Where does this widespread belief among cannabis users come from?
In many countries around the world, it is now lawfully permitted to use cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes.
In various contexts, however, such as sporting competitions or admission tests for certain professions, the detection of cannabis in blood or urine tests continues to be a problem. At the competitive level, for instance, the use of marijuana is considered doping for all intents and purposes.
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In this article, I discuss the timing of THC’s relevance in the body, how the body’s metabolite disposal works, and the basis – reliable or not – for the belief that zinc can somehow intervene in this mechanism.
How long is THC detectable in the body?
There is no answer to this question. Or at least not one that is always valid. The length of time for which traces of THC can be detected depends on two factors: the frequency with which it is taken, and the type of test one undergoes.
There are, in fact, several types: saliva and urine tests and blood and hair tests. Let’s look at the details of each type below.
1. Salivary test
By carrying out this type of test, THC is detectable for:
- 1-3 days in occasional smokers;
- up to 29 days in chronic smokers.
2. Urine test
This is by far the most common and keeps track of cannabis use for:
- 3 gg in occasional smokers (1 to 3 times a week);
- 5-7 g in moderate smokers (4-5 times a week);
- 10-15 g in chronic smokers (once a day);
- more than 30 gg in chronic heavy smokers (several times a day every day).
3. Blood tests
This analysis is little used because it is considerably more expensive than the others.
Usually, THC is detectable for 1-2 days after the last intake, but some say it is detected even after 25 days. But, again, much depends on the frequency of the intake episodes.
4. Hair analysis
These analyses are the most accurate and, therefore, the most feared by those who use marijuana, however sporadically.
To carry out the hair analysis, a few strands are taken from different places on the head, and, through some tests, traces of cannabis dating back up to four months can be detected.
In short, it is difficult for anyone who has used it to overcome it.
In the past, some have tried everything to escape it and, therefore, thought of shaving their hair completely. But it was to no avail. So in this eventuality, pubic or axillary hair would be taken, which, growing much slower than hair, would worsen the situation.
Reading on the web, however, techniques are flourishing that would seem to be able to speed up the disposal of THC.
How does the elimination of THC from the body work?
As you read above, the length of time that THC is detectable in the body depends on several factors, and so does its elimination.
The main factor that can shorten or lengthen the time it takes to eliminate THC is metabolism, which, as you know, does not work the same for everyone. Obviously, the greater the amount is taken, the longer the elimination time will be. Furthermore, as I mentioned earlier, the type of test and its sensitivity also play an essential role.
According to many, tricks such as taking saunas, drinking draining drinks and practising sport regularly speed up the process of getting rid of THC residues.
Let’s take a closer look at them.
- Taking a sauna. Sweating seems to be very helpful in eliminating metabolites and toxins.
- Drinking draining herbal tea. Those who choose this method report that they drink it at least once a day to expel, among other things, residual THC.
- Water also has the power to eliminate toxic waste from the body. It seems dilutes the urine, making traces of THC less detectable.
- Physical activity. According to many theories that can be read on the web, going for a jog or perhaps a nice bike ride once a day awakens the metabolism and induces sweating, both of which are essential for flushing THC out of the body.
- Take activated charcoal. Also known as charcoal, this supplement is widely used to eliminate abdominal bloating and detoxify the body.
Beware, however, that it may hinder the absorption of the active ingredients of any medications taken concomitantly.
Among the recommended remedies for eliminating THC is also the intake of zinc. However, according to many, this supplement could alter the results of urine analyses. But what do we know about this?
Does zinc eliminate THC?
The theory that zinc can produce a false negative in urine test results is widespread. But is there any evidence for this?
Yes, there is. In 2011, the Journal of Analytical Toxicology conducted a study that confirmed the hypothesis.
The research found that zinc is capable of concealing traces of the metabolites of various drugs, including THC.
Researchers have shown that mixing urine that tested positive in drug tests with a zinc sulphate solution and then repeating the tests produced negative results.
But could the same result be expected if zinc was taken orally?
In a later phase of the study, it was discovered that zinc could mask the presence of metabolites, even if ingested and not only if added to urine just before testing.
According to the findings, it seems possible to falsify the test result by supplementing a specific dose of zinc – directly proportional to the amount of THC taken. The intake, however, seems to have to occur between 12 and 18 hours before the sample was taken.
In short, the theory is now scientifically confirmed, although it seems that calculating the right amount to take to obtain a false negative remains rather complicated.
In conclusion, does zinc help remove THC from the body?
Learning about a drug test out of the blue can be worrying. However, even if your country allows you to take it, there are many contexts in which a drug test may be required, and, in this case, you should arrive prepared.
The permanence of THC in the body depends on several factors, such as the amount of THC taken, the speed of metabolism and the type of test you undergo.
But are there substances that can alter the concentration of THC in the urine?
Definitely yes. And among the various techniques, one can read about on the Internet, taking zinc is scientifically proven. Taking this supplement, in fact, significantly reduces the visibility of metabolites, even producing false-negative results.
However, calculating the right amount of zinc to take seems to be very difficult.
To answer the initial question, we must point out that zinc does not help remove THC from the body. Instead, it simply masks the metabolites during urine analysis.
To be more explicit, even if you get a false negative, further tests, such as blood or hair, would come back positive, revealing the presence of THC.
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