We figured that it only made sense to include an article about the myths of drug testing in our series Drug Myths Debunked. Especially now that drug tests are easily accessible – they can be purchased online or at your local grocery or drug store. But how reliable are they? This is something that’s good to know if, for example, you are a concerned parent suspicious of your child or if you find yourself the subject of one of these tests. They may not be accurate or they may only detect certain drugs. The common myths about drug testing listed below also apply to drug screens performed by labs.
MYTH #1 – I haven’t smoked marijuana for 30 of days so I should be okay.
Truth – It really depends on a number of things: body fat, metabolism, and your body chemistry. For example, a very active person, with very low body fat who eats regularly should be able to get the metabolites out of their system more quickly, however a person with a very slow metabolism can store metabolites in their system for up to roughly two months. There is no fixed rule on time-frame for flushing marijuana out of your system.
MYTH #2 – Drinking lots of water X amount of days before my test will get the drugs out of my system.
Truth – Drinking lots of water only dilutes your urine sample the day you are tested so that the level(s) of the substance(s) you’re using will fall below the cut-off levels established by the test and/or the lab.
Myth #3 – Poppy seeds do not cause a false positive opiate result on a drug test.
Truth – The short answer is that it is possible although not probable. Poppy seeds can cause a positive result depending on the cutoff used for a positive test. For poppy seeds to create a positive result for opiates, you would have to eat a lot of poppy seeds. In addition, the poppy seeds would need to be un-washed and most commercial bakeries use washed poppy seeds.
Myth #4 – A second drug test will confirm a result of previous drug testing.
Truth – A second screen just provides the same results as the first screen and doesn’t exclude substances that might have caused a false positive, such as over the counter medications. Only by using a more sensitive test of the sample can a result be confirmed.
Myth #5 – Synthetic Opiates such as fentanyl can be detected by an opiate screening test.
Truth – Many synthetic opiates are not detected by an opiate screen and must be tested for with specific drug testing.
Myth #6 – Food and beauty products that contain hemp seed will not cause a positive THC drug test.
Truth – Products containing hemp seed have trace amounts of non-psychoactive THC and, depending on the amount you have used, positive drug testing can occur if you use these products.
Myth #7 – When test kit results and laboratory results do not agree this means that one or the other is not working correctly.
Truth – While both laboratory testing and instant testing devices are designed to identify drugs in a specimen, they can lead to showing different results. While instant test kits have the advantage of providing an immediate result, this drug testing tends to be limited in terms of identifying additives, substitutions or substances that can cause a false positive. Also with test kits, there is a chance of user error – the person reading the results can be mistaken about what they see or read the results wrong.
Myth #8 – Exposure to second hand pot smoke can cause a positive test result.
Truth – Secondhand exposure to a drug can cause it to show up in your urine, however, not at the high levels that actual use would cause. In order to safeguard against arguments that a positive result is from a contact high, cut-off levels have been established to make it virtually impossible for a positive result from just contact. Furthermore, cutoff levels for THC allow for you to be exposed to extreme, uncomfortable levels of secondhand smoke and for long periods of time without registering a positive urine test.
Myth #9 – Recent marijuana use can be detected by comparing THC levels to previous samples.
Truth – New marijuana use cannot be detected using only the THC level. The only way to determine new use in consecutive samples is to compare THC/Creatinine ratios. If the ratio increases in the second sample then new use has likely occurred.
MYTH #10 – Guaranteed products that boast beating a drug test are effective at cleansing my system.
Truth – Not so. If you happen to find one that “works,” this means it was effective at masking the drugs in your system; not cleansing them from your system. And using this method is a roll of the dice: labs continuously monitor for these products and their additives for their presence in urine. So, even if they do mask drug levels, these additives will show up and be a red flag for the lab. There is no known product that will remove the metabolites from your system.
If you or someone you know is in need of treatment for drug abuse, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.