It doesn’t seem fair.
More and more states are legalizing weed, yet many employers – even in states where it’s legal to consume cannabis – still require testing for marijuana use.
So even in legal states, regular users are faced with the need to cover their tracks. Some may have to take a drug test before they’re allowed to start a new job; others may be subjected to regular tests no matter how long they’ve been a dedicated and “trusted” employee.
Pot use can be problematic, though. Most illegal drug use only shows up on urine tests (the screening most employers rely on) for a few days, perhaps a week at most. Marijuana, on the other hand, is likely to produce a positive urine test for about a month – particularly among heavy smokers.
You can find all sorts of crazy, supposedly “proven” weed detox methods online. Weed-using friends may have suggestions, too. Some of those methods, like drinking bleach or downing niacin pills, are dangerous and potentially deadly.
The one approach that seems most promising, at least from anecdotal reports, is using something called Certo right before you go in to be tested for cannabis use.
Unless you’re an accomplished home cook or suffer from medical issues like GERD or diabetes, you’ve probably never heard of Certo before.
Let’s change that.
What Is Certo, and What Does it Do?
Certo is a brand name for fruit pectin, a soluble fiber that naturally occurs in sweet fruits like apples and peaches. The same company (Kraft) that makes Certo also markets the product under the brand name Sure-Jell, and you can purchase generic fruit pectin for a lower price. It’s all the same thing.
Fruit pectin is an effective vegan gelling agent much like gelatin, and it’s most often used by commercial food manufacturers who produce jam, jelly, and gummies. Home bakers use it for making pastries like fruit tarts, and it’s prescribed for some illnesses as well.
For our purposes, though, let’s talk about what else Certo can do. Or more accurately, what people say it can do.
They say it helps weed users pass a THC drug test.
How Does the Certo Detox Work?
There are three reasons that consuming Certo supposedly helps with detox before a blood test.
Here’s the first one. When you ingest fiber, whether it’s natural or in a supplement like Metamucil, it absorbs water and speeds up the body’s process of expelling waste. When a fiber like Certo is ingested it changes its form and turns into a gel, so it absorbs more water than other fiber would. That increases the frequency of defecation; in simple English, it makes you pass stool more often.
Why would that matter? A small amount of THC-COOH, the THC metabolite that stays in the body for as long as a month after you use cannabis, leaves the body through urine. But most of it passes in stool. The more you poop before your drug test, the more of the metabolite you will theoretically expel in your stool rather than in your urine. Research has shown that fruit pectin is effective at flushing other types of toxins from the body in the same way.
Here’s the next theory. When Certo enters your body it apparently combines with stomach acids, to increase the production of bile (a digestive fluid) in the body. Bile dissolves the water that the Certo absorbs, and most of it is expelled as stool rather than urine.
Why would that matter? Most of the THC metabolite left in the body is stored in fat cells, and fat binds to bile without breaking down into its component parts. So, again theoretically, Certo induces the body to get rid of lots of fat that might otherwise release THC-COOH into urine.
Now, the third theory. Pectin supposedly helps fat molecules “clump together” in the body. When they’re bound together, there’s less total surface area exposed to the enzymes that cause fat to be digested and excreted as urine.
Why would that matter? When less fat is digested, less THC-COOH is released into the bloodstream. This process is said to create a window during which the THC metabolite remains “hidden” in the body’s fat. In other words, doing a Certo detox right before a urine test theoretically increases the chances of testing clean.
Let’s be clear. There’s no scientific evidence that any of this actually works to detox the body or prevent drug tests from working. The only thing that is known is that a fourth theory – Certo provides a coating that prevents THC-COOH from being released – isn’t true. Everything else is just an attempt to explain why a Certo detox seems to work for many people.
And from purely anecdotal evidence, it does seem to work in some cases.
Here’s how to do it.
How to Do a Certo Detox
This method has to be used in the 18 hours or so before taking a urine test. Doing a Certo detox too early has no chance of working because the physical effect of the pectin will wear off before the urine sample is taken. Detox too late – and you’re probably too late to test clean.
There’s early work to be done, though. Drink as much water as possible during the two days before the test, to help flush as much THC metabolite from your system as possible.
Several other ingredients go into this detox formula other than Certo. Each has a specific purpose, and shouldn’t be left out. Plan ahead.
Here’s the “recipe” for each Certo detox drink. You’ll be making two of them during your detox.
- One 32 ounce bottle of Gatorade or another sports drink
- One package of Certo, Sure Jell, or other fruit pectin
Combine the two and drink before bed. The Certo has to be mixed with a sports drink because you’ll be drinking a lot of water and urinating a lot before the test. Increased urination can flush out the body’s normal electrolytes; the Gatorade replaces them.
Two hours before the drug test, combine the two ingredients again – but also mix in one teaspoon of creatine monohydrate supplement before drinking. Creatine is normally present in urine, but the detox may flush it out. This replenishes it so the urine seems “normal” when it’s tested or examined.
At the same time you take the second Certo detox drink, also take a multivitamin, plus vitamin B2 and vitamin B12. The multivitamin restores minerals to the urine, the B12 restores its yellow color (which can be “too light” when you drink a large amount of water), and the B2 helps the liver detoxify.
Oh – and the final ingredient: crossed fingers. There’s no guarantee that this method will help you pass your urine test, especially if you’re a heavy smoker.
Here are two final pieces of advice.
A number of factors can affect results, including weight, age, fitness, and natural metabolism. So try the Certo detox before it matters, to see if it really works for you. Buy a THC home drug test, go through all of the steps, and then test yourself. Your employer’s test may be more sensitive than the one you buy at a drug store, but a trial run will provide a good indication of whether you’ll be able to test clean.
And perhaps the best advice of all: stop using weed as soon as you know that you might be tested. THC-COOH can remain in your system for 30 days, or even longer for daily, heavy smokers. The more time you’re weed-free before your test, the better the chances that traces won’t be detected in your urine.
Certo Detox FAQ
Q: How long is the window during which Certo detox works?
A: It’s supposedly four or five hours long, which is why you have your second “dose” of the detox drink about two hours before your drug test.
Q: Will the Certo detox work to hide other drug use on a urine test?
A: Only if the drugs or their metabolites are water-soluble. It will supposedly help marijuana and opiate users, but is said to be ineffective for coke.
Q: What if I only have a few hours’ warning before a drug test?
A: You’ll be taking a big chance, but you can try drinking one of the Certo-and-Gatorade mixtures, along with a Gatorade bottle full of water, an hour before the test. It may work, it may not work, and your urine may be diluted enough that it makes the test go tilt. Desperate times, desperate measures, though.
Q: Is there anything I should avoid during the detox?
A: Don’t ingest baking soda or vitamin B3, which may counteract the Certo’s effects. Also, don’t use the method if you have gastrointestinal issues; the Certo probably won’t work and you could get even sicker.
Q: Will this method work for saliva, blood, or hair tests?
A: Nope, sorry. Just urine.