Before we get started, let’s clear up some misinformation. There is no such thing as a “hair follicle drug test”, only a “hair drug test”. In order to provide the highest standard of information, we will not refer to it as a follicle test.
Hair drug testing for weed has the longest detection time by far. Average samples will yield any drug use within the past 90 days, depending on the length of the hair sample collected. This detection time is based on a single 1 ½ inch sample being checked in laboratory conditions. However, if the cannabis has been smoked within 7 to 10 days of the test, it may have not reached the hair! Below we’ll discuss the procedure for hair drug testing.
1) Notification and Arrival. Due to the extended detection times, the person being tested is given ample notification that they will need to schedule an appointment at the testing center. Upon arrival, all necessary precautions will be taken to verify the identity of the individual to include photo ID. This step begins the process as well as the Chain of Custody form for the sample. At no point after verification will the person providing a sample be left alone with paperwork or the hair being tested.
2) Collection. The person collecting the sample will be trying to collect somewhere between 90 and 120 individual hairs to send to the lab. These will be cut from the crown of the head outwards, so as to not create a bald spot.
3) Finalizing Chain of Custody. All collections made will be placed in a tamper evident bag and sealed in front of you. At this point, both parties will need to sign papers to indicate that all samples were collected with consent and within the agreed upon conditions. A sticker may also be placed over the mouth of the bag for you to initial or sign, to ensure no tampering took place.
4) You’re Done! That ends the hair sample drug test.
What if I don’t have any hair?
This is a very good question. I shave my head every other day due to natural balding patterns, and some do it just for the visual appeal. Will that affect the testing procedure at all? The answer is yes, but not in a positive way. They can still do a hair test with no hair on your head.
Hair samples will need to be collected from other portions of the body. This can be significantly more detrimental, since detection times on body hair extend out to up to a year! That’s 12 months worth of time that can be accounted for in a single hair plucked from the chest or leg.
What influences detection time?
When it comes to the hair test, there really isn’t much. The truth is, this particular test is like peering into a crystal ball and looking at everything you’ve entered into your body. Unlike urine tests, no amount of exercise or magical pills will remove the substances from this little timeline.
Furthermore, the excuse of “contact buzz” does not suffice. The test includes checking for metabolites and byproducts that are only produced after being processed by the body. Simply being in the room with smoke will not produce enough metabolites to produce a positive result. It may be beneficial to tell the laboratory if you are taking any prescription medication prior to testing.