Anyone facing a mandatory drug test, from an employer, from a parole officer, or before entering into the military, experiences a twinge of fear. Will you pass a drug test? When was the last time you smoked weed? How long does it take to flush pot from your system? Failing a drug test can and does have serious results. Maybe it’s time to consider a marijuana detox.

The need for marijuana drug tests is increasingly in question, considering more and more states move to legalize medical marijuana. Does an employer have a right to test you for prescription medicine? Obviously not; therefore why should they have the right to test you for weed?

Nevertheless, drug testing is exceptionally prevalent across America. The federal government, in particular, spawned the obsession with drug testing during their war on drugs. Now, that obsession is shared with many national companies. Employers, rightfully or not, want to know what their employees are up to on their downtime.

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in your System?

Unlike almost every other illicit substance you can ingest, marijuana likes to stick around for a long time. Bad news for all of us out there that love to smoke up. As a quick review here is the timeframes for the most commonly tested drugs.

  • Alcohol: Up to 5 days in urine
  • Amphetamines: Up to 3 days in urine
  • Cannabis: Up to 30 days in urine
  • Cocaine: Up to 4 days in urine
  • LSD: Up to 3 days in Urine
  • MDMA: Up to 4 days in urine
  • Methamphetamine: Up to 6 days in urine

As you can see, pot smokers have it the worst. Cannabis is detectable in urine upwards of 30 days after use! There are even studies showing abnormalities of THC after 40 days. While these are definitely rare occurrences, the heavy pot smoker should be wary.

Depending on the type of test, the timeframe also varies. We’ll dive deep into this information later, but for the time being it’s important to know that there is a massive difference between an oral swab and a hair test.

What Changes the Time Frame?

Your mother probably told you that you are special and that everyone is as unique. Little did she know how applicable that was for drug testing! The amount of time cannabis sticks around in your system is influenced by many personal factors. One pot smoker is not like another.

Body Fat:

One important fact you need to know before your next drug test is that THC sticks around in fat cells. Therefore, the more fat your body stores (i.e., the higher your body fat index number), the easier it is for your body to store THC.

Frequency:

How much weed do you smoke? One or two puffs on a joint at a party aren’t going to show up in your urine or blood test weeks later. In fact, you can probably take a blood test a few days after and still have a negative result. But, for those people who smoke weekly, or daily, expect to have the THC linger for much longer. The cannabinoid tends to build up over time.

Lifestyle:

Another influencing factor on THC build up in your system is what kind of lifestyle you maintain. A couch potato, eating junk food all day will have a much longer road ahead of them before a drug test than someone leading a healthier lifestyle. Exercise, hydration, and clean foods all play a role in flushing toxins from the body, including cannabis.

Potency:

One final important factor for how long weed lingers in your system is its potency. Anyone drinking Pheonix Tears is going to report high levels of THC of much longer than a ditch weed smoker. Especially with dispensary products increasingly popular, frequent customers need to be wary of how potency may affect their upcoming drug test results.

What are the Different Types of Weed Drug Tests?

There are four main types of drug tests currently on the market. Each has a purpose, applicable during different times. Do you know what kind of drug test you are facing? Understanding how your upcoming drug test works will also help determine what marijuana detox drink or marijuana detox kit to look for.

Swab:

The oral swab is the only drug test for THC. Surprised? It comes down to how your body processes the cannabinoid. When you eat or smoke cannabis, cannabinoids like THC and CBD, eventually enter into your bloodstream and transform into another compound.

Therefore, if a drug tester is looking for immediate evidence about marijuana consumption, they need to rely on an oral swab. Usually done with a fancy Q-tip wipe of the inner oral cavity, it will test the saliva for evidence of recent marijuana use. Typically, THC only sticks around in the saliva for less than six hours.

Blood:

The next step of THC’s journey through your body is after it enters your bloodstream. Not surprisingly, if you choose to smoke weed, it passes through your blood almost instantly via the lungs. Edibles tend to take a little longer to process, as they are broken down through the gastrointestinal tract.

Blood tests for THC work a little differently than oral swabs. Their main difference is that they do not test for THC. Instead, they test for a substance called THC-COOH. This little known compound is actually what happens when the liver metabolizes THC. Inflows THC, outflows THC-COOH. In most cases, THC-COOH will no longer appear in a blood sample after a week.

Urine:

A urine test for weed is one of the most common on the job drug tests people face. It’s usually cheap and easy to prepare, plus the results easily display on a test strip. Like a blood test, it also tests for THC-COOH. As the body processes THC into THC-COOH, the new metabolite will either store itself in fat cells or eventually flush out of the system through urination.

A urine test may be passable for the occasional user as quickly as a few days after last consumption, but unfortunately for the heavy smoker, a positive test result is possible up to 40 days later.

Hair:

Hair testing for THC is complicated to predict and also hard to falsify. Just like your body starts to flush out THC-COOH through urination, it will also eventually deposit the molecule in your hair follicle. By testing a small portion of hair, usually from the first inch of hair growth, weed is detectable for upwards of three months. The results are highly variable, as it depends immensely on what section of hair went through testing.

How to Flush Marijuana From your Body?

Now that you know exactly what each drug test looks like, you’ll also have a better idea how long it takes to detox your system naturally. There are three main categories of marijuana detoxes.

The Long Gameplan:

If you have the time, the best method is always to stay sober. Start exercising, stay hydrated and eat clean, healthy foods. Most importantly, stop smoking weed! For most casual smokers it might only take two weeks to flush the THC and THC-COOH out of your system. Not only is this the healthiest and safest way to cleanse from cannabis, it is also the most foolproof.

It’s also a good idea to drink tons of fluids before a urine test. Urine tests usually detect for levels above 50ng/ml. This means if you can dilute your urine enough, even trace amounts of weed will remain undetectable.

The Short Gameplan:

If you do not have enough time to detox the all natural way, the next logical step to a marijuana detox is a marijuana detox kit. These kits are available online and through many local head shops. Whether they work or not is up for debate.

Most detox kits focus heavily on flushing toxins from your system, which translates into taking tons of laxatives over a number of days. Is this healthy? Debatable.

Many of the kits on the market, like Premium Detox, are packed full of laxatives and diuretic herbs meant to clean you from one end to another. Detox kits range in price and required detox time. Premium Detox takes seven days, but some kits take two weeks.

The 24 Hour or Less Gameplan:

For anyone in a real bind, there are some products out there which advertise a 24 hour or less detox. Because the marijuana detox drink market is highly unregulated, it’s also highly unproven. With that in mind, there are still many products on the market like Vale’s Solution 4x which claim to clean you out within one hour. If you are in a bind, it may just be your last resort.

It can’t be said enough that the best way to flush your system from all THC remnants is through maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a short period of abstinence. The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the weed detox supplement market, and the contents of these products have not gone through rigorous study.

With that word of warning, to find what detox kit or detox drink will work best for you, its best to speak with a friend who has tried one. There is a ton of discussion available in online forums as well, from users talking about their own experiences with cleanses. Do a little digging before taking the detox!