Ultimately, there isnвЂ™t any scientifically-based strategy for passing a marijuana drug test, other than abstinence, Ogle says. Her advice? Get ahead of it. She suggests taking a test at home to see what you’re dealing with.
As the cannabis industry booms and legalization gains speed, people may be subjected to fewer marijuana tests. But many settings вЂ” especially the workplace, healthcare facilities, and the criminal justice system вЂ”may still prefer being drug-free, and ask people to pee in a cup.
Typically, a marijuana drug test involves testing a urine sample for metabolites of THC. Other drug tests involve hair, blood, and fingernail samples — methods that can be harder to beat. CBD isnвЂ™t likely to raise red flags on a drug test since CBD products typically only include trace amounts of THC. A urine marijuana test will test positive if the THC in the sample is more than 50 nanograms per milliliter.
One popular suggestion? Sweat it out. Hitting the gym or going for a run should speed up the metabolism of THC, right? Not so fast. Exercise may actually have the opposite effect by boosting THC levels in the bloodstream and making you fail a drug test.
This work has also had some limitations. The study included people with low levels of fat on their bodies. In turn, people with larger fat stores might have seen more significant THC spikes from exercise or fasting. The researchers published their work in the journal Basic and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology.
“It takes about a month for cannabis to get out of the system, which is obviously problematic because there are other drugs that get out of your system quicker but I consider to be more dangerous,” Whitney Ogle, a cannabis researcher at Humboldt University, tells Inverse. “So it’s unfortunate.”
One popular approach? Up your cardio. But while some studies have tried to parse out whether exercise might interfere with marijuana drug tests, the results have been mixed.
They put six regular cannabis users through a 45-minute moderate-intensity workout and a 24-hour fast. The team didnвЂ™t see any major differences in THC levels before or after exercise and fasting, in blood or urine levels. They concluded that neither exercise nor fasting is likely to cause significant THC concentration changes that would influence drug test results.
вЂњIt might be that someone had a brownie at a party and that wasn’t the intention of what they wanted to do that night, and then they test positive.вЂќ
Exercising before a drug test may not be a good idea.
Second-hand smoke is really hard to get THC out of in most normal situations. Unless you are in a small room with really poor ventilation surrounded by people smoking heavily — a “hot box” — then you are not going to be putting nearly enough THC-rich smoke into your lungs to cross the typical 50 ng/mL urinalysis testing threshold. Even if you do have an accidental “bake” session this way, the resulting THC levels are likely lower compared to if you had taken a single toke any time the week before.
Urinalysis tests do more than look for THC-COOH presence. To rule out the possibility of tampering, they also test for color, pH, specific gravity and the presence of creatinine, a typical metabolite that occurs as a byproduct of muscle use. If you use a diuretic substance like cranberry juice to attempt to “pee away” all your THC-COOH, you are really just flooding that urine sample with water as opposed to the normal balance of substances. Even worse, your next sample after the diuretic effect wears off is likely to have an even higher concentration of metabolites within it.
Additionally, working out right before a urinalysis test might actually be the last thing you want to do. When you break down all those fat tissues at once, your kidneys filter out a lot more THC-COOH into your urine. You should consider taking it easy the day before and the day of your test just to make sure you are not flooding your system with metabolites and making it look like you spent the night at Tommy Chong’s house.
Even with all these practices, you have no guarantee of passing, so make sure to think ahead before you consume any cannabis if you have a drug test coming up in the next month or so. You can also look into policies for medical users since many workplaces make exemptions if you have an MMJ prescription.
Urinalysis drug tests, the ones most people tend to worry about, do not actually test for THC. Instead, they test for THC-COOH, which is a metabolite indicating that THC has been broken down in the system.
Since THC molecules are stored in our body’s fat cells, these metabolites can literally trickle out of us for weeks — up to 100 days for some heavy daily users. The rate at which you completely metabolize THC varies according to age, size, body weight, body fat percentage, the amount of physical activity you do, your diet, how often you consume cannabis, your typical consumption method and so on. Even still, it takes the body at least three to four days for most people to break down all the THC in their system, and that presumes they are a very light user.
First of all, you have to stop using at least two to three weeks before the known date of your test, preferably more. Begin exercising rigorously, monitoring your calorie intake, and drinking plenty of water. You should eat a balanced diet of leafy greens as well as raw fruits and veggies while avoiding salty or processed foods as well as red meat. The former foods help you metabolize your fat and built-up substances quicker while the latter increases water retention while slowing your metabolism down.
If you have a sample that has been diluted through drinking copious amounts of water or a diuretic substance, your sample will be marked as compromised, in which case you will be asked to take the drug test again.
You can drink tea and consume a substance called bentonite clay in order to help boost your metabolism and absorb THC metabolites. The day before your test, take it easy and drink a normal amount of water. Try to urinate at least once the morning of your test since you will have stored up everything over the course of the night. Consider drinking a light amount of coffee or tea an hour before your test to have a minor diuretic effect that will not completely dilute your sample.
Debunk the most common drug testing myths that can actually hurt your ability to pass an important test, including why you can put the cranberry juice back.