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.
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.
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.
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.
What detox works best for weed
We all need to detox at some point in our lives. And, while committing to a THC detox is a great way to lower your tolerance, sometimes you have to detox ASAP. That’s why it’s important to know the best ways to cleanse your body.
Say for example you have to pass a drug test at work or you want to detox your system from THC. This handy guide will walk you through common reasons to detox, how the cleansing process works, and best practices to achieve an effective detox — no matter how much time you have before your system has to be clean.
Top Reasons for a THC Detox
Why would anyone ever stop smoking weed? Shockingly, there are a handful of reasons you may want to pause your 420 sessions — at least for a little while. Here are the most common reasons.
Over 50 percent of employers nationwide drug test job applicants. And, although post-employment drug testing is less common, it still happens, especially if an accident occurs or there’s reasonable suspicion to believe someone’s been on drugs. Even if you’re in a state where ganja is recreationally legal, your employer (unfortunately) has the power to drug test you.
While laws are beginning to shift, drug testing is a hurdle many of us will likely have to overcome at some point. So, that’s why it’s important to pass your test every time you’re faced with this hurdle.
We all remember our first great smoke session. Of course you can never fully recreate that experience, but you can get back to getting high after taking one solid hit. If you are a long-time pot smoker, you probably notice that you don’t feel as high as you used to get. So, taking a tolerance break is another reason to do a marijuana detox.
Frequent and/or heavy use causes the cannabinoid receptors throughout your body to actually downregulate THC reception. In other words, your body is adapting to the increased level of THC consumption as a new baseline.
One study shows that cannabinoid receptors begin to replenish after only two days of not consuming marijuana. This study also shows that receptors are reset again after three to four weeks of no THC consumption. So, after about a month, your body’s tolerance should be pretty close to normal.
Although we all know the benefits of cannabis, it can be good to detox from weed for homeostasis. Putting a pause on smoking cannabis can give your lungs a break. This can improve your lung health and strength, which will help you fight respiratory infections when they happen.
How Does THC Detox From the Body?
Even after the joint is fully ashed and the high is gone, remnants of metabolite delta 1-THC stay in our systems for weeks — months, even. THC cannabinoids get trapped in your fatty tissues and migrate into the bloodstream. Many different toxins can be stored in your fat cells. This is why regular detoxes are healthy.
An important part of the cleansing process is stopping all cannabis use. It may seem obvious, but sometimes common sense isn’t so overt. Because THC compounds are stored in fat and released into your bloodstream, eventually it will show up in your blood, urine, hair, and even fingernails. The detox process is contingent keeping your system clear from the chemical in which you are trying to cleanse. In other words, don’t smoke weed while trying to cleanse!
From there, your body takes over its natural process of elimination. It processes out these toxins through your waste-disposal organs such as your skin, liver, and bowles. Once toxins make their way to these organs, they are then flushed out through sweat, urine, and fecal matter (or, ya know, poop).
Best Ways to Detox From THC and Cleanse Your System
There are a few different options for those ready to take on a weed detox. Depending on your reason for detoxing, certain cleansing programs and detox approaches might be best to help you meet your deadline.
Detox Drinks to Cleanse in 24 Hours
For those of you with an unexpected drug test looming over your head, a 24 hour detox drink might be your only option. The best detox drinks that keep THC from screwing up your test results flush toxins from your system in about two hours.
These detox drinks are not intended for those looking to be permanently cleansed of toxins, however. Rather, these drinks cleanse the system just long enough to meet your deadline. Most detox drinks will leave you clean between four to eight hours. This should be a long enough window to get to a testing facility and pee in a cup. Be sure to follow all the instructions carefully to ensure a passing result.
Detox Kits to Permanently Cleanse Your System
Because THC gets trapped in your storage fat cells, detection times will vary. But no matter how long weed stays in your system, you should ideally be looking to permanently cleanse your body of toxins. The best way to ensure your body goes through a detox process is using a detox kit, which are often 10 day programs.
The best THC detox kits will provide you with herbal supplements to assist your body’s natural detoxification systems, along with at-home testing kits to gauge your toxicity level. Make sure to pay attention to suggested detox guides and tips, and maintain the best practices of a natural detox below.
Natural Marijuana Detox Tips
If you have longer than a month and want to allow your body to naturally detox THC from your system, then there are a few best practices to follow. Of course, the unfortunate first step is to stop consuming weed.
Ultimately, the primary factor is hydration. Drinking tons of liquids is crucial during a detox process. Make sure you are getting at least 96 to 130oz of water daily. It’s also good to mix in warm tea, lemon water, and cranberry juice into your hydration routine, as they should all help in the natural detox process.
Another way to support your detox organs is by sweating. Since your skin is your largest detoxifying organ, getting your sweat on is a great way to release toxins. Daily cardiovascular exercise is a great way to engage your sweat glands and burn fat. Spending time in the sauna will also help your body detox.
Other ways to help the natural detox process include: Eating lean meats, cutting back (or cutting out) salts and sugars, and getting plenty of sleep. While you are going through a natural cleanse, it can be helpful to use an at-home test kit to gauge your toxicity levels along the way.
How to Pick the Best Marijuana Detox Method
Once you decide to detox from weed, there are factors to consider when deciding which detox method is best for you. If you are needing to pass a test, we highly recommend using a detox kit or detox shot to ensure you are really clean before you have to pee in a cup. Your personal cleansing deadline will then dictate if you have the time to do a longer detox or if you need to pick a 24-hour cleanser.
If you are looking to detox for a tolerance break or for general health reasons then you have the luxury of time. We still recommend utilizing a detox kit to assist your natural detoxification process. Herbal supplements found in detox kits can be powerful tools to flush those toxins out.
THC Detox Questions and Answers
We get a lot of questions about how to detox the system from THC. So, here they are laid out for you.
Does Vinegar Clean Your System of THC?
Vinegar, specifically apple cider vinegar (ACV), has been a remedy for many things since ancient times. ACV does have cleansing properties, but drinking this acidic tonic won’t actually cleanse your system of THC metabolites.
The truth behind the vinegar detox myth is that ACV does alter pH levels in your urine. This can increase the speed at which your body eliminates toxins. However, the increase in toxin elimination is not enough to match the rate at which THC metabolites are released into the body from your storage fat cells, especially for those with high BMI or high-toxin exposure. Unfortunately, extreme amounts of ACV like those recommended online for a vinegar THC detox may just end up giving you diarrhea.
Does Cranberry Juice Clean Your System of THC?
Cranberry can assist your body’s natural detoxification systems. It’s antioxidant properties are what make it helpful during a detox. Perhaps these beneficial facts about cranberry are the reason for the common — but false — myth that cranberry juice can clean your system of THC.
Cranberries can act as a diuretic, which means you will urinate more frequently and thus expel waste from your body. However, chugging an exorbitant amount of cranberry juice before your drug test will just make you have to pee, which will have trace amounts of THC in it. This will lead to either a failed test or inconclusive result. Why? Because cranberry juice doesn’t draw toxins out of fat cells, nor does it actively do anything to expel toxins from your body faster. So, ultimately, cranberry juice will not help get rid of THC.
Does Niacin Flush Out THC?
The theory behind the niacin detox is that niacin can help increase the rate your body breaks down fat, which is where THC metabolites are stored. This logic seems to make sense. But believers don’t take all factors into consideration.
One factor to consider with a niacin flush is that everyone has different levels of toxicity, as well as varied BMI’s. Unfortunately, the successful niacin stories are told by primarily thin people with high metabolisms, and very little exposure to toxins. More commonly you will read about this method failing for those with regular or high body weight, as well as medium to extreme exposure to toxins.
The biggest thing to consider with the niacin flush is how dangerous it can be to your health. In order for niacin to be effective, very high doses must be taken for multiple days in a row. Consumption at these levels is highly discouraged! Niacin can be very damaging to your liver, one of your body’s main detoxification organs. That’s why niacin for a THC detox is not recommended.
What Should I Eat During My Detox?
Eating well during a marijuana detox is extremely important! Stay away from salts, processed foods, refined sugars, fast food, fatty meats, and fried foods. Eat plenty of leafy greens, lean to extra-lean meats, and a small amount of fruits. When reaching for snacks, try and grab seeds and nuts, or high-fiber fruits such as apples and raspberries.
How Much Water Should I Drink Daily During Detox?
Your system will be working overtime during your THC detox. You want to support your body’s process by staying hydrated and flushing your system with plenty of liquids.
Water is most important. Try and drink about a gallon of water everyday. Adding a squeeze of lemon or other citrus juices into your morning glass of water will help add some flavor. Tea is also a great option to incorporate into your detox routine.
What Is the Best THC Detox Product?
We recommend using detox products from PassYourTest.com to help you permanently cleanse your system, or cleanse the same day if you need to detox fast.
How Do I Know the THC Detox is Working?
The best way to gauge your toxicity levels is to use an at-home test kit. There are test kits available specifically for THC, and can show you what level your system is at. Using one at the beginning of your cleanse and one after is the best way to tell if the detox is working.
This was made in partnership with PassYourTest
Whether you're looking to pass a drug test tomorrow or just want to give your body a moment to recalibrate from all the cannabis you consume, we've got the scoop on the best detox methods to rid your body of THC.