Why Drinking A Lot is Useless

Discussion in 'Urine Testing' started by nerphroll, May 11, 2006.

  1. nerphroll nerphroll

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    One of the most frequent questions posted here is whether drinking large amounts of fluid in the days to weeks before a urine test will help "flush" or clean out the THC metabolites from one's "system." Most answers correctly state that this practice is useless, though the questions keep coming. Here's an explanation that might clear things up:

    FACT: THC is stored in body fat and is in equilibrium with itself and its metabolites in the bloodstream. The natural course of things is for THC to go from fat to bloodstream to kidneys, where it (or its metabolites) is filtered into the urine. A sizable portion also is exreted in stool but to date I do not know of any stool-THC tests out there in use.

    FACT: The amount of THC delivered to the kidneys for filtration into the urine is determined by the THC concentration in blood and the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which is simply a measure of how much blood is filtered by the kidneys in one minute.

    FACT: A person's GFR remains relatively constant through a process called autoregulation, by which reflex changes in vascular tone inside the kidney help keep GFR constant despite daily fluctuations in blood pressure or cardiac output, such as with exercise.

    FACT: Drinking excess fluids will make you urinate more, yes, but not by increasing GFR. The increase in urine with say, drinking a gallon of water, is a hormonally mediated change. Drinking a lot of water lowers the blood osmolality (the concentration of solutes in blood). The body needs to keep blood osmolality very tightly regulated, so the response to a fluid load is to excrete the excess water due to a shutdown of antidiuretic hormone, which diminshes the kidney's ability to reabsorb water in the kidney. However, GFR is unaffected. The same amount of blood is filtered by the kidneys per minute, and the same amount of THC is filtered into the urine per minute, it's just that less of that filtered load (which includes a lot of water) is reabsorbed later in the kidney due to the temporary shutdown of antidiuretic hormone. This hormone normally helps the kidney reabsorb filtered water, so we don't all pee out all of our water and die, but when osmolality is at stake the body must get rid of the excess water.

    FACT: The only times when drinking a lot of fluid will raise the GFR is if the GFR has been lowered to start with, most commonly due to dehydration. Even if someone has chronic kidney disease, drinking more water will not increase the GFR unless they too happen to be dehydrated.

    FACT: Pregnancy actually increases GFR due to expansion of blood flow to the kidney.

    The only ways to help "flush out" the "system" of THC are:
    1)Get pregnant :D
    2)Have a surgeon place a third kidney inside of you :(
    3)Drink fluids to reverse dehydration, but once you're normally hydrated drinking any more fluids will be uselss.

    Don't be confused with dilution. Dilution methods do not help you rid your body of THC any faster. The same amount of THC per unit time is in your urine, it's just that it exists in a larger volume of urine when you drink a lot and therefore the concentration is decreased. Drinking a lot in the days before a test will keep you diluted most of the time, but the same amount of THC is in your body. Thus, don't bother with drinking a lot until you're ready to dilute and take your test.

    As for aerobic fat burning exercise, that will burn more fat, which places more THC into the bloodstream. Though GFR remains constant, the higher THC concentration in the blood that is being delivered to the kidneys will result in faster bodily elimination of THC. Thus, aerobic exercise WILL help "flush you" out. Just be careful in those few days before a test. The common dogma is that during the few days before a test, you want to exercise very little and pig out so as to go into "fat storage mode". This makes sense, since burning less fat before the test minimizes how much thc is being released into your bloodstream, filtered by your kidneys, and ending up in your urine to be DETECTED.


    IN SUMMARY: Drinking a lot in the days to weeks before your test will just keep you relatively diluted. It will NOT help you rid yourself of total bodily THC any faster. Save the fluids for when you're ready to dilute, and go for it!
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  2. Secs Secs

    • New Member
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    Hey Nerphroll, do you mind if I copy and paste this post into the Dilution sticky or in the From the Tester sticky?
  3. Hawg Hawg

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    Very well put Nerph, bump bump for you Sec ;)
  4. lew scannon lew scannon

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    I thought I should bump this thread to the front page.

    I too, agree that this thread is an excellent candidate for "Sticky" status. :cool:
    1 people like this.
  5. bluntwrapsupreme bluntwrapsupreme

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    this should most definitely be a sticky. i think its very important for people to UNDERSTAND why drinking a lot of water does nothing. its an extremely common misconception and i know from first hand experience that NO ONE believes that its a false method unless i can prove it with examples or scientific reasons.

    i wish i would have read this before my test. awesome job nerphroll. thanks.
  6. HealthyG HealthyG

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    • Since: Dec 7, 2008
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    You shouldn't use the word USELESS

    Because useless is untrue. You can say "not going to make you pass" or "not going to flush you out totally" or whatever, however saying "Useless" is wrong:rolleyes:. As a nurse, I will tell you that the benefits of drinking water far outweigh the risks that you will have by not even trying to assist your body with losing the THC for your test.

    Water may not completely flush everything out with the simplistic thought of washing out our bodies, however, water will increase our metabolism, and it will also help us eat healthier or less therefore causing our body to rid some fat, and along with the fat, the THC goes. It will most likely go out in the stool. Water increases frequency of bowel movements. Our livers are responsible for breaking down fats in the blood stream and producing energy. This is the liver’s main function. It also assists the kidneys in removing toxins from the body. If the kidneys are deprived of water, the liver then has to step in and assist the kidneys in their role of elimination of wastes. This takes time and effort away from its main function. The liver has to work overtime in order to process the excess fat or it gets deposited into the bloodstream, on vital organs, even in the intestines, and stays in the body, which then can lead to a longer time it takes for the THC to exit the body since it likes to hide out in Fat.

    So I understand your whole GFR idea, however I think you're forgetting the role of water in other parts of the body besides just the kidneys. Therefore I don't think you should say Useless. It gives the impression that drinking plenty of water for a few weeks before a test won't help at all with cleaning out your system because it will, although not a guarantee to pass, I believe it will help someone to be cleaner faster. ;)
  7. Secs Secs

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    I doesn't really make enough of a difference in the time frame needed.

    From reading Nerphroll's posts over the years, I have come to conclude that he is a bit higher on the medical ladder than a nurse. His post is also geared towards preparing for a scheduled drug test in a week or two (or even a month). Drinking excessive water throughout the day, every day, won't raise your metabolism enough to burn through enough fat to make that much difference on a drug test.

    Drinking water on the DAY OF the drug test will make a difference in the result. If you are looking at a long term solution to a metabolism or weight problem, then staying well hydrated on a daily basis probably would help you out.

    For all intents and purposes, drinking excessive water in the days or weeks before a drug test, to help pass that drug test is indeed, useless for that purpose. You could be clean in a month or two without drinking water daily anyway, but by raising your metabolism level and losing weight, you could, in a few months time, clean out faster without the extra fat cells if you have another test come up in the future. Not to mention, you would be healthier in general with proper daily hydration.

    Excessive water loading, for any reason, does more harm than good.
    1 people like this.
  8. nerphroll nerphroll

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    Thank you Sec and lew, for the support. And while water certainly is healthy to drink (it IS the liquid of life), when I say "useless" I do mean only in the context of trying to rid your body of excess THC to pass a drug test. You should still drink daily of course, to live, but unless it's dilution time and you're gearing up for the big test, you only need drink when you're thirsty. Anything above that is useless, as your body is trying to tell you (hence the thirst mechansim). Unless you're pregnant and trying to avoid contractions in the heat, or trying to NOT have that next kidney stone, excess water is useless, and hence I prefer a nice dark beer or some nice vodka.
    Let's do this sticky thing!
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  9. nikk nikk

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    • Since: May 10, 2009
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    I could be wrong but I'm under the impression that THC can burn out through your sweat.

    And if your like me I can drink 6-8 glasses of water(3-5 hours before) and run a mile in the AZ sun and barely sweat anything. I'll be hot as hell and I just won't. ( I don't drink anything other than water usually.)
    But if I drink 14+ glasses 3-5 hours before, I'll sweat a decent amount. I'm pretty sure when this happens with most people it's because they're very skinny and probably don't even need to run, because it's generally clean fairly fast.
    If it is true, drinking excess of water can help.
  10. lew scannon lew scannon

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    Sweating doesnt help much because very little THC is excreted thru sweat. The rest of it is being excreted via the urine and bowels.
  11. Webdox Webdox

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    Agreed, even sweating profusely for hours on end (please no one try that) won't alter the concentration of THC seen through one's urine appreciably enough to even blip the radar.
  12. noobsaibot noobsaibot

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    so would working out and burning a lot of calories be a good way to get the thc out of your system since its stored in fat(get rid of fat, get rid of thc in the fat???)?
  13. lew scannon lew scannon

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    It does, but up to a point. As Nerph pointed out, you want to put your body in "storage mode" 3 days before the test - avoid all exercise and be lazy as possible, so you wont be releasing a bunch of THC metabolites into the bloodstream (as a result of fat cells being burned), which end up in the urine.
  14. Plainsman1963 Plainsman1963

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    The essential benefit that "sweating" does--especially if induced by aerobic exercise of at least 30 minutes and combined with sauna--is to induce your body to transition from "carbohydrate burning" to "lipolysis or fat burning" to supply ATP energy for your body. Theoretically, if your exercise is of sufficient magnitude to induce you into ''fat burning'' metabolism, then it does offer some benefit in terms of speeding up the breakdown of THC-laden lipid cells and shunting them (and their THC metabs) into the venous-flow bloodstream for ultimate excretion via urine/stool during the 5 to 10 days prior to your test (i.e, "metabolic cleansing"). This practice is maximally beneficial--in terms of helping you to pass a drug test---if such exercise it is consistently done approx 5 to 10 days prior to your test; then STOPPED approx 2 days prior to your test and not smoking (of course to keep the old THC-laden fat cells from contributing to your urine THC level and preventing the newly synthesized fat cells from being impregnated with novo THC). So, the overall effect of "aerobic exercise" on "lowering your detection window" is most efficient if done 5 to 10 days priors to the UA, and least effecient (perhaps detrimental) on 1 to 2 days prior to the UA.
  15. caSC05 caSC05

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    Is that realllllly true? That if someone is pregnant it actually takes less time to clear your system of THC? I have been trying to find answers on that all over the web. I know someone who smoked a few bowls throughout the period of about 3 or 4 days. She had been clean for months before that...and she also happens to be pregnant. Now she is panicking because she has to go in for a UA and is afraid that it will come back positive. She has 23 or so days to flush her system out, and as you probably now...a pregnant woman can't really do anything except go the ol' natural way.

    So...do you think 23 days is enough time to get clean for a pregnant woman after smoking a period of 3-4 days but being clean months prior? and is it really true that it takes less time to rid your system of THC when pregnant? I need answers, and you seem like the one to know!
  16. nerphroll nerphroll

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    There is a physiologic increase in the glomerular filtration rate of the kidneys during pregnancy, and it may add a small incremental benefit in terms of clearing THC and metabolites from the body faster than in the non-pregnant state, but there is insufficient evidence to say whether the effect is significant enough to actually make a difference in terms of being able to pass a drug test sooner. I would assume for the sake of practicality that it makes no significant difference, just to be on the safe side.
  17. Splendens Splendens

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    • Since: Jul 12, 2009
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    Question, thoretically, would talking the last bit of urine be better than the first bit? My reasoning is that there would be some form of sepeartion. Unless the metabolites of the THC would float?

    Oh, also, I think I recently heard of a girl having to retest cuz she was preggers.
  18. nerphroll nerphroll

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    The end of the stream should be the same as the start in terms of THC and metabolite concentration in the urine.
  19. Splendens Splendens

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    should, but do you know? lol
  20. Secs Secs

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    Yes he knows. It is his profession to know these things. Trust me.

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