Chances are great that if you are a cannabis user, you have worried about a drug test at some time in your life. And chances are almost 100 percent that if you have worried about a drug test in your life, you have encountered some of the more tenacious drug testing myths that have been bouncing around for the past few decades.
Most of these myths should be taken with a grain of salt. So, before you start buying gallons of cranberry juice and a bushel of papaya for your next drug test, read as we debunk the most common THC drug test myths to see if your attempts will even be worth the effort.
“If I Don’t Smoke for a Few Days Before, I’ll Be Fine”
Urinalysis drug tests, the ones most people tend to worry about, do not actually test for THC. Instead, they test for THC-COOH, which is a metabolite indicating that THC has been broken down in the system.
Since THC molecules are stored in our body’s fat cells, these metabolites can literally trickle out of us for weeks — up to 100 days for some heavy daily users. The rate at which you completely metabolize THC varies according to age, size, body weight, body fat percentage, the amount of physical activity you do, your diet, how often you consume cannabis, your typical consumption method and so on. Even still, it takes the body at least three to four days for most people to break down all the THC in their system, and that presumes they are a very light user.
So, no, quitting for just a handful of days is not enough to be “clean” in time for your test. The average person would have to quit for at least three weeks if they were a regular cannabis user, and even then they have no guarantee.
“I Can Sweat Out the THC”
Exercising can encourage our bodies to break down fat, which metabolizes the THC within the cells. If you were to stop using cannabis a few weeks away from your test, you could potentially reduce the amount of THC in your body by putting your metabolism into overdrive through rigorous aerobic exercise. The THC will not come out in your sweat, mind you, but it does get broken down after you burn sufficient calories.
However, exercising can never “flush” the body of THC entirely. Our livers process the molecule slowly, and we tend to not break down too much body fat unless we effectively put our bodies in starvation mode.
Additionally, working out right before a urinalysis test might actually be the last thing you want to do. When you break down all those fat tissues at once, your kidneys filter out a lot more THC-COOH into your urine. You should consider taking it easy the day before and the day of your test just to make sure you are not flooding your system with metabolites and making it look like you spent the night at Tommy Chong’s house.
“Second-Hand Smoke Can Cause You to Fail”
Second-hand smoke is really hard to get THC out of in most normal situations. Unless you are in a small room with really poor ventilation surrounded by people smoking heavily — a “hot box” — then you are not going to be putting nearly enough THC-rich smoke into your lungs to cross the typical 50 ng/mL urinalysis testing threshold. Even if you do have an accidental “bake” session this way, the resulting THC levels are likely lower compared to if you had taken a single toke any time the week before.
“I Can Flush Out THC With Water/Cranberry Juice/Zinc/Etc.”
Urinalysis tests do more than look for THC-COOH presence. To rule out the possibility of tampering, they also test for color, pH, specific gravity and the presence of creatinine, a typical metabolite that occurs as a byproduct of muscle use. If you use a diuretic substance like cranberry juice to attempt to “pee away” all your THC-COOH, you are really just flooding that urine sample with water as opposed to the normal balance of substances. Even worse, your next sample after the diuretic effect wears off is likely to have an even higher concentration of metabolites within it.
If you have a sample that has been diluted through drinking copious amounts of water or a diuretic substance, your sample will be marked as compromised, in which case you will be asked to take the drug test again.
Forget These Drug Testing Myths; Here’s What Actually Works
First of all, you have to stop using at least two to three weeks before the known date of your test, preferably more. Begin exercising rigorously, monitoring your calorie intake, and drinking plenty of water. You should eat a balanced diet of leafy greens as well as raw fruits and veggies while avoiding salty or processed foods as well as red meat. The former foods help you metabolize your fat and built-up substances quicker while the latter increases water retention while slowing your metabolism down.
You can drink tea and consume a substance called bentonite clay in order to help boost your metabolism and absorb THC metabolites. The day before your test, take it easy and drink a normal amount of water. Try to urinate at least once the morning of your test since you will have stored up everything over the course of the night. Consider drinking a light amount of coffee or tea an hour before your test to have a minor diuretic effect that will not completely dilute your sample.
Even with all these practices, you have no guarantee of passing, so make sure to think ahead before you consume any cannabis if you have a drug test coming up in the next month or so. You can also look into policies for medical users since many workplaces make exemptions if you have an MMJ prescription.
If you want any advice on the methods that do not work or how to manage medical symptoms during a detox, you can talk to one of our knowledgeable staff for their informed (but non-medical) opinions.
Come visit our Las Vegas medical cannabis dispensary today!