Like it or not, marijuana drug testing myths circulate through the industry’s culture. When it comes to applying for and maintaining a job, receiving financial support through government programs, or checking in through probation, drug screening programs are relevant. There are between 45 and 50 million drug tests given per year in the U.S. alone. These tests, which look for all kinds of drug use, vary in method. There's urine, saliva, hair follicle, and blood tests – each with different levels of expense, accuracy, and ease. There are as many rumors about recreational narcotic tests as there are kinds. Whether you’re quitting weed temporarily or detoxing from dabs, keep calm and watch out for these five marijuana drug testing myths.
Marijuana Drug Testing Myths
No. 1: You Can Pass a Test by Drinking a Lot of Water
Drinking loads of water before a test has some perks; sure, it will help to dilute the urine, which will in turn maybe make the THC less detectable, though most likely won't result with a surefire pass. It increases the chances of flushing the system of its cannabinoids, which is usually considered a step in the right direction.
This possibility of depleting the THC, however, comes at a risk. The marijuana drug test will also be looking at creatine levels, as they are essential to the digestion process – it helps to convert food into energy as a chemical waste. Here's the problem: When you dilute urine, you also dilute creatine. When these levels are low, it's a sign that something is up. Employers will most likely take a deeper look into the results with that red flag flying.
No. 2: All Weed Stays in Your System for a Certain Amount of Time
This marijuana drug testing myth has two parts: A) All marijuana stays in the body for the same amount of time, and B) Cannabis stays in your body for 30 days after you quit. Both statements, however convenient they would be, are false.
Not all weed is created equal. Because of this, in conjunction with the amount of use, different strains range in how long traces of THC can be found in the body. If you have less potent weed, it probably won't take as long for it to get all out of your system. There's no one-size-fits-all mantra for figuring out how many days until weed stops showing up on tests.
There is no set amount of time that weed stays in your system, because there are so many factors at play. Besides variation in individual biology – including body fat, metabolism, and chemistry – other things like frequency of smoking, how often, what kinds, and how you ingest your marijuana all matter and affect how long it sticks around inside your body.
No. 3: Messing with Your Hair Will Alter the Results of a Drug Test
This marijuana drug test myth is geared toward hair follicle tests; many people believe that altering your hair will sway the results in their favor. While the results of shaving or cosmetically altering your hair will have a temporary impact, you won't find a permanent solution.
Here's the deal: Even if you shave your head, hair grows on other parts of your body and the results will still be valid if the DNA comes from your arm. Even if you were to shave your entire body – from leg hair to mustaches to knuckle stragglers – there are other tests available, that deal with things you can't eliminate, like saliva, urine, or blood. Also, you'd look highly suspicious to your employer, especially if you massacred your bushy brows on test day.
For cosmetic treatments, like bleaching or stripping your hair, there's a chance that you will reduce the THC level found in a sample. At the same time, this treatment is known to leave the hair more porous, making it easier to detect residue the next time around.
No. 4: You Can Fail a Drug Test from Second-hand Smoke
Under normal circumstances, it's nearly impossible to inhale enough second-hand smoke to fail a marijuana drug test, let alone get high. Passing through a cloud or being in the same room as someone lighting up isn't enough to get THC in your system. If you are passive while other people are smoking, you’re safe.
The only way to get high from second-hand smoke is to really, really hotbox yourself and others who are smoking. To validate one of these marijuana drug test myths, we're talking about an extreme all-smoke session: A 2015 study led researchers to conclude that it would take several hours of filling the lungs with smoke – an excessive amount, with zero ventilation – for a person to test positive for THC. Fear not: This rare success story resulted in way under the 50-nanogram limit that most employers have and would not likely result in major consequences.
Does this mean you should go around hotboxing? No, probably not.
No. 5: Heavy Exercise Will Ensure a Passing Result
If you are going to work out, be sure and do it for yourself – exercising to pass a test won't get the results you want. For novice, every-now-and-then smokers, the strenuous exercise trick might be helpful if you've got plenty of time and the dedication to burn some constant calories.
For marijuana lovers who smoke on a regular or daily basis, however, heavy exercise will not work. A short-term plan, despite being helpful to the body overall, won't make a huge dent in your pass-ability. Depending on the amount of weed consumed, a month to prepare – with lots of sweating and rushing endorphins – might help to shave off some traces of cannabis in the body but won't change results from positive to negative.
Go forth and train – with push-ups, crunches, and plenty of cardio – but don't expect to decrease what's flowing through your body.
And when you're done with your weed detox, look to Leafbuyer to find the best deals on cannabis near you – as long as there aren't any more tests in your near future.