They come in different flavors, colors, and sizes, but marijuana detox drinks all have the same basic purposes: to enhance the body’s natural detox process; to dilute urine enough that THC metabolites are undetectable; and to restore the pH, color, minerals and vitamins lost in the dilution process to make the urine seem normal to testers.
For obvious reasons, the research on the efficacy of marijuana detox drinks is limited. In a 2015 Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics review of the literature surrounding the efficacy of detox diets and products including detox drinks, Professor A.V. Klein writes that “although the detox industry is booming, there is very little clinical evidence to support the use of these diets.” Moreover, the little evidence Klein discovered that support the efficacy of detox programs is “hampered by flawed methodologies and small sample sizes.”
On the other hand, there are many examples of anecdotal evidence suggesting that detox drinks work. If you read the reviews for these products, many customers claim to have received negative drug tests after consuming the drink. If you need to cleanse your body of THC in a short period of time, a detox drink may be worth your while.
The Process of Detoxification
Toxins are eliminated from the body through processes regulated by the excretory, digestive, pulmonary, and circulatory systems. The lungs send oxygen and accompanying substances into the blood, where they can then be filtered by the liver or kidneys. The liver uses oxygen and enzymes to process toxins. The kidneys filter out urea and other waste products (including THC if it has been consumed), from the blood. Urea and other waste products form the urine that is eventually eliminated from the body.
Detox drinks claim to use a combination of ingredients, quantity of fluids, and timing to amplify the functionality of these systems. Ingredients like creatinine, dietary fiber, thistle seed, inulin, echinacea, cranberry, caffeine, and vitamins A, C, D, B6, B12, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, chromium, folate, zinc, potassium, and sodium are selected in varying combinations to assist the liver and kidneys in removing THC or allowing it to remain hidden in fat stores. Detox drink brands keep the specific composition of their recipes secret, but it is likely that they use a combination of these or ingredients like these in order to assist in the body’s natural detoxification process.
Temporary detox drinks claim to eliminate a significant amount of THC from the body within 90 minutes and then block the detection of THC for a short window lasting about 5 hours. Once that window expires, THC will move back into the bloodstream, where it is again filtered into urine by the kidneys.
The Side Effects of Marijuana Detox Drinks
The little evidence that exists suggests that detox products do have some efficacy. In some cases, a negative test result may not be all you get. Here are a few factors to consider before using a detox.
Weird looking pee. Some detox products come in the not-so-subtle shade of highlighter yellow, and it’s likely that the subsequent urine will take on that tint. While these products may produce the desired results on the test, strangely colored pee is a tell-tale sign of intervention.
Tummy troubles. Marijuana detoxes are not the most well-regulated products on the market, so they don’t abide by a universal standard of safety. While it’s unlikely to experience an extreme adverse event, some consumers have reported stomach aches lasting up to an entire day after consumption.
Withdrawal-like symptoms. A requirement of all marijuana detox drinks is that the consumer abstains from THC for a short period of time. Depending on how frequently cannabis is typically consumed and on the reasons for consumption, this break from THC can result in insomnia, anxiety, headaches, irritability, decreased appetite, or depression. Of course, if a patient is consuming cannabis to relieve a specific discomfort that isn’t listed here, it’s likely that abstaining from weed entirely will increase the intensity of that discomfort.
Marijuana Detox Drinks Aren’t for You? Try These Natural Methods
There are a lot of reasons to detox your body of THC. Whether it’s in preparation for a drug test or to take a temporary break in order to decrease your THC tolerance, you may want to flush your system. If you have a couple of weeks, you can do that without purchasing an expensive drink or ingesting strange ingredients. Instead, you can amplify the body’s natural detox methods through these practices:
Abstain from weed. If you really want to flush your system of THC entirely, you will have to stop consuming cannabis. This is especially true given THC’s lengthy half-life. THC can be detected in the urine of heavy smokers for weeks after the last weed consumption, so consider abstaining for about a month prior to a drug test for best results.
Stay hydrated. While drinking excessive amounts of water won’t help and will also potentially tip off the drug tester that something is amiss. However, staying hydrated optimizes the functionality of all of the body’s natural processes, including the metabolism and elimination of THC.
Eat a low carb diet. THC is a liphophilic compound, so it stores itself in fat. A low carb diet forces the body to burn fat instead of glucose, and that may facilitate a more rapid elimination of THC.
Exercise. Activities that burn fat may help remove THC from the body since fat is where THC is stored. Exercise speeds up the body’s metabolism, and that process is essential for the removal of THC. The flip side to this method is that burning fat removes THC metabolites from fat cells but returns them to the blood. That means that, if tested at the wrong time, exercise may increase the likelihood of THC detection.
These suggestions are not meant to remove THC in a few hours or even overnight. For a negative drug test, your safest option is to abstain from THC for up to a month.