Marijuana is an unquestionably polarizing substance and a deeply political issue that has occupied virtually every aspect of American culture, including the household, the classroom and the workplace. While it may be less harmful than other illicit substances like heroin, cocaine, pure methamphetamine and, frankly speaking, legally available ones like prescription opioids and benzodiazepines, marijuana still poses considerable risk to users’ health and quality of life.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention reports that 10 percent of marijuana users develop tolerance and dependency. For people who begin using before the age of 18, that number rises to one in six. The agency also reports that marijuana abuse heightens the risk of cognitive impairment and decreased attention span.
Nevertheless, usage has increased considerably among practically every portion of the population. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that over 43 percent of 12th graders, over half of all adults 18 to 25, and more than 47 percent of adults 26 and older use the drug. Many of these users, specifically those who use the drug on a more frequent basis, experience professional setbacks due to their inability to pass initial and ongoing drug screenings within their organization.
Research from Statistic Brain Corporation indicates that 56 percent of all workplaces require pre-employment drug screening, and many more require periodic screenings beyond the initial employment and orientation period. These regulations create potentially serious consequences, including job loss, suspension and legal prosecution.
Common sense compels us to admit that there is a sizable group of American workers that regularly use marijuana in medicinal and social contexts who continue to be effective in their jobs; however, the fact remains that most organizations frown on, or expressly forbid, the use of the drug without express written consent from a physician for a medical issue.
While the most effective and only truly guaranteed way to pass a drug test for marijuana is through abstinence, some researchers suggest that there are certain factors that can inhibit detection and/or expedite removal from the system in a convenient timeline or testing.
The Role of THC in Marijuana’s Effects
There are many different strains of marijuana, the primary variable of which is a substance called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the active ingredient in marijuana that facilitates the desired feelings of relaxation commonly associated with the drug. Use of marijuana immediately releases THC into the bloodstream and into the brain’s receptors. Each user responds differently to marijuana because their neurons process THC in their own way.
Ultimately, however, the lingering THC can remain in the system for several days after. For frequent and persistent marijuana users, THC can remain in the system for as long as two weeks. Identifying the timeline of marijuana consumption versus deadline for drug screening can be critical in avoiding detection.
Removing THC From the System
Many marijuana researchers assert that there are multiple variables that can help expedite the removal of THC from the system to help you pass your employer-mandated drug screening.
Variables that can help expedite the removal of THC include but not limited to:
- Hydration – Ample and abundant amounts of liquid can help cells metabolize and absorb THC. Some researchers suggest two liters per day to boost metabolism. Water is the ideal liquid of choice, as other liquids containing high amounts of sugar and artificial sweetener can block metabolism and slow the processing of THC. This also includes coffee, soda and sports drinks. However, cranberry and lemon juices are reported to be helpful and effective.
- Proper Nutrition – As is the case with sugary and artificially sweetened soft drinks, junk food rich in sugar, salt and fat are counterproductive to the expedited removal of THC from the system. Users should refrain from dairy, red meat and less healthy carbohydrates. It is suggested that a diet rich in fiber, nutrients and lean proteins will help the liver and digestive system expel the toxins from the system, including THC, and other unwanted residual substances. Examples of ideal food to aid in this process include green vegetables, fresh garlic, legumes, lean chicken, chili peppers, vinegar, mustard and turmeric. Apples, grapes and berries are also helpful, as is porridge, oatmeal and pomegranates. Eating five or six small meals a day rather than the traditional three-meal-per-day routine is advised.
- Proper Fitness – Working for 20-30 minutes can help speed metabolism and more quickly expel THC through waste and other means. The best forms of exercise include anything that boosts cardiovascular activity, including running, jogging, fast walking and more. Yoga, tai chi, swimming or a simple concentrated period of continuous movement will also suffice.
It’s important to realize that these are not guaranteed to remove THC from your body in the timeline needed to pass a drug test for work. Users should obviously refrain from consuming marijuana during this period, as well as any other illicit or employer-prohibited drugs.
Beyond the Drug Test: Getting Help for Your Marijuana Abuse
Even if you manage to pass your employer-mandated or court-appointed drug test for marijuana, it’s imperative that you evaluate the role that the drug has played in your life, and have an honest look at what it has cost you.
In addition to the singular and isolated health effects of marijuana, the drug commonly leads to the development of other types of substance use disorder (SUD), including opioids, benzos, cocaine and crystal meth.
There are multiple treatment programs for marijuana abuse that address the root causes and ramifications of your use. These programs include detox, rehab and ongoing outreach to help you stay clean.
Is It Worth It? Why You Should Avoid Marijuana
On one hand, the effects of marijuana have been exaggerated and politicized in ways that other legal yet far-more-fatal substances like nicotine and alcohol never have. On the other, it does pose significant and quality-of-life issues when consumed in excess and should be treated like the mind-altering substances that it is. Couple this with the logistical, legal and economic hassle that comes from having to maneuver within a society that continues to reject its legality, and the need to stay away from marijuana becomes more and more apparent.
There are a variety of methods to help you kick marijuana for good. Get the help you need today.