Drug test definition. Types of the most common drug tests. How do drug tests work?

Drug testing is becoming more and more common. Drug usage has become so common in the population that testing seems to be everywhere. It is now common practice for employers to require a pre-employment drug test before hiring you and passing random or scheduled drug tests is often a requirement for continuing employment. Drug testing is mandated by law in certain industries where there is a risk to the public such as the airline industry, trucking industry, railroad industry as well as for bus drivers, chauffeurs but even where they are not mandated by law employers are requiring drug tests. Of course, drug tests for alcohol use have been in common use by law enforcement agencies for some time but more recently law enforcement is testing for other drugs like marijuana and methamphetamine for instance.

Since it seems likely that most anyone could be the subject of a drug test it is important to learn all that you can about drug tests and to know what you need to do to pass a drug test. You may also be interested in knowing if there are home remedies that can help you pass a drug test but before getting into that subject let’s discuss what drug tests are, what are the common drug tests and how to do drug test work and then we can intelligently talk about how home remedies might help you to pass a drug test.

A drug test is a way of determining your use of certain drugs by means of chemical testing of certain body fluids or parts. The most common test, a rather crude drug screening, is usually performed on a urine sample, but drug tests can be performed on blood, saliva, hair, sweat, and breath. The so-called breathalyzer test for alcohol is well known and that is the only test commonly done for alcohol particularly because alcohol only stays in the body for a few hours after use so law enforcement officers want to get an immediate and fast screen for alcohol on the spot by testing your breath rather than waiting to get a urine or blood sample which will take time during which alcohol will no longer be present in the sample. If drug screening shows evidence of drug use, then a more sophisticated drug test can be performed.

Not including the breathalyzer test, the most common type of drug test is a 5-panel drug screen performed on urine. The 5-panel test analyzes your urine sample for cocaine, opiates, methamphetamines, marijuana and PCP or phencyclidine. Some 5-panel urine tests may add a sixth test for alcohol but as mentioned, alcohol is rapidly cleared from blood and urine, but chronic users of alcohol will sustain virtually constant detectable blood alcohol levels and therefore it will show up even in random drug tests. The 10-panel urine drug test is perhaps the second most common type of drug screening and this test adds oxycodone, methadone, benzodiazepines like Xanax, barbiturates like Seconal and MDMA or Ecstasy.  Even beyond the 10-panel test is a 52- item test which can also test for fentanyl, acetyl fentanyl, Gabapentin, Ketamine, Toradol, Tramadol, Nicotine, Phenytoin, tricyclic antidepressants, and valproic acid! So, you can see, depending on how extensive a drug test may be performed, that almost any drug can be tested for whether it is legal or not.

You may be interested to know that these screening tests do not actually test for the drug itself. The screening test is immunoassay tests which analyze for certain antigen-antibody complexes which are formed when the drug interacts with your body’s immune system. The screening test is often more a measure of past drug use than current use and very recent drug use within hours of your test, may not be detected because there has not been enough time for your body to form the immune response. In the case of marijuana, for instance, the psychoactive chemical in that drug is THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol but what is detected on the drug test for marijuana is THC-COOH which is a product formed by metabolism in your liver and then excreted in your urine. THC-COOH is stored in fat tissue and can be found in urine samples of regular and heavy users of marijuana for as long as 90 days or more after a period of abstinence.

A more sophisticated test is the gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC/MS) test which can identify the exact type of drug and the amount of drug is samples of urine and blood. GC/MS tests are usually performed in specific drug test laboratories when a screening test suggest drug use. Screening tests are quick and relatively inexpensive whereas the GC/MS test is expensive and takes a few days to get the results, but it is very specific and much less prone to false positive tests than the immunoassay screening tests.

So now that you understand drug testing methods, what do you need to know and what do you need to have to pass a drug test using home remedies? If you go online, you will find lots of conflicting recommendations for various home remedies to detoxify your body and for passing a drug test. First of all, you need to understand what kind of test you are going to take and what drugs you have used and over what period of time because some home remedies can help with one drug but not with another one.

Here is a brief list of home remedies which we will discuss.

  • Abstinence
  • Time
  • Water or fluids
  • Pickle juice
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Cranberry juice
  • Niacin
  • Baking soda
  • Fruit Pectin
  • Aspirin
  • Creatine
  • B Vitamins especially B 1, 2, 6 and 12
  • Exercise
  • A high fiber diet

Let’s begin by discussing the two most important aspects of using home remedies to pass a drug test. These are abstinence and time. Abstinence and time allow your body’s own detoxification processes to break down the drug or drugs in your system and get rid of them naturally. The longer you can allow these natural processes to work, the better your chances of passing any drug test but the time it will take to detoxify depends on what drug you are taking and for how long you have been taking it. For instance, a few drinks of alcohol in someone who is not an alcoholic or regular alcohol user will not show up in a breath or blood test after about six hours but someone who is a heavy and regular user of marijuana can have a positive urine test after even several months of abstinence. Adding regular exercise and a well- balanced diet can also help in the detoxification process.

Before we begin to discuss each of the home remedies on our list it should be pointed out that most home remedies simply do not work and are not effective! Yes, that is the unfortunate truth of the matter but there is still a lot of controversy about home remedies so we will discuss them in some detail individually. You will see that although most home remedies do not work to detoxify your system from drugs, some of them may help you to pass a test through a variety of mechanisms related to specific drugs and specific kinds of drug tests.

Fluids, including plain water but also electrolyte-rich drinks like Gatorade or Pedialyte, are one of the mainstays of all home remedy detox programs. The idea is that the fluids will gradually flush drugs from your system, but large amounts of plain water alone can lead to the condition called water intoxication which can cause serious neurological and even potentially fatal side effects. Water intoxication can be prevented by drinking fluids rich in electrolytes. Drinking large amounts of plain water will also dilute your urine to the point that you will not pass the specific gravity test and your urine sample will be rejected as failing the validity test so if you plan to use this method be sure to replace your electrolytes both for your safety and to help you pass the validity test for your urine sample. It has even been suggested that IV or intravenous fluids could help pass a drug test but that is really preposterous because taking fluids by mouth or by an intravenous method is basically the same and certainly, intravenous fluids cannot in any way be considered a home remedy.

Pickle juice has been suggested by some as a way of passing a drug test for marijuana and pickle juice and acetic acid or apple cider vinegar are really the same thing. They are both methods, along with cranberry juice to acidify your urine but too much acid intake may reduce your urine pH to below the acceptable level of 3.0 and invalidate your test. Acidification has been shown in some laboratory tests to increase fat burning and thus theoretically, to release the THC-COOH metabolite of the THC in marijuana, allowing the THC-COOH to be excreted in your urine. If that is the case, however, you wouldn’t want to use the acidification methods too close to your test for fear of actually raising the THC-COOH level rather than lowering it.  Many people believe that the pickle juice method is simply another form of the water dilution method because drinking large amounts of water is an important part of the use of pickle juice, vinegar, and cranberry juice. On balance it appears that these methods are unlikely to help you pass a drug test.

Niacin or Vitamin B 3 is another home remedy which has been suggested to help you pass a drug test but that is a very dubious claim. Vitamin B 3 is an essential vitamin for normal health but taking additional amounts is supposed to increase blood flow resulting in increased metabolism and causing the burning of fat cells and the release of toxins especially THC-COOH the metabolite of marijuana which is the basis for the urine test for that drug. The use of Niacin must take place over a period of several days and as with other methods, drinking large amounts of fluids especially those containing electrolytes like sports drinks are recommended along with the use of Niacin. On the other hand, some sources claim that it Is not really Niacin that helps with passing the test but that it is the fluid dilution technique that actually does the trick because drinking lots of fluids is part of the Niacin regimen. There are, however, reports of serious medical complications from using Niacin as a home remedy in an attempt to pass a drug test.

Baking soda which is sodium bicarbonate or also called bicarbonate of soda is an alkaline substance which has been suggested as a home remedy for passing a drug test related to methamphetamine and only methamphetamine. Baking soda causes the urine to become alkaline and blocks the entry of meth into your urine and you will find various ideas about how much baking soda to take and with how much fluid. Large amounts of baking soda and fluid can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea with a loss of acid leading to a serious and potentially fatal condition called metabolic alkalosis. Although there are definite proponents of how to pass a urine drug test with baking soda and testimonials to its benefit, there are others who suggest that this is a dangerous method and unlikely to be of many benefits.

Fruit pectin in the form of products like Certo can help divert THC-COOH from the urine into the bowel where it can be gotten rid of through the feces rather than through the kidneys and the urine. Fruit pectin is a soluble form of fiber and has the same effect as eating a diet rich in high fiber products like some vegetables. Fruit pectin is helpful only in passing a drug test related to marijuana metabolites and it is a short term fix to be used shortly before the actual drug test to divert THC-COOH from urine to feces but it does not in any way cause detoxification of your body but it may indeed be helpful to get through your test.

Aspirin has also been suggested as a home remedy to pass a drug test but once again aspirin is not a way to detoxify your body, but it may be helpful in passing a drug test for the metabolites of marijuana. Aspirin taken shortly before your test can interfere with the EMIT test for THC-COOH the metabolite of marijuana that the EMIT test detects. Aspirin can reduce the apparent concentration of THC-COOH by up to 50 % but as with some of the other home remedies, large doses of aspirin can have serious health consequences such as a stomach ulcer or uncontrolled or even fatal bleeding due to the anticoagulant properties of aspirin. Aspirin will also not be of any help to help you pass blood, hair or saliva test either and if your urine sample is sent for a GC/MS test, aspirin will not help either because that test is very specific for THC.

Creatine is a natural component of red meat and is metabolized in your body to Creatinine which is a normal component of urine. Drinking large amounts of water to try to pass a drug test can dilute your urine to the point that the Creatinine level will be too low, and it will fail the validity test. You can help increase the creatinine to normal levels by eating lean red meat but also by taking Creatine in the form of tablets which can be purchased at health food stores. Some reports discount Creatine as any help at all in passing a drug test even though it is positively advised by others.

If you drink large amounts of water and other fluids to dilute your urine the color may be too pale and fail to pass the validity test. B Vitamins taken orally can help to give your urine sample a natural yellow color and potentially help your sample to pass the validity test. B Vitamins can be easily obtained in any pharmacy or health food store.

Exercise, especially serious cardiovascular exercise will increase your metabolism and increase the rate at which drugs are detoxified and help to clean your system. This is an aid to the other natural methods of abstinence and time. Exercise can also specifically help in detoxification from marijuana metabolites, specifically THC-COOH the basis for the EMIT urine test. Vigorous cardiovascular exercise causes fat cells to be burned for energy thus releasing the THC-COOH which is stored in fat cells. The released THC-COOH is then excreted via your urine. It is important, however, not to engage in vigorous physical exercise within a few days of your test because to do so could actually increase the THC-COOH in your urine rather than decreasing it.

One very good suggestion when you have a drug test coming up is to obtain a home drug test kit and test your urine before your test. That way you will know if you will pass the test or not. You probably want to search for the best home drug test kits.  If you cannot pass a good home test kit then you should try to postpone your test and work more strenuously on your own detoxification. There is a lot of information available about home drug test kits which you should check out before purchasing one of them. How accurate are home drug tests compared to lab tests? Although home tests are not as accurate as GC/MS tests they are thought to be up to 99% in agreement with the usual screening tests performed on urine by most employers. In fact, you can purchase exactly the same type of urine drug test as your employer might use and these are among the best at home drug tests for THC.

In thinking about passing a drug test with home remedies it may help you to have an idea of what the detection times are for various drugs in urine and blood but be advised that these are only rough averages. A young, lean person, with low body fat, with a high metabolism who exercised regularly, will detoxify drugs much faster than an older person, with more body fat and low metabolism who gets a little exercise. In general, though these are the detection times for some of the commonly used drugs in blood and urine.

Drug                            Urine                         Blood
Alcohol                      3-5 days                      10-12 hours

Amphetamines          1-3 days                      12 hours

Barbiturates               2-4 days                     1-2 days

Benzodiazepines       3-6 weeks                   2-3 days

Cannabis                   7-30 days                    2 weeks

We have been focusing mainly on trying to help you pass a urine drug test with home remedies because urine testing is far and away from the most common type of test used by employers and others but other tests such as a saliva test can also be used sometimes. How then can you pass a saliva test using home remedies? Most suggestions such as excessive tooth brushing and most mouthwashes including hydrogen peroxide will not help with passing a drug test so most home remedies simply won’t work for this type of test but commercially available and scientifically formulated mouth wash formulations may help you pass a saliva drug test.

In summary, abstinence, time, exercise and diet are the best ways to pass a drug test if you have sufficient time to allow your body’s natural mechanisms to detoxify your system from all drugs. How long that will take varies greatly depending on your physical makeup and your daily living habits. Very few, if any, of the home remedies, actually help you to detoxify your system from drugs but some of them may indeed help you pass a drug test. Some home remedies may even help you pass a drug test in 24 hours. As you have seen also, some of the home remedies carry significant health risks and you should familiarize yourself with those risks very thoroughly before using them.