The Truth About Weed Detox
Estimated 10-minute read
There’s a fair amount of reasons why you’d like to detox from cannabis. To pass a drug test for a job you’re applying to, because you’re going on a family vacation and can’t bring your KØL along, perhaps you need to save money for the time being, or maybe because you want to try something new, like microdosing.
Whatever your reasons are, it is possible to do it. But there’s an even bigger pressing matter with two equally important questions that you must ask yourself before diving head first into a detox program: Does it actually work? And, is it safe to do it? Tag along to find out.
The Part of Cannabis that Stays in Your Body
The cannabis plant is made up of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is one of those compounds and the responsible one for making you feel high. So whenever you smoke or consume weed, you feel the immediate psychoactive effect, right? Well, once those effects are gone, cannabinoids will still remain in your system, meaning that the chemical remnants of cannabis stay present in your body and can be detected in your blood, fingernails, hair, saliva and urine.
What is Detoxification?
Detoxification is all about removing a toxic substance from the body, either by some outside means or waiting for a drug to clear the bloodstream on its own, Weedmaps explains.
Detecting Cannabis On the Body
Cannabis’s chemical remains like THC and CBD can be detected in the human body through blood, fingernails, hair, urine, saliva and even sweat. There’s a generalized window of how much time weed stays in your system, but this important time frame varies widely from person to person.
According to Medical News Today, one of the factors that could severely affect the time frame is the weed strain or subspecies of the plant. Experts affirm that the chemical compound is most likely to remain longer in the body if the strain has high THC levels, for example.
Other factors that affect the length of time that cannabinoids will remain in a person’s system include:
- How much cannabis they use; this one is critical because a person who consumes weed regularly could still test positive for THC after 3 months of suspending its use.
- How often they exercise and what type of sport they do.
- Their eating habits.
- Their metabolism.
- The percentage of body fat they have
Common Types of Drug Tests
I felt the need to mention this topic because when people want a cannabis detox, this is the most common reason behind the cleanse. The following are types of drug tests and their window of detection.
Nobody likes their blood being taken out of their body, but the good news is that our sweet blood is always regenerating itself. This means that the window of drug detection is a small one, usually within 2 to 12 hours prior to the test.
Did you know that by picking a hair from your head, face or armpit, labs can know a lot about your body? Because metabolites tend to remain in the hair until they grow, of all the testing methods, this one has the longest window of detection.
The window of drug detection for hair from the scalp is 3 months, while body hair can last up to 12 long months.
Oral Fluid Test
This type of test will have your mouth swabbed with a cotton tool in order to collect saliva and look for a concentration of oral cannabis intake. This drug test also has a relatively small window of detection: From 24 to 48 hours after last use.
The one where you’ll need to pee in a small cup to collect your urine sample and have it analyzed at a lab. This type of drug test has a longer window of detection, about 30 days after last use. However, Medical News Today mentions that it depends on the frequency of consumption:
- 3 days for a single use
- 5 to 7 days for moderate use, or about 4 times per week
- 10 to 15 days for daily use
- 30 or more days for heavy use
If you want more information about weed and drug tests, I recommend you to check out this article.
Body Cleanse vs Endocannabinoid System Cleanse
First things first: There is no quick and easy way to get rid of the cannabinoids in your body. However, you can reset your endocannabinoid system for other purposes. Let’s take a look at the most popular body cleanses, followed by very interesting information about the endocannabinoid system cleanse.
The modern world has brought to us some tools for detoxing the body from cannabis, such as detox pills, drinks, shampoos and homemade remedies like drinking cranberry juice or lemon juice. The most popular tool for cleansing are detox pills, so let’s dive into that.
The Problem With Detox Pills & Detox Kits
This is by far the most popular tool for cleansing: THC detox pills that remove toxins from the body and –allegedly– detoxify the system in an effective way. The way it works is that the pills are supposed to remove the toxins from urine and blood, so you could successfully pass one of those lab tests. According to a research made by Deccan Herald, the best detox pills are not supposed tointerfere with other components in urine, which could actually raise less suspicion about an altered result.
That being said, the pills might show some side effects and they’re more expensive than other methods. Additionally, the majority of these pills and detox kits are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so it could actually be more harmful than helpful. Last but not least, it’s important to mention that there’s not much research on detox pills, making it hard and troublesome to find reliable programs.
I know I can’t stop you from buying your detox kit or whatever, but before you hop on a detox pill program, make sure you do proper research about its origin, the company that sells them and its possible side effects.
Other Detoxing Methods:
THC detox drinks are another way of getting rid of the cannabinoids in your body, which are supposed to cover up THC by adding minerals and vitamins to your urine. Detox drinks believe that the metabolites found in THC will not be visible during the testing process, but beware: they hide and mask THC, not remove it. Plus, the effects will only last for a few hours.
Detox shampoo is also an option, but it’s less likely that companies ask you for a follicle drug test. Shampoo cleans the scalp with a unique formula; you should leave it for 10 to 15 minutes and then rinse it off. It’s important that you use it every day until the test.
Natural, homemade beverages are also popular amongst detoxing methods. Drinks like lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and cranberry juice are said to remove THC from the body, but they work exactly like detox drinks: by masking and hiding the THC, not removing it from the body. According to Weedmaps, it’s actually a myth that natural beverages can strip your system of THC. The most they will do is carry potential health benefits, but not get rid of weed.
Aside from these deep cleansing methods, resetting the endocannabinoid system is actually possible! Let’s say that you’re looking for a way to cleanse your system in order to try out a new method of ingesting cannabis, like microdosing. Leafly had a chat with Dr. Dustin Sulak, expert on cannabis, co-founder and medical director of Healer, where he studied that 48 hours of cannabis abstinence are enough to reset the endocannabinoid system.
You see, back in 2017 a brain imaging study tracked the number of cannabinoid receptors during a period of abstinence from any form of cannabis. The results were outstanding, since even in heavy smokers and regular cannabis users, their receptors went back to their baseline level after two days. Keep in mind that this method does not work for passing a drug test, since labs are not testing your endocannabinoid system, but the fluids of your body.
Detox Side Effects: Withdrawal
Modern research affirms that cannabis can create dependencies in people who use it heavily for long periods of time. According to Medical News Today, when a person’s body becomes used to receiving cannabinoids like THC and CBD, stopping the use of weed may lead to an uncomfortable period of time as their body readjusts. This is called withdrawal.
Medical News Today shares this list of symptoms, where it’s common for a heavy user to experience at least one of following side effects:
- Anger or irritability
- Coughing up phlegm
- Emotional instability, ranging from anger to euphoria
- Insomnia and night sweats
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of concentration
- Tremors or shaky hands
- Vivid dreams or nightmares starting about a week following quitting and lasting for a month or more
The heavier side effects could start about a week following quitting and could potentially last for a month or more. Thankfully, there’s some remedies advised by experts to endure withdrawal.
Dealing With Withdrawal: Remedies For Side Effects
There’s no magical cure, but these remedies may help with the irritating side effects of a cannabis withdrawal:
- Drinking vast amounts of water through the day
Dr. Adie Rae, a neuroscientist at the Legacy Research Institute in Portland, Oregon and scientific advisor to Weedmaps, talked about the function of exercising while going through a cannabis cleanse:
"Exercise can release stored THC from adipose –or fat– tissue. Theoretically, exercise might help to speed up the detox process, but perhaps only marginally, about 28 days instead of 30. There is no scientific evidence showing that exercising can speed up the detox process and help you pass a drug test sooner than you would have without exercise."
One thing’s for sure: moving and sweating will help you take your mind off smoking a joint, taking an edible or just consuming cannabis.
- Reducing the amount of fat eaten
- Reducing or completely eliminating caffeine consumption
- Warm baths
As I said, the key is to take your mind off smoking, vaping or consuming any form of cannabis, so it is highly recommended to do recreational activities that consist of moving your body and keeping your mind busy.
The Best Way To Detox From THC
The overall problem with detoxing kits is that they’re not officially regulated by a reliable source. There’s companies that claim to have detox products that work, but none of them are really safe when you think about it.
Dr. Rae affirms that the only way to truly detox and remove cannabis and its cannabinoids from the body is to wait it out. “The liver metabolizes THC, and its metabolites are further broken down, over time, until there are no more traces left. This process can take 30 days or more for a daily cannabis user,” she says.
If you’re looking to reset your endocannabinoid system, then Dr. Sulak confirms that a period of 48 hour cannabis abstinence is enough, even for heavy or daily users. It all depends on which kind of cleanse you’re looking for and the reasons behind it. For people interested in trying this method out, I recommend you check Dr. Sulak’s free detoxing programs, which will help you reduce your cannabis usage by up to 60% with the goal of experiencing superior benefits by using less weed. This program consists of medical information, worksheets to prove yourself how much you’ve learned and many interesting techniques to ease the body into cleansing, all in a span of 6 days.
Last but not least, remember that it’s equally important to take care of your mental and physical well being. By sipping water, trying homemade juices and exercising, you may not get rid of the cannabinoids in your body; however, these practices will make you feel good and definitely help with any withdrawal symptoms you may be experiencing.
Author: Mary Jane
Deccan Herald (2022) Best THC Detox Methods: 5 Ways To Detox Your System. Retrieved from https://www.deccanherald.com/brandspot/pr-spot/best-thc-detox-methods-5-ways-to-detox-your-system-1162846.html
Fletcher, J. (2022). What to know about marijuana (cannabis) detox. Medical News Today. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327306
Healthline (2017) Marijuana Detox: What You Should Know. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/marijuana-detox-what-you-should-know
Hoffman, A. (2017) Microdosing cannabis: benefits without the buzz. Leafly. Retrieved from https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/microdosing-weed-guide
Weedmaps (2022) THC Detox: Facts and Fiction. Retrieved from https://weedmaps.com/learn/cannabis-and-your-body/how-to-detox-from-thc