No Fooling

No Fooling
Posted by FoM on July 25, 2000 at 23:12:20 PT
By Cynthia Kuhn and Wilkie Wilson
Source: Salon Magazine
Dear Buzzed, Recently, my girlfriend took a new job after eight months of looking. There was no mention of a drug test during the interview process. Now, after having been there for several weeks, she has been informed that she must take a drug test. Although she is not a heavy user, she has smoked pot about 10 times over the past few weeks. How long will this be detectable in her system, and what can she do to mask it? 
Afraid of Getting Caught Dear Afraid, We congratulate your girlfriend on her new job, but she may have a problem. Unfortunately, pot sticks around in the body longer than any other recreational drug. It could be detectable for anywhere from five days to several weeks after that amount of use, and there is nothing your girlfriend can do to guarantee a clean drug test. For just one joint, it takes the body up to eight days to rid itself of marijuana's chemicals -- both the active ingredient (tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC) and its metabolites. Since your girlfriend is smoking a joint every other day, most likely there is always some THC in her system. Almost all routine drug tests examine urine because the procedure is quick and cheap. Such tests are also fairly accurate. One test kit can screen for THC metabolites, cocaine, amphetamines, PCP, opiates and other substances. However, these tests are not perfect: Both false positives and false negatives happen every now and then. If a drug is detected, the urine is retested with a procedure called gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. This test is very accurate, detecting the exact number of molecules as well as their concentration levels. Of course, if you are a heavy and regular smoker, your chances of getting caught increase dramatically. Your body fat becomes loaded with THC, and a urine test can be positive for up to six weeks after you stop smoking pot. By contrast, if you are a casual user, most preliminary urine screening tests will pick up a single joint smoked within one to three days of the test. Because women generally weigh less than men do, they can have a more difficult time with drug tests -- the same amount of a drug reaches a higher concentration in a woman's body. In the case of THC, there's an additional issue: Females have relatively more body fat, and since THC is stored in fat, they may tend to hold onto the drug longer. So, what do you do? People go to all sorts of trouble to defeat drug tests. In fact, we have a list of more than 50 products that promise to help you do that. You would be amazed at what people are selling. Companies sell clean urine and a concealed reservoir (remember the movie "Gattaca"?) with which to deliver it. Most tests are supervised, so that usually won't work. More commonly, people choose products to adulterate the urine sample and thus corrupt the test, or they take chemicals to "cleanse and flush" their body. Products that adulterate the sample do indeed disable the test, but guess what? Most drug testers now test for the adulterants too. The products that supposedly cleanse and flush are simply diuretics. The drug testers know about these techniques, so they also measure the specific gravity of the urine to make sure it's properly concentrated. Basically, if you use these products, you are shrinking your pocketbook but not your chances of getting caught; and the money-back guarantees the products promise won't help much if your girlfriend loses her job. Is there any hope for your girlfriend? Maybe. Remember, these are usually threshold tests, meaning they signal a positive result only if a drug or metabolite level exceeds a threshold, and these thresholds are quite generous to prevent a lot of false positives. The longer she stays clean before the test, the less chance her use of pot will be detected. Maybe, if she drinks a lot of water or uses one of the diuretic products, she could get lucky and get below the threshold without triggering the diluted-urine signal, but we would not bet on it. If she gets caught, she has at least two options. First, most companies have an amnesty program that offers some counseling. If she loves her job, then that is the option to take. Otherwise, she can look into the law and find out if the testing was legal. The law on this subject is complicated and varies from state to state, so calling a lawyer may be appropriate. Read Buzzed every week in Salon Health. Send your drug questions to: buzzed salon.comAbout the Writer:Cynthia Kuhn, Ph.D., is a professor of pharmacology at Duke University Medical School and heads the Pharmacological Sciences Training Program at Duke. She is coauthor of "Buzzed: The Straight Facts About the Most Used and Abused Drugs From Alcohol to Ecstasy" and of the forthcoming book "Pumped: Straight Facts for Athletes About Drugs, Supplements and Training" (W.W. Norton). Wilson, Ph.D., is a professor of pharmacology at Duke University Medical Center. He studies how drugs affect the brain, particularly the processes of learning and memory. He is also coauthor of "Buzzed" and of the forthcoming book "Pumped." Note: This question was also at the top of the article.My girlfriend smoked a lot of pot recently and now has to take a drug test for her new job. Is there anything she can do to avoid being caught? Direct Link To Above Article: Off:Send us a Letter to the Editor Stories:Bush Skipped Drug Test Times of London reports that the Air National Guard grounded him after he dodged a medical exam. By Alicia Montgomery - 06/20/2000Yellow Journalism: are reporters, those vigilant guardians of constitutional freedoms, cravenly unzipping themselves for drug testing? By Carol Lloyd - 04/01/98 July 26, 2000 | salon.comCopyright  2000 Salon.comCannabisNews Drug Testing Archives:
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Comment #6 posted by Kyle on April 30, 2001 at 08:21:37 PT:
After reading a few suggestions a couple mention the use of a nutritional supplement containing hemp seeds oil. What are they talking about?
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Comment #5 posted by Mari on July 26, 2000 at 20:30:59 PT
I have a method that has been successful.I am heavy and female,so it should work for most people.I don't indulge for at least 1 week.I eat plenty of protein(it binds the cannabinoid metabolites to the bowel rather than the bladder).On the day of the test I make sure to empty my bladder at least twice.I use a liquid cleansing agent[Terminator Gold]and follow directions.This has worked even with the most exacting lab test.The suggestion to have hemp oil or seed snacks is a good idea,too.
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Comment #4 posted by DrinkTea on July 26, 2000 at 15:20:39 PT
Am I missing something?
I've had several friends buy drug "flushing" kits from health food stores - sometimes called "teas." The procedure involves drinking a few gallons of liquids a day. In the three cases I'm familiar with, they all passed their drug tests. Why doesn't this PhD mention this?
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Comment #3 posted by Doctor Dave on July 26, 2000 at 10:34:40 PT
Borrow some urine
I would recommend obtaining some "clean" urine and using that for the test. Unless she is in the military (or some military-like organization) she will not be observed while urinating. If she is, she should claim that she is "bladder shy" and unable to urinate while being watched.Filling a condom or a balloon and placing it under the arm or in the vagina works best. The urine (initially keep refrigerated if not collected fresh) will stay warm in those locations and can be let out by pricking a hole in the object.This method works equally well for men. Keep in mind that the urine must be body temp since many testers also measure temperature.While I don't advocate cheating on tests, I also don't advocate tests that serve no useful purpose except to humiliate the testee. To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King... "I have a dream that one day people will be judged not by the content of their urine but by the content of their character."Doctor Dave"A nation that makes war on huge numbers of its own people can never truly be free."
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Comment #2 posted by Activist on July 26, 2000 at 06:56:40 PT
True story
I read about a one-industry town in Alaska where the main industry started demanding drug tests. The locals were not happy. According to the article, one employee filled up the cup and, instead of handing it to the tester, threw it in his face and walked out. 
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Comment #1 posted by Dan B on July 26, 2000 at 03:40:09 PT:
Another Option
One more thing she can do: always keep on hand a nutritional supplement that contains some form of hemp seed. Or keep some Dexatrim on hand (it has been known to cause false positives). Then, if the test comes back positive, point to the use of these products as the culprit and demand that the employer give a couple of weeks for these false positive inducing products to exit the system (in the mean time, don't use the herb for a while) before testing again. Better yet, point to the use of these products before the test. Then it doesn't look so suspicious, and they will be more inclined to be sympathetic if a positive test comes back.
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