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Marijuana Drug Test: That’s What You Have To Expect

Pre employment drug testing is a standard practice that every employee must have experience at least once. During the marijuana drug test, it is common for the lab to check the presence of illegal drugs such as cocaine or marijuana. Although marijuana has been decriminalized in 29 states and the District of Columbia, the US federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug.

It is important to note that even though several states have allowed the use of medical marijuana, employers will still request their employees to get tested. Testing may be done to determine the levels of THC or it may be done to determine the level of drug metabolites. Drug metabolites are produced once the user ingests the drug in this case marijuana.

Types of marijuana drug tests

There are four marijuana drug tests. They include:

  • Urine
  • Blood
  • Saliva
  • Hair

i. Urine

There are two tests used to determine the presence of drug metabolites or THC in urine. They are:

a. Immunoassay
This is a biochemical test used to measure the concentration of THC or drug metabolites in urine. In this test, antigen-antibody interactions are used to detect illegal substance. Antibodies are proteins produced by animals. This happens when the body detects a foreign molecule or antigen. The antibodies bind selectively to certain drugs, for example, marijuana and they are produced in a specific three dimensional structure of an antigen which means they only bind to that structure.

What you thought to know is that the binding is also proportional to the amount of the drug found in the urine. Using this technique, small amounts of the drug can be detected even in small amounts of urine.

The problem with this cannabis test is that it generates up to 5% false positives. As a result, the GC-MS test is used as a confirmatory test.

The Immunoassay test is utilized during pre employment, in student testing, for court evidence, and during driving under the influence tests.

b. Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry
This is the most precise test that helps in the accurate detection of banned substances. The test is a two step process. Step one is where Gas Chromatography is used to separate a sample into constituents while the second step is where Mass Spectrometry helps to provide the exact molecular identification for the constituents. When the samples are added to the MS, electrons are used to bombard them resulting in the breakup of the compounds into molecular fragments.

ii. Blood

This is the least common but the most accurate method of testing the presence of marijuana or THC in the body. The reason why it’s the least common is that the test is expensive. It is an intrusive method since one has to draw blood from the forefinger. The test can be used on both the parent drug, in this case, marijuana or THC and the drug metabolites. It has been found to provide accurate results even among users who have used marijuana in the last few hours. A blood test is used in pre employment tests, student testing, to provide court evidence and in cases of driving under the influence tests.

iii. Saliva

Oral fluid drug tests can be used to detect drug use that has occurred in the past few days. This type of test is now very common thanks to the convenience it offers. The test can be done on-site which is advantageous for organizations implementing random testing programs. It can be carried out during pre employment, post accident, random testing, return-to-duty testing and in case of reasonable suspicion. Oral fluid drug tests help to approximate the degree of intoxication depending on the amount of substance used.

iv. Hair

What you ought to know is that THC metabolites can remain present in the hair thus making it possible to test for marijuana use. The test is quite affordable as it costs less than $100 but not when compared with urinalysis which costs less than $70. This type of test is quite common in the casino industry. Testers cut approximately 50 strands of hair close to the scalp. The samples are sent to the lab where they are washed and liquefied. They are then analyzed using GC/MS.

How to prepare yourself for drug testing

Refrain from using the drug before the test
If you are aware of a drug testing exercise to be carried out by your employer, it is wise to refrain from using the drug for at least a week. If you are on medical marijuana, inform your employer beforehand.

Detox your system
Water is highly recommended after using marijuana. Drink at least 10 glasses of water each day. Furthermore, doing so helps to keep you hydrated.

Take diuretics
According to experts, drinking tea, coffee or cranberry juice promotes urination. As a result, it will help in flushing out the drug metabolites. Remember, don’t take diuretics if you are pregnant or if you have been diagnosed with kidney problems, gout or diabetes.

Exercise
Working out 30 minutes to 45 minutes in a day can help to flush the drug metabolites from your body. Furthermore, it will help to burn fat cells leading to weight loss. Cycling, walking, jumping rope and jogging are some of the exercises you can engage in.

If you want want to know more about THC in your body or how long does weed stays in your system, you can watch the video below for more helpful education.

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