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  • Bailey Porras

The Different Types of Drug Tests & How They Work

Marijuana is officially the most commonly used illicit drug in America. For many of us, this is not shocking.

Although medical marijuana is legal in the State of Virginia, there is some gray area between employment rights and this type of medication. Businesses have their own rules about whether or not they will hire somebody who uses medical marijuana, and some businesses conduct mandatory drug tests.

So, if medical marijuana is legal, why can some companies enforce these rules? Simply put, employers cannot discriminate against employees with a medical marijuana card, even if they test positive for THC on a drug screening.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, people who are in the safety or transportation industries or anyone working for the federal government can be refused employment for medical marijuana use.

Additionally, if you are found to be using cannabis without a medical marijuana card, you may be terminated or denied a job with any employer.

Since there is still some confusion regarding employment and medical marijuana, here is some information about drug tests and how they work.

Types of Drug Tests

There are 5 general drug testing methods which include oral, urine, blood, hair, and sweat tests. Sweat tests are rarely used.

Employment drug tests usually screen for methamphetamines, THC, cocaine, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP).

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in My System?

There are many factors that can affect the length of time drugs stay in your system. Every drug and person is different. Here are some of the factors that determine this:

  • Type of drug(s) used

  • Amount of drug(s) used

  • Frequency of use

  • Hydration levels

  • Body mass

  • Physical activity

  • Drug tolerance

  • Metabolic rate

  • Medical conditions that impact drug elimination

  • The presence of other drugs or alcohol

  • Ethnicity

  • Gender

  • Weight

Urine Test

Urine is by far the most commonly administered drug test for employment, because they are quick and easy.

Urine tests can detect alcohol, amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, cannabis, methamphetamine, opioids, nicotine, and phencyclidine.

The general rule of thumb for passing a short-notice urine analysis drug test is to flush your system out using water. Basically, just increase your fluid intake which will dilute the concentration of drugs in the sample.

Oral/Saliva Test

Saliva drug tests are administered using a cotton swab stick to collect a sample of saliva on the inside of the cheek or under the tongue.

Saliva drug tests can identify alcohol, amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, cannabis, methamphetamine, opioids, opiates, and phencyclidine.

Saliva drug tests only pick up cannabis if you have smoked within 72 hours of the test. Urine and blood tests have proven to be more accurate than saliva tests.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are a very good indicator of recent drug use. They can detect traces of marijuana for up to 4 hours after use and synthetic marijuana for up to 48 hours.

Blood tests can trace marijuana, cocaine, opioids, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, barbiturates, and more.

These types of tests are not usually used for employment purposes and have proven to be useful with DUIs. Blood tests are invasive and expensive, which is another reason why they are not frequently used.

Hair Tests

Follicle tests are used about 10% of the time in employment drug testing. They can detect amphetamines, methamphetamines, ecstasy, marijuana, cocaine, PCP, and opioids.

Hair tests can tell if you have used any of these drugs in the past 90 days. That’s right, they can test up to three months.

Get Your Medical Marijuana Card Today

With the gray area in Virginia employment policies with marijuana, the best option is to get your medical card to better protect yourself. If you don’t know where to start, we’ve got you!

Schedule an evaluation online today, and we’ll book an appointment for you with one of our experienced, compassionate cannabis doctors. You’ll meet with your new doctor via a telemedicine appointment using your smartphone, tablet, or computer. You’ll learn if you qualify for a Virginia Marijuana Card (and get one if you do) without even leaving your home!


Doctors Who Care.

Relief You Can Trust.

At Virginia Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness

safely and conveniently through increased access to MMJ. Our focus on

education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by

providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (888) 633-5808, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today! Check out Virginia Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Virginia!

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