How to Detox from Weed

Anthony Pellegrino

The information is provided for informational purposes only and does not relieve readers of their obligation to obtain qualified medical, legal or other professional advice.

What you will learn in this post:
(Click any of the section titles below to jump right to it)

As of 2020, medical marijuana has been legalized in 33 U.S. states along with the District of Columbia. However, many of these legislative bills do not mandate that certain employers must accommodate the use of medical marijuana. There are also several other instances where the use of medical marijuana is still prohibited, such as government jobs or 'safety-sensitive' positions. In these cases, cannabis patients must, then, "detox" from weed. But what does this really mean, and what does it entail?

Below, we'll show you all the ways weed can be detected and how many people attempt to detox from weed using natural methods and products.


What is a Marijuana Detox?

a drug test - the most common reason people need to detox from weed. Usually related to their employer not allowing for cannabis in the system.
A drug test is the most common reason for a person to detox from weed - ProjectManhattan / CC BY-SA


The word detox is short for detoxification, which refers to any treatment meant to clear the body of a substance. In this case, marijuana detox involves the removal of cannabinoids (mainly THC) from the body. 

Now, it must be mentioned that this language could be misleading. THC and other cannabinoids are not toxic. A 'weed detox' is just referring to the removal of these cannabinoids. There are several ways to conduct a marijuana detox along with some specialized detox products that can help speed up the process.


Why Would You Conduct a Weed Detox?

a drug test speciemen bottle
A drug test specimen bottle


There are many reasons a medical patient may wish to detox from marijuana. As mentioned above, workplace drug tests are a big reason. Perhaps you are a legal medical patient in your state but have accepted a job offer in a workplace drug tests its employees. Your employer may request a drug test from you before you can formally receive an offer of employment. 

But that's not the only reason people detox. In some instances, the conditions for probation or parole mandate that parolees must abstain from using any substances, including weed. This can be a bad situation for a parolee that may need to pass a drug test. 

And even people who don't have any pressing need to detox do it sometimes just to increase the effectiveness and lower their needed dose. This is very common for pain patients who often use large amounts of THC to control pain and develop a tolerance such as for conditions like Crohns Disease or to manage pain associated with Cancer.

To be clear, if you or someone you know is on parole, the only safe way to pass a weed test is to not smoke weed. Everyone metabolizes cannabis differently, and a product or technique that works for one person may not work for others. 

Abstinence is the only safe and sure way to pass a drug test.


What Are the Symptoms of a Cannabis Detox?

irritability is a common part of a cannabis detox.
Irritability is a common, but usually mild symptom of cannabis withdrawal.


It is, in fact, possible to feel some symptoms from your marijuana detox in the form of withdrawal. While not as serious as withdrawal symptoms from substances like alcohol or benzodiazepines, many people report:

  • a change in mood, 
  • diminished appetite, 
  • irritability,
  • the craving of additional marijuana, 
  • sleep difficulties, 
  • and more when they detox from marijuana. 

The level of severity of these symptoms depends on your personal physiology along with your level of use. The more you've used marijuana, the more your brain has gotten used to the supply of THC. When the THC leaves your system, with no resupply in sight, you may feel some of these symptoms of marijuana withdrawal. 


How long does THC stay in your system?

THC chemical composition diagram
The THC biosynthesis process in the human body.


So, how long does it actually take to get THC out of your system? The question isn't so simple. THC and other cannabinoids settle in different areas of the body for different periods. Not only that, but THC may break down into several THC metabolites that remain detectable for far longer than THC alone. 

Generally speaking, THC-COOC is the metabolite that is measured in many different drug tests, and often remains in the body for nearly 2-3x longer than THC itself. Yet, at the end of the day, the question of how long THC lasts in your system depends on your particular level of marijuana use.


How Long is THC Detected in Hair?

your hair is a common way to drug test for cannabis by looking at THC levels in those strands.
Hair drug tests can be pulled from any body hair - Alex Neman / CC BY-SA


It's often been said that THC is stored the longest in the hair follicles. However, recent research has shown that detecting THC in hair samples is not a reliable way to measure marijuana consumption. In some instances, no THC was detected at all in subjects who've consumed THC every day for the past month. In others, THC was found after a single-use. 

Sometimes, being around someone else who is smoking marijuana can be enough. Nevertheless, hair follicles tests are the drug tests with the widest windows of detection. Some tests can detect THC and THC-COOC for as long as 90 days after using marijuana. 


How Long Can THC Be Detected in Blood?

THC in blood can be detected for weeks afte yourr last cannabis use.
THC-COOC can be detected in blood for weeks.


The earliest THC can be detected in the body is via your bloodstream. It's been shown that it only takes a few seconds for cannabinoids to enter your blood, where it lasts for several minutes. Nonetheless, most drug tests can only detect THC for a few hours. THC-COOC, on the other hand, can be detected in the bloodstream for several weeks, especially with frequent or heavy use


How Long Can Marijuana Be Detected in Urine?

a urine test for weed
Urine tests are the most common method of detecting marijuana.


In the vast majority of cases, marijuana patients will be using urine-based drug tests for the detection of weed usage. THC-COOC remains detectable for approximately 10 days after your last use. Yet, THC-COOC may remain in the urine of heavy and chronic users for up to 30 days. 


Saliva Marijuana Test Detection Times

a saliva or "swab" test for marijuana its common among law enforcement.
Saliva THC tests may become more common as they are the least invasive drug test method - Torsten Philipp / CC BY-SA


THC and its metabolites can also be detected in the saliva. However, THC will normally not remain detectable for more than 2-3 days in most users. At most, it can be detected up to a few weeks in very heavy users. 

Ultimately, THC itself does not remain in any area of the body for long. But, its metabolite THC-COOC can remain detectable for several weeks at a time. Therefore, if you have a drug test coming up, it may be best to abstain or detox from cannabis for 6-8 weeks to allow all of the THC and its metabolites to exit your system.

Now that you know how long cannabis can be detected by the different types of tests, here are several different methods that are commonly used to cleanse THC from the body. Here are the most commonly used methods.


Natural Marijuana Detox Methods

natural methods you may use to detox from weed.
Many people try natural methods to detox from THC - Konstantin Silka / CC BY-SA


While there are products that can help you detox from cannabis (we'll get to those in a minute), it's also possible, and easy, to detox naturally. But how do you do it?


Abstaining to Detox from Weed

First and foremost, abstaining from any further marijuana use is crucial to detox from weed. After all, it can't ever leave the body if it's continually being resupplied, right? Step one of the natural detox is to stop using marijuana. After all, it can't ever leave the body if it's continually being resupplied, right? Step one of the natural detox is to stop using marijuana.


Exercising to Detox from Cannabis

As we previously mentioned, THC, and its metabolites, have a fairly large range it takes to leave the body. But, you can increase the speed of your detox with the help of exercise. By and large, THC is stored in the fat cells of your body. Exercise, especially fat-burning cardio, will help burn all that THC out of the body. Exercise can also increase the rate of your metabolism, which is naturally responsible for the removal of THC anyway. 


Drinking Water to Flush Weed

The most popular way of detoxing from THC is boosting your water intake. Nearly a third of the THC in your system is flushed out via urine, and increasing your water intake obviously increases your need to pee. 


Drink Tea to Detox from Cannabis

Many teas are rich in antioxidants and colon cleansers. As such, drinking lots of these teas can help spur your body to speed up the detox process. Some of the best kinds of these teas include ingredients like dandelion root, milk thistle, juniper berry, peppermint leaf, and Chinese Skullcap.


Maintain a Healthy Diet

A natural consequence of a healthy diet is a healthy and productive metabolism. No matter what, products, or otherwise, your metabolism is what is responsible for expelling THC and its metabolites from the body. Therefore, a healthy diet is the best natural remedy for marijuana detox. Not only that, but a healthy diet includes lots of fiber, which is necessary for regular bowel movements, which, believe it or not, is responsible for the removal of 2/3s of the THC in the body. 


Marijuana Detox Products

a cannabis detox tea
Some users find that certain commercial teas are good for a weed detox.


There are some less natural ways to detox from marijuana with detox products, but their effectiveness is not universal. Anecdotal evidence suggests that whether the project works is a bit of a crap shoot. Still, some feel they are worth a try in a desperate situation. 


Detox Kits for Marijuana

There are several products out there that are meant to help speed up the detox process. Generally speaking, detox kits contain ingredients that claim to cause changes to the body. These may include: 

  • increasing the activity of enzymes, 
  • boosting the pH of urine, or 
  • breaking down chemical bonds in THC metabolites. 

Each of which helps to rid your system of THC faster. 

There are many brands of detox kits around today, and can mostly be found for sale online. 

However, detox kits can be very expensive, sometimes being several hundreds of dollars, and can make no guarantee that they work. That's not to say that they never work. But, the products themselves are unregulated, and a consumer would have no legal recourse if they do not have the marketed effect. 

Also, being unregulated, there isn't any oversight into what's actually in them. This can mean consumers ingest potentially dangerous substances as a result. Not to mention the fact that they may even be illegal to use at all, as their use may constitute 'cheating' a drug test. This can be a criminal offense in some states. The end result of this is that little research goes into detox kits or their health claims. 


Detox Drinks for Marijuana

Detox drinks are a little similar to detox kits. Yet, detox drinks claim to provide rapid cleansing, with THC being removed from the body the day of their use. Each brand may have a different set of ingredients, but they're all designed to immediately speed up your digestive system, metabolism, and need to urinate. 

Detox drinks for marijuana can cost anywhere from $15 to $60 per bottle. Like the detox kits, these drinks are not FDA approved for their intended use, nor are they regulated or guaranteed to work. 

However, some of them do appear to work as advertised, as evidenced by this Vice article

While the benefits of a working detox drink are the prompt removal of detectable THC from your system, many people report nausea, serious digestive problems, or discomfort following their consumption. After all, these drinks are meant to detox your system in an incredibly short period, and this will put an enormous amount of pressure on your metabolism. 

Like the detox kits, the use can also be illegal if they're meant to 'cheat' a drug test. Be sure to read up on your local laws regarding drug testing before using detox drinks.


Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay has long been used for its absorbent qualities. It can be used to absorb oils on the skin and has been prescribed as a laxative of sorts. As such, some people ingest bentonite clay to help spur digestion and absorb some of the THC, among other things, in the body. 

The FDA does not regulate bentonite clay. Given the fact that it's a natural product, the greatest risk involved is a contaminated product. In the past, there have been some problems with certain brands containing unsafe levels of lead. 


Conclusion

There are many reasons you'd want to detox from marijuana. Whether you have a drug test coming up or are just looking to cut back, it's a fairly common practice. Hopefully, this article was helpful for you, no matter your situation. 

It's also very important to remember that some states have employment protections for medical marijuana patients. If you don't have a medical marijuana card and think you may qualify for one, you can find out whether you qualify with a no-risk NuggMD consultation.

NuggMD has licensed and fully-certified medical marijuana doctors in Oklahoma, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Nevada and California. Our doctors are available from 8am to 10pm 7 days a week. No appointment necessary! And best of all, your consultation will take place entirely online from the comfort of your home.

So why wait? Get your medical marijuana card from NuggMD today!



Anthony Pellegrino

Anthony Pellegrino is a freelance journalist, writer, and content marketing strategist. He is currently studying to get his B.A. in philosophy at Fort Hays State University. He is a content creator for several marketing agencies, brands, and tech startups. His writing is focused on content marketing, technology, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, politics, career planning, and of course, cannabis. Academically, Anthony is focused on A.I., Consciousness, Social Sciences, and Philosophy.

Accessing Cannabis Has Never Been Easier

Get your medical marijuana card today!

Learn More

Click For $10 Off your first Nugg Club Box - $225+ value for $89