Will eating a poppyseed muffin make you fail a drug test? There are a lot of myths out there surrounding drug testing. Let’s dive in and debunk ten popular drug testing in the workplace myths.
Drug testing in the workplace is becoming increasingly relevant in the US. Up to 50 million people undergo drug testing every year in the US and that number is bound to go up as many states are attempting to apply drug testing for welfare and unemployment benefits.
As years go by, more and more employers are requiring their potential employees to undergo drug tests. As these tests have become more common, many misconceptions have arisen about how they work and the legality surrounding them.
When you know more about the science and the law around drug tests, you can avoid relying on bad information that could wind up costing you your job or even your freedom.
That’s why we came up with this list of 10 myths about drug testing.
1. All Drug Tests are Urine-Based
Urine tests do tend to be the most popular among employers, however, they’re not the only option available. This kind of test is preferable because it’s inexpensive and easy to perform, but hair follicle tests are becoming more popular.
Saliva tests are another option, but they can only reveal drug use within the past few days. Blood tests are much more expensive, not to mention incredibly invasive, but they allow the most extensive peek into the substance use of a person over a long period of time.
2. Drinking Water Will Beat a Urine Test
The generally accepted idea is that drinking a ton of liquid before a urine test will flush THC out of your system. While drinking plenty of water is great for your overall health, it’s probably not going to get the job done fast enough.
Also, if the test is advanced enough, it could figure out that you drank all that water beforehand. It does this by testing creatinine levels, which are a byproduct of the digestion process that pops up when lots of water is consumed.
If a high level of creatinine does show up in your urine test, you might have to take another test if your employer gets suspicious.
3. Lots of Exercise Will Beat a Test
If you’re a very occasional marijuana user, you might be able to sufficiently detox your body enough to pass a drug test with some strenuous exercise. But that’s only if the test is a few weeks away.
For someone who uses drugs more often than that, this method has no chance of working. And if you’re surprised with a drug test, no amount of burpees are going to flush your system properly.
4. You Can Fail a Test From Secondhand Smoke
Okay, this myth isn’t entirely false. However, in order to fail a drug test through secondhand smoke, you must spend hours in a very tight room with a lot of pot smokers.
For most people, being exposed to the occasional secondhand smoke isn’t going to do anything to a drug test.
5. Saliva Tests Don’t Detect Pot
This is such a common myth and it’s completely bogus. Pot can absolutely be detected by a mouth swab or a spit drug test. These tests are more popular with employers because they’re inexpensive, easy to do, and the results are instant.
The good news is that they have a limited window for catching marijuana, usually under 24 hours. If you know you’re headed for a spit test, lay off the pot for a while.
6. All Pot is Created Equal
There’s a myth that all strains of marijuana will stay in your system for exactly the same time. However, some strains will stay in longer than others.
Each marijuana strain has a varying amount of THC, and some high-quality strains can stay in your system for a long time.
The most high-quality marijuana products have a THC content of 30%, which is a lot higher than the 1% that was common in the 60s.
The frequency of your pot use is important here, but in general drug tests can catch marijuana in casual smokers for 2 to 5 days after. This number jumps to 15 days after use for the heavier smokers. And if you have high body fat, that might go up to 30 days after consumption.
7. OTC Cold Meds Show Up as Meth
Over the counter cold medicine doesn’t result in false positives for methamphetamine. On drug tests, meth shows up as D-methamphetamines while any cold medication will show up as L-methamphetamines. A professional company will not be fooled.
8. Homemade Remedies Will Help Beat a Test
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of articles out there that tell you how homemade concoctions that mix a wide variety of things will defeat a drug test. But the truth is that no amount of cranberry juice, Jell-O, or vitamins will do the trick.
Drug tests are created by scientists with expert knowledge about our bodies. They can’t be beaten with special tea.
9. Even If I’m Positive for Pot I Won’t Lose My Job Since Pot Is Legal in My State
California, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska have all legalized pot for recreational use. However, in a lot of those states, employers can still fire employees based on positive pot tests.
If you live in one of those states and use marijuana recreationally, look discreetly into your employer’s drug policies just to make sure you are abiding by their rules.
10. Shaving My Head Will Stop the Hair Test
This is just not a good idea all around. Even if you do shave your head, any hair on any part of your body is eligible for a drug test. And even if you shave from head to toe, this will absolutely be an indicator that you will have to take another kind of test.
Drug Testing in the Workplace
Drug testing in the workplace isn’t going anywhere any time soon. No one wants to face a drug test. The truth is that at the end of the day, the only way to make sure you pass a drug test is to avoid using drugs.
For more information on drug testing, check out the tests we offer.