Being able to rid your body of the cannabinoids and toxins caused by marijuana is something that appeals to many people. There are a number of reasons that people use marijuana from the recreational to the medical. People choose to detox from marijuana for a number of different reasons, often because their work dictates that they will need a drugs test. This is often true of sporting professionals. Other times it can be health reasons, before trying for a baby for instance. In this article, we are going to look at what a marijuana detox really is and how to go about it.
What is a marijuana detox?
A marijuana detox is when an individual chooses to actively rid their body of any signs of their marijuana use. When you smoke or consume any form of cannabis or marijuana, it leaves metabolites (or chemical remnants) in your body. The metabolites are called cannabinoids and form the active ingredients in cannabis. After marijuana use, these chemical remnants can be detected in your blood, urine, saliva, hair and fingernails.
Nowadays there is a lot of controversy surrounding marijuana use. Medical marijuana is being used more frequently and is legal in some countries, for instance in some states of America. Some people also believe that because marijuana is plant-based that it is safe. Despite the increase in the use of medical marijuana and a high use of recreational cannabis use all over the world, marijuana has many negative connotations. In certain professions, people have to take a regular drugs test. Even a trace of cannabinoids in the blood could have a severe impact on someone’s career. For this reason, many people who use cannabis for medical reasons have opted for synthetic marijuana, assuming it to be safer. In reality, it is also high in THC and comes with some severe (and potentially terminal) side effects.
In some cases people worry that excessive long-term use of marijuana could cause a build up of cannabinoids in the system, leading to health problems. These people may use the detox as a way of giving their body a break from marijuana use before going back to it. Other people want to stop completely and use the detox as a good way to start afresh. Although marijuana is not known to be addictive, some users are convinced that it is. In these cases, it can be useful to detox in order to come off the drug.
Marijuana detox before pregnancy
If a couple are trying for a baby then they should definitely rid both of their bodies of marijuana before attempting to conceive. Although research into this matter is still in its infancy, there is evidence to show the negative impact that cannabis use can have on a developing baby. One study showed that cannabis use had a negative impact on how nerve cells that connected the cerebral cortex were formed.
Even if you stop smoking cannabis before getting pregnant, the cannabinoids will stay in your blood and could have a negative effect on the baby’s development. It is not just the mother that needs to be aware of her cannabis consumption. Men that are hoping to conceive should also stop smoking marijuana. As well as the problems with low libido and impotence, the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) can also cause infertility. Scientists at Buffalo University discovered that men who smoked marijuana has a significantly lower sperm count and less seminal fluid than those who didn’t touch it. The study showed that THC affected the way that sperm swam, as well as damaging the sperm making it difficult for it to attach to an egg.
Marijuana detox benefits
Aside from the benefits of being able to hold down your job or continue with your sporting aspirations, detoxing from marijuana can also bring a host of welcome changes to your health.
Stopping marijuana use can bring a few side effects with it. Including:
- problems sleeping
Letting the cannabinoids leave your system naturally can be a slow and sometimes difficult process. By encouraging them to leave quickly, you will experience the side-effects for a much shorter amount of time.
The following benefits are common after stopping marijuana:
- Improved breathing function (not only does stopping smoking marijuana limit your risk of developing respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis, emphysema and even lung cancer, improved lung function will also give you more energy and stamina).
Improved sleep (marijuana users report of dreamless sleep and restless nights. This is because the THC (the active ingredient in cannabis) interferes with your REM cycle).
- Improved cognitive ability (research has shown that cannabis users have an impaired memory and that the drug use affects their ability to learn. After coming off marijuana these skills usually return).
Improved mood (When marijuana users are high they tend to be lethargic and slow, although this may feel pleasurable it can have a negative impact on those around them. When they are not high they may experience a feeling of stress and anxiety. This can play havoc with your adrenal system and heart. Stopping cannabis use will eventually mean that your moods become more balanced).
- Improved sexual function (Marijuana use can lower someone’s libido, as well as causing impotence and infertility).
How does a marijuana detox work?
Our bodies are built to remove toxins from our bodies. Our liver is great at the job and our kidneys and skin play an important role too. We are constantly removing toxins from our bodies via our urine, sweat and even breath. There is some debate about whether detox programmes are actually beneficial. Is it better to let our body do its thing naturally?
Unfortunately, there is no real way of knowing how long THC and other cannabinoids will stay in your system for. It all depends on the individual’s metabolism and the level of marijuana use. According to the National Drug Court Institute, all traces of marijuana can leave the system after just 4 days for occasional users, with it sometimes taking up to 67 days in extreme cases. THC stays stored in your fat reserves which is one of the reasons that it takes so long to be eliminated from your body.
The fact of the matter is that using specific products or ingredients to remove toxins from your body is a concept that was designed by businesses looking to exploit people’s sense of vulnerability. Detoxifying products are readily available in everything from cosmetics to health foods to sports drinks. The one thing that they all have in common is the claims they make. In reality, if our bodies were unable to remove toxins we would all be seriously unwell or dead.
The best way to detox your body of certain drugs, alcohol or a poor diet is to stop doing the drugs, drinking or making bad food choices.
How do I do a marijuana detox?
Like any sort of detox product, there are plenty of companies out there who claim that their product is worth every penny. In the case of the marijuana detox, the products are usually online.
There are sources that will tell you to exercise, as cannabinoids are stored in fat cells. In theory, this makes sense as we all know that exercise can cause fat cells to shrink. However, as we can’t eliminate every fat cell from our body (and we rely on these cells to live) it is impossible to get rid of every trace of marijuana through exercise alone. The cannabinoids need to be released from the fat cells into our bloodstream before we can get rid of them. Exercising is a good way of getting metabolites from your fat cells into your bloodstream, but they need to be eliminated from your blood too. Of course, exercise helps us sweat more and sweating helps us to rid our bodies of toxins. However, there is no evidence to support the idea that all cannabinoids could be removed from the body through sweating alone.
A diet that is high in fibre is a good way to ensure that your system is flushing out as many toxins as possible. The same can be said for drinking water. In fact, avoiding processed foods and food products that are high in chemicals will prevent your body from becoming overloaded with other toxins. The truth remains that no matter how much much effort you put into drinking water, eating plenty of fibre-rich foods, avoiding junk food and staying away from other toxins, your body can only metabolise toxins at a certain rate. You can support your body as it eliminates cannabinoids from your body but expecting a speedy and magical solution is unrealistic.
Marijuana detox at home
There are plenty of products out there, including gum that reportedly ensures you pass a saliva test and detox shampoo that is meant to help with the hair test. There are plenty of options in the field of detox drinks including 5-day and 7-day options. There is even a single shot miracle drink that claims to give you a 4-5 hour window for a clean drug test result after just one hour of drinking it. These products tend to come with a hefty price tag but those who state the benefits are keen to reinforce that it is a mere fraction compared to the cost of losing a job through a failed drugs test. The majority of these products work on masking the evidence of THC in your system, rather than removing it completely. According to reviews on amazon, these products have not worked in many cases. It is also worth noting that if the colour of your urine is completely clear that it is likely that you will be asked to take it again, meaning all of the money spent on products is wasted.
What’s the real story?
There are certain things you can do that will support your body as you are detoxing from marijuana, they include:
- drinking plenty of water (a minimum of 2 litres a day)
exercising (to encourage metabolites to move from fat cells into the bloodstream and encourage sweating)
- eating a high fibre diet
- avoiding processed foods (as well as adding to the toxins in your body these foods take more energy to metabolise, this energy could be put to better use eliminating toxins from your body)
- try niacin or Vitamin B3 supplements (known to cause blood capillaries to dilate which could, in theory, mean that more toxins are eliminated)
- stop drinking and smoking tobacco (or at least limit them dramatically) the idea is to limit the amount of other toxins that your body has to process
It is crucial that you don’t rely on any of these methods. If you are required to pass a urine drug test for your professional role and/or sporting role, then it might be worth taking the time to consider why you need to be clean and if detoxing purely for one test is the answer. In this situation, you may like to consider coming off marijuana completely. There is no solid rule that will guarantee that a marijuana detox really works. You would be better off coming clean to your employee and explaining that you have used marijuana in the past but are coming off it and would like to be tested in three months time.
If you are hoping to conceive then it is advisable to stop smoking marijuana for at
least 3 months prior to any attempt at conception. If you anticipate that it will be difficult to stop, then you may like to allow a little more time.
If you want to do a marijuana detox for health reasons, then there is no need to rush the process. Investing in expensive “miracle” potions or knocking back herbal concoctions may make you more likely to quit as the process feels like hard work. Look after your body and support it to naturally eliminate the toxins from your body.
All in all, trying to rush our body to do something that it will do naturally in its own time is never a good idea. Healthy lifestyle changes can be very useful in seeing your through any transition but anything that claims to eliminate toxins from your body in a matter of days is not only dishonest but could also be potentially dangerous. When it comes to any sort of detox, your organs are far more effective than anything that you can buy.