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Does Activated Charcoal Help Pass a Drug Test?

Over the past couple of years, activated charcoal has gained a lot of popularity. It is being considered as a powerful detoxifying ingredient that is increasingly being used in a wide range of products including toothpastes, detox drinks, face masks, etc. Activated charcoal has gained immense popularity for being a potential remedy to pass a drug test. But before we get into how it helps with drug tests, let's understand what exactly activated charcoal is and how does it work.

  1. What Is Activated Charcoal?
  2. How Does It Work?
  3. What Is Enterohepatic Circulation?
  4. Does Activated Charcoal Clean Your System from THC Metabolites?
  5. How to Use Activated Charcoal to Pass the Drug Test
  6. When Does the Activated Charcoal Work and When Not?

activated charcoal

What Is Activated Charcoal?

It is a charcoal, which has been physically and chemicals activated to ameliorate its absorption properties. Activated charcoal contains a increased concentration of microporosity, therefore even a gram of activated charcoal tends to hold 3,000 m2 of surface area.

The high rate of absorption present in the product is the prominent reason why this ingredient is being increasingly used in detox products.

How Does It Work?

When you use activated charcoal for medical reasons, it efficiently absorbs the toxins from the body, especially from the gastrointestinal tract and helps in keeping the bloodstream clean. In order to remove the THC metabolites out of the system, activated charcoal needs to be orally consumed where it passes through the gastrointestinal tract and excreted from the body in the way of stool. Having said that, in order to get the desired result, the THC metabolites must be present  your stomach, where they should bind together with the charcoal.

And contrary to what many people believe, THC does get back into the gastrointestinal tract after being completely absorbed into the bloodstream. When THC is distilled into your system, it forms a continuous cycle where the compound travels from the blood system to intestines and then again to your blood system in a movement known as enterohepatic circulation.

What Is Enterohepatic Circulation?

Enterohepatic circulation is a cycle in which substances such as bilirubin, bile acids and drug metabolites pass through the liver into the gallbladder and then into the intestine. Subsequently, these substances are re-absorbed into your blood system and transported back to the liver.

When you consume cannabis in edible form, a majority of THC (around 95%) goes through your stomach and intestines, then into your bloodstream, finally makingits way into the liver. When you smoke, the THC is distilled into the blood system via the lungs and lining of your mouth.

Once mixed with your blood, the THC is transferred to your liver where it is converted into 11-hydroxy-THC and eventually into THC-COOH. The liver then combines a glucuronide molecule with the THC-COOH and forms THC-COOH-glucuronide. This is done to remove the component from the body in the form of urine. However, a certain portion of the THC-COOH-glucuronide is entered into the bile as well, which may appear in the drug test.

Does Activated Charcoal Clean Your System from THC Metabolites?

Yes, it does. In order to get an answer to this question, several studies were conducted. In one laboratory experiment that researchers conducted to identify how efficient is activated charcoal in binding with THC metabolites, it was found that 5 mg of activated charcoal can adsorb or bind as much as 1,000 ng/mL of THC-COOH. This experiment has confirmed that activated charcoal can alter the results of urine drug test, and therefore it can be used to pass it.

In another study with volunteers smoking marijuana and taking activated charcoal before and after smoking in the total dose of 30 grams, the observation of researchers was as follows:

  • After 24-hours of smoking weed, the level of THC-COOH present in the system of those who took activated charcoal was lowered by 45% as compared to those who did not take it.
  • In 24 hours, the level of THC-COOH-glucuronide in the urine of activated charcoal users was entirely undetectable.

The study indicated that activated charcoal was able to absorb a significant portion of THC metabolites and clear it out from the body with urine and feces.

How to Use Activated Charcoal to Pass the Drug Test

There are certain things you should consider while using activated charcoal as a remedy to clear out THC from your body. Following are some key considerations:

  • Avoid taking any kind of medication when you are taking activated charcoal. This is because you want to clear your system from the maximum amount of drug metabolites and you don't want to add to the effort by consuming more drugs.
  • For at least 2 days before a drug test, start taking 10 grams of an activated charcoal with plenty of water two hours before your meals. The total of 30 grams of charcoal pills needs to be taken in a day. Foods must be fiber-enriched.
  • Test your urine regularly with the home drug test to check the level of THC in your system.
  • On the day you have to take the drug test, continue to take the charcoal pills with a lot of water. You can also use marijuana detox drinks to increase urination and help your body to get rid of THC

When Does the Activated Charcoal Work and When Not?

There is no definite way of suggesting how long it will take to detoxify your system through the use of activated charcoal. It depends on the person to person and the kind and amount of drug they have ingested. Additionally, you should know that these pills only work with toxins that are present in the enterohepatic cycle and will not work for the THC that is stored in the fat cells. This means that it will work better for those who eat cannabis edibles than for those who smoke weed.

Furthermore, the metabolism rate of people determines the number of metabolites that can be released from lipids and transferred into the bloodstream from where it will be excreted out from the body. So if your metabolism is high, then you will be able to release more THC molecules and the process of detoxification will not take long.

If your drug test is within 1 or 2 weeks, then you can use charcoal pills along with high-fiber foods and plenty of exercises in order to remove the toxins from your body and easily pass the test. If, however, you have a drug test in 1-2 days, this method seems to be very risky. You should try extra strong marijuana detox kit in this case, which provides fast results.