While a THC detox may seem like an intimidating thing, in reality, it’s an excellent way to take a tolerance break and maintain a healthy relationship with your favourite icky sticky.
Let’s face it, who doesn’t love spending some quality time with our favourite gal, Mary Jane, after an incredibly stressful day or week of work/school, or to kickstart your weekend?
However, there may come a time where you have to lay off it, whether you notice your tolerance is getting too high or you have a drug test coming up that you need to pass.
We know. It sucks. Still, sometimes you have to do what you have to do. So, let’s jump right into talking about what a THC detox is and how to do it successfully.
What is a THC Detox?
If you know what detoxing is, you likely already have a pretty good idea of what a THC detox entails. If you don’t, we’re still gonna tell you anyway, so don’t worry yourself!
Detoxing is pretty much anything you do to get toxins out of your body. “Toxin” in this sense doesn’t have to mean dangerous or lethal substances like anthrax or mercury. It’s anything that you don’t want in your body, from alcohol to pollutants and, of course, THC.
Most of this work is done by your liver, as one of its primary functions is metabolizing alcohol and other substances, along with neutralizing and destroying other toxins that hide in fat cells and your blood.
However, you can stimulate your liver to jumpstart the detox process and reduce the THC in your system ASAP.
How Long Does THC Stay in Your System?
The length of time Tetrahydrocannabinol THC stays in your system depends on how it was ingested into the body, whether by smoking or eating it.
Vaping or smoking is the fastest way to feel the effects of weed. Users will likely feel the effects within minutes, with the high lasting between one to three hours.
However, the longevity and effects themselves are contingent on several factors, including:
- Your individual tolerance
- The amount of weed consumed
- Marijuana potency (THC content)
- Your body fat and metabolism
- An empty or full stomach
If you ingested cannabis in an edible form, it might take anywhere from fifteen minutes to as much as two hours to kick in. Once active, the effects can last for up to a day and linger for 48 hours. These effects also depend on the above factors.
Still, just because you can’t feel it anymore doesn’t mean the THC is out of your system. It is so common for people to end up failing drug tests and wonder how this could be when it’s been two weeks since they hit a blunt at their cousin’s Thanksgiving get together.
To understand why this is, you must understand what happens when THC enters your system and the process by which it is removed.
What Happens to THC Inside the Body?
When you smoke weed, it’s absorbed by your lungs right away, and within minutes, it enters your bloodstream. This process will likely take longer with edibles. Still, it all ends up in the bloodstream eventually.
When this happens, the THC binds to blood proteins and is transported around the body. It is then absorbed by bodily tissue such as your heart, brain, spleen and fat, or it’s metabolized into water-soluble metabolites and filtered out in the urine.
The THC that isn’t metabolized and passed through in urine right away gets metabolized rather slowly. For chronic cannabis users, THC-COOH, or THC metabolites accumulate faster in fatty tissues than it gets released, as it is not water-soluble.
As a result, the THC can be detected in the body for a lengthy period of time after the cannabis is initially consumed.
How Long is THC Detectable in Drug Tests?
While detectability varies from person to person depending on the kind of drug test used, metabolism, frequency of marijuana use, and so on, we can give you the best estimate on a test-by-test basis.
- Saliva Test– Saliva tests are generally used to detect recent cannabis use, generally in the past day or two.
- Urine Test– Urine tests are used for the detection of many substances. As it relates to testing for THC, it can be detected for up to a week for light and moderate users of cannabis and up to a month or more for heavy users. However, this is not recommended, as it does not determine impairment or job risk in the workplace.
- Blood Test– Since the THC metabolites get absorbed from the bloodstream, a blood test will only show its presence in the body for up to 36 hours, and sometimes as little as 4 hours for light users.
- Hair Test– Hair tests can detect cannabis in the body for up to 90 days after consumption. They can also provide extensive information on drug use. These tests are highly sensitive and use the oil that is transferred to hair strands as its sample. However, it should be noted there have been instances of false positives where these oils transfer from one person to another, perhaps through sharing a hairbrush or forms of intimacy.
Can I Beat a Drug Test?
These tests are designed to beat every trick in the book. So, ultimately, it’s not worth it, and you can face serious repercussions. It’s a much better idea to do the test and keep your fingers crossed than try and cheat your way out of it.
You may have heard about adding bleach to your urine or some other concoction, but if the urine’s integrity is compromised, testers will simply be thrown out.
As well, carrying someone else’s pee is not only gross, but you may not even have a chance to take it in, much less switch it out. Have you ever heard about using synthetic pee to pass a drug test? Forget it, they can tell.
Finally, walking around all week with a water bottle isn’t going to flush it out. It will only help raise suspicion.
How to Perform a THC Detox
The truth is, most of the work is done by your liver, as we said before. However, some people claim you can do things to help you pass a drug screen.
The scientific research on this is lacking, but these methods can benefit you in other ways, so what the heck:
Many people claim you can cleanse or purge your body of toxins through sweat from heavy exercise. However, the skin is a “one-way defence system”, meaning it keeps toxins out, and doesn’t release them through sweat.
Plus, exercise can make things worse, as it can cause stored THC to be released in the bloodstream and cause a spike.
Is it all bad news, though? Not at all. A bit of exercise can do you good by helping reduce fat, tone your body, promote overall well-being and give you something to do besides laying in bed.
Wait & Abstain
Waiting and abstaining is the best way to detox from marijuana. No, really, it is the safest and smartest method to pass a drug test.
Your body is designed to get rid of it anyway. Also, taking some days off from weed can provide multiple benefits, including maintaining your tolerance level to a more desirable and attainable degree.
So, get some more sleep, eat healthily and stay hydrated. That’s all you need to do. Let your body do the rest.
It may sound strange but stick with us. While the research is currently conflicting, there is some evidence to support the claim that CBD can counteract some of the psychoactive effects of THC.
For example, according to a 2012 paper published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, CBD can help inhibit the paranoia and memory impairment associated with THC.
CBD is also excellent for combatting multiple conditions, including but not limited to pain, inflammation, nausea and insomnia, without producing the psychoactive effects of THC. Thus, you can ingest THC and remain fully functional.
However, it is critical to keep in mind that different CBD variations, while not producing the same effects as THC, could still contain trace amounts. For example, full-spectrum CBD incorporates all the naturally-occurring cannabinoids found within hemp plants, including THC.
So, if you’re thinking that taking CBD is a promising alternative that won’t show up on a drug test, you’re mistaken. If you’re looking for zero traces of THC whatsoever, we would recommend CBD isolate.
Do Detox Drinks Work?
Some say the best way to pass a drug test is by consuming detox drinks such as cranberry juice, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or whatever they put in those detox kits.
The logic behind this is that detox drinks will flush the THC out of the system and cleanse your body.
What actually happens is that detox drinks load your body with other compounds that will show up in the urine sample, as may the THC. This temporary solution is not a fool-proof method, but there’s no harm in drinking more healthy liquids.
Just don’t fall prey to unregulated detox products, as there have been some horror stories you don’t even want to hear about. You’re better off with a drink of water anyway.
Downsides to THC Detox
Quitting weed cold-turkey is no biggie for most users. However, others may experience withdrawal symptoms that can feel like you’re battling addiction. Just hang in there, get through this testing, and do what you have to do.
If you are using marijuana products for health benefits, communicate your concerns before detoxing your doctor.
It also helps to speak with the institution before undergoing drug testing about your use of cannabis products for medicinal purposes so that there are no surprises.
Usually, they just test for everything else once you can prove it.
THC Detox – Not Just for Passing Drug Tests
As much as you may need to pass this drug test, bear in mind that the best way to detox is by letting your body cleanse itself.
Many of these detox drinks and kits don’t help to make your situation any better.
If you know you have a drug test coming up, don’t wait till a few days before to lay off the weed. It takes time to leave your body, so do what needs to be done.
That said, undergoing a THC detox doesn’t necessarily have to be for the sole purpose of passing a drug test. In fact, it can be a fantastic method for taking a tolerance break, readjusting your baseline, and promoting a more beneficial experience for future smoke sessions.
Not only that but taking tolerance breaks is useful for maintaining a healthy relationship with weed without building up a full-blow dependency so that you can appreciate it and its effects appropriately.
Stay safe and happy detoxing!