You must have heard that cranberry juice helps in passing drug tests, right? There’s also a chance that you are somewhat confused by the ever heated debate on how this juice works and whether it is reliable or not.

So, let’s put this right.

Cranberry juice is a natural diuretic that contains aspirin, zinc, niacin, and fruit pectin. All these are known as possible remedies for cheating a test.

But do these components make this juice a reliable agent for detoxing you from weed and other drugs? What do scientific experiment reports have to say? That’s what we’ll be finding out in this article.


Why People Think Cranberry Juice Can Help

It Contains Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a colorless crystalline organic acid with the formula C7H6O3. This is a keratolytic and one of the key ingredients for making aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid).

Unfortunately, there isn’t any research done to prove the amount of salicylic acid present in a given amount of cranberry juice.

There is a lot of supporting scientific evidence that confirms that taking aspirin some hours before taking a drug test can mess up results by giving a false negative.

For instance, these lab results in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology show that ingesting aspirin before a drug test may potentially yield negative results.

One thing that you need to understand, however, is that this method only works in the Enzyme Multiplied Immunoassay Technique (EMIT) drug tests but won’t beat a GC-MS test.

Luckily, the immunoassay is the most commonly used since it is easy to carry out and the cheapest for most drug screening companies to administer.

The GC-MS test is used as a confirmatory test in case you’ve tested positive with the immunoassay test. The reason why drug screening companies don’t rely solely on the GC-MS test is that it’s quite expensive regarding the equipment used and time.

The salicylic acid content in cranberry juice might help in passing a drug test. However, there are a few grey areas that make it a little bit unreliable.

First, the amount of cranberry juice that you need to drink for you to meet the required amount of salicylic acid is not yet clear.

When using aspirin to create a false negative in a drug test, it’s recommended to take four pills (amounting to 1300mg) 4 to 6 hours before the test.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any research done to prove the amount of salicylic acid present in a given amount of cranberry juice.

Secondly, you need to be aware of the fact that, while aspirin might cause a false negative, it’s not always a guarantee.

Likelihood of Being Drug Tested by Ethnicity


Cranberry Juice Contains Zinc

There is hard evidence to prove that zinc sulfate can be used to compromise a drug screen test. A study on the effects of zinc in the detection of cocaine, methamphetamine, and THC, for instance, confirms that zinc can be effective in thwarting a drug test.

As we told you before, cranberry juice contains zinc content albeit in small amounts. According to most people’s thinking, this is what makes this juice reliable in passing a drug screen.

On this note, several online resources argue that when ingested, zinc bonds with THC metabolites making the metabolites too large to pass through the kidneys and are thereby rerouted to feces.

This isn’t true.

Most of the newest research reports including this 2013 post in the Journal for Analytical Toxicology show that zinc has zero effect on drug test results when ingested. This study notes that when ingested, there isn’t enough of this supplement in the urine sample to be able to interfere with the results.

It states that zinc can only interfere with results only if it is used as an adulterant (that is, added directly into the urine).

In summary, our results support the possibility that addition of zinc directly to urine can produce false-negative results with EMIT-based testing. In contrast, our results refute the possibility that self-administration of zinc can produce false-negative drug testing results
Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Volume 37, Issue 9, November 2013, Pages 665–669

Therefore, if you want to beat a drug test with zinc, you’ll need to add it into your urine sample rather than ingesting it via cranberry juice.

There is a catch to this though. Contrary to what previous studies suggested, the latest research including this PubMed paper of 2013 state that there are new spot tests that have been developed to detect the availability of zinc in the urine.

Zinc sulfate can invalidate urine drug and alcohol testing but can be detected using the novel spot tests developed.
American Journal of Clinical Pathology, Volume 140, Issue 4, October 2013, Pages 572–578

Luckily, most laboratories rarely use spot tests to detect the addition of zinc in urine samples. Thus, there’s still a high chance of compromising drug detection by using zinc as an adulterant.

Cranberry Juice Contains Niacin

This is yet another popular reason that most people give to support their claim of cranberry juice’s ability to help pass a drug test.

About flushing metabolites from the body, the layperson believes that niacin promotes the breakdown of fat.

This isn’t true. As we have explained in our other article on the use of Niacin to pass a drug test, while niacin is involved in the catabolism of dietary fat, it only converts fat into energy but does not speed up your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).

Other challenges that arise with the use of niacin to clean flush your system is the amount required. The thing with niacin is that it is only effective when used at high doses.

A typical regimen for this technique requires the ingestion of between 500mg and 2000mg of niacin each day plus several gallons of water for a couple of weeks before the screening date.

Worth noting, cranberry juice has a negligible amount of niacin (approximately 0.04g of niacin in 100g of juice).Can you imagine the amount of juice that you need to force down your throat to attain the minimum required dosage of 500mg?

Cranberry Juice Contains Pectin

Pectin is a natural polysaccharide found in fruits. In science talk, pectin is the equivalent of gelatin that is derived from animals for use in the kitchen.

Unlike gelatin which is a protein, pectin is a fiber. This is what Kraft Foods uses to manufacturer Cerro and Sure-Jell thanks to its excellent gelling nature.

How does Pectin work in a drug test?

To understand how pectin works, you need to know how drugs are metabolized, stored, and excreted out of the body.

Basically, after ingestion, drugs undergo metabolism after which some of the metabolites are absorbed into the blood and stored in fats, while others are excreted through feces and urine.

Marijuana is known to be the most soluble in fat. This is what makes it quite difficult to detox from the body especially for overweight, hard users.

When taken a few hours before a drug test, pectin in cranberry juice is thought to bind to the drug metabolites in the blood (it does not affect metabolites in the fat) thereby adding them to your poop instead of urine.

The reduced amount of metabolites in the urine offers you some time to collect a slightly ‘cleaner’ sample that might help you to pass a drug test.

Even better, as a fiber, pectin increases your bowel movement. This means that more and more metabolites are excreted rather than being reabsorbed into the body.

While this theory seems so assuring, do know that it does not have any scientific backing to it.

It tends to stem from pectin’s ability to boost the secretion of certain harmful substances from the body including cadmium, lead, and arsenic. But it’s not yet clear whether it would have similar impacts on metabolites.

Also, cranberry juice has a meager amount of this fiber. This means that if it works, then you’ll need to take a lot of juice.

On the upside, taking too much juice means that it might dilute the drug concentration in your urine sample.

This further boosts your chances of beating the test. But remember that dilution is always among the first things that labs test for (more about dilution method later).

Cranberry Juice Can Help With Natural Detoxification

As we have just hinted, the body deals with metabolites in different ways. Some are excreted out either through fluids or feces while others are stored in fats.

Drugs that are highly soluble in a fat mean that they can be quite painstaking to get out completely.

This is because the metabolites tend to be released from the fats into your bloodstream for removal through urine only when your body burns fat for energy.

This means that you’ll need to burn fat/lose weight to release the THC metabolites for you to pass the drug test.

Now, have you heard of the spreading rumor that cranberry juice boosts fat metabolism and might, therefore, help with weight loss?

This school of thought is based on several weight-loss studies that involved cranberry juice.

In one of the most popular studies, the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress researchers asked the participants to include a glass of low-calorie cranberry juice in place of a soft drink alongside their meals.

The results showed a notable decrease in both BMI and body weight.

Drinking cranberry juice for burning fat is a complex process that involves counting calories and combining a well-balanced diet with exercise. Otherwise, it might not bear any fruits.

However, the researchers hesitated to attribute this weight loss directly to the cranberry juice.

This was mainly because the weight loss could also be linked to the replacement of soft drinks which perhaps had high calories with another drink that had lower calories.

There isn’t any scientific evidence that proves that cranberry juice can help with fat loss in any way. In its natural form, cranberry juice is a low-sugar juice that most find unpalatable due to its weird taste.

But that’s not what you get in most supermarkets and grocery stores. What the market has is a small portion of real cranberry juice topped up with high amounts of artificial sweeteners.

This might, therefore, end up adding more calories to your system rather than burning.

If you want to burn fat by drinking cranberry juice, then you need to go for low-calorie juice with no added sugars.

Again, considering that natural juice has fructose too, it might be recommendable to mix one portion of cranberry juice with one portion of water.

Generally, drinking cranberry juice for burning fat is a complex process that involves counting calories and combining a well-balanced diet with exercise. Otherwise, it might not bear any fruits.

Cranberry Juice Works As A Diuretic

Most scientific studies suggest that cranberry juice works as a diuretic. Put in layman’s language, a diuretic increases the amount of salt, water, and toxins that are flushed out of your system.

It does this by forcing you to take a pee frequently. However, this involves taking more of this juice non-stop to increase your urine output.

When used as a diuretic, cranberry juice works in the same manner as water, coffee, or tea.

While it does not boost the excretion of metabolites in the blood or fat, it minimizes the concentration of the available metabolites in the urine sample thereby taking the levels of metabolites to go below the concentration cutoff.

You could also do this with plain water without having to spend a penny on cranberry juice as they work in the same way.

As Betsy Foxman, Epidemiologist, Michigan School of Public Health puts it when speaking to the NY Times, in drinking cranberry juice, you are simply diluting. Dilution is among the most popular methods of cheating a drug test.

You need to do it with moderation though. Taking an obscene amount of liquid not only dilutes the metabolites in the urine, but it also alters several vitals of your urine including creatinine levels, specific gravity (density of urine), and color.

This could alert the lab technician thereby making you a candidate for a repeat specimen. If it’s evident that you’ve tried to adulterate the urine, there’s a high chance of going for a second observed sample.

You could also be putting your life in great danger since taking too much liquid may cause hyponatremia. This is a condition when there are abnormally low levels of sodium in your blood.

As an electrolyte, sodium helps in controlling the movement of water in and out of the cells.

Electrolyte imbalance may lead to confusion, nausea, fatigue, drowsiness, headache, and loss of energy.

Of course, the last thing that you want to do when taking a drug test is appearing sickly before the lab technician.


As you may have realized, it’s true that cranberry juice can help you pass a drug test. But it does this only as a dilution method.

Therefore, you’ll need to take lots of it to dilute the concentration of metabolites as much as possible.

You could also do this with plain water without having to spend a penny on cranberry juice (they work in the same way, duh).

But remember that taking too much water within a short time could lead to hyponatremia and death at worse.

Read more about how to pass a drug test in this article.


How Much Cranberry Juice Should I Drink To Pass A Drug Test?

You need to drink 1 glass of cranberry juice each day combining it with well-balanced diet and exercises.

What Kind Of Cranberry Juice For A Drug Test?

The juice from supermarkets and grocery stores is not suitable because it contains a lot of added sugars. It should be DIY cranberry juice

Why Does Cranberry Juice Help Pass A Drug Test?

It is diuretic, so it helps you to dilute urine to make metabolites concentration below the cutoff level. And there is research showing that cranberry juice help with fat loss.

What Ingredients In Cranberry Juice Help With A Drug Test?

Cranberry juice contains salycic acid, pectin, zinc. All of these are known as possible remedies that can help you to pass a drug test

How Fast Does Cranberry Juice Work For A Drug Test?

It works within 24 hours if used as a diuretic. But you can replace it with water to save money. If used for natural detoxification it will work in several weeks.


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