- Introduction to Drug Tests
- How Long Does Weed Stay in My System
- Where to Start to Pass a Drug Test
- How to Pass a Urine Drug Test
- At-Home Drug Testing Remedies: Do’s & Don’ts
- Drug Test FAQ
From urinalysis to hair follicle testing, we’ve done the research to help you understand detection times and how long weed stays in your system. Read on to learn more about methods to avoid and what you can do to pass a drug test no matter what kind of timeline you’re on.
What drug tests look for, and how much THC you need in your system to fail. The different types of drug tests and their THC detection times. Typical timelines for how long weed stays in your system and what influences detection time. Practical and actionable steps you can take to pass any kind of drug test. Review of common home remedies and whether or not they work to pass a drug test. Answers to your commonly asked questions about drug testing.
Introduction to Drug Tests
There are different kinds of drug tests, and they each have a window of detection for various substances. For example, while your future employer might be looking for THC, you will probably take a test that might show evidence of cocaine use. The type of test will determine what might show up if you’ve been using drugs.
What Can Drug Tests Detect
Drug tests can look for recent or long-term drug use. Typically, when you are asked to take a drug test by an employer, it’s a 5-panel drug test.
A standard 5-panel drug test is looking for:
- Opioids (codeine, heroin, morphine)
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
Barbiturates Benzodiazepines Methadone Methaqualone (Quaaludes) Propoxyphene
Other substances might be added to the drug screen for various reasons. For example, nicotine, oxycodone, alcohol, and MDMA are other substances that an employer might request. Pre-employment drug screening usually sticks with the top five, but in the event of a workplace accident or injury, your employer might request additional substances.
Drug tests aren’t usually looking for the active compounds but rather the drug's metabolites. For example, after smoking weed, the THC is broken down into THC-COOH metabolites, which is what triggers a positive test result. However, some drug tests examine recent use or current intoxication.
How Much THC Do Drug Tests Detect
After consuming marijuana, THC levels in your blood spike, and those levels are measured in nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). In those first few minutes after consumption, levels often shoot above 100 ng/ml but quickly drop within the first hour.
The national standard used to be only 20ng/ml, but too many false positives were documented, so it was raised to 100 ng/ml. As of January 1995, the standard is now 50 ng/ml.
Types of Drug Tests
Urinalysis is the most common type of drug administered. A sample is collected and examined with a dipstick test and a microscopic exam.
A small amount of hair is cut for a hair follicle test. This type of drug test is the best indicator of long-term or heavy drug use.
Blood testing is considered the most invasive type of drug test and requires a blood draw by a medical professional. Unlike urine testing, a blood test looks for active chemicals circulating in the bloodstream because THC has not yet been metabolized.
A saliva test requires a mouth swab, or sometimes, spitting in a cup. Just like blood testing, a saliva test is looking for recent use.
How Long Does Weed Stay in My System
How long THC is detectable in your body depends on a number of factors and each person is unique, however there are some general timelines to follow.
Each type of drug test has a different window of detection, meaning that some tests are better at determining whether or not you have recently used a drug.
Urinalysis is the most popular drug testing method for a good reason—it can detect THC up to 30 days after last use. However, this isn’t a hard fact. For example, if you are a heavy user, you will likely have THC metabolites present in your urine for up to 30 days.
If you are a very casual or light smoker, it’s possible to detox from THC in under a week. If you smoked weed for the first time and did not continue to use it, you can expect to pass a drug test within three days.
Hair follicle testing is the least forgiving method. It can detect drug metabolites for up to 90 days after last use, though it cannot determine how much THC is present.
When you consume THC, it enters the bloodstream within seconds after inhalation. The blood carries the THC through the body as it enacts with soft tissues and organs to produce its effects. After it is stored in the body’s fat cells, THC metabolites are recirculated through the bloodstream before making their way out of the body via urine and feces.
THC is present in the bloodstream for one to two days for most users but may linger for up to 14 days after last use in some cases.
Saliva testing for THC is not very common because it only detects THC for up to 72 hours after last use. However, it’s an excellent method for determining if someone is currently under the influence or has used very recently but isn’t used by most employers.
How long weed stays in your system doesn’t follow strict rules and varies from person to person. There are some critical factors that you should consider when determining how long you might be susceptible to testing positive for THC.
The most crucial factor to consider is dosage and frequency of use. For example, a regular, heavy smoker will have significantly higher levels of THC in their system than someone who had a low-dose edible one time. Similarly, someone who consumes high doses of THC edibles daily will likely have a higher concentration of THC in their body than someone who only smokes casually.
Generally, if you have only used cannabis one time, your detection window is less than a week. A regular user who consumes cannabis two to four times a week might be looking at 20-30 days. Again, consider dosage. Smoking dabs or cannabis concentrates will accumulate more THC than smoking dry herb.
When your body has used THC, the metabolites are stored in the body’s fat cells. As the body burns fat, those metabolites make their way back into the bloodstream until they are eventually excreted via feces or urine. Therefore, the more body fat one has—or the higher Body Mass Index (BMI)—the more time it takes to fully detox from all detectable THC metabolites.
Much like BMI, your body’s metabolism indicates how quickly you can detox from THC. If you have historically had a slower metabolism, it might take longer to burn fat and the residual THC metabolites.
To urinate and defecate, our body needs to be well lubricated with plenty of fluids. If you are dehydrated, you are not going to be flushing effectively. Since THC metabolites exit the body through urine and feces, staying hydrated is essential if you want to pass a drug test.
Sex & Age
Females tend to have more body fat on average than males, contributing to a longer detox time. Additionally, metabolism slows with age, so a younger person may naturally detox faster than an older person.
Where to Start to Pass a Drug Test
There are plenty of actionable steps you can take to increase the odds that you’ll pass your test.
First and foremost—stop the use of all cannabis products immediately. Yes, even hemp CBD products. Full-spectrum CBD products usually contain trace amounts of THC that can add up when used frequently. However, you should avoid even broad-spectrum or isolated CBD products.
Most standard drug panels are not yet sophisticated enough to determine the source of origin for cannabinoids, so even CBD products can trigger a positive result. Though less likely, it’s not a risk worth taking if you have a lot riding on a passing test. Avoid all cannabinoids, including CBC, CBN, CBG, THC-O, Delta-8, Delta-10, and all others.
What to Know
If you can, find out what type of test you will be taking and how much time you have beforehand. Most employers use urinalysis, but some situations—like court-mandated drug testing or tests required by insurance companies—might use other methods.
If you are asked to take a drug test by your employer, find out when you need to take the test and what kind of test it will be. It might also be helpful to find out any information about the lab performing the testing.
How to Pass a Urine Drug Test
Unless special circumstances surround your drug test, you’re likely to be taking a urinalysis test. Depending on how much notice you have, there are different approaches to consider for a permanent cleanse or just a THC mask.
If you are lucky enough to have 30 days' notice or more, you should be able to detox naturally. That doesn’t mean you should resume regular activity (minus weed), but it does mean that you can support your system without any kind of extra intervention.
The best thing you can do is to support your whole system. Stay hydrated to help flush out metabolites via urine, and focus on fat-burning exercise to help burn more energy and THC-containing fat cells. Eat a diet rich in high-fiber foods to keep your digestive system in excellent health, and focus on antioxidant-rich foods.
Leafy greens, fresh fruit and vegetables, and lean proteins are ideal. Avoid alcohol, sugar, wheat, dairy, and processed foods during this time.
Follow the above guidelines to support your body’s ability to detox, but reach for a detox program to ensure a passing test. This 10-day detox program consists of highly targeted herbal supplements that will cleanse your system of all drug metabolites. This is the best way to ensure a passing test if you have a two-week window.
This week is cutting it close, but there’s a 5-day detox program that can help you out in a pinch. Just like the 10-day version, but kicked up a notch to ensure permanent removal of all toxins. You should have no issues passing your drug test when following the protocol. Next-day air shipping is available to ensure you get your kit in time.
If you are down to the wire with a surprise drug test, the only way to ensure a passing test is with a Same Day Cleanser. This combination of capsules and drink take effect in 60 minutes and last up to one hour. If you suspect you may have future drug tests on the horizon, keeping one of these kits on hand is a great idea.
How to Pass a Hair Drug Test
Even though hair follicle tests can detect THC for up to 90 days, you can beat it with the right product.
Detox Shampoo Folli-clean shampoo washes your hair of any toxin within one hour and lasts up to 24 hours. Then, follow the instructions and simply scrub away any evidence of drug metabolites.
At-Home Drug Testing Remedies: Do’s & Don’ts
If you landed here while trying to figure out how to pass a drug test, you’ve likely come across some pretty whacky ideas. There are plenty of home remedies mentioned across the internet, and here’s what we know works and what doesn’t.
Bringing someone else’s urine to a drug test is the oldest trick in the book. Unfortunately, the chances of getting caught cheating with this method are pretty high. Even if you manage to get the urine into a bathroom stall for testing without spilling, by the time you submit your sample, the temperature will be an indication that it wasn’t yours.
Labs typically accept samples between 90-100 degrees. The human body temperature is 98.6 degrees. By the time you submit a sample with someone else’s urine, it’s likely to have dropped enough in temperature to give you away.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Proponents of this method believe that apple cider vinegar (ACV) helps curb appetite and kick-start metabolism to burn more fat. The beneficial bacteria in ACV are good for digestion, further promoting proper elimination. However, while ACV might offer some healthful benefits, it won’t help you detox from THC for a drug test.
Another theory is that rinsing your hair and scrubbing your scalp with ACV will help you pass a hair follicle test. Unfortunately, this is also a myth because THC metabolites are not on the scalp, and a more powerful cleanser is needed to remove them from the hair shaft.
Drinking baking soda mixed in water is another dangerous way to cheat a drug test. It acts as an antacid, balancing pH levels to be more alkaline. The theory that it helps to beat a drug test originated because of anecdotal success defeating a test for methamphetamines. While some people claim it worked, there is zero evidence that it can help pass a THC test.
Several possible implications come from consuming baking soda. It may cause such severe diarrhea that it can rupture gastric walls. Overdosing on baking soda can also severely damage the kidneys and lead to hypertension, hyperchloremia, and metabolic alkalosis among other dangers.
Under no circumstances should you ever consume bleach. This is a dangerous myth with potentially fatal outcomes. Drinking bleach is a disturbing suggestion, and it will not help you pass a drug test.
Similarly, do not wash your hair in bleach. Like ACV it is not able to cleanse the hair shaft.
Certo is a brand name of fruit pectin used to thicken jams and jellies and used in many other recipes. Plenty of online forums claim that following a Certo cleanse will help you pass a drug test. Rather than ridding the body of THC, Certo supposedly blocks THC by pressing pause on the body’s ability to burn fat.
Although some anecdotal evidence exists, using fruit pectin to pass a drug test is a risky and unreliable approach.
Cranberries are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They also contain a small amount of niacin, a known diuretic. Pure cranberry juice is beneficial for helping the kidneys flush bacteria, and it’s thought that since it also acts as a diuretic, it might help detox from THC. Although cranberry juice may increase urination, it will not effectively remove THC metabolites to help you pass a drug test.
Using creatine to pass a drug test is one of the oldest tricks in the books. But, like these other home remedies, it isn’t a guarantee that you’ll pass. When examining a urine sample, one of the things the lab technicians are looking for is the level of creatinine (the byproduct of creatine). If you attempt to over-consume water to flush your system before a drug test, your sample will show up as diluted, and you’ll fail.
The creatine theory suggests that if you are trying to dilute your urine to mask the presence of THC, you can supplement your creatinine levels by taking creatine beforehand. The problem is that this is incredibly risky. Everyone has a different creatinine level in their urine naturally, so finding the perfect balance of this supplement is impossible to predict.
While this might seem surprising, several brands of synthetic urine are marketed as a fail-proof option for faking a drug test. Some of them come in liquid form, and others are actually dehydrated urine. To use it, you have to rehydrate the urine and use heating strips to achieve the correct temperature of natural urine.
Most of these products are incredibly expensive and require a bit of work to create a liquid sample to submit for a drug test. If you are using genuinely synthetic urine instead of a dehydrated version, know that most drug tests will be able to spot the fake.
Water pills are a slang term for diuretic capsules. Yes, diuretics help you urinate more frequently, but no, they will not help you pass a drug test. Staying hydrated is a great way to support the body’s detoxification efforts, but drowning your system with water pills and excessive amounts of water will not ensure a negative THC test.
Goldenseal is a naturally occurring herb in the buttercup family. It has been used in folk medicine and natural remedies for centuries to help treat the common cold, heal and disinfect wounds, and treat digestive problems.
Supposedly, drinking goldenseal tea or taking it in powder or capsule form will help you pass a drug test. This theory was born from a book called “Springtown on the Pike” where the writer talks about using goldenseal to trigger a false positive for strychnine. This story is a murder mystery and entirely fictional.
Nonetheless, somehow goldenseal became a possible remedy for passing a THC test. This is completely untrue, and studies have proven that it won’t work.
The Macujo method is used to beat a hair follicle test. It works by opening up the cuticles of the hair strands so you can wash with a cocktail of acids and astringents and wash away chemical residue. It requires salicylic acid shampoo, highly-acetic vinegar, and aloe shampoo. Although many people claim this to be an effective method, there are some severe downsides.
For one, you are going to destroy the health of your hair. Opening up the cortex is the equivalent of shredding each strand with razor blades, and the concentrated acids can burn your scalp.
Since you have to do this wash several times, you increase the risk of burns and severe irritation. Since there’s no guarantee where the lab will take the sample from, you are risking a lot for something unproven.
Activated charcoal has been used for centuries to rid toxins and poisons from the body. It works by binding to contents in the digestive system and carrying them out of the body before they can be released into the bloodstream or absorbed into the intestines.
One study showed that activated charcoal might absorb up to 1,000 ng/ml of THC. However, the study was conducted on a very small sample and not proven effective for heavy users. If you need to be sure that you’ll pass a drug test, activated charcoal isn’t your best bet.
At-Home Drug Test
Drug Test FAQ
Here are the most common drug test questions:
Can I Refuse a Drug Test?
You can absolutely refuse a drug test. However, if this is a pre-employment drug test, the employer may refuse to offer you a job. Likewise, if you refuse a drug test at an existing job, your employer may have the right to fire you.
Be sure to thoroughly read any company drug policies to know your rights, as they may vary by state and company.
Can Second-Hand Smoke Show on a Drug Test?
It is improbable that you will fail a drug test for breathing in second-hand smoke. For this to happen, you would need to be in an unventilated room, consistently breathing in smoke for an extended period.
If you have simply passed by someone smoking or were in the general vicinity, you need not worry about this.
Do Poppy Seeds Show on a Drug Test?
Yes, poppy seeds can cause you to fail for opioids. Poppy seeds come from the seed pod of the poppy flower, which is the same flower used to make heroin. Although poppy seeds used in baking and cooking purposes have been thoroughly washed before commercial use, they may still contain trace amounts of opiates.
There is no definitive number of poppy seeds one can consume and still pass a drug test, though logic suggests that the more you eat, the more likely you will fail. It’s best to avoid any seeded baked goods before a drug test.
How Long Does it Take to Get Drug Test Results?
Drug test results are usually available within 24 to 48 hours.