Activated charcoal helps in the detoxification of THC(and other drugs) to pass a drug test.
It is because it has a high surface area and adsorbing property. As a result, it binds to THC metabolites effectively.
Activated charcoal blocks the enterohepatic recirculation of THC and reduces its amount in both urine and blood.
Read further to understand how does it work.
How Does It Work?
Activated charcoal pills are a popular detoxifying agent used for both medical and non-medical purposes. It's an altered form of charcoal, made by increasing its porosity and surface area.
Due to these two properties, activated charcoal can adsorb large portions of toxins and dirt onto its surface.
Activated Charcoal Blocks Enterohepatic Recirculation of THC
A pathway called enterohepatic recirculation makes it possible for THC to return to the blood from the gastrointestinal tract.
Activated charcoal removes THC from the system by blocking this pathway.
To know how activated charcoal blocks the reabsorption of THC in blood, let's try to understand the whole pathway.
When you smoke marijuana, THC goes into your lungs and is directly absorbed into the bloodstream.
When you eat edibles, 95% of THC goes to the blood through the stomach walls.
Once in the blood, THC goes to your liver, where it is converted to 11-hydroxy-THC and later THC-COOH.
Next, the liver adds a glucuronide molecule to it to make it water-soluble. In this way, it will be easier for it to get excreted through your urine and feces.
70% of THC-COOH-glucuronide is transported to feces. The other is converted back to THC-COOH by bacteria to get absorbed into intestinal blood. Thus, the cycle repeats.
To pass the drug test, activated charcoal binds to THC metabolites in the intestines, prevents their absorption back into intestinal blood, and passes more through feces.
Activated Charcoal Binds To THC
Several studies prove that activated charcoal can bind to THC metabolites.
In 2013, a study was done on 8 individuals given THC metabolites. After consuming 30g charcoal at 6 different time intervals, a reduction was observed in all THC metabolites.
After one day of consumption, activated charcoal reduced serum THC-COOH levels by 45%. No metabolites were detected in the urine.
In another study, researchers found out that a dose of 5 mg activated charcoal was able to bind up to 1000ng/ml THC metabolites.
Both studies prove that activated charcoal can become a great solution to pass your drug test.
How to Use Activated Charcoal to Pass a Drug Test
To pass your drug test with activated charcoal, it's best to start at least a week before the test. But before beginning the method, make sure you stop your marijuana consumption.
We recommend checking your urine each day with test strips to ensure that you'll pass the test.
Throughout the week, urinate and pass feces regularly. Stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water, at least up to 8 glasses each day.
Activated charcoal can cause constipation, so it's best to add fiber-rich foods like apples and figs to your diet.
- 210g of activated charcoal
- 1-1.5 gallon water
- Urine test strip
- Fiber-rich diet
- At least a week before the test, start consuming 10g of activated charcoal up to 2 hours before each meal with water. By the end of each day, you must have consumed 30g of activated charcoal.
- Keep checking your urinary THC levels with the help of a urine test strip.
- Throughout the week, maintain a healthy routine by working out 30 mins each day and taking a fiber-rich diet. But remember to stop exercising 2 days before the test.
- Black stools
Activated charcoal has a high adsorbing property. Due to this, it can bind with THC metabolites and adsorb large amounts onto its surface.
It blocks enterohepatic recirculation of THC and thus helps in lowering THC levels in both blood and urine to pass drug tests.
However, activated charcoal will not remove THC stored in the fat cells, so you need to exercise up to 2 days before the test to elevate the removal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to take charcoal pills every day? If so, will it shorten the detoxification time?
There are lots of people who take charcoal pills daily without any issue.
However, given the high risk of constipation, it's important to take it at a slightly lower dose.
Also, remember to go by the manufacturer's recommendation.
Most manufacturers recommend taking 2-4 pills, depending on the amount of activated charcoal in each pill.
Can activated charcoal be used as a same-day solution?
This method is highly recommended if you have at least a week or two to the drug test.
However, it won't harm if you incorporated it into a same-day solution such as the dilution method.
As I have explained in my other article on how to pass a drug test using water, the dilution method does not speed up removing the metabolites in your body.
But it waters down the metabolites' concentration in the urine to below the detection level if done correctly.
That being said, I imagine ingesting activated charcoal a few hours to the drug test could help capture the metabolites landing in the intestines from the blood system and remove them before reabsorption.
This might help minimize the available metabolites that are passed out of the liver for excretion through urine.
Consequently, this increases your odds of beating the drug test using the dilution method.
How long does it take to detox?
Unfortunately, no relevant study has been carried out around this. But I tend to think that it will vary from one person to the other.
The charcoal pills method only interacts with the THC metabolites in the enterohepatic cycle.
They have no access to the THC stored in your fat cells.
The pool of fat-stored tetrahydrocannabinol varies between people depending on a few factors such as different body fat percentages, different metabolism rates, and how long someone has been toking.
THC is highly fat-soluble. This means that people with a higher fat percentage tend to store more THC in their bodies for a long.
Your metabolism rate also dictates the number of metabolites released from the lipids into the bloodstream for removal through urine and poop.
A higher metabolism rate means that more THC molecules are freed.
Therefore, detoxification might take a shorter time than an individual with a lower metabolism rate.
That being said, if you have, let's say, two weeks to the drug test, adding exercises to the activated charcoal regimen might boost the speed of detoxification.