Pot Study: Not a Good Idea to Diet Before Drug Test

August 9, 2009

(ChattahBox)—A new study lends credence to those who fail drug tests, insisting they have not smoked pot in weeks, but somehow still test positive for traces of THC in their blood.

The study suggests that dieting or high stress levels could trigger the release of stored THC in a pot smoker’s fat cells into the user’s blood, causing a positive cannabis reading in drug tests.

It has long been known that cannabis becomes rapidly absorbed by fatty tissues and can be stored for weeks after a user stops smoking, especially in heavy smokers. Traces or metabolites of the main ingredient, THC can be picked up by drug testing from a range of 3 to 30 days after a user has stopped smoking, depending on a user’s metabolism and how often cannabis is smoked.

After smoking, the THC slowly leaves the fat cells and becomes diffused into the blood, but a heavy smoker may always have a certain level of THC secreted away in fat cells.

Consider the well publicized case of everyone’s favorite stoner snowboarder, Canadian Ross Rebagliati who won an Olympic gold medal in the 1998 Nagano winter games, only to have it snatched away, after testing positive for THC in a drug test. Rebagliati swore he had not smoked cannabis for weeks and attributed the positive test to second-hand smoke from attending parties in Whistler, British Columbia.

Luckily for Rebagliati his gold medal was restored, when it was ruled that a legal loophole existed on marijuana use with the International Ski Federation. Snowboarders have an entrenched cannabis culture, and combined with low levels of THC stored away in Rebagliati’s fat cells, combined with stress, it’s certainly possible that he had not smoked in weeks before the drug test.

Two researchers from Australia decided to test the effect stress levels and dieting had on the stored levels of THC in a user’s fat cells, based on stories of athletes like Rebagliati. The researchers theorized that the rapid breakdown of body fat from dieting and stress could lead to the release of THC into the blood.

After testing their theory on rats, the researchers found that both stress and dieting did indeed trigger the release of THC, especially dieting. The researchers injected rats with THC that was the equivalent of a person smoking five to 10 cannabis cigarettes, every day for 10 days.

Two days after the last THC injection, the researchers injected a third of the rats with a stress hormone, called ACTH, deprived another third of food and left the final group as a control group. The food deprived group showed double the blood levels of THC acid, with the stress group also showing a strong THC increase.

Although the researchers did not find the same THC levels after two days, they believe a longer study would have allowed the rats to develop stores of THC in their fat cells, which would have been released with the stress and starvation triggers.

This study needs to be conducted on human subjects before the findings are confirmed, but the results have implications for smokers facing drug tests, resulting in serious consequences for a positive THC test. Heavy smokers would be well advised not to diet before a drug test.

The study will be available in an upcoming issue of the British Journal of Pharmacology

Source


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