With the rise of medical cannabis in Australia, there has been an unfortunate rise in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) detox products.
There are various detox remedy formulas, including capsules, chewable tablets, drinks, and mouthwashes, all claiming to flush THC from your body. Searching the web for ‘THC detox’ will also reveal various natural or at-home detox methods like teas and exercise.
None of these quick-fix detoxes is proven to do the job they set out to, causing problems for patients, especially those undergoing a drug test.
Is a THC Detox Dangerous?
There are a few types of THC detoxes. First, a T-break, or tolerance break, is when patients take a break from using their prescribed cannabis to reset their sensitivity.
These kinds of short detoxes from cannabis are safe. But some patients may wish to consult with a doctor to create a plan for their T-Break, including arranging alternative ways to manage symptoms.
On the other hand, THC detox products have not been adequately tested here in Australia or elsewhere, and they are not approved by doctors and could come with adverse side effects.
Yet, many people turn to these products when undergoing a drug test. This is problematic because THC detox products are not scientifically proven effective at removing cannabis from the system. Plus, they can lead to a suspicious or unacceptable urine sample.
As Dr Adie Rae, a neuroscientist at the Legacy Research Institute in Portland, Oregon, explained, “When it comes to passing a drug screen, 'detox drinks' don't actually remove THC from the body or urine. Instead, they trick the laboratory test by artificially loading the urine sample with vitamins and proteins like creatinine.”
Other products or detoxification methods claim to lower THC levels through their diuretic properties. With increased urination, the kidneys are technically washed out, removing the THC from urine. But this, too, is not without risk.
As Nicolas Rossetti, manager of clinical services at occupational health centre Mobile Health, explained to Healthline, “This flushing of the kidneys can lower the specific gravity or density of the urine and a low specific gravity indicates contamination on the test, and the specimen could be discounted.”
Producing a suspicious or unacceptable test result will mean you have to retake the test, and the same result may occur. In short, there is no magic way to get THC out of your system in just a few days.
Do You Need to Detox from THC for a Drug Test?
All of this presents a problem: If you are a medical cannabis patient facing a drug test, how do you pass the test?
Since the Australian government authorised medical cannabis for patients under specific circumstances, there are only a few reasons you would face a drug test. One example is randomised roadside drug testing.
It is illegal to drive in Australia with any amount of THC in your system. The only way to avoid fines or loss of licence is to refrain from driving while using medical cannabis.
Additionally, employee drug tests are conducted in some fields, like mining and heavy construction. Unfortunately, employer drug policies haven’t evolved alongside Australia’s medical cannabis laws. Some companies still have a zero-tolerance policy with no lee-way for medical usage.
As a medical cannabis patient, this is an issue. In some cases, employees are able to discuss this with their company in an open manner. We can help with supportive documentation, like your script and a treatment letter.
But, in other cases, patients have to choose between their medication and their job.
If you need to clear a drug test as a medical cannabis patient, the only way to reliably do so is to abstain from using THC altogether. How long medical cannabis stays in your system depends on many factors, including your metabolism, the dose you regularly take, lifestyle factors, and the amount of body fat you have.
If you are a patient using a cannabidiol (CBD) product with no THC present, this is not a concern. CBD is non-intoxicating, and drug tests do not look for CBD in urine.
Try a T-Break, not a THC Detox.
Whether you’re planning a T-break, need to pass a drug test, or are looking for a way to detox THC completely, it is essential to speak to your doctor before making changes to your dose or using unregulated detox products or methods.