If you’re a marijuana user with a drug test coming up, you may be worried about testing positive for the drug. If so, you may also be looking for quick ways to clean out your system— and fast. You’re right to be concerned: Testing positive for weed could result in repercussions at work. Beware, however, the quick fixes that turn up in Google searches (24-hour/same-day detox, weed detox kit, cranberry juice detox, and vinegar detox for weed, etc.). Here’s the straight scoop on the problems with flushing weed out of your system and why they rarely work.
Why Would Someone Want to Flush Weed Out of Their System
From a mandatory workplace drug test, to applying for a job in the transportation sector requiring testing for certain drugs, to a simple desire to rid your body of the toxins and traces of cannabis, there are many reasons to want to flush weed out of your system.
Some individuals are only looking for quick removal of the substance so they can pass a drug test and avoid negative consequences from employers. Others may be contemplating quitting altogether before applying for a job that may require drug testing and they want to ensure weed is completely out of their system ahead of time. Still others may decide that weed has simply become too much a part of their daily life and they want to function in a more clear-headed and healthy fashion, rather than being a slave to the effects of cannabis. Then, too, parental responsibilities or custody battles may motivate someone to pursue detox and professional counseling. Whatever the reason you may be thinking about getting free of weed, you need to know the facts.
How Tests Detect Marijuana
According to Drugs.com, typical tests to detect marijuana and other drugs include urine, saliva, blood and hair testing. Certified laboratories conduct the drug testing, which typically uses immunoassay for the initial testing and gas chromatography to determine the presence of marijuana.
How Long is the Typical Detection Window for Weed
The detection window for the presence of weed in your system depends on whether you’re a casual or chronic user. In general, one-time use may be detectable from 2-7 days, while for a chronic user, the detection window can be a couple of months to 90 days.
The type of test also affects detection times. For example, the urine test, which is the most common test employers use and can be purchased in ‘at-home’ cups at drug stores, detects marijuana within 1-3 days of usage. A saliva test, on the other hand, can detect presence of marijuana or recent use within a few hours to 1-2 days. This type of test, however, isn’t good for the detection of long-term weed use. Blood tests, which are more invasive, are good for detecting marijuana present at the moment. Hair tests can detect marijuana use over a 90-day period.
THC metabolites, generally speaking, will be out of your body in 3-4 weeks, although this again depends on the frequency, amount of marijuana consumed, and your body weight. To pass standard drug tests, you’ll probably need to quit smoking weed for anywhere between 3-30 days for a urine test, 1-7 days for a blood test, 1-7 days for a saliva drug test, and 90 days for a hair drug test.
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Methods of “Flushing” Weed Out of Your System
There are a number of methods of “flushing” weed out of your system, although they’re not all that effective and some could pose health problems. Here are some of the common faulty weed-flushing methods.
- Cranberry juice detox – While drinking cranberry juice is generally considered good for your health, opting for a cranberry juice detox to flush weed out of your system is not the sure-fire way to ‘detox’ your system as many guides claim.
- Vinegar detox for weed – Just the thought of consuming apple cider vinegar as a weed detox may be enough to dissuade you from this faulty method. Beyond the unpleasantness, drinking vinegar can create a dangerous condition, hyponatremia, which can result in the sodium levels in your blood becoming abnormally low. This is a potentially life-threatening situation. While the method is popular online, there’s not a shred of scientific evidence to prove it works to help you pass supervised drug tests.
- Excessive water consumption – Water is essential for good health, yet downing gallons of the liquid in the mistaken belief that it’s one of the ways to clean out your system in 24 hours is a practice that’s not recommended. Since this has the potential to dilute expected enzymes in a urine sample, if the sample is too diluted it may be flagged as unacceptable.
- Detox teas – While they may be useful in some weight loss efforts, detox teas won’t get the job done to flush weed out of your system in a short period of time.
- Niacin detox – Taking high doses of niacin as a weed detox to flush out THC from your system can also be dangerous. Potential adverse reactions to a niacin detox include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, as well as side effects such as itching, skin rashes and flushing of the skin. While online posts suggest niacin can foil drug tests, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there’s no evidence from science that niacin helps you pass a urine drug test.
- Weed detox kit – Companies trying to make a buck by promising instant results with a weed detox kit prey on someone’s desperate search for how to pass supervised drug tests. For the most part, they don’t work, so don’t waste your time or money on them.
- Same-day detox – THC is stored in fat, so it’s not physically possible to get rid of it in a same-day detox. As with purported weed detox kits, this is another sham product offering that only serves to benefit the sellers, most of whom hawk their offerings on the Internet.
On the other hand, helping to rid or flush weed out of your system can likely benefit from certain natural methods that are also safe to use. Be advised, though, that these take time, so you’ll truly commit up to six weeks for the process to achieve the desired results— being weed-free and undetectable for trace of the substance in drug tests.
- Stop Using – If you want to get rid of weed in your body, the best way to start is to stop! This may be especially difficult for users who’ve regularly engaged in smoking or otherwise ingesting cannabis multiple times a day, yet it is the only true way to begin cleansing the system from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive compound contained in marijuana. THC is responsible for creating euphoria or a sense of being high, as it binds to the brain’s cannabinoid 1 receptors. If you decide to stop using, you can either choose to ease yourself into it by gradually cutting down your weed intake, or go cold turkey. Just remember that you can’t really begin the detoxification process or cleanse your body from all traces of weed until THC is completely out of your system.
- Get Moving With Exercise – No, this isn’t a myth. Rather, exercise, which allows your body’s own natural endocannabinoids to kick in, helps the process of naturally flushing weed from your system. By taking part in exercise that includes weight training and cardio, you’re helping to speed up your metabolism. This burns fat, which is where THC is stored. Burning fat through exercise speeds up the weed detoxification process. One caveat about exercise is that, as research published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence shows exercise may enhance the blood plasma levels of THC in regular cannabis users as these enzymes in fat are being broken down.
- Eat a Healthier Diet, and Do So Mindfully — Keep in mind that there are certain types of foods that slow the metabolism and/or increase retention of water, principally because they have high amounts of fat, sugar, and sodium. This is not what you want to have happen when you want to flush weed metabolites out of your system. Therefore, stay away from red meat and junk food. What should you eat? Focus on consuming healthy fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, like kale and spinach, which are high in essential vitamins and iron to speed up metabolism and kick the weed detox process into high gear. Also add lean meat and healthy fiber food, such as beans, peanuts, and legumes. Not only does fiber help you flush weed out of your system, it may also make it easier to sleep and stabilize your mood, both of which are essential as you encounter potential cannabis withdrawal symptoms.
- Amp Up Water Intake – Although you want to avoid overconsumption of water, you do need to help your body naturally flush weed from your body. It’s important to keep well hydrated during the entire weed detox process, since you want the substance to be eliminated from your body with as little harm as possible. Pure, natural water is an excellent assist in this endeavor.
- Help Stabilize Mood With Yoga or Meditation – If you’ve struggled with depression, anxiety, or some other mental health issue, your moods are likely in a state of shift. Irritability during weed detox is also common, which aggravates your overall mental health and can interfere with your resolve to flush weed out of your system. Ways to keep calm during period of stress or emotional turbulence include yoga and meditation. Deep breathing, taking walks in nature, or other ways to treat yourself with kindness can prove highly instrumental as weed leaves your system.
- Tea is Your Friend – Besides being a staple beverage in many countries, tea has the enviable reputation of being good for your health. That’s because tea—especially certain types of tea, such as green tea—contains high antioxidant levels. There are also teas specifically designed to detoxify the liver and they contain ingredients such as milk thistle or dandelion. Should you drink green tea before a drug test? Does green tea and weed serve to counterbalance each other? Not in the short term, it doesn’t. In other words, green tea is not a quick fix for weed detox. It is, however, very healthy for you to consume.
Reconsider Your Weed Use After You ‘Pass’
Weed is increasingly legal for recreational use in a number of states (11, including the District of Columbia, as of the close of 2019), and for medicinal use in many more (33 states). Yet, just because weed may be legal, there are still potential problems for users. It may be tough to get a job, or keep one, not to mention the negative effects that constant cannabis use can have on everyday living.
Weed Continues to be a Problem for Employers
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 57 percent (more than half) of all employers now conduct drug tests on people looking to hire into the company. In fact, the survey data found that only about 29 percent of the employers say they do not conduct any employee drug testing. While 12 percent of employers have used prospective employee drug testing for 5-6 years, 69 percent have used drug screening for 7 years. Most employers don’t do post-hiring employee drug testing, but when they do, it’s mostly following an accident (51 percent), or during random drug testing (47 percent), and as a result of behavior prompting reasonable suspicion (35 percent).
Just Because Weed is Legal, Doesn’t Mean it Won’t Have a Negative Effect on Your Life
Negative consequences resulting from continuing use of cannabis can wreak havoc in your life, even if you think you have a weed habit under control. Besides, even though weed may be legal in your state (either for recreational or medicinal purposes), there are often cumulative and cascading negative effects from ongoing use.
- Relationships May Suffer – When you’re not thinking clearly, lolling around in a semi-permanent or regularly stoned state, don’t think others around you are unaffected. For one thing, you’re not truly participating in conversations, aren’t able to hold up your end of household or familial responsibilities— let alone interact with loved ones, family, friends or co-workers on a fully present basis. Indeed, serious fractures in the family dynamic, lost friendships and even rebuffing by casual acquaintances are common among those who insist on adhering to their weed habit.
- Your Job Performance Takes a Dive – It’s not just relationships that go downhill if you’re still a slave to cannabis. On-the-job attention to detail, meeting deadlines and objectives, acting like a team member, and overall performance also slips. This doesn’t go unnoticed, either by co-workers or supervisors, and this is bound to jeopardize any advancement you hope to attain, whether in the form of a promotion, pay raise, bonus, or securing greater levels of responsibility.
- Financial Repercussions Mount – Any consistent fixation on a substance that may have become a dependence or addiction starts to hurt financial assets. You’re less likely to stay on top of paying bills, may squander cash without thinking of the consequences or find yourself withdrawing more funds to pay for your stash of weed.
- Other Bad Habits Become Prevalent – Besides consumption of cannabis, you may also fall into other bad habits such as drinking too much, gambling, or combining prescription drugs and alcohol in an escalating attempt to continue the high. Cannabis use has long been considered a gateway drug, especially when started in adolescence, and frequently morphs into other substance addictions and/or addictive behaviors.
Help Is Available If You’re Struggling with Weed Dependence
Trying to figure out the best and most effective way to flush weed out of your system? Take the uncertainty and fear out of the equation by seeking professional help to overcome your struggle with dependence on weed. This can ensure that your detox from weed is safe and any underlying issues involving dependence are thoroughly addressed after weed is out of your system. While the decision to seek professional help is entirely yours to make, it’s also the best prospect of a drug-free future that is healthy and successful.