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Keep it Mellow: How To Detox From THC

Keegan Williams

By Keegan Williams

December 27, 2022

Stylish Woman Smoking a Joint at Home. Hand Model.

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Many cannabis consumers might be familiar with the creeping feeling… Cannabis is great, but there often comes a time where you must take a step back. A THC detox may be needed for any number of reasons. Maybe you are interviewing for a new job and expect to be drug tested. You might want to take a

, essentially resetting your system so smaller amounts of THC have a more intense effect in the future. Sometimes, you just need a break!

Starting a THC detox can feel daunting, but preparing for the journey ahead of time is the best way to ensure you get the results you need. Fortunately, you’re in the right spot! 

Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of cannabis detox right here with High There!

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What is a THC Detox?

Let’s be a bit more specific here: A THC detox involves clearing any residual

from the body and its systems, which can accumulate over time with consistent cannabis use. Generally, the best way to do this is by simply abstaining from cannabis use, allowing the body to flush all remaining cannabinoids and terpenes from its system. 

Cannabis is generally detectable in body fluids for

after the last use. However, a variety of factors influence how long THC stays in the system, so some users may retain THC in their systems for longer than 30 days. Frequency of use is a biggie, though factors like metabolism, exercise, diet and amount of body fat also matter.

A closeup shot of hand-wrapped joints on a table
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So, if you’re looking to complete a THC detox in a day or two, you’re probably out of luck. There’s no standard length for a THC detox, given that it will depend on how often and heavily you partake. Generally, up to six weeks is a good general rule, though it’s highly variable.

We’ll level with you: There’s also no saying exactly how you’ll handle a cannabis detox. Again, challenges associated with your detox are dependent on your consumption habits, why you specifically use cannabis (for example, using cannabis for symptom relief of any kind), your other lifestyle habits and the like. 

Cannabis is not a physically addictive substance, though it can still result in use disorders. Whether detox leads to “withdrawal symptoms” or simply a lack of symptom relief is still up for debate, but consistent users and

users may find themselves dealing with symptoms like , irritability, lack of concentration, vivid dreams or nightmares, depression, , headaches, insomnia and/or decreased appetite, especially at first. 

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What are the best ways to naturally detox from THC?

The web and head shops alike are littered with products and remedies that promise to quickly remove THC from your system. We’ll dive into that conversation next, though the best way to detox from cannabis is through cleansing your body and simply ceasing use. It can take some time, but it’s the ideal route.

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

The key to a successful

detox lies in a number of healthy lifestyle habits, and it’s best and most effective to tackle as many of these methods in conjunction with one another.

Give Up the Weed

First thing’s first: Ditch the weed, of course. Whether you slowly wean yourself off or go cold turkey, you’ll have a hard time detoxing from THC or other cannabinoids if you’re actively introducing more to your system!

Shot of a young woman taking pictures of herself in the mirror with her cellphone at a gym indoors
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Get Moving!

Exercise is also a biggie. THC is stored in fat cells, and physical exercise not only burns these cells, it

. A higher metabolism ensures that your body will detox quicker. Luckily, if you generally use cannabis for a bit of a mood boost, exercise releases endorphins and helps to increase your overall wellbeing — a natural mood booster, if you will!

Foods and Drinks

Staying hydrated is important, though make sure not to take it too far. Water will definitely assist in expelling THC from your system, though drinking it in excess isn’t going to speed things up, either.

Like exercise, food is

, meaning certain foods will help increase it and others will slow it down. Salty, sugary and fatty foods are best to avoid or enjoy in moderation, as they will slow metabolism and essentially inhibit your body’s ability to shed THC metabolites. On the other hand, lean meats, vegetables, fruits and high-fiber foods are going to work in favor of your detox. 

Through it all, it’s important to take care of yourself, mentally and physically. Detoxing can be hard, especially if you use cannabis to cope with stress or sleep. While a good diet and exercise can assist in boosting your mood, it’s essential during this period to step back and ask yourself what you need to feel good.

So, if you have the means, treat yourself to a massage or a spa day, or simply pick up some face masks, candles and bath bombs. For many of us, sitting down to smoke is our coveted “me time,” so use this opportunity to forge new paths to enjoy those same benefits.

Fit African American man drinking a green juice for breakfast at home - healthy lifestyle concepts
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Detox Drinks and Kits

THC detox drinks and products are available in abundance, though it’s important to pin down your own motivations around a detox before going this direction. If you are simply looking to pass a drug test quickly, these products might do the trick, but the key word here? “Might.”

Using a detox kit or product to quickly eliminate THC from your system is definitely a “buyer beware” approach. Going this route still leaves the potential for a positive drug test, and if a prospective employer finds out you used a product to pass a pre-employment drug screen, odds are they’ll consider that the same as a failure. Depending on the position or the state you live in, defrauding a drug test

And what a drag, going through the interview process, getting a job offer, paying for a detox product and ultimately failing a drug test! While it’s a long road, easing off ahead of time is simply a better guarantee that you well successfully pass. Plus, drug stores often sell at-home tests, so it’s easy to quickly check your status before approaching the final screen.

That said, plenty of people have successfully used detox drinks and kits to pass drug tests — just do so at your discretion.

Detox kits don’t remove THC but they are often meant to help detoxify the body in general, so some may opt to use a detox drink or kit in conjunction with natural methods. 

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What are the Common THC Detox Myths?

Now that we know what works, let’s talk about what doesn’t.

Pre-Rolled Cannabis Joints in a Jar.
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As mentioned earlier, staying hydrated is helpful to flush THC and toxins out of the system, but drinking an excess amount isn’t going to help you. In regard to drug testing, some employers may be even more suspicious if your urine sample is crystal clear. Your body only expels

, so don’t go overboard.

Similarly, overexercising isn’t going to do it either. Exercise will help, but overdoing it isn’t a short-term fix. Exercise regularly and well in advance, not as a final Hail Mary.

If you’re thinking about skipping the detox altogether and going with fake urine to pass a drug screen, we’d strongly recommend you reconsider. Lab tests are sophisticated and many can easily detect synthetic or fake urine, due to the temperature or the chemical formula. You also don’t necessarily know how the test will be administered: With a facilitator nearby, you’re taking a risk around your ability to swiftly make the switch without getting caught. 

Not Fool-Proof Methods

There are also a number of pervasive myths surrounding common diuretics, like coffee, tea and cranberry juice, can quickly remove THC from the system. These might help to flush toxins out of your system, make you urinate and decrease the concentration of metabolites in your urine, but consuming these products to try to rid your body of THC is similar to drinking a ton of water. You’ll have a more active bladder, sure, but it’s not really going to speed up the process in a meaningful way.

Other suggestions, like pickle juice or vinegar, are similarly benign. They are acidic, but they will not impact the THC in your body. If anything, drinking vinegar will probably just give you diarrhea. Some believe vitamin B3, or niacin, can also help to beat a drug test, though this is also untrue. In fact, overconsuming niacin can be dangerous.

There’s even a theory that drinking undiluted bleach helps to pass a urine test… PLEASE don’t do that! Drinking bleach can quite literally kill you.

Joint rolling on a coffee table
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Finally, don’t expect to lean on

as an excuse for failing a drug test. A number of studies have been performed on this topic, generally finding that passive smoke inhalation results in little, if any, detectable level of THC. A found that any THC detected from passive smoke inhalation fell off after a few hours, and even then, it’s a low concentration. Meaning, unless you were literally in a room full of cannabis smoke the morning of the test, you’re not going to fail a drug test from being around cannabis smoke.

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Final Thoughts

We get it! Approaching a THC detox can be intimidating. While cannabis is a great substance for many people, it’s still a drug. Many consumers, even the most canna-friendly, find it beneficial for any number of reasons to take a step back to refocus. 

The best way to achieve a successful THC detox is to be prepared and intentional in your approach. For many of us, a detox is only temporary. Just think about how joyous it will be to not only return to cannabis but also enjoy your new, lower tolerance!

Whatever your reason, you’ve got this! We’ll be here waiting when you’re finished and ready to reacquaint yourself with our mutual friend Mary Jane.

Keegan Williams

About The Author

Keegan Williams

HIGH THERE MISSION

WE’RE A CREATIVE COMMUNITY — EXPLORING THE SCIENCE, CRAFT, AND CULTURE OF CANNABIS.
WE BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS ERADICATING THE STIGMA, MISINFORMATION, AND INEQUITIES SURROUNDING THIS PLANT, SO WE CAN UNLOCK ITS TRUE POTENTIAL FOR ALL.

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