will probably have enough left in their system to be detected by urinalysis.
Best Detox Foods
When you eat healthier foods, you’re actually helping to remove THC from your system rather than merely masking it.
One tactic you could use is to eat a large amount of high-fiber leafy greens, beginning at least three days before your drug test. Natural fiber helps to kick start your digestive tract, which ultimately means more excretion of fecal matter and with it, THC. Remember, up to 65% of THC is removed from your system via bowel movements!
Fruits and vegetables are also filled with micronutrients that can assist in the detox process; in the days before your drug test, increase your consumption of Magnesium, Activated Charcoal, Psyllium Husk, and B Vitamins with special emphasis on niacin.
Here is a quick list of a few detox foods to consider:
- Lemon: The acidic properties of this citrus fruit make it an excellent option for detox. All you need is about one tablespoon of lemon juice added to half a liter of water. For best results, drink up to eight glasses of this mixture in the 24 hours before your drug test.
- Garlic: This is one of the best detox foods in the world, as it stimulates the production of detoxing enzymes in the liver and works to filter toxins from the digestive system.
- Broccoli Sprouts: This food is exceptionally high in antioxidants and also does an excellent job of stimulating detoxification enzymes at the cellular level. In this instance, the sprouts actually do a better job than the fully-grown broccoli vegetable.
- Grapefruit: Grapefruit contains phytochemicals that help burn fat cells, and they also reduce your appetite, which makes it an ideal food when dieting — and detoxing.
- Mung Beans: This is another seldom-eaten healthy food that can help flush THC from your system, as the beans digest easily and absorb toxic residue from your body’s intestinal walls.
THC Detox: Final Thoughts
With employers finding it more difficult than ever to hire qualified and talented staff, an increasing number of firms are jettisoning the dreaded pre-employment drug screen. For instance, Las Vegas-based company Excellence Health Inc. has stopped performing drug tests altogether on candidates seeking to work for its pharmaceutical arm. Also, in February 2018, AutoNation Inc. announced that they would no longer be refusing applicants who test positive for THC.
Sadly, many companies will reject your application if you test positive for THC, even though four times as many Americans are dependent on alcohol than on cannabis.
Therefore, if you’re applying for a job or else your company is engaging in employee drug testing, you need to abstain from the herb until the test has concluded. If the test comes at short notice, you have to find a way to begin a THC detox quickly and safely, and this is where detox drinks, pills, and kits come into play.
Most THC detox products are little more than herbal supplements with extra B-vitamins. According to certain detox product sellers, their products will speed up the rate of THC elimination from the body, but beware of such claims, because they are usually false. The scientific community at large believes the notions of cleansing and detoxing are ridiculous, as they have no clinical basis.