At a few points in my career, I have worked as a sales associate and consultant in supplement stores. I was always shocked by the number of customers who came to these stores, desperately seeking herbs and remedies to eliminate drugs from their bloodstreams– either to pass a drug test or to simply “detox” for health reasons.
One product in particular, psyllium husk, is widely suggested by marijuana-users as a remedy to pass drug tests. The theory states this natural herbal fiber source gets rid of tetrahydrocannabino, or THC– the active psychoactive compound in marijuana and the compound that most drug tests detect.
Several marijuana users cite their own anecdotes as evidence that psyllium gets rid of THC, but does it really work? Probably not.
Advocates of psyllium to get rid of THC suggest that it works because of its high fiber content. Psyllium is an extremely concentrated source of fiber, and it turns into a thick, clear, odorless jelly when it interacts with stomach acid. For this reason, it is an extremely effective colon cleanser.
Some people believe that psyllium can get rid of THC by drawing the fat-soluble compound from fat cells and into the colon. Alternatively, they suggest that psyllium temporarily removes THC from the urinary tract by pulling all THC toward the digestive tract, temporarily enabling a person to pass a drug test. To a layperson, these benefits may seem to make sense– but they don’t really work from a scientific perspective.
Why it Doesn’t Work
THC is stored in fat cells in the body, and small amounts of it are excreted in urine for up to 40 days after your last exposure. Although psyllium can push matter through the colon by adding weight and volume to stools, it doesn’t have any sort of osmotic effect. Psyllium does not pull or absorb toxins from fat cells, the urinary tract, or any other part of the body. It is simply a concentrated source of fiber.
There is no rational reason to believe that fiber or any other form of laxative can get rid of THC. THC is not passed in stool, and will not disappear faster because of the use of bulk laxatives like psyllium. While psyllium can help to reduce your cholesterol levels and treat constipation, it can’t help you pass a drug test.
What Does Work
If you want to get rid of THC to pass a drug test, don’t smoke pot. If you’ve been smoking it, and you’re required to take a drug test, no supplement can help you pass it. Other common remedies, like niacin and goldenseal, have also been found to be ineffective. If you are on probation or have a job that requires your 24/7 sobriety, use common sense and stay off the grass. The same applies if you are going to apply for a job with an employer who conducts routine drug testing. You need to wait at least 45 days after smoking before you can reliably pass a drug test.
The National Institutes of Health has more complete information about psyllium husk.