Let’s face it—every now and then, you might need to detox your system of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) quickly. You may have an upcoming job interview and want to be sure there is no traceable amount of THC in your system, or maybe you are just trying to hit the reset button on your health.
Luckily, there are some possible methods to help eliminate detectable traces of THC from your body fast. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to get weed out of your system effectively—from drinks, pills, and kits that can get the job done quickly to lifestyle shifts that work over time. A caveat here is that depending on the individual and circumstances, these may not be equally effective for everyone. Let’s dive in and explore the four best THC detox methods.
- How Do THC Detox Methods Work?
- How Long Should a Detox Take?
- The 4 Most Popular THC Detox Methods
- Final Takeaway
How Do THC Detox Methods Work?
There are several ways that a THC detox can work. Some detox drinks for weed try to mask the cannabis metabolites and make them difficult for a test to see. Most provide hydration and dilute urine to the point where it is impossible to detect. Additionally, some detox methods boost your metabolism to speed up the body’s elimination of THC. However, it is important to remember that while most detox methods try to eliminate THC metabolites from urine, they can generally stay in your system for several days if you are an occasional user and several months if you are a frequent user.
How Does the Body Metabolize Cannabis?
The process of detoxifying cannabis from your system starts in the liver. It’s in this organ where the active “ingredients” of cannabis are broken down and converted into metabolites, which the kidneys and gut can then excrete. According to research, more than 65% of cannabis is excreted in the feces and only 20% through urine.
The most straightforward way of getting rid of cannabis in your body is by letting time do its job and flush out those pesky residues. But if you’re up against the clock, there are several things you can do to give your metabolism an edge.
While detoxing, it is essential to remember that the best method involves hydration, boosting your metabolism, and replacing some proteins and electrolytes to maintain typical urine acidity and concentration. If a sample is too diluted, altered, or has abnormal levels of protein, the lab may ask you to retest or make a worst-case assumption.
How Long Should a Detox Take?
No two people metabolize cannabis in quite the same way, so it’s not easy to offer a one-size-fits-all answer regarding how long a detox typically takes.
Generally speaking, inhaled THC leaves the body more quickly than those metabolites from edibles; this means that the time for a cannabis detox largely depends on the means by which you consume it. If you’re strictly a smoker, you can expect your system to clear out quicker than if you rely on edibles. However, several factors determine how long it will take to detox from weed. Among them are:
Like your hair and eye color, genetics determine your metabolism rate. Some people can metabolize THC faster than others. In addition, this will also affect your tolerance to THC and other substances. Plus, familial genetics should also come into consideration when planning a detoxification program.
For example, if a family member has a history of slow metabolism, that should also come into consideration in regard to your own health. Genetic differences in the cytochrome P450 (CYP) complex of enzymes that metabolize THC may be passed down or inherited. There are also biological genders that are slower and faster CYP metabolizers. On average, people born male have a higher clearance rate.
Your body fat percentage could decide how long it takes to clear THC from your system. Those with higher amounts might need more time than those with low amounts, as fewer cells are available in the latter group to store cannabis metabolites.
THC is lipophilic, meaning that it loves fatty tissue. About 70% of the THC we consume is absorbed very quickly by body fat and then slowly released over time, which extends detection windows.
Type of Cannabis
Detoxing after cannabis consumption can take a matter of days, weeks, or even months, depending on the potency of the weed consumed. If your go-to strain is high in THC, it could potentially stick around in your body longer than lighter strains. But all hope is not lost—if you look for products with higher concentrations of CBD and lower THC, their active compounds will be eliminated faster from your system, offering quicker detoxification.
Age can dictate the length of the detox process, as our bodies naturally undergo many changes during different life stages. Generally, the younger you are, the shorter time it will take to detox completely. Conversely, if you are older and have consumed weed heavily for many years, toxins could take longer to purge from your body.
Medication is one of the primary forces that can shape how long the detox process takes, either by speeding up or slowing down the metabolism of THC in your system. This is because certain liver enzymes can significantly alter the effects of THC and CBD.
A recent study showed that the CYP3A4 inhibitor ketoconazole (a commonly used oral antifungal) effectively doubled both THC and cannabidiol concentrations. This indicates that other CYP3A4 inhibitors, such as macrolides (antibiotics) and verapamil (lowers blood pressure), may have a similar effect, resulting in enhanced psychoactive effects from THC or dose-related adverse effects from THC and cannabidiol (CBD).
Furthermore, scientists discovered that CYP2C9 inhibitors like Bactrim (antibiotic), Prozac (antidepressant), and amiodarone (antiarrhythmic) could also play a role in the metabolic process for the breakdown of cannabinoids by increasing THC exposure and intensifying their psychoactive effect.
Unfortunately, these drug interactions make weed hang around in your system for a while. Therefore, when considering detoxing from THC, it is vital to consult a healthcare professional to evaluate any medications you are taking and whether they could impact the detoxification process.
The cannabinoid drug interaction review (CANN-DIR) from Penn State College of Medicine is a great, free tool people can reference, although it cannot substitute personalized medical advice.
Type of Test
When it comes to figuring out the detection window for THC, it’s critical to understand what kind of test will be conducted. Depending on the test, it is possible to detect THC in the body for different time frames. With this knowledge, cannabis users will be better positioned to make informed decisions about their situations. Among the most common types of drug tests are:
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A saliva drug test can be an excellent way for employers to gather precise, accurate results when testing for THC. As an oral swab, it is generally more accessible and less intrusive than traditional blood or urine tests. The approximate detection window of 24 hours in most people can provide a clear picture of recent cannabis consumption. However, THC may stay in saliva for up to three days for some heavy users.
Blood tests look for active THC. Due to THC’s short detection window in the blood, blood tests are suitable for checking current impairment levels. Blood tests only detect cannabis for about 4 hours after a single use, or until the high wears off.
Chronic, heavy THC users may have detectable THC in their blood for as long as 14 days, but only if a particularly sensitive test is used.
Urine tests are the go-to option for detecting THC and other toxins in the body since they can show up between 3 and 30 days after use. In rare circumstances, they have been documented for longer. Fortunately, there is help in the form of THC detox kits designed to give users an edge on passing urine tests.
Although hair follicle drug tests are not as popular as urine or saliva tests, they are an effective way to detect consistent cannabis use for around 90 days after consumption. Don’t be fooled into thinking trimming your ‘do will help you pass the test—THC resides in the blood-rich follicles, so cutting your hair won’t do anything. And don’t worry about only having head hair available for testing; you can use any hair on your body.
The 4 Most Popular THC Detox Methods
If you only use cannabis on rare occasions, staying well-hydrated and using a detox product might help you detox in a single day. However, for daily users, there are no proven methods to ensure that you will have a clean urine test in 24 hours. Many heavy users make the mistake of drinking too much water. When you overhydrate, a urine sample may be too dilute to test, and you will get an inconclusive result. Although, when this happens, you will usually have another opportunity to test.
Detox drinks are popular, as many people use them to pass drug tests for work. Many cannabis users online claim that detox drinks helped them get a clean urine test in just a few days. Generally, any product advertising should be taken with a grain of salt. In light of this, here are some of the most common THC detox drinks that can assist you in reaching your goal of having “clean pee” more quickly.
Mega Clean is one of the most popular detox drinks for weed and is anecdotally regarded as the fastest way to get THC out of your system. The manufacturer offers several options for detoxing, including Mighty Clean for heavy users and Mega Clean for light-to-moderate users. All of their products state that they can provide same-day results; however, this is hard to prove. In conjunction with drinking 16 ounces of water every 2 hours, Mega Clean promises to dilute toxins from the body. Some of the herbs in Mega Clean can change the acidity of your urine to make it appear less diluted on a urine drug test.
It is easy to use and has good online reviews; however, it is more expensive than other detox methods. Let’s explore some home remedies with natural ingredients to consider.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has recently become more popular as a detox drink. The apple cider vinegar method involves adding a few teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to a gallon of water and drinking it before the test. One study showed that it might affect boosting metabolism, but the effect was mild. While apple cider vinegar has many health benefits, it could take a long time to help your body detox from weed.
Cranberry juice is known for its positive effects on the urinary system, primarily by helping people clear up urinary tract infections. Cranberries are healthy and full of antioxidants that can help you detox, but it takes time. You will need to drink about 2 liters of pure 100% cranberry juice combined with plenty of water for several days before your test to detox.
Lemon Juice, Mint, Ginger, and Water
Some people use lemon juice, mint, ginger, and water to make their own detox drinks for weed. These ingredients are mild diuretics, meaning they will make you pee more often. While there is nothing harmful in lemon, mint, ginger, or water, drinking it will not guarantee a clean urine or blood test.
There are many THC detox pills available for purchase. Most of these have safe ingredients that can boost your metabolism, but there are a few bad actors that don’t. They can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to help you detox and must accompany drinking about 2 liters of water per day.
Cleanse kits are a clever combination of herbs and hydration designed to help you pass with flying colors. Most kits come with test strips, so you know when you’re ready. Interestingly, some claim to work within 24 hours. If you’re in a pinch, this could be the solution; however, such a powerful detox solution tends to be expensive. As always, no results can be guaranteed.
Diet and Exercise
Taking care of your body is the key to efficiently detoxing from THC. Your liver, gut, and kidneys will flush it out naturally with time and consistency. That’s why eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly are two of the surest ways to help your body eliminate unwanted substances. Eating a clean, balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables can assist your organs with purifying your system at an accelerated rate. Plus, it would be best to avoid alcohol as it can damage your liver, reducing its capacity to cleanse you from THC metabolites faster.
Furthermore, rigorous physical activity speeds up metabolism and burns fat, which assists in eliminating any THC metabolites stored in fatty tissue. By dedicating yourself to these lifestyle changes, you can rest assured that your body has the best chance for success in permanently ridding THC from its system.
Depending on how long and frequently you’ve been smoking, it can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks for the THC to completely clear out of your system. In the meantime, products are available that can help your body with its natural detoxification process.
If you’re still unsure about how to detox from THC, the best thing you can do is give yourself time away from cannabis. Plus, stay up to date on all things cannabis-related with Veriheal so you can be in the know about the latest and greatest weed-related industry news and tips.
Note: The content on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self-diagnose or prescribe treatment based on the information provided. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.
This article was originally written by Chane Leigh and published on 8/12/21. Updated on 4/4/23.
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