Slowly but surely, marijuana is becoming more accepted in the United States. It is legal in many states and will soon to be in more others.
Even if marijuana is legal in your state, using it could still get you in trouble at work. (It depends on the type of company that employs you.) So if you’re a marijuana user and there’s a drug test on your horizon, here are a few things you can do to increase your chances of producing a clean sample.
How do drug tests detect marijuana?
According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), a popular misconception is that urine tests detect THC, marijuana’s psychoactive component and the thing that makes users feel high. Instead, such tests look for nonactive metabolites of the drug. While they don’t have impairing effects, they linger in the body for much longer than THC.
Blood tests measure active THC in a person’s system, but such tests aren’t used often, as they’re more difficult to administer.
The newer technology of saliva testing is supposed to detect recent marijuana use, but it’s still unreliable and therefore also not used as frequently as urine testing.
How long does marijuana stay in the body?
Naturally, the amount of marijuana a person uses determines how long it stays in the system. Per CheatSheet:
- Once a week or less: 1-5 days after last use
- More than once a week: 1-3 weeks after last use
- Multiple times a day/regular prolonged use: 4-6 weeks after last use
According to one study, heavy use can make marijuana detectable in the body for up to 110 days, or longer than three months.
What to do before a drug test
If you know a drug test is coming, it’s best to abstain from marijuana in the days or weeks leading up to it. That gives your body a chance to naturally detoxify.
You can help speed up the process by making some good lifestyle choices (and let’s face it — you should do these things anyway):
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat well
- Leafy greens and fiber-rich foods are especially beneficial
- Avoid junk food, too much sugar, and red meat
- Marijuana is fat soluble, meaning it can be stored in fat cells
- A combination of weight training and cardio will rev your metabolism and burn fat quicker
- Drink green and/or dandelion tea
Nothing is foolproof, of course, but these actions could lead to a better chance of passing a drug test.