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Marijuana Detox: What You Should Know

As laws change, talking about marijuana use is slowly becoming more common. Some people are assessing its medicinal value, while others are looking for ways to flush it out of their system because of drug testing or a simple desire to get toxins out of their systems.

But what exactly are they flushing out, and how long would it take to happen naturally?

When you smoke or consume marijuana, you can feel profound and immediate effects. But even once those effects are gone, marijuana metabolites remain. This means that chemical remnants of the plant are still present within your body.

These remnants are called cannabinoids. They can be detected in saliva, hair, fingernails, blood, and urine.

Drug tests look for the presence of the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and its metabolites. Generally, urine is tested, both because it’s easiest to collect and because THC remains detectable for a longer period of time in urine than elsewhere.

The main metabolite these drug screenings look for is called THC-COOH. This substance is stored in your body fat.

“Compared to other drugs, marijuana has the longest detection time, up to months, because the detectable chemicals stay in the body’s fat cells,” explained Nicolas Rossetti, manager of clinical services of Mobile Health, an occupational health center that conducts about 200,000 drug tests in New York City each year.

The vast majority of marijuana detoxes seek to flush the body of any detectable THC. These kits include capsules, chewable tablets, drinks, shampoos, and even mouthwashes to help you pass a saliva test.

However, if a drug test is your concern, detoxes can have additional effects that can make your urine sample look suspicious.

“Cleanses and teas can lower THC levels through their diuretic properties. They make individuals urinate a lot, which technically washes out the kidneys,” said Rossetti.

“This flushing of the kidneys can lower the specific gravity or density of the urine,” he added, “and a low specific gravity indicates contamination on the test, and the specimen could be discounted.”

Also, cleanses and teas may alter the amount of creatinine in the urine, another measure that drug tests look at. Abnormal creatinine levels can indicate contamination, according to Rossetti. This means the tester could assume that you attempted to cheat on your drug test.

While that doesn’t mean a positive test, it does mean the sample is unacceptable, and you’ll likely have to take the test again.

THC can be detected in your blood, urine, and even in your fat cells. The length of time THC remains detectable in the body depends on several factors, including:

  • metabolism and eating habits
  • exercise routine
  • body fat percentage
  • frequency and quantity of marijuana use

Because of all these factors, there is no single standard detection time. Some estimate it can stick around for anywhere from two days to several months.

Urine

Cannabinoid metabolites can remain detectable in urine even after long periods of abstinence. One study found traces of one metabolite, delta 1-THC, in urine as long as four weeks after use.

Fat cells

THC builds up in fat tissue, and from there slowly spreads to the blood. According to a 2013 study , exercise can cause THC to be released from your fat stores and into your blood.

Blood

THC can remain detectable in your blood for as long as seven days, depending on how frequently you use marijuana. Someone who smokes marijuana daily will likely carry marijuana metabolites for longer than someone who smokes infrequently.

As of 2018, marijuana is legal for recreational use in the U.S. in these states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Washington, D.C. Medical marijuana is approved in over 20 states.

But regardless of its legality, it’s important to remember that marijuana carries with it certain medical risks. Know the risks before you decide to use it or not.

  • The main remnant cannabis drug tests look for is THC.
  • How long THC stays in your body depends on your weight and how much you exercise, among other things.

Last medically reviewed on January 25, 2018

When you smoke or consume marijuana, you can feel profound and immediate effects. But even once those effects are gone, marijuana metabolites remain in your body.

How to Beat a Drug Test

Before buying a detox cleanse, if you want to beat a drug test, learn what works and what is pure myth.

The products have alluring names like, “Definite Detox,” “Assured Cleanse,” and “Total Guardian.” The fact is, drug testing myths remain some of the most widely believed fantasies, even among highly educated people and professional companies. What is it about drug testing that causes intelligent people to think preposterous notions are true, without ever checking the facts?

The GNC Drug Detox Flush

Ok, let’s get right to my favorite myth. I hear it all the time from otherwise smart adults when I tell them I do drug testing for a living. They always come back at me with, “Can’t you just buy one of those detox drinks at GNC and beat the test?”

Oh yeah, because GNC is known for accurate statements on its products, and they always work exactly as promised. Want more energy, better sleep, bigger muscles, and a trim belly? Just drink this shake! Never mind that the FDA doesn’t approve any of it, nor does the science ever bear it out. Never mind that if the advertised benefits of GNC products were always true, the whole nation would be slim, muscular, and bounding with unlimited energy. The only thing I don’t understand is why none of these guys are ever sued for false advertising. If you want to beat a drug test, you would do just as well to buy a magic potion.

When it comes to the drug testing flushes, detox baths, washes, cleanses, or whatever marketing crap name they want to call it – it’s hogwash, mere fantasy, and plain old bull. Instead of guzzling a GNC detox drink, try this for equal chance of success: take your money and light it on fire. I guarantee that if you don’t beat the test, at least you’ll get a little warmth.

Adulterants

If you’re slick enough to sneak in some bleach to the bathroom with you when you go for a drug test, or the testing company is dumb enough to leave some cleaning agents in the bathroom, you might consider slipping some into your sample to oxidize the drugs. Hydrogen Peroxide works, too. Perfect system, right?

Wrong. We test for adulterants. Not a good idea at all. Next!

What drugs can be detected in a drug test?

Pretty much any drug can be detected. Cocaine, marijuana, heroin, speed, opiates, oxycontin. And also, ecstasy, molly, bath salts, suboxone, benzo’s, and more. These are some of the most common tests:

To learn more about the different drug panels, and the respective drugs they screen for visit our drug panels page.

Does Second Hand Smoke Trigger a Positive Test?

Second only to the excuse of, “My dog ate my homework,” is the well worn lie of, “I didn’t smoke, I was at a party where people were smoking.” How do I know that this is always a lie? Because your body can’t produce the metabolites that are detected in a drug test unless you actually ingested the drug. That’s true for a hair test or a urine test. Having the smoky smell of marijuana in your hair doesn’t mean the drug is in your hair. Think about it: if you get a BBQ smell in your hair when you pass the shish kebob man on the street, does that mean you have shish kebob in your hair?

The Whizzinator

Mike Tyson recently bragged about using the Whizzinator to beat drug tests throughout his career. It’s a nifty tool. A jockstrap with a prosthetic, and a heating device on the hip to hold clean urine and keep it warm. The problem is, the brilliant makers of this device also had a knack for boastfulness, advertising online that it could be used to be a DOT drug test. The feds were not pleased. When a truck driver killed a child while under the influence of drugs, despite him having passed a recent drug test, it came to light that he beat the test by using the Whizzinator.

Ultimately, the manufacturers of this device went to jail, and production was shut down. DOT changed all their regs for “observed” testing – the kind of testing where a collector has to actually watch you pee. Prior to this, the collector only had to watch the pee coming out of the body and into the cup. And the Whizzinator, which fit over the man’s real penis, and apparently came in a variety of colors and sizes, was impossible to recognize. Since then, at every observed DOT drug test, the donor must drop his pants to his knees, raise his shirt above the navel, and do a 360 degree turn. This seemingly unbelievable practice has survived various court challenges. The feds are not playing around when it comes to safety, and their commitment to get drug users off the road, the rails, and the sky.

If you’re not a professional athlete, truck driver, or pilot, you might still get away with using the Whizz. But then, it’s been years since they were made, so good luck with that…

The best way to beat a drug test

Don’t use drugs. Plain and simple. Works every time. Free. Easy to understand. And, no hangovers.

But if you did use marijuana, and you have a drug test coming up, you should read this infographic about How Long Marijuana Lasts in Your System.

Before buying a detox cleanse, if you want to beat a drug test, learn what works and what is pure myth. ]]>