The best drug test
If a family member or loved one is struggling with addiction, you’re probably interested in supporting their sobriety. Performing home drug tests is an effective way to manage the problem and help keep them on the sober track. These easy-to-use tests can also be used for employment purposes or for parents who are concerned about their teenagers.
Not all drug tests will give you the results you’re looking for, and they range in terms of the particular drugs they detect and the method of testing. Through our product research, we came up with this short guide on the considerations you’ll need to make before purchasing a home drug test. We’ve included information about the top tests available on the market, like the marijuana panel by [email protected] that boasts 99% accuracy.
Considerations when choosing drug tests
At-home drug tests won’t test for every illegal drug available, but they can test for the following commonly abused ones:
Opioids Marijuana Cocaine PCP Methamphetamine Amphetamines MDMA Barbiturates Tricyclic antidepressants
Single-panel vs. multi-drug tests
Be sure to check the specifications as to which drugs a test can detect. A single-panel drug test will only test for one drug, like cocaine or marijuana. These tend to bring fast results. However, many addicts abuse multiple drugs, which is why choosing a multi-drug test that screens for multiple substances may be a better option, especially for employment or post-rehab purposes.
Another consideration you’ll be faced with when purchasing a home drug test is the type of test: urine, saliva, or hair. All methods are effective, but you’ll want to choose one that’s right for your specific circumstance.
Urine drug tests require a sample of urine, which is collected in a small cup. A test strip is dipped into the sample, and results are produced within minutes. This type of test is affordable and can detect a substance for a week after use. However, collecting the sample requires giving an individual privacy, which makes the sample vulnerable to tampering.
Saliva drug tests require spitting into a sample cup or swabbing the insides of the cheeks. Test strips are also used, and the process is less invasive and less vulnerable to tampering than a urine test. Saliva tests, however, can only test the presence of a substance within a 24-hour window of use. Results typically take 10 minutes.
Hair follicle drug tests are the most accurate of the three types. These require a hair sample, cut or plucked close to the scalp, to be mailed to a lab in an envelope provided by the manufacturer. This test is tamper-proof and will show the presence of a substance within 90 days of use, though it won’t show use as recent as three to five days. This is the most expensive test type, and results take about a week to get back from the lab.
FDA approval: Only select drug tests that carry FDA approval so that they are guaranteed to accurately test the drugs they claim to.
CLIA certified: For hair follicle tests, select one that’s been CLIA certified to ensure the laboratory meets regulatory standards.
Drug tests range in price due to a number of factors, like how many tests are in the kit or how many drugs the test can detect. Typically, a urine drug test is priced at $10 to $30 for a kit containing five or more individual tests. A saliva drug test ranges from $11 to $85 for a kit with two or more individual tests. A hair follicle drug test ranges from $50 to $95 for an individual test that can detect multiple drugs.
Q. How accurate are home drug tests?
A. While home drug tests are sensitive, they aren’t 100% accurate. False positives can result if an individual has taken certain legal medications, supplements, and even certain foods or beverages. This is why we recommend taking your sample to a professional laboratory to confirm the results.
Q. Can a home drug test give a false negative?
A. Yes. False negatives also occur for a number of reasons: the test is expired, the test was given too soon after an individual used a substance or too long after. You may also get a false negative if an individual abused a drug that the test wasn’t designed to detect.
Drug tests we recommend
Our take: A urine test for THC with lab-level accuracy.
What we like: Results are 99% accurate and fast. Easy to use: just dip the strip in the sample. FDA approved.
What we dislike: Some results can be difficult to read.
Our take: An inexpensive urine test for THC.
What we like: Very sensitive test. Easy to use with almost instant results. Includes expert customer service.
What we dislike: Only tests for marijuana.
Our take: A multi-drug urine test that boasts over 99% accuracy.
What we like: Detects marijuana, meth, cocaine, opiates, and amphetamines. Ability to test opiates like morphine is six times greater than other tests.
What we dislike: Test lines can be hard to read.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.If a family member or loved one is struggling with addiction, you’re probably interested in supporting their sobriety. Performing home drug tests is an
Are At-Home Drug Tests Accurate?
Wednesday February 21, 2018
E ven though more Americans than ever have access to legal cannabis, many people still have to take a drug test as a stipulation for employment, and in some states, as a prerequisite to receive state assistance like food stamps and unemployment benefits.
At-home drug tests are easy to find in both drug stores and online. And they are affordable, too, costing anywhere from $5 to $30. But if failing a drug screening causes a loss of work and benefits, should you really rely on the results of a cheap test? Let’s take a closer look.
Cannabis and Body Fat: What’s the Deal?
Most people who must consent to a drug screening are concerned about testing positive for cannabis, and for good reason. Cannabis’ metabolite, THC-COOH, can remain in the body for a while, depending on several factors.
THC-COOH gets stored in body fat and how long it stays in the body depends on body fat percentage. THC metabolites dissolve in lipids and fats, so, the more fat you have, the more cannabis will accumulate, thereby extending elimination time.
For more information on how to flush marijuana out of your system, click here. To purchase products to help pass a drug test, click here.
How much metabolite remains in your system depends on how frequently cannabis has been used, what kind, and how much was ingested. Therefore, if someone who smokes one or two joints a day and has a higher percentage of body fat than someone who uses at the same rate but has less body fat, it will take a longer time for the person with a higher body fat percentage to eliminate THC-COOH from their body.
And, even if a person has a thin physique, they could still be “skinny fat,” meaning that their weight and BMI may be normal, but the ratio of fat to muscle is unhealthy. Even thin people aren’t off the hook.
Another thing to keep in mind is how THC metabolizes in the body. It metabolizes in the liver and is regulated by a different set of enzymes than those that regulate fat metabolism. So, if you have a speedy metabolism, nice work! Just remember that it won’t help to get rid of THC-COOH any quicker.
Types of Drug Tests
There are a few different ways to test for drugs: saliva/oral fluid tests, urine tests, blood tests, and hair.
Saliva/oral fluid tests have the shortest window of detection, or the amount of time a drug can be detected. Because it has a small window, these tests are not used very often.
Urine tests are so widely used that 90 percent of the 55 million drug tests administered in 2015 were urine tests. They are more accurate than saliva/oral test while still being affordable. Urine tests also have a longer window of detection.
Hair tests can detect a history of drug use and have the longest window of detection. For example, if cannabis was used for a period of time, abstained from, then restarted, a hair test would show that. But, they can sometimes be incorrect because of contaminants like dust.
Blood tests can measure the amount of drug in the system and also detect impairment as well. These tests are especially difficult to pass for heavy cannabis consumers because cannabis metabolites can be detected for longer periods of time than other testing methods.
Should I Try That At-Home Drug Test?
Maybe. These tests are generally pretty sensitive to the presence of drugs, so a positive result is definitely an indication that a lab test would show a positive, too. However, at-home drug tests are easy to mess up, and external factors can change the accuracy. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Was the collection done during the window of detection?
- Are there any other medicines present in the body that may affect test outcome?
- Is the sample free from contaminants?
- Is the urine the right temperature (between 96-99 degrees Fahrenheit)
It’s also important not to get too excited if the test shows negative. Occasionally, a test can show a negative result because it has passed its expiration date, or the test detection chemicals are not working properly.
Ultimately, relying on an at-home drug test is probably not the most accurate plan if you need to pass a drug test with heavy implications on the line.
Still, it may be worth it to pick up several different ones to get a general feel for if you might pass or fail your upcoming test.
What if My Drug Test is Next Week?
If failing a drug test is not an option for you, then the first step is to try to reschedule the test for later. Barring that, there are some strategies.
- Find out what kind of test will be used. Knowing which test can help hatch a plan
- Stop using cannabis immediately, consuming more will only harm your chances of passing
- Hit the gym. Lowering body fat will help free those cannabis metabolites. But be sure to back off the exercise routine about 24 hours before the test to slow down metabolite release
- Watch those calories. Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand, and creating a daily calorie deficit can add up to a larger reduction of body fat
- Drink lots of water. The goal with a urine test is to get a value of less than 50 ng/ml, so diluting urine with water may work. But, testing labs look out for diluted urine, so up your B Vitamins and Creatinine
Still failing that at-home test? Plan b!
Alternative Ways to Pass:
- Fake urine is actually a thing. A powdered human urine kit comes with drug-free product, a 50 ml vial, a heater and temperature strip to ensure the proper temperature. This will only work, though, if you are unmonitored during the test
- During the test, try to give the middle of your stream as the sample, not the beginning or end, since most metabolites are present in the beginning and end of the stream. And don’t give morning urine, which will have the highest presence of metabolites
Have a hair test coming up? Keep these ideas in mind!
Key Hair Test Info:
- Shaving your entire body to avoid submitting a sample will definitely arouse suspicion, but sites like TestClear have a lot of options, including a shampoo, that may work
- Remember, hair tests can be thrown off by contaminants. Figuring out a way to muddle the sample could be an option, but it’s no guarantee
The Future of Cannabis and Drug Tests
Until testing for cannabis as a condition of employment or other benefits is a thing of the past, a long-term plan for cannabis consumption and potential testing will help you avoid detection.
And as more and more states adopt progressive cannabis laws, it’s not uncanny to think we’ll begin seeing laws change around consumption on personal time.
Recently, Maine approved a law prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees for their cannabis use outside of work.
While employers in Maine still maintain the right to prohibit cannabis use and possession in the workplace and can still discipline employees for being high at work, this law marks the first time in United States history that protects off-site marijuana use outside of work.
Hopefully more states will catch on and start creating similar laws. Until then, keep the tips above in mind if you’re getting drug tested!
Have you tried an at-home drug test before? What was your experience like? Comment below!
Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work – which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor – covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.Many people who need to pass a drug test use at-home tests to see if they will pass or fail. But are at-home drug tests accurate? ]]>