If you’ve been a smoker long enough, and you’ve ever had to find a job, you probably check any interesting job posting for information about taking a drug test.
Or maybe you’ve felt that icy finger of uncertainty probe the base of your skull when the great new employer you’ve just interviewed with – or, even worse, just agreed to work for – mentions that you’ll have to take a drug test.
From surveys of companies around the country by the American Management Association, it’s believed that over 60% of companies in America test employees and applicants for illegal substances. Additionally, more than 50% of drug test results are used to make hiring decisions while nearly 10% are used to assign or even reassign company employees.
Some point to the fact that, according to the U.S. Labor Department, over $80 billion of productivity is lost every year from actions or decisions made under the use of illegal substances and alcohol.
Random drug tests are usually more common in industries related to safety or transportation. Otherwise, you often will have plenty of time to prepare to pass a drug test.
It’s well known that public service jobs – federal, state, and county government positions – almost always require employees or prospective employees to take a drug test. And although many private employers don’t drug test applicants or new employees, there are plenty of companies that do, particularly the following where the law allows:
- Media corporations
- Universities and colleges
- Health and safety businesses
- Transportation/transit companies
- Aviation firms
But what type of drug test? And what exactly will it test for?
Let’s take a look, as there’s a wide range of tests that companies can use.
What Types of Drugs Are They Testing For?
In addition to testing for alcohol use or abuse, employers may test you for marijuana use. They could test you for levels of THC and CBD, regardless of how you ingest it:
- Smoking joints
- Hitting bongs
- Vaping oils
- Taking dabs
- Applying tinctures
- Downing edibles
Furthermore, you could be tested for a variety of illegal substances, including:
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
Common Types of Drug Tests
Urine Test for Drugs and Alcohol
The urine drug test is the test most weed smokers are familiar with. It remains the most common test for employees or job applicants who are subjected to a drug screening for use of alcohol or illegal substances.
It’s often part of the employment screening prior to joining a new company. Sometimes, urine drug tests may be randomly conducted by employers.
A urinalysis is able to show whether or not the residue of drug or alcohol use still remains in your body once the drug’s effects have subsided. The urine drug test can be performed in one of two places:
- At your place of work – a private exam in which you’re given a test strip and then you go to the bathroom
- At a 3rd party laboratory – your employer sends you to an off-site, 3rd party lab, where you’ll submit to a urine drug test that could be monitored by a lab worker
Although you may be taking an alcohol or marijuana urine test, a urinalysis can also test for the following illegal substances:
Saliva Test for Drugs and Alcohol
A saliva drug test is also known by several other names – a mouth swab drug test or oral fluids test. It’s actually a common test because it’s simple, fairly inexpensive, and virtually non-invasive.
The test can be done at your place of work: saliva is collected from the mouth of the applicant or employee and then sent to a lab to be analyzed. It is able to detect substances used in the previous 3-5 days.
A saliva test will test for the following:
Blood Test for Drugs and Alcohol
A less common test to detect substances in your system is the blood test. (However, if you’ve ever been pulled over for a suspected DUI or DWI, you might not agree that it’s less common!).
The main reason a blood drug test is less common is that is measures the levels of alcohol and/or illegal substances that are present in the body only at the time that blood is drawn during the test. It is ineffective for finding residue once the effects have dissipated.
Just like with urine tests, blood drug tests are for job applicants or employee and they test for the following:
Hair Test for Drugs
Another less common test is the hair drug test. One reason is that it does not show alcohol use. It also does not show whether or not you’re currently under the influence of drugs.
However, it does provide an employer with information of the last 90 days’ of substance use.
It also detects the following:
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
How Long Do Marijuana and Other Substances Stay In Your System?
Marijuana does not affect everyone the same. Dozens of factors influence how you react, but common factors include the following:
- Your last sesh
- Your frequency of use
- Potency of the weed
- Your body makeup (fat levels, metabolism, and weight)
Daily marijuana users could have residue remain in the blood and urine for up to 90 days after use.
Those who partake regularly but infrequently, and are in relatively good health, will have residue in their system for 30-45 days.
Infrequent smokers – those who make toke every once in a while – could have residue in their system for about a week or so afterward, although it can remain for 10-12 days.
THC can be found in the hair on your head or body for months, sometimes even years via a hair test. However, because most labs analyze only a 1.5-inch sample of the hair on your head, any usage you’ve done in the past 90 days is all that could be detected.
Because marijuana stays in your system so long, you’ll need plenty of time to detoxify. We would suggest refraining from smoking weed for 2-3 months before a known marijuana drug test, but we know you won’t listen. (You might want to check below, then).
Other illegal substances can remain in your body anywhere from just a few days to around a month. Here’s a quick look at a few common ones:
Okay, so alcohol isn’t illegal, but you could be tested for it, anyway, especially if you’re the star of Whiskey Wednesday or Tequila Thursday every week.
Alcohol can remain in your system roughly 6-24 hours, so we’d advise not doing shots before taking the test.
If you rarely snort cocaine, it will usually disappear from your system in 24-48 hours. On the other hand, a chronic user could have residue in their system for up 72-96 hours.
Infrequent users of heroin may have residue in their systems for up 48 hours while regular or chronic users may have it up to 96 hours.
PCP users can expect a wide range of duration that the residue could remain in their system – anywhere from three days to two weeks.
So You Want to Cleanse Your Body Before Taking a Drug Test?
The safest, best way to pass a marijuana drug test is to be clean. So, let’s take a look at the various options for cleansing the toxins from your body.
Got Several Weeks to Prepare? Natural Detoxification Is Your Best Bet
If you have weeks, perhaps months, before you must take a drug test, then abstinence will be the best way to detoxify. Because THC is fat soluble, it can remain stored in fat cells within your system for weeks or even months.
Yet, your body has a remarkable ability to cleanse itself of toxins, especially if you abstain from marijuana use as well as take in lots of fluids, eat a proper diet, and get regular exercise. As a result, in 30-45 days, your body’s natural detoxification processes can often completely and naturally cleanse your blood and urine.
Got Two Weeks? A Detoxification Program Might Be for You
If you don’t have a month or more to wait before your marijuana drug test, then one of several detox programs will help because they speed up your body’s natural cleansing process. You can eliminate THC from your body in about 10 days.
Perhaps even better for your peace of mind, virtually each program comes with a verification testing kit that confirms you’re clean.
- 3-Day Program:
- 5-Day Program:
- 10-Day Program:
If you’re an infrequent marijuana user, this might be the best bet for you. You can be completely free and clear of residue after three days.
If you’re a regular marijuana user, you’ll need something stronger. With more steps, including a pre-cleanse treatment, you can fully eliminate marijuana residue from your system after five days.
This type of detox program is for anyone, including heavy users. It’s a permanent cleanse that takes ten days. But it works and you’ll be completely ready to pass your employee drug test.
Got No Time? Then a Same-Day Cleanse Is a Must
If you’re up against a time crunch, then a same-day cleansing program is your only choice. A same-day cleanse usually starts to take effect in about 90 minutes. It will flush your body of all residue for up to six hours, so keep that in mind if you’re ever in this crunch.
Same day cleanses are available in capsules or liquid shots. They come in a variety of strengths so that you can be clean and pass your marijuana drug test regardless of whether you’re a heavy user or a once-a-month toker. In fact, some cleansing programs designed for heavy users offer a combination of methods to rid your body of marijuana residue.
Although you may not have this much time to get clean, almost any cannabis enthusiast should be cleansed of residue after 11 weeks.
Other Options for Trying to Pass A Drug Test (Which We Recommend You Avoid)
You can find a lot of crazy misinformation about how to pass a drug test on your own.
Unfortunately, most of them are risky because they’re one of the following:
Let’s take a brief look at what you should avoid:
If you read elsewhere on the Internet, you can find people touting effective body-cleansing products that allegedly will flush marijuana residue from your system. These include vinegar, niacin, dishwasher detergent, bleach, other types of soaps, and cranberry juice (among others).
Except for cranberry juice, all of these are dangerous. And none of them work. Irregularities will show during lab testing that will cause you to fail. Those lab folks have seen it all – and are ready for your best home DIY shot.
Simple Flushing of Your System
Many veterans of drug testing claim that a simple water flush of your system will work. They advocate drinking lots of water prior to your test so that you’ll urinate frequently enough to cleanse your system.
Regardless of testimonials, this is still not a reliable way to flush your body of marijuana residue.
Creating Your Own Urine
Some enterprising marijuana users create synthetic urine for their test. If you know chemistry, it might be easy to create it by mixing yellow food dye with water and creatinine, a waste product that the kidneys eliminate. However, this is risky, as creatinine is hard to find and the right ratio of ingredients is difficult to achieve so you can pass the test successfully.
Diluting Your Urine
Some people swear by an additive to dilute your urine. And while sometimes, this works – it has been reported that it prevents a positive confirmation. While it’s not dangerous, it’s also not a reliable way to pass a drug test.
Substituting Someone Else’s Urine
Another possibility is to replace your urine with someone else’s. And while there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to support this, it’s still unreliable.
First of all, there’s the real risk of being caught. Often, you’ll be monitored by someone or you’ll be subject to a full-body patdown, which could catch a test tube with someone else’s urine taped to your thigh.
Second, there’s the delicate nature of trying to prevent the sample from becoming suspiciously cool. If the sample is affixed to your thigh, as mentioned, you’ll have a better chance of passing, providing the sample is analyzed not long after it’s removed from your thigh.
Face it. Drug testing sucks. We can debate the merits or even legality of it all we want, but in the end, if your employer insists on your taking one, you’ve got to take it. Or else lose your job.
If you have months or even several weeks before you get tested, you should be in the clear with any of several options. However, if you’re up against it – meaning you have two weeks or less – then it’s going to be challenging to pass.
The best way to pass, if possible, is to abstain and flush your system with exercise, a good diet, and plenty of fluids. It’s reliable – and it’s not cheating.
Besides, once you pass the test and get that dream job, you’re in the clear.
And you can celebrate with a hella all-night sesh.