Cannabis is legal for medical use throughout the UK. However, there are still restrictions on use for certain people. Specific jobs, sports competitions, and health and legal situations can prevent you from legally using cannabis. Until more research is available and exceptions are made, regular screenings won't be going away. If you know you have to take a drug test, it's essential to prepare or you might fail the screening. Here's everything you need to know about drug testing and how to flush THC from your system.
How Long Does THC Stay in Your Body?
There's no static answer for how long the psychoactive compound can stay in your body. Several factors determine how long it takes to clear the active cannabinoid from your system. These screenings only check for one compound—THC.
They look for a metabolite of THC, which is detectable for a long time after use. The primary metabolite for THC is THC-COOH. However, it's a bit more complex. Your liver breaks down the THC, and your body stores it in fat cells.
What are the Different Drug Tests for THC?
Although the most common drug screening is urine, there are several other options. You may undergo saliva or hair follicle testing.
The fastest and cheapest way to screen for THC is saliva. A quick check swab checks for the delta 9 compound directly after smoking and vaping. Occasional cannabis users can test positive for three days.
Chronic consumers could fail a saliva screening for up to 30 days. The good news is you might be able to escape a positive result by following extremely good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing three times daily and using mouthwash.
A urine test checks for the THC-COOH metabolite. For a one-time slip, you'll pass a urine test after three days. Moderate users should be okay after abstaining for five days. A long summer of heavy use can take 10 to 14 days to clear. However, similar to saliva, chronic users need to take a month or longer off to pass.
Hair drug screenings have a long duration. It can show use dating back months. Cutting your hair's not an option. The test requires a certain length of hair for accuracy. Shaving your head right before a drug screening would most likely look suspicious, especially for women.
What Factors Affect THC Metabolism?
Several things can affect how quickly your body sheds THC-COOH metabolites. Some you have control over, and others you don't. These factors include,
How fast your body breaks down compounds can swing your results either way. Some people have a higher metabolic rate than others.
THC percentage is a massive factor in how fast the metabolites exit your system. Many strains contain 30% or more THC. Additionally, concentrates have up to 90% of the intoxicating compound. These products are excellent, but they will stay in your body longer.
The more cannabis you use, the slower it leaves. For example, consumers that enjoy edibles daily will have a more challenging time passing a clean drug test than someone who smokes joints occasionally.
Body Fat Percentage
The more fat on your body, the more room it has to store THC. Unfortunately, this is where gender can play a role. The male anatomy contains a lower percentage of fat.
Drug Test Sensitivity
The type of test can play a significant role. Saliva and hair screenings can be harder to pass without quitting for a few months. In contrast, a urine drug test can give you some leeway.
How to Get THC Out of Your Body
There are several steps to take to clean out your system. However, there's only one guaranteed route—Stop smoking, vaping, dabbing, and eating cannabis. Using the information above about how long THC stays in your body, quit using it as soon as possible.
Other steps you can take include:
Increase Water Intake
You can clear out some THC with an actual flush. Drink at least 64 ounces of water in the days leading up to your screening. But there's one catch. This process dilutes your urine, and the lab might suggest retesting because of the excess water.
Excercise More … or Less
Okay, that's confusing. Remember, THC is stored in your fat cells. If you increase the intensity of your workouts while drinking water a few weeks before the test and not using cannabis, you can expel excess THC-COOH metabolites from your body.
But a week to at least a few days before the test, exercising will increase the THC-COOH levels in your urine if you haven't stopped using.
Zinc is an option to skew the drug test. Many people take zinc supplements. Taking yours 12 hours before your screening could produce a false positive reading. However, you might need to retest if the lab determines that zinc interfered with the results.
Try Activated Charcoal
Combine this method with the ones above to flush THC from your system quickly. Activated charcoal binds to THC metabolites, stopping them from re-entering the bloodstream and helping the body rid them faster. You have several options for taking activated charcoal—capsules or adding it to food.
Consider Paying for a Detox Cleanser
Several detox cleansers claim to help you successfully pass a drug screening. These include drinks, pills, shampoos, and mouthwashes with questionable ingredients and results. The different products can be taken days or hours before the test. However, the safety of many items is unknown. Always do thorough research before investing in any detox cleansers found online or at a local store for the best results.
The bottom line is—There's no magic elixir or process to clear THC from your system. The only proven way to pass a drug test is by not using it until after the screening. However, you should consider following some of the above suggestions, such as increasing water, trying activated charcoal, and practicing excellent oral hygiene.