Well, that was stupid.
December 10, 2012 1:28 PM   Subscribe

I smoked weed on Saturday. Drug test on Wednesday. Will I fail?

I've seen the other questions about this but they all involved regular users. I've smoked four times in my life with over a year in between each time. This weekend I was stupid and decided smoking 1/2 of a joint the same day I put in some job applications was a good idea. Now I have an interview for my dream job. I know if I'm offered the job I'll have to do the test the same day. Did I screw up here or is there a chance it won't show up?

I regularly drink a lot of coffee and water. I'm pretty sure it's a pee test. Does this matter at all?

Thank you.
posted by biochemist to Work & Money (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
From about.com:

"Most researchers agree that urine tests for marijuana can detect the presence of the drug in the body for up to 13 days."

The same page also lists several ways to try to fool the test. The only really viable looking one is:

"Washing Yourself Out - This entails drinking a lot of water or liquids and urinating several times before the test, then taking vitamin B-2 to add color back to the urine. Although this may lower the percentage of THC found in the urine by diluting it, it will not totally eliminate THC metabolites."
posted by ethidda at 1:32 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Buy a test from your local big-box drug store and put your mind at ease.
Drink a lot of water that day, take a multivitamin and maybe some creatine for a few days before, and relax.
posted by slartibartfast at 1:34 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Drink a lot of water that day...

Careful, this can make the sample come out as dilute, which will make it useless. Some places let you take it over again the next day, some places have a zero-tolerance policy for the sample turning up 'dilute' because, most of the time, it is pretty obvious what just happened.
posted by griphus at 1:36 PM on December 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

You will probably test positive if you have to take the test on Wednesday.

Are they really likely to offer you the job on the same day as an initial interview, though? I would imagine there would be a lag time of at least a few days between interview and offer. Stay well hydrated and think up some good excuses for why you have to go out of town for a long weekend immediately following your interview. I think you will probably be fine if you can delay it a week or so.
posted by something something at 1:39 PM on December 10, 2012

Response by poster: I've actually never been offered a job when I was told they'd call me back. All of them were hired on the spot and 24 hours to take the test. Maybe I'll get lucky and they'll have a multiple-interview process.
posted by biochemist at 1:42 PM on December 10, 2012

Unless you know for a fact that these guys make job offers on the spot, I wouldn't assume they do. Every “career” job I've gone for has let me squirm for a while before telling me yes or no – and I've always had a few days after that to take the drug test.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:48 PM on December 10, 2012

I believe THC is stored in body fat (whereas alcohol is not) which is why it takes longer to go through your system.

However, unless you are hoping to be an airline pilot or a heavy equipment operator, I'm wondering what kind of dream job offers same-day drug tests.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:57 PM on December 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yes, I think you'll test positive on Wednesday. It is not uncommon for us to see positive tests for THC several weeks after last admitted use, unlike drugs like meth which leave the system in a few days. It's the fat storage issue.
posted by purenitrous at 2:01 PM on December 10, 2012

You could start flushing your system now; eat nothing but high fibre: no sugar, fat, or protein. Take vitamins. Take laxatives. Drink tons of water and coffee. Exercise heavily. Sit in steam rooms. You still may test positive.
posted by dobie at 3:15 PM on December 10, 2012

dobie, how will that flush the system?
posted by ambrosen at 3:24 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

You have come down with the flu, and in a spirit of selflessness do not want to risk passing it on to the interviewers, so you need to reschedule the interview for next week.
posted by spitbull at 3:48 PM on December 10, 2012 [6 favorites]

I am not an expert on anything, but my reasoning is that by pushing your body to eliminate fat reserves, which store the THC, you would speed up the elimination to the extent that it appears in sufficiently low levels to pass the test.

I should add that I don't think this would be particularly healthy over the long term, but two days would be fine.
posted by dobie at 3:57 PM on December 10, 2012

If you are as casual as you are defining yourself, you probably have a good chance of passing the test. As someone noted above THC is stored in body fat. Which for habitual users leads to a greater chance of failing, especially if they are active, ie: burning body fat.

Flush with water now, and often, cranberry juice what evs. On the day before the test flush out. On the day of the test stop at least 4 hours before dropping. You want honest pee.

I was a habitual user, got caught up with DUI issues, stopped smoking for 3 months or so. Thought I had it made, took some tokes, on a weekend, 3 days later they wanted me to drop, thought I was doomed. Actually passed.

If you are a chronic smoker chances are much higher for a fail, because you have built up THC in your system.

erowid has some good advice here.
posted by Max Power at 4:00 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was in a situation similar to you, although I had a timespan of a few weeks.

I went to the drugstore and bought an at-home screening test, came back negative. I tested negative. I also worked out a ton, during the summer, and drank a lot of water.

If you are an infrequent user, the whole 30 day thing most likely will not apply to you. I've got a friend in med school who told me that one-time use is usually cleared out of the system in 2-3 days.
posted by thank you silence at 4:00 PM on December 10, 2012

You will probably pass if you use that infrequently. It takes a while to build up to detectable levels. Smoking once is not going to show up on a test. In fact, I came back from two weeks in Amsterdam and passed a test.
posted by catatethebird at 4:06 PM on December 10, 2012

I am not an expert on anything, but my reasoning is that by pushing your body to eliminate fat reserves, which store the THC, you would speed up the elimination to the extent that it appears in sufficiently low levels to pass the test.

Regular marijuana user and professional fighter Nick Diaz claims to have used this method to beat drug testing. However, he has failed several times, and he has an insane capacity for exercise, even for a professional mixed martial artists. So, I wouldn't count on this working.
posted by ignignokt at 4:42 PM on December 10, 2012

Your body "stores" THC in your fat cells, and releases it when you break them down.

Start fasting now. In the future, start fasting about 4 hours before smoking. Don't stop fasting (normally) until 8-16 hours after coming down. That prevents your body from storing it in the first place (in your case, you just want to get as much out as possible in the next two days).

Then, about 12 hours before your drug test, start pigging out. Keep yourself full of the nastiest, greasiest crap you can stand until after the drug test.

As for the diuretic / drink a lot approach - You will fail just as badly for having too dilute urine, as you will for an actual positive test. When taking that approach, eat plenty of salt and double up on the multivitamins (two per day, not two at a time, and don't do that for more than a few days in a row) while doing it. And stop at least 12 hours before your test to give your system time to get back to a more or less normal electrolyte balance.

As it stands, you basically have just one day. I'd suggest fasting (if not to late, skipping supper makes a great start), drink slightly dilute Gatorade by the gallon (Gatorade actually has too many electrolytes to replace your natural balance), and since you mention having the interview Wednesday, waiting until morning should give you enough time to have a huge, fat-storing breakfast and get your pee back to more-or-less normal.

And in the future... Duh, smoking weed while looking for a job? Seriously dude? :)
posted by pla at 7:15 PM on December 10, 2012

i came across this a while ago. it seems that it might help you out too.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 7:32 PM on December 10, 2012

Response by poster: pla, I might be in luck - I hadn't eaten anything 7+ hours before smoking. I can't remember when I had breakfast the next morning but if it was my usual pattern it would have been awhile after waking up. I know at least 6 more hours went by.

Hopefully my infrequent use/lack of eating will mean it's cleared out already or it won't be the kind of job that does an offer on the spot. I feel a lot more hopeful about things but might pick up a drug test just to be sure.
posted by biochemist at 7:36 PM on December 10, 2012

In that case, you have a pretty good shot at passing without doing anything at all. If you want to do a "light" flush by drinking more than usual tomorrow, it couldn't hurt; but it sounds like you've done everything right so far.
posted by pla at 7:45 PM on December 10, 2012

Careful, this can make the sample come out as dilute, which will make it useless.

This is exactly why I suggested the multivitamin and creatine. It's not perfect (though neither is drug testing), but it's my understanding that most dilution tests test for the creatinine levels in the urine. I think the idea is that, since the body turns creatine into creatinine, then you can inflate your creatinine levels high enough that they appear normal despite being diluted.

Also, no phyisical activity that day that might unlock anything in your fat. Be a lazy bum that eats a 4 egg omelette for breakfast.

Seriously though, just go buy a test and find out. You'll sleep better.
posted by slartibartfast at 8:55 PM on December 10, 2012

Also, make sure you're not giving your first pee of the day, and try to fill the cup mid stream. Supposedly there are more metabolites and other disolved stuff in the first part of your urination, and in your early pees.
posted by slartibartfast at 8:58 PM on December 10, 2012

I can't speak to how well the various flushing systems people have suggested might work, but my guess would be that on Wednesday you'd fail the test. I think your best strategy is to try and postpone the interview, for whatever reason you think sounds good, illness usually works.

I run a recruiting firm and we've lost our share of placements due to failed drug tests. If this is a company that you really want to work for some day, then you may need decide whether interviewing at all right now is worth the chance of a failed drug test. I know you said that this is your dream job, but you know of course that if you do fail the drug test, you'll never work for that company, ever.

When you arrange the interview, try to have it scheduled during working hours. The day after the scheduling, call them and ask how long they think you'll be there, as you have a limited window of time you can be away from your job. Even if they told you on the day you set up the interview that you'll be there for x number of hours, you can always say your boss has just scheduled a meeting for a certain time and that you have to attend, companies understand that these things happen.

Your goal here is to have the interview process broken up into at least 2 days. If it's a company of any size, you'll likely have to interview with more than just HR and the hiring manager. Then also remember, if you are offered the job, you don't have to accept on the spot. Tell them you'd like the weekend to think it over, or whatever. Let's say you accept the offer on Monday, tell them you're leaving on a businees trip Tuesday and will return Friday afternoon. Just stretch the whole thing out as long as you can short of being ridiculous about it.

If you decide to go ahead with the interview, I guess the system flushing can't hurt, may as well try it. But you made an incredibly bad decision to smoke weed as you where beginning this job search, and you might be compounding your error by risking taking a drug test right now. If it where me, I would not take a test until I was absulutely sure I would pass it. Don't make the mistake of thinking that failing this test is something to sneeze at. And if you think it can't follow you, you'd also be wrong. I know from where I speak.
posted by PaulBGoode at 11:30 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had a family member in the same position, and I can't stress enough how much better it was to have taken a home test. He was looking at a longer (10days) window, but passed.
posted by readery at 7:47 AM on December 11, 2012

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