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Saliva drug tests, also known as spit drug tests, oral fluid-based drug tests, or mouth swab drug tests, are one of the many dreaded possible drug tests. You might be forced to partake in one of these to be hired for a new job, meet probation requirements, or some other reason to prove that you don’t do drugs. While saliva testing isn’t the most common method of figuring this out, it is used often enough to be worth your time of educating yourself. The chances are good that this test will increase in how commonly it is used. Right now, it is a relatively new type of drug test, but it provides some clear advantages over the classic ‘pee into a cup’ test.
Saliva drug tests are useful to find out if someone is smoking marijuana (or doing other drugs) for two main reasons. The first is that it can be conducted on the spot rather than in a laboratory. It is also capable of testing the results of a much more recent use of marijuana. Other advantages include the fact that it isn’t as invasive as other procedures, such as blood tests or urine tests, and it can’t be tampered with as easily as with urine.
How does a saliva drug test work?
Saliva drug tests check for the presence of drugs such as marijuana (THC), opiates, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, ecstasy, and PCP. It is supposedly more accurate than urine drug tests because it tests for the past 72 hours, therefore accurately informing the employer (or whoever is testing you) whether you have used the drug quite recently.
While this is bad news if you just smoked a joint 2 hours before the test, it is good news for people who know about the test ahead of time. They will only need to hold back from smoking for two or three days before the test. Extended use will not be detected, as long as you don’t use marijuana within those couple of days before the test.
Because of its similarity of results to a blood drug test, saliva tests are becoming more useful in post-accident testing and on the job testing. This is because it is able to see if you have smoked so recently that you are still affected by the drug, as it becomes detectable just about right away after smoking.
What to expect
The “convenient” thing (for employers, anyway) about saliva drug tests is that they can easily be randomly used at any point in time or location. The results are easy to get and don’t require much waiting at all, and they are fairly non-offensive to the people being tested since they are not as invasive as the other testing options out there.
You could expect to receive a mouth swab drug test perhaps before you are hired by a company, or after a car accident. It is given to see if you (or whoever the driver was) were under the influence while driving. It is also given when an employer suspects that an employee might be on drugs while working, or it might be completely at random. That is what makes the saliva drug test so tricky, yet so simple.
To perform the test, the tester will use a swab that resembles a toothbrush that sits in the fold between your lower gum and cheek. The swab will remain for a full two minutes in order to collect the proper amount of saliva. After two minutes, they perform the test. It will have the results of ‘pass/fail,’ or ‘negative/positive’ in just a couple more minutes. The overall process is just 5 minutes long.
Accuracy and detection times
One downside of saliva tests so far is that they are not quite accurate enough to be used widely. In some studies, only one out of 18 marijuana users tested positive — that’s not exactly ideal results. However, the tests are improving and it is widely regarded as one of the most accurate tests out there nonetheless.
Saliva drug tests see if you have smoked within the past 72 hours. Marijuana generally does not remain in the system for more than 24 hours. This makes the chances pretty solid that you’ll not have a problem of detection if you quit smoking for a few days before the test takes place.
How to pass a saliva drug test
Generally speaking, it shouldn’t be any harder to pass a saliva drug test than it is to pass a urine drug test. This is true, despite the fact that saliva drug tests are officially considered to be more accurate than urine drug tests. The most important thing to do is refrain from smoking for three full days, and also brush and floss your teeth, rinsing out with mouthwash to make sure there are no traces left. Some people have even been known to pass the test after smoking that very day but then flossing, brushing their teeth, and using mouthwash before the test. However, this is not advisable as it is much more reliable to stop smoking for a few days.
Saliva tests are quite difficult to adulterate. People are generally tested on-site by the employers, so you can’t simply switch it out with another person’s ‘clean’ saliva. You can do a few things to help ensure that you pass the test, should you ever be ambushed with one. One suggestion from marijuana smokers who use prevention as their main weapon against saliva drug tests is always to carry some sort of mouthwash type of item with you. Keep it in your backpack, store it in your desk drawer at work, or put it in another convenient location that will always be reachable.
There are some specific types of mouthwashes, such as Ultra Kleen Saliva Cleansing Mouth Wash, or Supreme Klean Saliva Detox Mouthwash. Either one of these should perform a ‘detox’ of your saliva right away, and will keep it ‘clean’ for an hour afterward. This should effectively allow you to pass a surprise saliva drug test.
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