In the next millennium, when historians look back on, er, history, TikTok will be held in the same regard as other humanity-shaping advancements, like evolution, online porn and that tweet about fucking the text man for texts. In their quick rise to ubiquity, the app’s users have become notorious for imparting their peers with the kind of power and wisdom that previous generations could only dream of — e.g., how to dress up as a grandma to score booze, or how to make a Willy Wonka-themed thirst-trap. The latest hack in their knowledge-sharing repertoire? How to pass a drug test using Powerade.
In an early January clip that’s so far amassed more than three million views, TikTok user @theherbguy claims that anyone can cheat a drug test by mixing liquid pectin, a jam-setting agent, with Powerade, then glugging it down, chugging loads of water and peeing a bunch of times. According to other clips shared in May of last year, you can also substitute Powerade with Gatorade.
Naturally, people debated the concoction’s effectiveness in the comments, expanding on @theherbguy’s explanation with more tips, including when to drink the Powerade mix (the day of the test), how to return your pee to its natural color afterwards (take riboflavin) and who it won’t work for (people who smoke everyday).
According to 21-year-old Melissa (not her real name) from Indiana, the viral brew is legit. “I was skeptical at first,” she tells me, “but I had friends who had sworn by this method.” Melissa, a daily weed smoker, was court-ordered to do random drug tests every few months for a year after being caught with less than a gram of marijuana in 2019. A few days ahead of her final test, for which she was given a 10-day period to schedule and show up (weed can be detected in your urine for up to 30 days after you smoke), Melissa stopped smoking and switched out the weed for the magic TikTok liquid.
“For best results, it’s good to drink the mixture several days beforehand, just to help flush it out,” she explains, adding that she would drink it twice daily for three days before the test, with a “final dose” to top it off the day of. As suggested in the TikTok tutorials, Melissa says it’s essential to keep hydrated and to go to the bathroom several times. She also endorses B12 or B2 vitamins to keep the urine yellow so it doesn’t look tampered with, and at-home drug tests to trial the trick.
But while TikTok might be convinced, the experts aren’t so sure. Although the Powerade/Gatorade element of the hack is new, Hilary Hamnett, associate professor in forensic science at the University of Lincoln, says it’s just employing a fan-favorite cheat: drinking lots of water to dilute your urine. Hamnett suggests the rest of the concoction is likely just for show, asserting there’s no scientific evidence to suggest that “pectin can prevent things from being absorbed.”
This might be true, but a decade-old Reddit post suggests that energy drinks can be beneficial when it comes to faking a test, in that they raise the creatinine levels diluted by the water, which potentially helps double-trick lab technicians, who can often otherwise tell if a urine sample has been diluted. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that although guzzling tons of water is less dangerous than, say, drinking bleach, drinking too much H2O too quickly can be toxic — particularly when combined with certain drugs.
Of course, there’s other, less hydrating options, including buying synthetic urine or borrowing a friend’s pee, diluting your sample with toilet water, gulping down a “detox drink,” or apparently, “loading up on red meat.”
But your best bet, according to science, is to take shrooms instead of weed, because your narc employer is less likely to fork out on the more expensive tests for psilocybin. Now all you need is a TikTok hack for how to grow them.