Why You Don’t Exercise Before A Drug Test

Exercising right before a drug test may be a huge mistake. Here’s why working up a sweat might make you test positive for cannabis.

Feb 3, 2016

Have you ever wondered why THC you can test positive for marijuana after two weeks of sobriety? Traces of other drugs are out of your blood or urine in a matter of days, yet cannabis can show up in your system even over a month and a half after smoking.

THC Is Stored In Fat

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Unlike other drugs, excess THC is stored in your fat. After smoking or ingesting marijuana, THC travels through the bloodstream and is taken up by fat cells throughout your body. THC in your fat then slowly releases itself back into your system as your body burns fat for energy.

This gives the herb an extremely long half-life. “Half-life” is a medical term referring to the amount of time a drug or medication can continue working in your system after you initially take it. In the case of THC, the half-life usually lasts 5-14 days in frequent users. In daily smokers, THC’s half-life is much longer.

A 2009 study tested THC reintoxication in rodents. The research found that when the rats were deprived of food, blood levels of THC metabolites drastically increased. A “THC metabolite” is what you get after your body processes THC that’s been turned into fat.

THC And Exercise

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Since THC makes a home for itself inside your fat cells, it only makes sense that exercise would speed up the reintoxication process. That’s exactly what researchers found back in 2013. In a small study, scientists tested the THC levels of regular marijuana users after 35 minutes of stationary cycling.

Not only did they find that THC levels increased after exercise, but the participants still had elevated THC levels up to two hours post-cycling. Further, marijuana users that had higher BMIs showed greater levels of THC reintoxication. In short, the more fat you burn and the more fat you have, the more THC will be present in your system after exercising.

So, Right Before You Take A MJ Drug Test…

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If you’re being tested for cannabis use by an employer, there are a couple of things that you may consider avoiding.

  1. Exercise. Don’t exercise at least 2 hours prior to the test. In fact, just to be safe, you might want to avoid hitting the gym for a day or two.
  2. Undereating. You’ll probably want to eat something fibrous and caloric beforehand so your body won’t be munching on your own fat cells.

These facts have led some folks to go for a diet and exercise method of detoxifying. The basic idea is that you exercise a lot to burn as much fat as possible and drink a ton of water about 3-4 weeks before the test. At least a week before the test, you cut back on exercise and focus hard on replacing THC-laden fats with fresh fats by eating lots of high-fiber and detoxifying caloric foods.

This method is far from precise and is really quite risky. While it’s certainly a technique you can try, know that it’s not something you can bank on if you don’t have over a month to prepare for your test. Regardless, be sure to check out these tips and tricks for staying safe and healthy as you prep for testing.

Since weed stays in your system so long, consuming the plant in any form before a drug test is tricky. Short of buying one of those over-the-counter cleansing drinks, there’s surprisingly little you can do to ensure that you don’t have too many THC metabolites floating around. This is especially true if you’re a chronic or frequent consumer.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where employers can still discriminate against cannabis users. This is true even in states where medical and recreational weed is legal.

Has marijuana use affected your ability to find a job? Do you have anything to add? Share your story with us on Social Media or in the comments section below!

Feb 3, 2016