If you are a long time marijuana consumer, chances are you have been there – facing the dreaded drug test. It could be for employment purposes, or for other reasons. Current NFL player Le’Veon Bell had to take a drug test prior to the season starting because of a prior marijuana offense. There’s a number of reasons. Probation. Workers compensation. Who knows.
Regardless of the reason, the fear behind having to take a drug test when you are a marijuana consumer is the same. You pretty much know that you are going to fail but you are holding out hope that there is some way, any way that you can pass. The most common drug test that I have heard people have to do is the urine test. There are hair tests and saliva tests, but urine seems to be the invasive drug test of preference for most entities.
It’s incredibly demeaning to have to hand over one’s own urine to a stranger, as if the content of a person’s urine determine’s their worth. I have been subjected to urine testing for employment purposes on several occasions, and it’s pretty humiliating. I don’t promote deceit, but when someone’s employment or freedom is on the line, and the only thing standing between it is THC content in a person’s urine, I say you have to do what you have to do to right some wrongs in that instance.
The most logical question that comes up, and one that I get asked often, is how to ‘flush out’ someone’s system when they are a marijuana user. The quick answer is, you can’t. It’s unfortunate, and not the good news that I’m sure many people were hoping for when they landed on this article, but I don’t want to lie to anyone. Knowing the truth allows people to switch modes and go away from chugging large amounts of water for hours on end hoping that the seemingly constant stream of urine leaving their body is taking THC with it. Unfortunately that’s not the case.
THC is not water soluble. It is stored in fat. So no matter how much water you drink, the THC is going to go out of your system at the same rate regardless. Your body’s fat cells release metabolized THC into your body slowly (metabolites are what the drug test is really looking for), with spikes here and there, but for the most part at a consistent rate. How long it takes to get entirely out of your system depends on your consumption level, how often you consume, how much fat you have, what your metabolism level is, etc..
There are some reports of traces of marijuana being in a person’s system for as long as 100 days. One of my best friends was forced into court ordered rehab once upon a time. He was a heavy user, and had been for about 5 years before he went in. He was husky, but not huge. THC showed up in his system for six weeks. There’s a lot going on with a urine test. The test usually isn’t looking for traces, and instead has an allowable threshold, usually 50 ng/ml. For someone like myself, I’m never under that threshold. For someone else, they could consume marijuana at a concert, and be fine for the drug test that follows a couple of weeks down the road. The human body is a very weird thing.
So how do you get marijuana out of your system? And not just from anecdotal home remedies and tricks ‘that I learned from a buddy.’ I think the first thing that I looked up on the internet (via a chat room no less) was tips on how to pass a drug test. There were all kinds of tips, but none based in science. From that day forward I kept searching, and there’s only two scientific studies that I have come across that show effectiveness when trying to pass a drug test when you consume marijuana.
The first one involves zinc supplements, which if taken orally, seems to be able to interfere with the detection of the metabolites that drug tests look for. The ‘masking effect’ lasts about 12-18 hours. The second scientific study involves papain. Researchers concluded at the end of the trial that there was a ‘direct pH, temperature, and time-dependent correlate between the increase in papain concentration and the decrease in THC-COOH concentration.’
But even those studies come with a big asterisk, in that how much the zinc supplements will mask the marijuana in your system, or how much the papain decreases your THC-COOH concentration is dependent on the same factors previously described. Amounts that work for one person may, and likely won’t, work for the next person. It all depends on a lot of factors. But what I always tell people, is all you can do is everything you can do right?
When you look at detox products, and if they are good ones, they likely contain high amounts of zinc and papain. They also usually contain vitamin B, niacin, and creatine. Drug tests look at creatine levels (among other things) in urine samples to determine above average dilution. All of it works to mask the marijuana in your system. A good detox product will not 100% ensure success, no matter what the label says. Sure, they will give you a ‘money back guarantee’ but that money isn’t any good if you were relying so heavily on passing the crucial drug test. Detox products can lower your levels, and/or mask them, but they can never work 100% of the time for 100% of marijuana consumers. Good luck getting Jay or I to pass a solid drug test using really anything. No hope!
One tip that I’ve heard is to only use urine that is mid stream, as metabolites are found more on the front end of the stream and the back end. All of this is of course gross, and I probably should have pre-apologized for talking about all of it, but what are you going to do? After all, we are talking about an entire industry created around collecting and testing people’s urine. Not exactly a lot of ways around it. I do not know if there is any merit to the ‘mid stream theory’ but if you are looking for something to potentially give you an additional edge, you are going to get to mid stream anyways, so it’s probably worth a shot.
As far as I know, there isn’t any science backing the cranberry juice theory. Cranberry juice is good for your urine system and I suppose would get rid of some marijuana in your system, but it alone is not enough to get rid of the marijuana in even a moderate marijuana user’s system. Cranberry juice does not ‘flush out’ your fat cells. Some people have posted online various foreign substances that can be added to urine, including bleach, but I would not recommend any of those things. If you have any tips or tricks, by all means put them in the comments below. Also, if there’s something I missed (or something you hate!), sound off in the comments. Help others benefit from your knowledge and experience. Putting height, weight, description of chubbiness (or lack thereof!), what you did, time involved, and end result, that is encouraged!
image via US News