Will Activated Charcoal Help You Pass a Drug Test?

For quite a while, activated charcoal has earned the trust and confidence of many people when it comes to drug tests. It has been regarded as an effective detoxifying ingredient in different products such as detox drinks, toothpaste, face masks, etc.

Many people could attest that charcoal can help pass a drug test. However, if you have an upcoming drug screen and plan to use this method, it would be helpful if you also understand how activated charcoal works.

The science behind activated charcoal and drug test

Activated charcoal is powdered carbon treated with oxygen to create a microporous structure. Because of this characteristic, one gram of activated charcoal can cover 3,000 square meters of surface area.

Activated carbon’s high absorption properties are said to be the reason why it became one of the most popular ingredients in detox products.

Using activated charcoal to pass drug test

Activated charcoal can effectively pass a urine drug test when used with other detox products, especially for people consuming cannabis edibles.

However, there are several tips you should remember when taking charcoal. These tips will help you remove THC metabolites from the body:

  • When taking charcoal tablets for drug test, avoid consuming drugs. You would want to ensure that your system is wholly cleansed from drug metabolites. 
  • At least two days before the scheduled drug screen, begin consuming 10 grams of activated charcoal with lots of water two hours before eating. Hence, you should take 30 grams of charcoal in one day. Consider eating high-fiber foods, too.
  • Regularly check your urine with a home drug test to control the level of THC metabolites in your body.
  • On the day of your scheduled drug screening, keep on taking charcoal along with plenty of water. You may also consider taking marijuana detox drinks to intensify the frequency of your urination and metabolism rate and altogether remove THC from the body.
  • If you are taking prescription drugs, you must exercise specific caution to prevent undesirable interactions. The best way to do it is to set apart the medications from the charcoal.
  • If you want to use activated charcoal while taking other medications, you must first seek advice from a medical professional. Your doctor can help you determine the appropriate frequency and dosage if they think the charcoal is suitable for your health goals.
  • For best results, consume at least two liters of water per day.
  • Even though there are no birth defects associated with using activated charcoal, it would be best to consult your doctor before you start using the charcoal if you are breastfeeding or pregnant to avoid potential adverse effects.

How does activated charcoal for drug tests work?

The gut does not absorb the activated charcoal. Hence, once you ingest it, it goes through your gut but with its unaltered form. Its porous composition carries a negative electrical charge and engages positive electrical charged molecules like gases and toxins.

Once gases or liquids penetrate the activated charcoal, absorption occurs. When you consume charcoal tablets for medical purposes, toxins in the body are efficiently absorbed, specifically from the digestive tract. Hence, it cleans the bloodstream.

To remove THC metabolites from the system, the charcoal has to be taken orally to go through the gastrointestinal tract and be expelled in the form of stool. Considering this fact, the THC metabolites should be available in the stomach, where they could blend with the activated charcoal.

THC goes back into the digestive tract after being fully absorbed. Once the THC is refined into the system, it creates an unceasing cycle, involving the compound passing through the blood system along with bile acids going to the intestines, then back to the blood system in a motion called enterohepatic circulation.

Do charcoal pills clean your system?

In short, yes, people can use charcoal to interrupt the enterohepatic circulation of THC-COOH. However, it won’t help you get rid of THC metabolites stored in fat cells. To achieve the latter, you may want to invest in a specialized marijuana detox kit.

To answer this question, scientists did several tests. In one laboratory experiment, researchers wanted to find out the efficiency of activated carbon when binding with glucuronide molecule.

The authors then found out that 5 milligrams of activated charcoal can absorb up to 1,000 ng/ml of THC metabolites. The study confirmed that using charcoal pills for drug test can alter its results. Thus, people can use it to pass urine drug tests.

Another study was conducted to determine the efficiency of activated carbon further. Specific individuals who had some marijuana were subjected to a study along with people who took activated charcoal.

After smoking a total volume of 30 grams, scientists noted that after 24 hours of consuming weed, people who used charcoal pills had reduced their levels of THC metabolites by 45 percent. Furthermore, after 24 hours, the THC-COOH-glucuronide level in the urine of the people using activated charcoal was utterly undetected. 

It means that the activated charcoal can absorb a higher level of THC metabolites and eliminate them through stool and urine. Activated charcoal cleanses the system by assisting in eliminating excess toxins the body cannot remove by itself.

More reading:

[wp_show_posts id=”2776″]

Bikas Gurung

Bikas Gurung is a human rights activist representing International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) and United Nations Strategic Advisory Group on drug use. He received his Master’s degree in Public Health from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand and has been recognized for his work by winning "The Best Film Award" at the 2013 Harm Reduction Conference in Vilnius, Lithuania.