Help me get an A+ in Urinalysis
June 4, 2006 9:58 PM   Subscribe

I smoke a small amount of pot about twice a day everyday, and I've smoked more or less this much for about two years. I have to take a drug test in 2 to 3 weeks for a dumb job. I'm willing to quit smoking right now. What are lifestyle changes I can make in order to pass this test?

I'm a 125 pound woman, does this change how I should procede? Any personal experiences with this matter? Should I work out more? Drink more water? Drink Cranberry juice? Should I purchase a product meant to cleanse THC from my system? I would like to be able to take this test as soon as possible with a THC-free result.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (48 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
If lifestyle choices include who you choose for friends, consider asking a solid from a friend who does not toke up. THC is a fat-soluble compound and takes a long time to clear out of your system — at least longer than you have to pass this test.
posted by Mr. Six at 10:10 PM on June 4, 2006

I always wondered if the various "folk remedies" worked. Golden Seal worked for me; I stopped smoking and started taking it a week before a urinalysis and I passed it. I doubt it really did anything, though-I think it was just the effect of drinking gallons and gallons of water, plus having a very fast metabolism. THC is stored in fat cells, and I'm skinny as hell. You sound skinny too.

Basically, quit smoking now, expect to fail the drug test, and continue searching for jobs on that basis. Either you'll get lucky and pass this one test, or else you'll fail, but will be prepared for that possibility. In fact, consider it more of a probability. Do not resume smoking pot until your job situation is secure. THC is generally supposed to be detectable up to 30 days after the last time you smoked, but your weight tells me you're a small person. As a female, you still have a higher percentage of body fat than a guy of equivalent weight, though.
posted by evariste at 10:16 PM on June 4, 2006

Based on your weight, as long as it's a pee test you should be able to pass.

Stop smoking now.

Drink lots of water -- at least 64 oz a day, and twice that if you can handle it. Cut back on meat, cheese and fatty foods. Eat lots of produce and whole grains. Drink cranberry juice.

The day of the drug test, drink a glass of cranberry juice and a glass of water in the morning. Pee at least once during the day before the test. When it's time to take the test, pee a little bit into the toilet before you pee into the cup, then finish up in the toilet again.

I don't know how much of this is superstition and how much of it is science, but I know of several times when women around your size have followed this routine roughly two weeks and managed to pass drug tests.

If it's a hair, blood or saliva test, you're probably out of luck.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:32 PM on June 4, 2006

BTW, this was five or six years ago. Rumor has it they test for Golden Seal now. You can't win :-|
posted by evariste at 10:34 PM on June 4, 2006

Drink lots of water

Since the compound is fat-soluble, and you've been smoking frequently and regularly, drinking water will not help you much.

Pour olive oil into a glass of water: they don't mix. The way to get it out of your system is for your body to metabolize — burn — the fat stored in your adipose tissue (fat cells).
posted by Mr. Six at 10:37 PM on June 4, 2006

Mr. Six-they're not testing her fat directly; they're testing her pee. If she drinks lots of water, the idea is to dilute the stuff in her pee enough that she passes the lab test. So yes, drinking lots of water on the day of and the day before the test is a good move.
posted by evariste at 10:39 PM on June 4, 2006

Diluted urine from drinking lots of water will probably raise a flag with the testing facility — you might have the retake the test.
posted by Mr. Six at 10:43 PM on June 4, 2006

Well in that case she'll have more time to get it out of her system
posted by joshuak at 10:49 PM on June 4, 2006

A retake is better than a fail...
posted by evariste at 10:54 PM on June 4, 2006

If I was an employer who cared enough about drug tests to force prospective workers to take one, a "retake" would make me look twice. Why risk it?
posted by Mr. Six at 10:55 PM on June 4, 2006

I am a 185lb man who passed a pee test after having last smoked 2 weeks before. I was not as regular a smoker as you at the time.

I studied clinical chemistry in college, and croutonspeak's advice is basically the same as what I did. Drink lots of fluids, especially on the day of the test. Cranberry juice is recommended because it is acidic, but you could substitute diet Coke if you wanted to. Drinking a lot of fluids leading up to and on the day of the test does two things. It dilutes the marijuana residue in the urine, and the acidity may, if low enough, interfere with the efficacy of the test. It won't totally fudge up the test, but it may prevent it from being as sensitive as it would be.

The other thing I did is that I brought in an eyedropper filled with water. I filled the pee cup halfway to the minimum line (midstream sample of course) and filled up the rest with water from the eyedropper. The result is a very diluted urine sample. (The lab can tell between clear urine and plain water--when I was in college, they looked for creatinine.)

In response to your questions, the answers are yes, even regardless of the drug test: yes, you should work out more, yes, you should drink more fluids, and yes, you should cut back on the pot.
posted by Brian James at 10:55 PM on June 4, 2006

Drinking lots of water will help since you're taking a urine test. It will flush out more of the compound that is metabolized and passes into your urine. I think you should try the above suggestions about lots of water and pee before the test.

You shouldn't assume you'll fail it. I once had to pass a urine test only 1 week after smoking and just drank lots of water and ice tea. I also drank lots of tea the day of the test and the result came back "inconclusive". They made me come back a month later and I passed.
posted by DrJJ at 11:03 PM on June 4, 2006

Diluted urine from drinking lots of water will probably raise a flag with the testing facility

Eat some carrots. it will slightly tint your urine.
Eat too much though and it will end orange.
posted by Bio11 at 11:04 PM on June 4, 2006

Its probably not an option since you didn't mention it, but I once gave my clean pee to a friend who snuck it in in two double ziplocked bags in her bra. The bra aspect also provided the warmth that would be expected. Kind of gross, but it worked.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 11:18 PM on June 4, 2006

Taking vitamin B will color your urine, too. However, I think they test for excess amounts, so don't take TOO much.

Also, I've heard that asprin can help cover THC, so you may want to take some before the test. (not too sure on how much asprin or how long before the test. you may want to research that)

I've heard positive stories about using one of these devices that is basically a plastic bag attached to a little plastic hose. The idea is that you fill the plastic bag with some (non-stoner) urine, and when the time comes, fill the urinalysis cup from the little plastic hose. Of course, this only works if you have the requisite amount of privacy. Also, if the test is random, you won't have the opportunity to prepare ahead of time.

Man, it's such a shame that people have to go through this. The war on drugs really is a war on pot. Cocaine only stays in the system for a couple days. If you were a cokehead, you wouldn't have anything to be worried about. How's that for ironic?
posted by Afroblanco at 11:23 PM on June 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

Many of the products sold to supposedly mask drug tests or 'flush" all traces of drugs out of your system are actually strong diuretic products (pretty much the same effect as drinking lots of water) mixed with vitamins and other nutrients or flavorings.

The more sophisticated tests these days will test your creatinine levels, which is a metabolite of protein. If creatine results are below their acceptible levels, and they tell you your specimen was diluted,
(low creatinine levels) you can say (if these could conceivably apply to you): I am a vegan, and therefore do not consume much protein, I naturally drink a lot of water, I have a low body fat-to muscle ratio. I was accused repeatedly of trying to defeat drug tests (I wasn't, which made it really frustrating), and I did some research. I gave the above excuses (true in my case at the time), and they got off my back.

Btw, the goldenseal thing is a total myth, as is niacin. Please don't bother.

The fact that you smoke every day means that you are much more likely to test positive that if it was a one-off smoke. You might want to consider cleansing your system with uva ursi (reconsider if you have knowledge of how sophisticated the testing method is); It's a diuretic herb you can find in any natural foods store in capsule or bulk form to take as a tea, and of course much cheaper than those formulas sold in head shops. Just be prepared for the above reasons/excuses when your results come back inconclusive. Exercising as much as you can until your test will also help a lot. Good Luck!
posted by theperfectcrime at 11:38 PM on June 4, 2006

Since your question appears to have been comprehensively answered, may I ask a question? Is testing for recreational drugs commonplace where you are? I presume you're not applying for a security clered position, which is about the only place I would expect such a test. What are they expectng to find?
posted by wilful at 11:53 PM on June 4, 2006

I have a friend who was once in the same situation. When they gave him the date of the test, he called them up and told them he had a vacation planned, and rescheduled it. Maybe you can try to grab another week or two the same way.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:59 PM on June 4, 2006

wilful: In the USA it is very common for corporate jobs to do a urine test. If we assume the form for the test I took last summer is typical, a standard option is to look for cocaine, opiates, marijuana, PCP, and amphetamines.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:04 AM on June 5, 2006

I know this works - I was urine tested in the Navy and I smoked more marijuana than you, snorted coke and speed, took acid and barbituates - all of which were tested (including alcohol for some reason).

I also drank a lot of camomile tea.

I was busted along with 30 others during a swoop back in 1988 - my friend and I were going through an alternative lifestyle binge to cope with our otherwise unhealthy lifestyles of the time. We read in a Dorothy Hall book on herbal teas, that camomile was known to help with the cleansing of long term drug use - we figured it was all we needed to balance our substance abuse (how simplistic - but we were young).

Both of our results came back with NO detections for any of the substances we had been taking.

The others tested showed detections in the categories associated with their illicit behaviours.

I had smoked pot the very night before the test (if I had a scanner I would send you a copy of the certificate).

I then had a hard time convincing the Navy that I in fact was a drug user so I could then be kicked out (I was halfway through a 9 year contract and wasn't able to leave the Navy any other way, due to my security clearance - another long and boring story).

Caveat: testing may be more vigorous/complex these days.
posted by strawberryviagra at 12:29 AM on June 5, 2006

You already consider your prospective job to be dumb: you don't mention what it involves but they are clearly willing to grossly invade the privacy of potential employees in order to try to filter out people like you. Does this bode well for your long term happiness with them? If I were you I would look elsewhere.
posted by rongorongo at 1:31 AM on June 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

In addition to the suggestions of stopping the smoking now, cutting all fat from your diet, exercising and drinking lots of fluids - the day of your test, at least a few hours before the test eat some highly fatty food.

The going theory is that it works in combination with the zero-fat crash diet in that your fat cells will be busy restocking fat supplies, and release less THC metabolites.

So far it's worked for everyone that's had to do it and has had at least two weeks to clear out.

I would also add taking an Emergen-C vitamin drink powder packet the night before for good pee color, or another megamultivitamin.
posted by loquacious at 2:27 AM on June 5, 2006

I can't believe no one has mentioned the whizzinator! After all, if it's good enough for NFL running back Onterrio Smith, who incidentally single-handedly ruined my fantasy football season two years ago, then I think it's good enough for you.

Seconding the whole reconsider-life-choices, cut-back-on-the-pot, explore-other-job-options comments, but you probably already knew that.
posted by incessant at 2:34 AM on June 5, 2006

I've had to take pee tests for two different system administration jobs in the past, but they were big companies...

I always worried about eating lots of poppy-seed bagels, but supposedly they can tell the difference nowdays.
posted by mrbill at 2:37 AM on June 5, 2006

I've passed 2 drug tests after being a daily pot smoker. I'm about the same size you are and it was easy. Stop smoking 2-3 weeks before the test, which is now. Drink a lot of water. Take B complex vitamins. Don't go overboard and do 4 gallons a day or your kidneys will hate you for years to come. Exercise a lot. The day before the test I drank a 64 oz bottle of cranberry juice. I hate cranberries so I had to make these insanely hot nachos so I'd be forced to drink it. I got this magic gatorade stuff from a headshop which basically ups your riboflavin and creatinine levels so it doesn't look like you're diluting your piss. If you drink that an hour or so ahead and pee a couple of times before the test, you'll be fine.
posted by pieoverdone at 4:30 AM on June 5, 2006

The day someone asks me to take a urine test to get a simple job is the day I start my own business/leave the country/do SOMETHING so that doesn't happen. What a disgusting invasion of civil liberties.
posted by reklaw at 5:44 AM on June 5, 2006

I have to take a drug test in 2 to 3 weeks for a dumb job.... What are lifestyle changes I can make in order to pass this test?

Do not take that job. That's the "lifestyle change" you should implement. Never take a job so invasive that your bosses actually want to peer into the contents of your piss, especially if it's something you could call a "dumb job." If it's your dream job and there's a good reason for them to be worried about your mental state -- maybe you want to be an airline pilot? -- then fair enough, pee in a cup to help reassure them that you are not going to kill hundreds of their customers because you couldn't help but smoke before a hard day at work -- but if it's just a crap job you would take to earn a few bucks, find something else.
posted by pracowity at 5:50 AM on June 5, 2006

I would think that exercising a lot up to the test would be a *bad* idea. If THC is fat soluable, don't you want to minimize the amount of fat you are currently metabolizing and is thus being freed into your system? I think I read once that eating a caloric surplus for a few days before the test (besides of course lots of fluids and such) was a good idea, to reduce the chances of fat metabolism.
But I think the baggies of urine in your bra idea is brilliantly gross.
posted by ch1x0r at 5:56 AM on June 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

What world do these folks who say "never take a dumb job because of a drug test" live in? Of the last four jobs I've held, three required drug tests.

I agree that drug tests are stupid and invasive.

But would you really give up career aspirations (or the desire for cash to buy lodging, clothes and fun) simply because you're so beholden to a drug that you can't stop using it for two frickin' weeks?
posted by croutonsupafreak at 6:25 AM on June 5, 2006

I passed a drug test only three days after smoking large amounts every day for a full year. Anyone that is saying you will fail must not know any pot heads.

To pass, all I did was drink lots of water the morning before and took some B2 Vitamins to tint my urine yellow (it looked like Mountain Dew, but they never gave it a second glance). When I peed, I began the stream in the toilet, switched to the cup and then finished in the toilet to avoid high concentrations of particles that would be found in the beginning and end. If you stop now, you will have no problem passing the test in 2 weeks if you drink fair amount of diuretics.

This is assuming that your are taking a standard employment urine test. If it's a mouth swab, your worries are over, the only test within the last week max. If it's a hair test your fucked but most employers don't test hair because of the prohibitive cost.
posted by cyphill at 6:27 AM on June 5, 2006

Regarding diluted urine from drinking lots of water - I have a shy bladder and I can't go with someone listening. The last 2 times I took a drug test, I had to drink about 40 ounces of water shortly beforehand, and yes, I was in pain for a few hours (stomachache).

I saw the results of my last drug test when I started my new job. It was clean but flagged because the temperature was off - ironically, the temperature was a bit high (only by a degree or two). I have no idea if that's because I drank a bunch of water or not.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:58 AM on June 5, 2006

Last summer, I had to take a drug test for an internship. I wasn't alone, either. Friends at boeing and intel also had to. Testing really is everywhere at this point.

All the rhetoric about "don't take the job if they're making you take a test" is overly hysterical. Yes, it is lame that the company does this but, at least in my situation, it wasn't my group that mandated the test - it was just corporate policy. The group ended up being great. Drug testing is far from the only thing to dislike about standard big corporate policy.

Also, the test isn't really about whether or not you're a drug user. The company knows it's easy to pass them even if you're a regular smoker like Anon here. They still do them because if you can pass the test it shows you want the job enough to manage your intake/diet/lifestyle for the two weeks before the test. If they really cared about making sure you weren't smoking regularly once you had the job, they'd test randomly at work or use the higher accuracy tests. That's radically less common, though, because it's not important to them that you are never involved with drugs just that you have control over it.
posted by heresiarch at 7:03 AM on June 5, 2006

I can't believe no one has pointed you to the NORML page on Drug Testing. This is where I got all my facts, which I interpreted as:

- 30 days is the only way to be 100% sure you'll pass.
- Clean pee is not 100% sure, only because you have to trust someone, but it's the second best option.
- Drinking water/juice/tea/whatever earlier than 12 hrs before the test will just make you pee more. Forget it.
- Don't believe your stoner friends when they tell you something will mask the pot. People make false correlations all the time. I'm sure somewhere someone thinks that Wendy's Frosties will help you pass a drug test.

I don't know about anyone else, but I trust these people. They're in the buisness of taking on stupid drug laws/practices, so they've got a higher bar to meet than the dude at the head shop looking to move the quick detox stuff.

Good luck. I've taken way too many jobs that required drug tests because I needed money more than I needed the luxury to stick to my personal credos.
posted by plaidrabbit at 7:30 AM on June 5, 2006

I have a good friend who is a regular pot smoker (binger or two or more a day, everyday, for 15 years or something). He had two weeks to get his system in shape to work for a major government contractor. He drank 2 gallons of water a day for each day in those two weeks, and a gallon of water on the way to the test. He passed. He didn't need to take any more piss tests, and resumed his lifestyle shortly thereafter.

I would advise that if you get any shit about dilution of your urine to say that you're healthy and drink a bunch of water a day.

I would also like to add that you need to make sure that you take your vitamins while you are flushing out your system. So much water isn't necessarily good for one's kidneys.

My mom works for an herb store and has a story about working one night when a gentleman came up to her and said, "There is a 99.9% chance I am going to have a drug test tomorrow." Silently, my mom walked over to a shelf, put a product in his hands, and the guy bought it. I don't know what happened after that.
posted by frecklefaerie at 7:40 AM on June 5, 2006

mrbill writes "I always worried about eating lots of poppy-seed bagels, but supposedly they can tell the difference nowdays."

They can't tell the difference they have just raised the bar for a positive result.

croutonsupafreak writes "What world do these folks who say 'never take a dumb job because of a drug test' live in? Of the last four jobs I've held, three required drug tests. "

I'm going to guess "Not the USA".
posted by Mitheral at 7:44 AM on June 5, 2006

Drug tests are one of those things that's kind of hard to argue against in a corporate bureaucracy obsessed with risk management.

I think a lot has to do with the way your body processes and manages THC. Purely anecdotal but I noticed that heavy pot smokers have an easier time passing drug tests than non-heavy smokers. Whether this is because of selection bias, that heavy pot smokers realize more they need to clean up then there only on a weekend brethen or something with the way the body processes THC if encountered everyday I don't know. I would still stop smoking now, excercising and eating healthy. Don't make too many lifestyle changes, you don't want the jolt to be so large your body is trying to adjust and not getting rid of the THC.

That said, get a friend to piss for you right before the test and put it in a thermal mitt and duct tape it to your body (or bra). It'll keep the temperature within normal levels. Don't want to take any risks.
posted by geoff. at 7:54 AM on June 5, 2006

What type of job is it, btw? My theory is that the frequency of drug testing is generally inversely proportional to the quality of the job.
posted by electroboy at 9:24 AM on June 5, 2006

incessant, I'm pretty sure that the Whizzinator won't work, since the OP, is, like, all female and stuff.

However, I've seen versions that are more gender-neutral, just consisting of a little tube coming down from the "pee bag." This is more or less what I was suggesting in my above comment.

Although, for all I know, they may make a female version of the Whizzinator.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:25 AM on June 5, 2006

The travel-size Johnson Baby Oil bottles are ideal concealment containers for untainted pee. Worked like a charm when my number came up two months in a row while in the military (having an SSN ending in 0 is a bitch when the testing criteria is even/odd). Be sure to clean it thoroughly beforehand and just keep the bottle in your drawers until needed. Of course, if the testing agent wants to watch, you're pretty much screwed with this and any other method that relies on the bait 'n' switch technique unless you're willing to get really elaborate with your equipment (google foley catheter).

Observing many friends who tried all manner of gimmicks to avoid coming up hot on a test while in the military I can say that the only sure-fire way to come up clean in a test for THC is urine from someone who is 30+ days abstinent (your own or someone else's). I cannot think of a single quick cure/mask method that actually worked. Others in thread seem to have had different experiences though.

Good luck.
posted by Fezboy! at 9:48 AM on June 5, 2006

Please do not attempt to drink a gallon of water or so a day (useless anyway) as it can make you seriously ill by effecting your electrolyte balance.

Are you serious? I've been drinking at leat a gallon of water a day for about four years, and I'm OK.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:10 AM on June 5, 2006

wilful: i don't know about the original poster's home, but there are jobs in the paper for warehouse positions here in arkansas that do hair tests.
posted by starbaby at 10:23 AM on June 5, 2006

and hair tests can be beat, too.
posted by lester at 10:34 AM on June 5, 2006

Are you serious? I've been drinking at leat a gallon of water a day for about four years, and I'm OK.

Yes. Not everyone can tolerate such high levels of water drinking - it's different for everyone. Sounds crazy to be cautious about water, but that's what I hear.
posted by agregoli at 11:01 AM on June 5, 2006

Sounds crazy to be cautious about water, but that's what I hear.

Indeed, it does sound crazy. I drink well over a gallon of water a day, and I don't even exercise very much. And a lot of people are walking around dehydrated. The only situation in which I've heard of someone drinking too much water is a few rare cases at raves, where some kids have basically OD'd on water because they were so worried about dehydrating.
posted by bingo at 12:34 PM on June 5, 2006

And to answer the question, I passed a test in a similar situation by drinking a lot of water, and the day before the test, drinking one of those 'piss clear' products.

Yes, my urine might have seemed 'suspicious,' but I didn't care. If they wanted to ask me to take the test again, they could, and then I'd be able to pass it without a problem.
posted by bingo at 12:35 PM on June 5, 2006

Vis "shipping-in" pee: its fairly common for collectors to temp-check the sample. Last time I had to run the gauntlet (and this was some time ago) they had a liquid-crystal temp guage right on the side of the thing for easy reading. Mucking around with the testing procedure is not a super-great idea.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:49 PM on June 5, 2006

Ogre: You just gotta keep it on you. The circle of friends I have have one person who doesn't enjoy pot from each sex. (I know, I know, pee is sterile and gender-neutral. Just being unreasonable.) They have their own vices, and we help them with other stuff in exchange for their pee - which, usually, they're done with. :)

As long as you tape it either inside your bra or jockeys, it's a cinch. We actually up it a step more, as other posters have noted, by putting one of those hand-warmer chemical reaction pouches around it. Outside of being a total and complete bitch in the southern heat in the summer, it's been good - almost too good, being too hot to actually pour in one instance.

It's never failed in any situation.
posted by plaidrabbit at 4:09 PM on June 5, 2006

This is extremely gross, but I worked with someone who passed our company drug test by carrying someone else's pee in a vial that she carried inside herself, because she was so worried about the stuff being the right temperature.

Incidentally, pee is gender specific. It's got hormones in it. But I'm going to guess that the drug tests aren't going to test for gender most of the time.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 4:48 PM on June 5, 2006

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