One of the most dreaded life events for cannabis consumers is when a random drug test is required. The random drug test can be required for any number of reasons, but the two most common ones are for employment purposes or because of some type of criminal justice process.
Regardless of the reason why the random drug test is required, the first question that goes through the mind of a cannabis consumer is likely how long does it take to pass a drug test after consuming cannabis? As with all things involving cannabis and individual biology, there’s a lot of factors at play.
For starters, it’s necessary to know what drug tests are looking for. The most common drug test is the urine test, although hair tests and saliva tests are administered in some situations. Regardless of the type of test, what the test is looking for are THC metabolites. Most have a threshold of 50 ng/mL.
THC metabolites store in fat cells. Someone who is slim and has a metabolism rate of a hummingbird can consume cannabis on occasion and pass the average drug test quite easily in a matter of days. But the more fat a person has, the slower their metabolism rate, and the higher the frequency of use can all make it very difficult to pass a drug test in any short amount of time.
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.
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 on science. From that day forward I kept searching, and there are 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. Taking at home drug tests to track your progress is always a great idea but doesn’t necessarily guarantee victory on wiz quiz day.