Urine Testing

Urine drug testing is the industry standard for pre-employment checks and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.  Keeping in mind the generally accepted ethics of smoking cannabis, if you are going to be in a job that might affect the safety of others, please make responsible decisions!

Sometimes implemented spontaneously as part of a random drug screening program or at regular intervals, urine drug testing is almost always done at a local clinic.  There is a specific process that must be followed to ensure that there are no errors in processing.  Depending on the lab, a sample is typically held for approximately 14 days prior to being cycled out to make room for new specimens.

Step 1 is where the initial chain of custody begins.  This starts with you arriving and showing proper identification to confirm that you’re the one that’s supposed to be providing the sample.  If no ID is provided at the time of arrival, there may be grounds for dismissal on clerical grounds of the sample.  This is vital for positive testing.

Step 2 actually starts after receiving the sample container.  You may be escorted and observed by personnel to confirm that nothing was entered into the cup or old urine samples were used.  An additional step that may be used is the removal of excess clothing, watches, jackets, and even holding the cup above eye level to increase visibility.  The desired amount of urine will be put into the cup, and the cup will be sealed.

Step 3 is exclusively administrative.  The sample will likely have a piece of tamper evident tape placed over the lid, onto the bottle, and initialed by the person providing the specimen.  Any additional paperwork will be filled out and photocopies made as necessary.

What effects urine drug testing?

There are many things that impact the results of a drug test.  It’s important to remember that unlike many other substances, THC is fat soluble vice water soluble.  People with a lower body fat content are more likely to flush away the chemicals faster than those who are overweight.  Because of the amount of things that impact weed detection times, it’s better to summarize them in a list.

1)      Body fat content
2)      Frequency of smoking
3)      Fluid intake
4)      Diet
5)      Other medications
6)      Frequency of exercise

Although not all inclusive, this list of things that affect marijuana detection times is a good start.  From here, take a look at the chart below, and realize that any one of these factors could be offset by a week or more.

Weed detection time chart

What is a positive test?

When the laboratory receives the sample, it will be tested for the specific concentration of THC metabolites.  In a majority of labs, this cut-off is 50 nanograms per millileter (ng/mL) of liquid.  However, some labs will be as stringent as 25ng/mL.  Taking a trip to any local pharmacy will allow you to purchase a home drug test kit for a reasonable price.  Inspect the label to check for the specific gravity of the test that you’re about to buy!

Can Second Hand Smoke Cause a Positive Drug Test?

Although rare, it is possible.  The amount of exposure to second hand smoke would have to be incredibly high, for a prolonged period of time.  For example, a person sitting in a living room or on the porch with 3-4 smokers for 4 hours will not have any issues.  However, being in a vehicle for 4 hours with the windows up may cause a failure.  If you are concerned about being tested, the best thing to do is simply crack a window and allow for some fresh air to flow through.