Marijuana Drug Tests Guide
Over 50% of all positive drug tests are for marijuana, so here is a marijuana drug tests guide to help you understand how the testing works. The most common test is the urine test which actually cannot predict if you are impaired, only that you have smoked at some time in the past days or even weeks. Here is a breakdown on what marijuana is, how it is tested and what the tests measure.
Marijuana is smoked as a cigarette and is made from the flowers, stems, leaves, and seeds of the hemp plant which is called Cannabis sativa. It can also be used as a tea or cooked in food. It has a distinctive odor when smoked. There is also a concentrated form called hashish. The main chemical ingredient is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Certain nerve cells in the brain have protein receptors. These receptors bind to the THC and set off a series of reactions in the cells that cause the user to experience a high.
The most common test for marijuana is the urine test which is more sensitive to marijuana, but it cannot tell if you are impaired. It cannot detect THC which is the psychoactive component in marijuana. It can only measure the non-psychoactive marijuana metabolite called THC-COOH. This metabolite can stay in the body for days and weeks but it does not cause impairment. Since it can take one to four hours for the metabolites to reach the urine, by the time the person is tested they are probably no longer under the influence of marijuana.
In the case of an accident, injury or driving under the influence, blood tests are usually given. They can actually detect if there is any THC in the blood within the first minutes after inhaling and if the person was actually under the influence at the time of the incident. If the THC level is high, it indicates that the person has smoked marijuana recently. Because they must be administered by a health professional and are more invasive, they are not used frequently. If the person has ingested marijuana, it creates a different blood profile. Instead of spiking up right after smoking, when it is ingested it takes a couple of hours for it to reach a plateau and then it begins to decline. Like urine tests, blood tests can also detect THC-COOH which can remain for days or weeks and does not indicate if the person is under the influence.
Hair testing can be very unreliable because first of all, any residue of marijuana does not appear in the hair for around seven to ten days after it is smoked and can remain in the hair for months. They are more useful in detecting someone who is a regular user versus someone who only smokes occasionally. It doe not appear to be very sensitive to someone who has only smoked marijuana once.
Saliva tests are used in some other countries, but are not accepted yet by the United States. They are able to detect recent use, but this could be use within several hours or even a day. Mouthwash cannot wash out the oral secretions. Because these tests are less intrusive, the industry is working on developing the tests and making them more reliable.
Metabolites are stored in your fat cells, so the higher your metabolism the faster they will be released. Drinking water, juices and tea will help to clean out your system before you are being tested. Avoid coffee, alcohol, sodas and other caffeinated beverages. The best way to pass your drug test is to avoid marijuana for a long time before you are tested, because it can stay in your body for as long as 100 days (if you are a heavy user). There are some products on the market which can help you detoxify your body before you are tested. Check the products for reliability before you use them. Taking four aspirins a few hours before testing can interfere with the EMIT test results. Ibuprofen in large doses can also cause a false positive result.