These days, more and more companies may ask their employees to undergo a urine test in order to screen for marijuana use. Therefore, the question “How long does THC stay in urine?” is more than appropriate nowadays. But there is no one accurate answer; it depends on a number of factors.
Even the legalization of marijuana in some of the states did not really change the situation. Drug tests are still a reality for many Americans who apply for a new job. Moreover, if you already have a job, your current employer may also decide to test you randomly.
Most companies ask third-party drug-testing labs to perform all the planned and off-schedule drug tests. If there is a planned test, you may prepare yourself and avoid using marijuana for a certain period of time before the test. To “fool” the unexpected test is almost impossible, though you may use the piece of advice at the end of our article.
Among all the chemical compounds in marijuana, it is only the THC that is responsible for the high effect. After THC goes through the liver, it turns into a bit different chemical called THC-COOH. The urine test for drugs measures not the THC level in your urine but this THC-COOH, as it stays in the human body for quite a long time.
Most companies require the cutoff level for THC-COOH to be 50 ng/ml, though some others can be even stricter and demand the cutoff level to be 20 ng/ml.
It is indeed very difficult to say for how long your urine sample would test positive for marijuana use. First of all, it really depends a lot on your own unique metabolism properties. Generally, THC-COOH stays longer in a body of an office worker who has a sedentary way of life than in a body of an athletic person who works out every other day.
But even if we take an average person, marijuana traces can stay in the body for different periods of time depending on how often the person consumes cannabis.
According to the National Drug Court Institute, occasional users or those who tried marijuana for the first time, can pass the urine test for drugs already on the fourth day after consuming cannabis. Here we are talking about the standard 50 ng/ml threshold. If there is a test with the cutoff level of 20 ng/ml, the person would have to wait for about two days more.
When it comes to a frequent marijuana user, they can expect to test positive for a bit more than a week after the last use. According to the NDCI, in average, ten days is enough to pass the 50 ng/ml threshold.
At the same time, the period of THC-COOH staying in the body of a heavy marijuana user is much longer, and it can still reveal itself in a month after the last use. In some extreme cases, this period can be as long as two months, as it was found during one of the studies on the issue.
The most popular way of solving the problem are urine cleansers, which are widely available on the market. However, the most popular does not mean the most effective. There are a lot of reasons to be skeptical about their efficiency.
Probably, it is better to combine a cleanser with drinking a lot of water. Water is a natural trigger that pushes your metabolism to work harder, plus it can also dilute all the chemical elements in your urine. The excessive amount of liquid may not make THC-COOH disappear, but it can ruin the sample. That, in its turn, can give your some extra time to get clean before the retest.
If there is a planned drug test, you should prepare in advance. Preferably, you should follow a healthy diet and avoid using marijuana for at least a month before The Day, but people usually have maximum a week to find out what to do. Well, drink lots of water, tea, and lemon juice; no alcohol (it slows down your metabolic process) and junk food; do some cardio exercises (swimming or running); take urine cleansers for making you body metabolize THC faster. You can also use a home drug test kit to know whether your urine sample is clean.