Surprise! You’re getting drug tested. If that makes you nervous, don’t retreat back into your haze just yet – you can still pass. Depending on the type of drug test and your choice of illegal habits, you will have some options to get past this basic screening. The most common type of drug test is the urine test because it offers the best balance of affordability and accuracy. Chances are your future employer will be looking at your pee.

How long do Drugs Stay in your System?

Drug tests are ways to determine what you’ve imbibed based on the chemicals in your body. Different drugs will stay in your system for different amounts of time based on your body type, habits of use, and lifestyle. Here’s a basic breakdown:

Alcohol:          2 – 3 Days

Marijuana:       7 – 50 Days (Habitual Use and High Body Fat store THC longer)

Cocaine:          2 – 7 Days

Opiates:           2 – 7 Days

MDMA / Ecstasy:       2 – 5 Days

Hallucinogenics:          2 – 5 Days

Detoxing to Pass the Test

The only way to naturally remove any chemicals from your body is to detox, which takes time. If your drug test is coming soon, there are still many things you can do to flush your system, but they will be less effective with less time between drug use and the test. Here are some of the most effective and safe ways to detoxify your body.

Water – Our bodies are primarily water, so replace as much of it as you can to clean your system. Try to drink about a gallon (4 Liters) of water a day for safe detox. You will be peeing constantly, but this is exactly what you want to get your system flushed. Don’t go over a gallon and if you start to feel dizzy, stop drinking water. You can swell your brain with too much water, so make sure to keep enough sodium in your diet to balance intake.

Exercise / Sweat  – Exercise naturally speeds up your metabolism and kick-starts your body’s natural purification process. This involves breaking a heavy sweat, which literally secretes toxins through your skin. Cardiovascular exercise is the best way to get your heart pumping and blood flowing through the kidneys and liver, your body’s detox stations. You can also use a sauna to increase the amount of sweat you pass, but make sure to be safe and use steam in moderation.

Cranberry or Lemon Juice – Pure cranberry juice and lemon juice are two of the best treatments for your kidneys. They act as natural diuretics and improve the functions of your filtering organs. Drink 16 ounces of cranberry juice per day or squeeze the juice from a lemon into about 8 ounces of water twice per day.

Niacin – Niacin is a supplement that promotes the break-down of lipids (molecules in fat). Because many toxins – especially the THC in marijuana – bind to fat, this will help you bring toxins out of storage and out of your body. Niacin causes your face to flush, with a bit of warmness and itchiness, so prepare for some discomfort. For best results, take niacin about half an hour before you exercise to maximize the benefits.

Activated Charcoal – Activated charcoal is just what it sounds like, charcoal in a pill. In this form, the carbon inside activated charcoal acts like a sponge as it passes through your body. It draws many of the toxins from your intestines and helps you pass them in your stool. It works so well that one side-effect is constipation, so drink plenty of water. Make sure not to take the charcoal with other supplements, as your body won’t absorb them fast enough to keep them from passing out of you in the charcoal.

Herbal Tea – There are many types of herbal teas that promote liver and kidney function. In particular, look for roasted dandelion root or teas that are specifically labeled for detox. Steep two tea bags in a single mug for a detox boost with less drinking required.

For the Day of the Drug Test

If you’ve been caught completely off-guard by your drug test, you still have a fighting chance at passing it or at least buying more time. Wake up early on the day of your test and start drinking as much water as you can. Cranberry juice, lemon juice, and detox teas can still help, but the other supplements listed above will only be useful several days in advance. This way, your system will not be drug-free, but the pee you provide will be much cleaner.

Tests have taken this strategy into account and can tell if you’ve been diluting based on the color and protein content of your pee. About 2 hours before your test, take a Vitamin B-2 or B-Complex and a scoop or two of Creatine powder. The Vitamin B will turn your pee yellow and the Creatine will show up in its metabolized form like you just ate a big steak. Urinate as much as possible before you leave home, even in small batches.

During your test, fill the test cup with urine from mid-stream. The first drops out of your urethra will be the most concentrated, so give it a few seconds before you fill the cup for the least concentrated pee in your bladder. This strategy will probably still raise a flag during testing, but it’s likely they will be unable to show a high enough concentration of any drugs in your system to warrant an outright positive result. You could score a retest, or in the best case, a “good enough to pass.” Employers specify different concentrations to warrant a positive result, so hope for the best.