There is only one reason for an oral drug test, and that is to test for the recent use of THC. I’m sure many of us have been there before; we want to enjoy our weed but have a fear of undergoing a drug test. Just because weed is now legal in many states throughout America, it by no means brings about the sudden elimination of drug tests. Many employees are still regularly subjected to drug tests of various kinds. Essentially, consuming weed on the job would be the same thing as drinking on the job. In short, it’s not allowed.
Another problem that has occurred since the legalization of weed is an increased number of drivers who are under the influence of cannabis. This has lead authorities to crack down and implement drug testing. In other words, the legalization of weed has lead to an increased number of people who are smoking cannabis, which means that more people are now interested in testing for the use of cannabis.
This leads to the question of how to pass a drug test but more specifically for the purpose of this article, how to pass a mouth swab drug test. The important thing to know about this kind of drug test is that weed can only be detected in the system for a short period of time. Even when it comes to heavy smokers, there is quite a low risk of testing positive for THC, if they abstain from smoking for just 24 hours. This is good news for regular smokers and in fact, anyone who consumes weed. If you are going to undergo a drug test, it’s probably best to be a mouth swab test since the THC can’t be detected in the system for very long. However, there could come a time when you’ve consumed marijuana during your lunch break, and your boss then decides to implement a mid-afternoon drug test. In this case, you best know how to pass a mouth swab drug test. So let’s take a closer look at this type of drug testing, what it entails, and most importantly, how to pass it with flying colors.
What Is a Mouth Swab Drug Test?
Also known as an oral fluid test or saliva test, a mouth swab drug test, as the name suggests, collects saliva from inside the mouth. The saliva is used to test for the use of drugs, which can typically be detected within a few days of use.
Saliva screenings are a relatively new form of drug testing, but they have increased in popularity over the years. There are several reasons why employers and authorities are turning to this form of an oral drug test, some of which include it being non-inclusive (no issues with privacy), easy to administer randomly on-site and convenient (no nurses or technicians needed), results can be determined instantly, and they’re cheaper than the more common urine tests, and they hard to tamper with.
As we have briefly mentioned previously, if you’ve got a drug test to pass, this is the one that you should be hoping for. This is considered to be one of the easier tests to pass once you know how to do it, and it’s basically the only type of test where a weed smoker has an easier time passing than say a meth, ecstasy, cocaine, or opiate user.
Some drugs will stay in the system longer than others, and mouth swab tests are typically used to test for the presence of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, and amphetamines. It’s also important to understand that saliva tests and other forms of drug testing, such as urine tests, screen for entirely different compounds. Urine tests screen for THC-COOH, which is is a metabolite that the body produces when it metabolizes THC, the psychoactive compound that’s responsible for making users high. Whereas, saliva tests screen for activated THC. This is exactly what would be in your mouth after ingesting weed.
This is the good news and the bad news when it comes to mouth swab tests for weed. They are unable to detect cannabis metabolites that are possibly lingering in your system, but they can detect the psychoactive, illicit, THC that gets caught in your spit.
Which Employers Use Mouth Swab Drug Tests?
So now that we understand what mouth swab drug tests are let’s take a look at which employers use this kind of testing. In reality, there are many companies that make use of the good old oral drug test. Typically speaking, these companies will have a testing policy in place that will explain to applicants and employees, how and when they will be subjected to illegal drug testing.
Drug testing is mainly used in association with union agreement, in areas of employment that are safety critical, such as, transport and energy generation, or after an incident has occurred. We are also seeing an increase in the use of drug testing in the construction industry. Drug testing is also a common practice among federal employees, specifically those who handle classified information, and those who work in law enforcements, national security, those whose duties include protecting life, health, property, and safety.
We are seeing that a swab test is being used increasingly by law enforcement, as well as employers across the United States. Employers who are wanting to prevent people who either use legal or illegal drugs are turning to drug testing. Essentially, legal use of marijuana can still prevent you from gaining or keeping employment. Therefore always ensure that you are aware of the drug testing policy in place with your employer.
When Do Employers Use Mouth Swab Drug Tests?
There are various times that employers might decide to conduct a mouth swab test. Typically speaking these will be pre-employment, background test, post-incident, and random drug testing. Let’s take a look at each of these:
- Pre-employment – As part of their corporate policy, some employers may screen potential employees or even applicants before they employ them. This is a time when people are at their most vulnerable because they are not employed by the company and have fewer employment rights, aren’t covered by grievance or appeals processes, and don’t have the support of a union. This means that it is the perfect opportunity to make them undergo a drug test.
- Background test – They may conduct an oral drug test as part of a larger employment screening process, along with several other background tests. They might also conduct these tests before an employee is offered a promotion.
- Random test – This process involves selecting several employees at random and at regular intervals to test them for the use of drugs. There usually won’t be much prior notice of a random drug test, and employees will only find out at the last minute that they will be undergoing a test. But, generally, the employer does have to notify the employees that random drug tests are possible. In some states, there are laws in place as to how long in advance employees should be notified about a drug test.
- Post-incident – This is when a drug test is administered after an incident that causes injury, damages, or a near-miss has occurred. It may be done automatically after an incident has taken place but in some cases, it’s only done if a supervisor suspects that drugs may have played a part in the incident. This will help the employer to determine who is liable for the incident.
Do I Have to Take a Mouth Swab Drug Test?
Let’s cut right down to it: under no circumstances can any employer force an employee or job candidate to undergo a saliva test. However, if you refuse, the consequences could be detrimental to your job. Just as an employee or applicant can refuse to undergo a drug test, the employer may then revoke a job offer, or fire or suspend a current employee as a result.
If you undergo a drug test and fail – or believe the results to be inaccurate – there is the possibility that you can either have another test done or have the specimen reviewed again. Your employer should have a process in place for cases such as this.
Lastly, if your acting skills are on point and you feel daring, you could stand absolutely firm in the fact that you are innocent. You can act surprised at the result (not at all angry or aggressive) and concerned or confused by the outcome. You will need to be very convincing and possess somewhat of a conniving streak to pull this off, though.
In summary, the choice is entirely yours – if you don’t feel comfortable taking a drug test, don’t allow yourself to be pushed into it. However, you should be aware of the possible consequences. But at least you know you have a few options.
Federal and State Drug Testing Laws
The policies surrounding drug testing vary from state to state. The supreme court has ruled that although drug testing may infringe on an employees privacy, it may be necessary to protect the health and safety of others. Generally speaking, state laws are similar to federal laws and maintain the legality of drug testing amongst state employees.
As we have established, many private employers require that their employees undergo drug testing. The state and local laws vary in the manner in which they protect the privacy of private employees’. In many states, private employers are legally allowed to test employees for health and safety reasons, to prevent illegal activity in the workplace that results from drug use, or to increase productivity in the workplace.
While some states differ in the circumstances that they allow to prompt employers to conduct drug or alcohol testing, others have limits with regards to how and when drug testing can be conducted.
The Drug-free Workplace Act of 1988 is one of the federal laws that was designed to target substance abuse in the workplace. This is a law that legally requires certain employers to take action against drug use in the workplace, like developing a written policy. Industries such as defense, aviation, and transportation are required by law to test to test some employees and applicants for drug use.
Marijuana laws are changing rapidly with the majority of states legalizing it either for recreational use or medicinal use or considering to legalize it. It’s important to keep in mind that some states have only decriminalized weed rather than making in fully or partially legal. You will need to keep up to date with the changing laws to make sure that you are always on the right side of the law.
Overview: Who’s Afraid of a saliva drug test?
As we have discussed above, the process of saliva drug testing seems to be on the rise. This is especially true since we are seeing an increase in marijuana use across the United States due to the rapid rate at which it is being made legal. Typically speaking, anyone who works in federal employment or work which involves issues of health and safety, should expect to have to undergo drug testing.
This does not mean that people in other areas of employment are not at risk. There still runs the possibility that any employer across the States may conduct drug testing for various reason. In fact, drug testing has become somewhat of normal industry practice in many business sectors, thanks to a greater need for a sense of security regarding worker performance and of course, “on-the-job” safety. Jobs that require great skill, dexterity, form, and awareness, are naturally, more likely to include drug testing as part of their employment policy, especially if there is a high risk of injury or equipment damage involved.
So when are cannabis users at risk of failing a saliva test? Technically speaking, this will be for as long as the concentration of THC is present in your saliva and is above the lower threshold that the test can detect. According to experts, this is known as the “confirmation cutoff.” The cutoff will vary, depending on who manufacturers the test, as well as the different legal limits that different states have in places, as we have discussed above.
To keep it simple, without going into too much scientific detail, you will be in the clear after one to two days of abstaining from weed. To be safe, you should most probably give yourself a week to play with. But that is of course if you don’t know how to pass a saliva test, which brings us to our next point.
Knowing How To Pass A saliva test
The most crucial information when it comes to passing a saliva test is knowing what the swab test is looking for and how long you’re at risk for. If you are expecting a saliva drug test in the next few days, you could just hold off on smoking for a few days prior.
THC is not present in the saliva for a very long time. In fact, any THC metabolites which could make their way through your saliva glands and into your system, won’t probably show up on a swab test because these aren’t the chemicals that the test is actually looking for. Essentially, there is nothing keeping THC in your saliva apart from the fact that after you smoke marijuana, it coats the entire surface of the mouth. This is the reason that it only sticks around for a day or two, or perhaps a week if, say, you don’t brush your teeth (but hopefully that’s not the case).
This is also why it’s a good idea to practice good oral hygiene. It’s possible that what’s good for the teeth could also flush out any THC molecules that may be lingering, thus you should brush your teeth more than usual – even up to four times a day before an upcoming drug test – and also pay special attention to any areas that you normally overlook. This would mean your cheeks, gums, and tongue.
Another interesting thing to note is that cannabis in the form of edibles reduces the risk of detection. However, nothing can be as sure-fire as abstaining from weed altogether. One intriguing finding is that smoking cigarettes could in fact also be detrimental to your drug test, as smoking anything will open up the cells and taste buds in your mouth, which releases more saliva (and ultimately more THC). This is why it’s often suggested that you don’t smoke at least 48 hours before a swab drug test.
Extra Tips for Beating Saliva Drug Test Detection Times
Although we have covered a few tips above, let’s face it, these will only be plausible if you are aware of an upcoming drug test a few days prior. But often, you won’t be given an advanced warning – you will merely be told on the day of (with a few hours to spare if you are lucky enough) that you are expected to undergo a drug testing.
This can of course present quite a predicament to the would-be drug “testee”: if you’re told you need to undergo an oral swab test at the very last minute with no advance warning, what can you do?
Here are a few helpful ideas to increase your chances that you pass the test with flying colors (okay maybe not that easily), even if you toked up as early as the day before.
How To Pass A Mouth Swab Drug Test With A Few Hours To Spare
Your best bet in such a case is to fill your body with fluids. Swish water vigorously around your mouth, rinse and repeat. But beyond staying hydrated, some people suggest chewing on as much ice as possible. This will not only keep you hydrated but will also dilute the THC content in your saliva to what would hopefully be below the testable levels.
You should also get your hands on the fattiest foods that you can find, as eating fatty food is another great tip that you may have heard before. THC is a fat-soluble substance which will absorb quickly into lipids but not into the water. Therefore, consuming THC before an oral swab drug test could boost the THC absorption rate, which will transform THC into THC-COOH. One thing that’s important to keep in mind though is that while this may get you off the hook for a saliva test, it will increase the amount of THC-COOH that is stored in your fat cells.
How To Pass A Mouth Swab Drug Test With Little To No Warning
We’ve left the worst for last. That is, of course, the worst-case scenario. Your last ditch effort to pass your swab test is the act of committing adulteration…of your saliva! Adulterants are chemicals that will interfere with drug tests, and there are new and improved ones coming out all the time. Essentially, though, as every new adulterant comes out and beats the test, new and improved tests that can detect the new adulterant are then developed — it’s like a vicious, never-ending cycle.
Hydrogen peroxide has traditionally been the go-to adulterant for passing a mouth swab drug test. One particular company decided to take advantage of this and has in fact developed little packets of hydrogen peroxide inside chewing gum. The whole process is very simple – just pop a piece of gum into your mouth, break open the packet, and swish. There are also mouthwashes on the market that do the same thing, however the gum is probably more convenient, and a lot more discreet.
Also important to note is that adulterating your saliva will only keep your mouth clear for a drug test for a half an hour or so, tops. However, as this is the method used in emergencies when you haven’t been given much warning (or any warning), half an hour will likely be all that you need.
Final thoughts on how to pass a mouth swab drug test
As we have seen, drug tests are typically more common in specific industries and areas of work, although anybody could be required to undergo a test. Drug tests are becoming increasingly prevalent in the workplace, and could even work against you if given a new job opportunity or a promotion.
Hopefully, though, you can breathe a little sigh of relief with the knowledge that mouth swab drug tests for weed are the easiest to pass. As we have discussed, there are even methods that you can use to help you pass last-minute mouth swab tests when given no warning whatsoever.
As always, all tips should be used at your own discretion, and if necessary further research should be conducted to ensure that you fully understand all information supplied. And of course, none of the aforementioned tips and techniques should be interpreted as any kind of guarantee that you’ll pass your particular screening.
Want to know how long THC can stay in your system? Try out our THC Drug Test Calculator.