Here in Canada, we’re lucky that recreational cannabis use is now legal and widely accepted. You can even easily buy your marijuana online these days. Unlike south of the border, we’re unlikely to be subjected to random drug tests and work, or when applying for a new job.
Still, there are plenty of reasons why you might want to try to detox and remove traces of THC from your system. For those of us who use it on a regular basis, this can take longer than you might expect. So, if you’re considering a THC detox, here’s what you need to consider.
Why Try a THC Detox?
The most obvious reason to remove THC from your body is for work. Despite the fact that random drug testing is rare in Canada, there are still plenty of jobs where it is unsafe and risky to be intoxicated: like construction, aviation, forestry, and mining. And if your employer has reasonable suspicion, they can carry out drug tests – especially if you’re involved in an incident.
Of course, it’s still illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis. So, if you’re planning to hit the road, you’ll want to be sure you don’t have a high concentration of THC still in your body.
Many long-term users also try a THC detox for a tolerance break. If you’ve been using weed for a long time, chances are you need a higher and higher dose to get a high. But the good news is, your tolerance will reduce in a relatively short time if you take a break. Plus, there might be other health benefits: especially if you normally smoke.
How Long Does THC Stay in Your System?
The THC high typically lasts a couple of hours, but THC can stick around in your body for much longer. This can be a challenge for anyone trying to completely remove THC from their system.
THC is fat-soluble, so it will accumulate in your body’s fat reserves. Over time, THC is metabolized by your liver and removed from your body in feces, urine, and sweat. Exactly how quickly it leaves will depend on a few things, including:
- How regularly you use cannabis
- How much body fat you have
- Your metabolism
For those who smoke multiple times a day, it could take up to 30 days for all traces of THC to leave your body. Or if you regularly dose with super-strong edibles, that may mean the THC lasts much longer. On the other hand, if you only use occasionally, most THC could be gone within 1-3 days.
How Do You Test for THC?
Unlike an alcohol breathalyzer test, there isn’t a simple way to test for impairment from cannabis use. Instead, most tests look at the presence of THC and use this as a proxy for how impaired someone is. Some test for levels of THC, while others look for metabolites that are made as your body breaks down THC. The most common tests are:
- Urine test
- Blood test
- Saliva test
- Hair test
The cut-off for most of these tests is 50ng/ml – but more sensitive tests are available too.
The Most Reliable Ways to Eliminate THC From Your System
Whatever your reason for trying to eliminate THC from your system, it’s important to understand that there’s no magic trick to it! The only sure-fire way to remove all THC from your body is to be patient. However, there are a few things you can do that can help
The first step is to start abstaining from marijuana immediately. There’s no way you’re going to remove THC from your body if you’re still using. The longer you can abstain for, the better. Like we said above, for regular users, it can take up to a month to fully detox from THC. If you have the time, simply staying off the bud for a few weeks is the most effective, and safest way to detox. Don’t worry, we’ll still be here when you want to buy marijuana online again! Consider switching to the relaxing properties of CBD in the meantime.
Because THC metabolites are stored in fat, it’s been suggested that exercise can speed up the metabolism of THC compounds. As you exercise, the stored THC is released from fat tissues and excreted from the body.
However, evidence suggests this might only speed up the process slightly. It’s also important to note that in the short term, exercise can increase the amount of THC that will be detected in a test because there will be more THC metabolites in blood and urine just after exercise.
- Drink water
Many people recommend drinking water to flush THC from your body. Drinking plenty of water is never bad advice, but it’s good to understand what’s really happening when you try to remove THC by chugging gallons of water.
Water doesn’t actually speed up the process of metabolizing THC. Instead, it dilutes your urine, making it less likely that THC will show up on a test. That doesn’t mean the THC is gone – and it might be obvious if you overdo it and your urine sample is really dilute. That said, drinking water is great for your health, so there’s no harm in doing it.
- Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet can help your body remove THC. 65% of THC compounds leave the body in feces, so eating foods that are high in fiber, iron, and other essential vitamins is a good idea. Great foods to try include
- Beans and legumes
- Whole wheat
- Leafy greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli
On the other hand, try to avoid foods that are high in salt, sugar, and fat. These foods (like your typical junk food) will slow down your metabolism and increase the amount of water you retain. This will slow down the process of metabolizing THC and removing it from your body.
Detox Drinks and Kits: Are They Worth It?
You’ve probably seen detox kits being advertised, which promise to get rid of THC far quicker than normal. These kits are often drinks or capsules, and they can be packed with supplements, vitamins, and proteins like creatine. It’s as easy to buy these drinks as it is to buy marijuana online, but beware – they aren’t always what they claim to be.
Most evidence suggests that these kits don’t actually remove THC from the blood or urine. As we said, that takes patience. It’s true that detox drinks could mask the presence of THC in a drug test because they add so many other substances to the urine and blood. But they’re not truly “cleansing” anything from your body. The natural methods we’ve suggested above are the most reliable ways to be sure there’s no THC left in your system.
The Bottom Line: Be Patient, You’ll Get There
So, there’s no quick fix to removing THC from your system, but it’s definitely possible. Plus, all the best methods are good for your health in plenty of other ways too. Whether you want to ensure you’re safe to work or take a tolerance break, the good news is that you can be free of THC in as little as a month – and often much faster.