Cannabis drug testing: Will a sweaty exercise session eliminate THC from the body?

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Ever since cannabis legalization began unfurling across the United States, more consumers are becoming concerned that a lack of workplace protections – depending on their state of residence – may result in them losing their job.

Should you work in a place where you are exposed to hazards on a daily basis or, conversely, in an environment that requires you to be sober when coming face-to-face with customers, it’s likely that you will need to undergo routine drug testing.

Consumers are going to all kinds of lengths to try and eradicate any traces of THC from their system prior to a drug test. Sweating out THC is one of the ways in which consumers are trying to pass a drug test, but does this method work? Could your perspiration get you out of a sticky situation? 

“The THC present in your fat cells is also excreted through your sweat and you can increase the excretion by using a sauna. The heat from the sauna helps in dilating the blood vessels and capillaries, so that the blood reaches the fat tissues and let THC excrete through the sweat,” reads a statement on newhealthguide.org.

Humans lose 300-700 ml of sweat on a daily basis and, during exercise, as much as two liters of water per hour. The fact that a wide variety of drugs can be detected in a person’s sweat poses the question: Is it possible to sweat out cannabis? Whether an employee enjoys cannabis for recreational purposes or medical, it’s important to anticipate what might happen if they were to get drug tested.

Detecting cannabis consumption in sweat is a possibility

https://greenfleets.org/blog/sauna-help-pass-drug-test/

Once cannabis is consumed, THC begins to metabolize inside the body. When it comes to testing for cannabis with urine samples, the final metabolite of THC is detected via the main metabolic pathway: of THC > 11-OH-THC > THC-COOH > THC-COO-glucuronide. 

Although THC is present in sweat – as confirmed in this study – it’s not so easy to determine how much THC is excreted through sweat, as opposed to urine. One particular study could not detect the metabolites 11-OH-THC or THC-COOH whatsoever; likely because levels are too low to be detected in sweat. Then there’s THC-COO-glucuronide, which cannot pass through sweat membranes and therefore will not be present in sweat.

Conclusion

Since no scientific studies have been carried out into the effects of sweating on THC levels in the body, it remains uncertain as to whether or not a sauna or intense workout session could help consumers to pass a drug test. What we do know, however, is that THC is found more frequently in fat than it is in plasma; when sweat glands are stimulated, a plasma-like fluid (perspiration) is excreted from the cells. On that note, there likely wouldn’t be enough THC in sweat for someone to succeed in expelling it from the body before a drug test.