What Is The Saliva Drug Test

Saliva Drug Test

Saliva Drug Test

Workplace testing for drug use comes in many different forms.

Most companies will rely on urine testing as a means of catching out drug use over the previous 72 hour period. This option has its pros and cons and is not the only method available to companies.

Saliva testing methods are improving and are increasingly seen as one of the best ways to determine recent drug use.

This is particularly the case when combating the use of marijuana.

What Is The Saliva Test And What Types Of Drugs Can Companies Test For?

Saliva Test

The saliva test is a simple swab to collect oral fluid and test that saliva for traces of drug abuse. There are currently five drug types that testers can screen for with this method. They are cannabis (THC), cocaine and crack (COC), Opiates (OPI), amphetamines (AMP) and Methamphetamine (MET/MDMA).

Each of these substances can be singled out by type for a simple positive or negative results. Each element has a particular cut-off point. Any reading over that level is automatically viewed as a positive result.

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Saliva Method In Workplace Drug Testing?

The main advantage of using this type of drug test is the efficiency offered. Many tests for marijuana use tend to focus on the THC-COOH element. This is the molecule that has been converted by the body and  often found in urine.

This molecule is different when the users have smoked the joint, and it can found in the mouth at quite high levels. This is why the saliva test looks for the presence of Δ9-THC. This means that recent drug use can be determined to see whether an employee is an immediate threat to health and safety. There is also the fact that this method is similar to that used by roadside police.

Disadvantages To Using The Saliva Drug Test In Workplace Procedures

Drug Testing

The biggest problem with this option is the window of opportunity as a result. Workplace drug testers love the hair sample as a way of determining long-term drug use.

Urine samples have the chance of detecting lots of drug times from a 72 hour period. Saliva testing only has a short time of detection of 24-48 hours for most of the drugs mentioned above.

The bigger issue here is that this is decrease to only 4-6 hours when testing for marijuana use. This variability between 24 and 48 hours is down to the user’s individual metabolism and the potency of the drug taken.

Choose The Right Option

Saliva testing procedures vary, and some are far more convenient and accurate than others. There are some that offer Δ9-THC detection at a high detection limit and THC-COOH testing at a much lower limit.

The former is the best option because of the molecule tested rather than the detection limit. These drug tests produce to determine their accuracy and effectiveness.

However, this Δ9-THC approach is a great alternative to urine testing for determining recent drug use.


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