Can you pass a drug test with baking soda?
Baking soda and vinegar have two things in common. First, it’s very likely that you have them in your kitchen. Second, both of them are thought to help in cheating urinary drug tests. I’ve already written about the use of vinegar in beating marijuana urine tests. So, today’s article will be about baking soda; how it is used to game the test and why it may or it may not work.
How to pass a urine drug test with baking soda: Instructions
The internet community has several ways of doing this. While they are thought to lead to the same results, they differ slightly regarding the amount of baking soda ingested. The method that I have outlined below is the most common
What you’ll need
- 8oz glass
- 200 – 300 grams of baking soda
How to do it
- Add two tablespoons of baking soda in an 8-ounce glass
- Shake thoroughly to mix
- Drink as fast as you can
- Fill the 8oz cup with plain water and drink
- Pee at least two times before you drop and a 3rd time just before you collect the urine
How it’s thought to work
According to the sources that propagate this theory, when baking soda is ingested, it absorbs toxins (including metabolites of the weed, methamphetamine etc) from the blood system into the stomach. It then induces an urge to vomit where the user vomits most of the toxins. Drinking more water after that helps in stopping further dehydration and flushing out all the remaining toxins through the urinary system.
Does it work?
Short answer: No.
Long answer: The belief that baking soda does help with passing marijuana drug tests is just gaining momentum. This method is most common with meth users, and it has been found to work for this purpose.
The ability to fool a meth urine drug test with baking soda stems from 2 facts. First, when ingested, sodium bicarbonate- the active ingredient in baking soda- is known to increase the pH of urine thereby making it more alkaline. Second, methamphetamine is easily excreted into acidic urine than in alkaline urine, and this means that there will be fewer metabolites in the urine at the time of the test thereby increasing the probability of passing.
But this only happens with methamphetamine. And this is because meth is a base as opposed to THC-COOH which is acidic. This means that since urine is slightly acidic, renal elimination of meth is easy and flawless. But this changes drastically when the urine is alkalinized in that almost zero meth will be excreted via this route. This is what makes baking soda a viable option for beating a meth urine drug test.
But are THC and THC metabolites affected by this change in pH in the same manner?
No, they aren’t. Although there isn’t a lot of scientific studies around this topic yet, basic knowledge of how THC and its metabolites behave in different pH levels is enough to tell whether changes in pH levels of urine will affect the concentration of these metabolites in urine or not.
Understanding pH and its effect on solubility and movement of ions across membranes
pH refers to the concentration of hydrogen ions in a given solution on a logarithmic scale of 1 to 10 where 7 denotes a neutral solution. The lower values 1-6 show that the solution is acidic (the lower the number, the higher the acidity) while the higher values mean that the solution is more alkaline.
The pH of a solution determines the ionization state of the molecules in it, and they can be positively or negatively charged. For instance, a base molecule can be neutral at higher pH levels and +vely charged at lower pH levels. On the other hand, an acidic molecule can be neutral at lower pH levels and –vely charged at higher pH levels.
The pKa level of a given molecule refers to a measure of acid strength. Smaller pKa values indicate that the molecule is more acidic. The converse is true. The pKa level also shows a pH state where 50% of the molecules are ions and the rest are unionized.
A change in the pH level affects the pKa level of the molecules thereby interfering with their solubility of and ability to go across cell membranes. Urine pH works on this principle when eliminating toxins including drugs and drug metabolites through a process known as ion trapping. Let’s dig deeper here.
Ion Trapping and its role in drug excretion in urine
Just as this name suggests, ion trapping is an interesting process that enables urine to trap the ions of target toxins for excretion.
The process of ion trapping takes place in the renal tubules. It’s in these tubules that the plasma that has just been filtered by the kidneys passes through as it is converted into urine. As the plasma moves along the tubules, some of its molecules may be reabsorbed back into the blood by penetrating through the cell membrane that makes the walls of these tubules. However, keep in mind that whether or not the molecules will be reabsorbed depends on whether they are ionized or non-ionized.
Most non-ionized molecules easily diffuse across the membranes credit to their high lipid solubility. Ionized molecules, on the other hand, cannot diffuse back across the cellular membranes and are, therefore, successfully trapped and ready for excretion as urine. Worth noting, only toxins from weak acids and bases are amenable for ion trapping.
Ion Trapping does not affect the excretion of THC and its metabolites
It’s true that ingesting baking soda does increase the pH level of urine. The major limitation when dealing with THC and its metabolites, however, is that the increase in urine pH has a very small effect on the ionization state of these toxins.
For instance, assuming that you have successfully upped your urine’s pH level from 6 to 8, the ionization of THC (with a pKa of 10.6) will increase from 0% to 0.3%. This increase isn’t enough to have a significant ion trapping effect.
THC-COOH (11-hydroxy-THC) the main active metabolite of tetrahydrocannabinol has a pKa of 9.3. The predicted change in urine pH will change its ionization from 0.1% to 4.8%. Although this is still not high enough to warrant significant ion trapping effect, it has been found to increase the excretion of this metabolite by around 10% in some people especially those with lower hepatic clearance.
THC-COO-glucuronide with a pKa of around 3.2 is quite interesting in that its ionization moves from 99.8% to 100%. In theory, this change seems so promising and means that it can be easily reabsorbed back into the blood thereby allowing you a window to collect some clean urine.
Unfortunately, this glucuronide molecule is relatively large. Its molecular weight of 565g/mol means that it’s way too large to be taken back through the membranes.
Recent statistics show an increasing number of failed drug tests. Marijuana positivity at drug tests has increased nearly 75 percent since 2013.
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Baking soda might help in passing meth urine drug tests, but it won’t offer a lot of help in marijuana tests.
The slightly higher ionization change of the THC-COOH metabolite might boost the detoxification process especially if you have a slow hepatic clearance. However, it won’t offer much help to most people. Even if you are among the few who might benefit from it, the rate of detoxification will still be prolonged.
Importantly, the presence of THC-COO-glucuronide in the urine (which is actually what labs look for), means that you’ll need to look for an alternative method in case you are scheduled for a test within a short notice.
The fact that you are altering with your urine pH is another big reason not to rely on this method. This is one of the first urine components that virtually all labs look for immediately after handing over the specimen. They will automatically disqualify your specimen without further testing for specific drugs in case your urine’s pH is outside the normal range.
So, which is the most reliable method of cheating a test?
If you are a frequent visitor and reader of the articles on this site, you must have realized that dilution is my most recommendable way of cheating urinary drug tests. The key benefits to this method are its high success rate and minimal side effects.
Of course, similar to any other method, dilution can also attract unwanted attention from the lab experts if it’s not done in the right way. That’s to say that it requires tact and good timing as I have explained in this article on how to pass a urine drug test with water.