As weed becomes legal in more places, there is less reason for many people to worry about this. However, some schools test for it under certain circumstances, many workplace perform drug tests, and sometimes people want to clean their systems for things like family planning, starting a new medication, other medical reason, or just to do it. So this is an important question. Here are the best ways for how to get THC out of your system, realistically.
Many of us have encountered a situation where the question of how to get THC out of your system is very, very relevant. However, there’s unfortunately no quick fix on this one. Sorry, guys! We are a 100% independent news publication specializing in ongoing stories and current events in the worlds of cannabis and psychedelics. We put out the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter to update readers, and to give out offers for deals on tons of products like vapes, smoking equipment, edibles, and cannabinoids including the super-popular Delta 8 & HHC. Check out our ‘best of’ lists for more info, and make sure to buy the products you’re most happy to use.
How long does THC stick around?
The first question before getting into how to get THC out of your system, is how long does it actually stay there. Much like so many other things in life, this answer is dependent on a specific person. There are also different ways to look at the question, like how long does it stay in your system, and how long can it be detected in something like a hair test? Both answers are variable depending on the particular body in question. When it comes to how long other compounds like HHC can stay in the system and affect tests, this is still unknown.
Usually, the time it takes to detox THC its written about as related to the amount smoked, and the duration of time. If a non-smoker gets high, THC is found in the urine for up to about three days. For moderate use (someone who uses several times a week, but not everyday) its expected to stay in the urine for up to a week. Daily users might find themselves detectable for 10-15 days, while the heaviest of users can expect a urine test to pick it up for as long as 30 days or more. For each of these groupings, it can also be half the time mentioned, or even a quarter, depending on the person.
Urine tests are a basic way to know that THC was used somewhat recently, and are the most frequent test method. Then there are hair tests. Hair stays on the head for awhile, and the THC that gets in it, stays around for awhile too. While a heavy user might be clear in their body after a month, their hair might continue telling a different story for several more. Blood tests are extremely hard to get around, but are almost never used. They’re employed in cases that involve crimes, including being stopped on the road. Blood tests look for very recent use, as THC leaves the bloodstream within a couple days.
In terms of the body, the reason THC can stick around awhile, is not due to its half-life, but rather because its fat soluble, not water soluble. When something gets taken up by fat cells, it can’t be flushed out of the system with anything water-based, making the method of drinking a lot of water to get rid of it, unworkable. THC is stored in the form of metabolite THC-COOH.
Since THC is fat-soluble, individual variation in body fat plays a big role in how long THC stays in the system. A person with more body fat can hold onto THC for longer, whereas a person with less, has less to hold onto it, and will process it out faster. Because of this, a fat-laden light user, might have THC in their system longer than a skinnier heavy-user. Things like diet and overall metabolism, also play into this.
How to get THC out of your system – good methods
The exercise method
This might not be desired by most people. After all, as evidenced by growing levels of obesity, working out is not the most preferable activity for many Americans. Even so, the best way to burn fat – and anything its holding onto, is to get off your butt and do something physical. Physical exercise is the best way to get rid of the fat that’s holding onto the THC.
Obviously, if a person is very overweight, this method probably takes too long to be useful, though for that person, the idea of working out is even more beneficial. Regardless, this is a method that works best for a person with normal body fat, or possibly just a little extra. The idea is to both raise the metabolism, and exert physical energy, in order to burn off as much as possible. This is also – as you’ll see – the only plausible method to speed up a THC detox.
The water method
As stated before, this doesn’t answer the question of how to get THC out of the system, but it does do one thing that is useful depending on the situation. It waters things down. As in, it brings down the concentration of something. Drinking a lot of water before taking a test won’t get THC out of your system, but it can greatly dilute what’s in your system. In a pinch, this is sometimes the best way to go, even though it technically doesn’t work. If you’re looking to clear your system for family planning or medical issues, this is not ideal at all.
As a side note to this, some tests detect strange occurrences, like too much water. We have other compounds that get eliminated in urine, and when the concentration of everything is extremely low, it can trip the test, and make it come back inconclusive. Sometimes, depending on how testing is paid for, this is enough to get out of a problem. Or it could mean taking a new test. I put it under the good methods, because at least for test-taking, diluting the THC is probably more useful than trying to mask it with chemicals, even if it doesn’t technically answer the question of how to get THC out of the system. It also doesn’t hurt the body, whereas other methods can.
The break method
This is probably about as desired as the exercise method, but the reality is that there really isn’t a quick fix for how to get THC out of your system. And one of the best ways to get it out, is to simply stop using cannabis. In fact, nothing else works as well as abstaining. If you want something to no longer be in your body, just stop putting it in.
This can be done as a planning method for an upcoming test, for medical issues, or just for a change in life. When planning an upcoming test, try to give yourself a couple weeks. It’s said THC can stay for a month or more, but that’s a worst case scenario, and most people won’t have to wait the max time. If you think you might be on the longer end due to weight issues or a slow metabolism, give it a full month. If you’re currently looking for a job, and know you’ll have a test, maybe quit the weed until that part of life is covered.
Sure, not everything is planned, but tests don’t always come out of nowhere, and some people want their bodies clean for other reasons besides getting through a drug test. If you absolutely need the stuff out of your system, just put the vape, joint, pipe, edible, or bong down, and let it wear out of your system in its own time.
How to get THC out of your system – bad methods
Detox products like pills and drinks
Truth is, while a myriad of these products are advertised, none of them explain how they’ll get THC out of your system. I think these exist because we’re so big on the idea of body detoxing in general, that ‘detox’ is now a buzz word that people don’t question, even if the claim is bogus. Some products say they’ll take as long as 5-7 days, meaning, the time frame given is enough for some people to detox the THC out naturally. Some say up to 14 days, making the use of the product that much sillier. The reality, is that these products are mainly meant to mask the THC with other compounds.
One thing to understand about drug tests, is that they’re often given to multiple people, with only a few tests actually tested. Drug testing takes time and costs money, and not every employer, (for example), wants to pay out to test all employees, especially if there’s a lot of turnover. I took one of those detox drinks years ago, and did pass the test. I found out later that only a small percentage of the tests were tested. Sometimes just the idea of a test is enough to keep people in line. And a lot of the success stories for unlikely-sounding methods, are most likely due to this, and not the products used.
It should also be remembered, tests can often pick up chemicals meant to mask other chemicals (which is really what these products often do). This makes a test invalid. These days, there are further tests that can clear the adulterant to see what they’re masking, an even more expensive process, but one used in some scenarios. Many of these detox products come with compounds that are recognized for this, and that itself can set off alarms. Plus, masking something doesn’t get it out of your system faster, meaning aside from test-taking, such products have no value anyway.
Most of all, the complete lack of information given on how they work is something not to ignore. This isn’t about patented products, but selling a hyped-up product based on a need, with the hope that the person in need will try anything possible. People in desperate situations tend to spend money on things they might not otherwise, and this business capitalizes on that desperation. Personally, I have no trust in these products, as no detox works that well for anything. And a product that doesn’t specify how it increases metabolism, or releases THC from fat cells, is unlikely to do anything beneficial.
Adulterate or use other urine
If a person really wants to mess with a sample, they can add something to their actual urine to invalidate the test, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a retest, or concern over finding strange chemicals in a person’s urine. A person can also attempt to use someone else’s urine in the case of a test, but this can come with other problems if the urine is not the right temperature. Neither of these methods helps get the THC out of your system.
Cranberry juice, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar (separately)
These come up a lot on the internet, but much like store bought detox products, there isn’t much saying they’ll work. For one thing, cranberries simply don’t posses anything that detoxes THC out of fat cells, so how it’s expected the juice works, is automatically questionable. Same with apple cider vinegar, which is great for the body, but still without a mechanism that’s useful here. Lemon juice as well. In fact, it’s far more likely that anyone who had luck with these methods, was really just diluting their urine, or was lucky enough to not have their test tested.
Just because something has ‘detoxifying’ properties (all of the above do), it doesn’t mean it works on everything. Cranberry juice, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar can’t release THC from fat cells, so whatever detoxification they might help with, is unrelated to THC. ‘Detoxing’ is so popular these days, that people buy products without considering what that product can do, or how long it takes. Most detox regimens take weeks or months, and many products are geared toward a specific organ, or cleansing a specific compound. This is never generalized to detoxing the entire body. So just because something is known for its ‘detoxifying’ benefits, this doesn’t mean it has anything to do with THC.
Baking soda, and niacin (vitamin B3)
Baking soda is great for dealing with urinary tract infections, because it has a mechanism that changes pH, killing bacteria in the system. It doesn’t, however, do anything about THC. It might change the pH in the urine to deem a test invalid, but it won’t clear out any THC. Neither does niacin, which specifically binds to water-soluble compounds, NOT fat soluble compounds. Whereas, once again, these might have a place in maintaining health, they don’t have qualities that help here, no matter what article is telling you otherwise on the internet.
They also come with possible detractions. When a person is trying to accomplish something, like detox their body, they might be more likely to overdo it in an effort to make sure it gets done. Well, baking soda is a salt, and if too much is taken, it can cause all kinds of damage to the body. Niacin also comes with a host of side effects when taken in large quantities, which can end in liver failure. I guarantee this is way worse than failing a drug test, or simply not clearing out your body fast enough.
Pectin, or fruit pectin, is a powder derived from citrus fruits. It’s sold as a way to make the body temporarily hold onto compounds like THC, rather than release them. Pectin is high in fiber and carbs which makes the insulin level spike, preventing the body from burning fat for a short period of time. It makes the body store calories, rather than using them, and also absorbs toxins which are then naturally released through stool, and bodily fluids.
Since pectin absorbs fluids in the intestines and stomach, its said toxins are therefore released in solids, not fluids. Out of all these methods, this one at least sounds like it could have value. But there are things to remember. Like that pectin might have to be boiled first to work, and that the idea it would uniformly hold back all THC, is a little short-sighted. Much like most stuff on this list, there isn’t a lot of positive verification for its use. It also doesn’t clear the body faster, but rather, is advertised to make the body withhold releasing for a period of time. And it’s known to flush out other necessary body compounds when taken in high amounts, which is bad for the body, as it means losing necessary nutrients.
If you haven’t guessed it yet, there is no quick fix for how to get THC out of your system. If there was, you’d know the mechanism of the products sold to you, it wouldn’t just be about promises of test-passing. The sad reality, is that you can work it out of your system, let it drain out on its own, dilute yourself for temporary purposes, or just hope for the best. But like it or not, there is no quicker measure. If you have a reason to clear yourself out, take a little break, and make sure the job gets done right.
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