Weed Detox: How To Eliminate THC From Your Body And The Truth About Drug Tests

This article was originally published on WeedWeek, and appears here with permission.

Drug tests are the bane of cannabis lovers the world over. Despite increasing legalization and social acceptance of good ol’ Mary Jane, the drug remains illegal at the federal level in the U.S., as well as in some states. Drug testing continues to be a common, and often scary experience for many people. That’s why consumers sometimes find themselves in need of a weed detox.

Testing can occur regularly for sports players, some types of employment, or other run-ins with the law. Unlike breathalyzers, which measure blood alcohol levels, drug tests cannot determine how intoxicated you may have been at any time. However, marijuana can leave traces in the body for days, and even weeks, and drug tests can determine recent use.

By understanding how these tests work, and ways you can diminish the chances you’ll test positive, you can protect yourself. This article will help you decide how you can plan in order to ace a drug test.  

Weed Detox: What Marijuana Leaves Behind   

Marijuana is filled with cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, which act upon the endocannabinoid system of the human body to produce a range of effects, from psychoactive to sleep-promoting. Because THC is a Schedule 1 drug and is illegal at the federal level, the targets of drug tests tend to be THC or its derivatives. However, THC in its intact form is not stored for very long in the body, since it breaks down into other compounds that linger for longer. THC lasts for around 72 hours at most, but can break down within as little as two hours. 

However, in the body THC breaks down into compounds known as metabolites, which last for much longer. Metabolites are fat soluble, meaning they are stored in the fat cells of the human body. The ability to hang around in fat is what can give you away in a drug test.

Weed Detox: What Drug Tests Look For   

There are a few different types of drug tests that can be conducted in order to search for marijuana-related compounds within the human body. Blood tests can detect both THC and metabolites, however due to the invasive nature of the tests, they aren’t very popular. THC itself can be detected in saliva, however the window for detection is relatively short before the compound breaks down. Urine tests are perhaps the best-known, and most widely administered. Urine tests search for the much longer-lasting metabolites of cannabinoids.The primary metabolite targeted by urine tests is 11-nor-delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid (delta9-THC-COOH), which is a by-product of THC.  

How Long Does It Take To Detox From Weed?   

The amount of time it takes to detox from weed and pass a drug test of any kind with flying colors will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The frequency of consumption
  • The amount of THC consumed (mediated by the potency of edibles, the strain of marijuana, etc.) 
  • Metabolism rate
  • Amount of body fat
  • Hydration level
  • The type of test administered being administered.

American Addiction Centers has provided a list of rough timeframes for some of the major testing methods you might encounter. The figures provided below indicate how long the test will be able to detect THC or its metabolites in the system from the time of last consumption. Keep in mind that these are very rough estimates that will vary based on the other factors mentioned above. 

  • Urine:
    • Infrequent smokers (less than twice weekly): 1-3 days
    • Moderate smokers (several times a week): 7-21 days
    • Heavy smokers (daily or near-daily): A month or longer
    • Edibles: 1-5 days
  • Saliva: 34-48 hours after last use
  • Blood: up to 36 hours

Does Exercise Help To Detox From THC?   

Do a quick google search on ways to quickly  purge THC from your body, and you will likely come upon the suggestion to exercise. Exercise does work, however only if you have the luxury of many weeks before the date of your test. If you’re working with a shorter window of time – a few hours or days – exercising can actually end up making matters worse.

Since THC is stored in fat, when you exercise and do fat-burning activities, the stored THC will be released into your bloodstream and ultimately infiltrate your urine. This does mean that THC is leaving your body. However, the surge in THC can show up in drug tests, especially if the exercise was done a day or so before the test. The amount of THC secreted into blood after exercising will also depend on how much fat you have to burn, how much you have burned, and how much THC is stored in your fat. For regular and heavy users, exercise can cause an even bigger spike. 

So, exercise if you’ve got at least three weeks before your test. However, if your test is coming up soon, cool it on the dumbbells and read on for other ways you might detox from marijuana. 

Do Weed Detox Drinks Remove THC From The Body?   

Weed detox drinks are something of a last resort when an employer has just sprung a last-minute testing surprise on you. While there are some weed detox drinks formulated by companies, along with pills and other products promising to rid THC from your system, there are more natural products that may be more effective. Keep in mind that none of these remedies are guaranteed to work completely. And a short period of abstinence will significantly improve your chances of passing the test. 

Let’s start out with regular old tap water. If the drug test you’re facing is a urine test, then water will help dilute your urine to the point where you might render the THC metabolite concentrations undetectable. 

Lemon juice, cranberry juice, and coffee have also been suggested as weed detox drinks for their ability to detox the body more generally.  There’s not a lot of solid science on any of these drinks and their specific effects on THC, so take them with a healthy dose of realism.

What’s The Fastest Way To Detox For A Drug Test?   

If your drug test was sprung on you unexpectedly, you’re not alone – this is a common tactic aimed at getting people caught red-handed. Fortunately there are a few ways you can naturally detox fast – although, as has been said before, much will depend on how heavy of a user you are, when you last consumed, and other similar factors. 

Don’t work out: This applies for blood and urine tests. Do not exercise during the 24 hours before you take the test, since THC stored in your fat cells will flush into your bloodstream and into your urine. 

Mouthwash: This applies for saliva tests. About 30 minutes before your test, use a mouthwash containing alcohol, which may reduce the presence of THC in your saliva. 

Vitamin B12 or B2: This applies to urine tests. Drinking water will help you dilute your urine to the point where THC concentrations are negligible. However, the test administrators will take clear urine – the outcome of drinking a lot of water – as a sign that you are trying to hide something. So a few hours before your test, take a multivitamin containing B12 or B2, which will give your urine a darker yellow appearance. 

How To Detox From Weed And Pass A Drug Test Naturally   

If you have some advance warning of an impending drug test, your chances of naturally detoxing from weed and passing a drug test are much higher. Below are some tips to follow in order to detox from marijuana/ 


This is perhaps the most effective way to entirely detox your system from THC. To be on the safe side, stop consuming any and all weed products – smoking, eating, and everything in between – for a period of at least 30 days. This will allow all the THC and the longer-lasting metabolites time to pass through your system. And more importantly, you are not adding more THC to your system that must then be ejected. 


Because THC metabolites are stored in fat, exercise will help you get rid of these compounds as you burn fat. Exercising towards the beginning of the period of abstinence is advisable, but you should stop all exercising a few days ahead of the test, to ensure no stored metabolites flood your bloodstream or urine. 

Diet And Hydration

Water is your friend when it comes to a weed detox and, as it turns out, so is fibre. Both water and fibre help cleanse the body of toxins, including THC and metabolites. Eating plenty of leafy greens, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains such as brown rice and brown bread will help you pass the drug test. 


Marijuana has yet to achieve total social acceptance in today’s world. Drug tests don’t show any sign of going away for good, so you should always be prepared for a situation in which a short-notice drug test could be on the horizon. Arming yourself with knowledge is an important step in detoxing from weed and passing a drug test. Following a few of these tips should help you on your way. Good luck – we’re rooting for you! 

Lee en español: Cómo Hacer una Desintoxicación de THC

Read the original Article on WeedWeek.

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