Worried about passing a drug test to get or keep a job? Or have you just decided it’s time to get clean? Whatever your reasons for weed detox, everything you need to know is right here. All the cold hard facts and expert advice on how to get weed out of your system will be given to you below.
The internet is full of information on how to pass your drug test. But most of it is incorrect or out of date. People will tell you anything to convince you to buy their product. Don’t waste your money on things that don’t work. If you take the time to read through this article, you’ll learn how marijuana affects your system, how drug tests work and how to detox the right way.
Whether you take the natural route or use specially formulated products to aid your detox depends on your situation. Either way, this knowledge can only benefit you in the long run.
Table of Contents
What Happens to Marijuana in the Body?
As soon as you take your first puff, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) floods your bloodstream. This is the chemical in marijuana that is responsible for making you feel euphoric when you smoke it or ingest it. Your blood carries it to your liver where it gets broken down into metabolites.
It’s one of these metabolites in particular, called THC COOH, that drug tests screen for. But the problem with THC COOH is that it doesn’t dissolve in water. Instead, it gets stored in fatty tissues in your body. Almost all your organs, such as your heart, lungs, kidney and liver store some of this metabolite. Most of it is actually stored in your fat cells.
Over time, these fat cells release small amounts of THC COOH back into your system. It is then eliminated from your body completely through your urine and faeces. And that’s where the problem lies. Because it’s constantly seeping into your body, it remains detectable for a long time. And that means it takes a long time to get all of it out of your system.
How Long Does It Take to Test Negative?
That’s a very good question. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. Marijuana remains detectable in your blood, urine saliva and even hair for different lengths of time. Next we’ll explore how long it takes before you test negative without taking any steps to detox.
Surprisingly, THC doesn’t remain in your bloodstream for long. The level of THC is your blood drops to undetectable levels within 3 – 12 hours after your last puff. If you ingest it, in cookies or capsules, it does take longer; sometimes more than 50 hours.
But don’t be encouraged! These results are based on people who have never used the drug before. If you use regularly, or you’ve been using for several years, you’ll have much higher levels of THC in your body. This is because it tends to accumulate over time.
So depending on how much you use, this is how long on average it will be before you’ll get a negative result on a blood test:
- One-time user: About 3 – 5 days.
- Regular user: Between 2 – 3 weeks.
- Heavy User: 2 – 3 months. But it can be even longer if you’ve been using for many years.
This is a tough one. Because your body is constantly flushing toxins from your system, small amounts of the accumulated THC in your system will show up in your urine. Whether it’s enough for a urine test to pick it up is difficult to say.
Within 2 to 5 hours of consuming marijuana, a urine test will be able to detect it. So if you’re subjected to a surprise test, you won’t have much time to prepare. On average, this is how long you can expect it to take, based on your usage:
- One-time user: Generally within 1 – 6 days.
- Moderate user: Within 7 – 13 days.
- Frequent user: May test positive for more than 2 weeks.
- Heavy User: Can test positive more than a month later.
Well, there’s good news and bad news. When it comes to testing for evidence of marijuana use, saliva is not ideal. Very little THC is excreted by saliva, so the chances of testing positive are pretty slim. And a saliva test is one of the easiest to pass, even if you have only a little time to prepare for it.
But there is a problem. Saliva tests are good at detecting recent use. If your employer suddenly springs a test on you, and you’ve smoked within the last 12 to 24 hours, you’ll probably fail. And if you’re a heavy user you may still test positive up to three days after your last smoke.
Hair tests are expensive, so they’re rarely used. While they can’t tell whether you’ve had a joint in the last week, they’re excellent at detecting historical use.
All drug tests screen for the concentration of THC in your sample. The result is expressed in nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml). Blood, urine and saliva tests have a cut-off level of 20 – 50ng/ml. If the first screening has a result higher than this level, it’s sent for further testing. But hair tests can pick up concentrations of as little as 1ng/ml.
Only 1.5 inches of the freshest growth (the hair closest to the root) is tested. But even this small amount can go back three months into your history. And because metabolites literally bond to your hair follicles, it’s extremely difficult to pass this test. Difficult, but not impossible. If you have enough time before your test, there are products you can use to get rid of the tell-tale metabolites.
Factors That Influence Detox Times
Because the body has a tendency to store THC, everybody detoxes naturally at a different rate. That’s why there’s a difference between how long it takes a once-off user to test negative compared to frequent and heavy users. And it doesn’t simply depend on your usage. There are many other factors that influence how long it takes for you to be completely free of THC metabolites. The three main factors are:
- Concentration: This refers to the potency of the weed you use. If it has a high concentration of THC, you’ll have higher levels of the metabolites in your system. And that means it will take longer to eliminate it from your body.
- Frequency and duration: The more often you smoke, and the longer you’ve been using will determine the levels of THC in your system. Infrequent users and those who have only been using for a few months will be able to detox faster than heavy, long time users.
- Consumption: Smokers don’t absorb as much THC as those who eat it in baked goods, tea or tablets.
Other factors that affect how quickly your body processes THC vary from person to person. A lot has to do with your metabolism and how healthy you are in general. They include the following:
- Metabolism: If you have a fast metabolism your body breaks down and eliminates toxins quickly. If it’s slow, you may still test positive for long after you’ve stopped consuming marijuana.
- Body fat: The percentage of fat you carry, relative to your height and weight will affect how long the metabolites are detectable in your system. Remember that THC is stored in your fat cells. If you have a higher percentage of fat, you’ll store more THC with small amounts constantly being released back into your body.
- Drugs and supplements: If you’re taking any other drugs, prescription medications or natural supplements, these may affect how quickly the THC gets flushed from your body. Some may speed the process up while others will slow it down. Apart from that, these are also creating other metabolites in your body, which your body is also trying to clear out.
- Lifestyle: What you eat, how much exercise you get, whether you have a lot of stress and how much sleep you get all affect your health. The healthier you are, the better your body functions. And that affects your metabolism, and how your body copes with toxins.
Now you know why it’s so difficult to put a figure on how long weed stays in your system. All kinds of things influence how your body handles the metabolites created when you use. But, the good news is you can help your body to speed up the process. If you do it naturally, it will take some time. If you just need to pass a test, then you can consider using products that will mask the THC long enough for you to test negative.
Weed Detox: How to Get Weed Out of Your System
If you’re serious about getting clean for good, detoxing naturally is the best route to take. But even if you want to use a detox aid, detoxing naturally will make your efforts more successful. The main aim is to increase your metabolism so you can flush the THC out faster. These are some things you can do right now to help your body get the THC out of your system faster.
- Eat the right foods: Fatty foods and junk foods are not going to help you. THC is stored in fat, so the more of it you eat, the more you’ll store. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the way to go. They contain antioxidants and fibre. Two things you’ll need to help you move the metabolites out of your system for good. Foods high in a vitamins called niacin, such as potatoes, avocados and tuna are excellent for flushing toxins out.
- Drink more fluids: Get your kidneys working to remove those toxins. Any fluid is acceptable, but try to avoid sugary drinks. Water is the best, but don’t overdo it. Stick to 8 – 10 glasses a day. Drinking too much may also damage your kidneys.
- Exercise: Get moving and burn some fat. As you do, it will release the THC from your fatty tissues. This will also get your metabolism up, and that’s exactly what you want. However, don’t exercise right before a drug test. Because the exercise temporarily increases the levels of THC in your system, you could fail the test.
- Sweat: Sweating is another way your body gets rid of toxins. Of course, getting some exercise is a good way to build up a sweat. But if you’re not in the mood, you could try a sauna. It’s a great way to relax, and you’ll be getting rid of the THC in your system.
- Sleep: Your body needs rest to function properly. So make sure you get enough sleep and avoid stress. It will also give your body a chance to recover from all that exercise!
It goes without saying that you should abstain from using marijuana while you’re detoxing. And remember that even if you do all these things, it will still be some time before all the THC is cleared from your system. However, there are some benefits. You’ll be fitter and healthier and it will be easier to cope with any withdrawal symptoms you might experience. If you aren’t already doing some form of exercise, start slowly and build up as you get stronger. Pushing your body too hard, too fast will only make things worse.
Getting weed out of your system is definitely possible. But it takes time. If you’re simply looking to pass a test, you’ll probably need an aid to help you. Some will help you to detox faster while others will mask the THC levels for a short time so you can test negative.
Wherever possible, we recommend doing some things to help you handle your weed detox naturally, especially if you have a week or two before your test. If you know what kind of test you’ll be taking, you can prepare yourself accordingly. Using a combination of products and natural methods will increase your chances of passing.