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Pot Testing Protocols — How Do Employers & Police Test For Cannabis?

Cannabis and careers usually don’t mix. However, as marijuana becomes more mainstream, some big-name companies are ditching stringent THC requirements. For instance, Amazon made headlines in 2021 when it got rid of its cannabis drug tests. Also, many surveys suggest more companies are relaxing their stance towards cannabis-related screenings.

That being said, cannabis remains federally illegal, and most businesses still have THC restrictions related to employment. Plus, there are even stricter laws against driving under the influence of marijuana. Since cannabis remains federally illegal, everyone needs to take these laws and penalties seriously.

To help determine whether someone has been using cannabis, scientists have devised a few drug screening tests. If an employer or officer suspects you of using marijuana, they’ll likely ask you to submit one of these analyses. The results from your drug test could have a significant impact on your career, so you must understand just what they’re testing for.


What’s The Standard Cannabis Screening From Employers?


There are a few ways employers could scan for cannabis, but the most common test is a urine sample. Labs are most interested in using this sample to check for traces of the high-inducing cannabinoid delta-9 THC. However, technicians could also pick up THC metabolites in urine. These broken-down particles also indicate a person has used a THC-heavy strain at some point in the past.

While not as common, it’s possible to detect THC in a person’s blood, saliva, or hair. However, most companies prefer urine samples because they tend to be simpler to collect.

It’s worth mentioning that most employee drug screenings don’t just test for THC. Often, these urine tests can detect other federally-banned drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or meth. Some drug tests also scan for high amounts of prescription opioids.


Could Police Order A Cannabis Drug Screening?


It’s not just employers that could force you to take a cannabis screening. Police officers have the right to order a cannabis drug test if they suspect you are using marijuana. This is especially true if police have “reasonable cause” to believe you’re under the influence of cannabis while driving.

Often, if a police officer suspects someone of using cannabis, they will enlist the assistance of a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). Qualified DREs usually ask drivers to perform visual and balancing tests to determine whether they’ve used marijuana. DREs may also scan a person’s eyes and monitor their heart rate for more information.

Depending on the findings from this study—as well as any circumstantial evidence—police could request a blood or urine sample from a driver. Like employee drug screenings, these samples could detect delta-9 THC and metabolites.

While drivers could refuse a drug screening test, they often face harsh penalties like a license suspension. However, some states allow drivers to speak with an attorney before submitting to a cannabis DUI test. Also, many jurisdictions let drivers get a second drug screening with a qualified technician or nurse.


How Much THC Qualifies As “Impairment?”


A trial put out by the National Institute of Justice recently found no significant correlation between THC levels and impairment. While THC doses over 5 mg caused noticeable physiological effects, there was no standard amount of THC in each participant’s body at the time of “impairment.”

After analyzing multiple blood, urine, and saliva samples, researchers found these THC tests couldn’t give a good read on a person’s physiological effects. Sometimes patients had little THC in their blood, but the cannabis product had a noticeable impact. Conversely, since THC has such a long half-life, it could remain in a person’s body long after the effects fade.


Could Police Scan Cannabis With A Breathalyzer?


There’s still no breathalyzer that can detect THC metabolites. However, some scientists are working on a THC breath-scanning device. As of today, it’s still unclear when these THC breathalyzers will ever be deployed in North America.


What’s The Minimum Limit Of THC For A DUI?


Most states have a zero-tolerance policy for THC. So, no matter how little THC you have in your system, it could be considered a DUI in most municipalities. However, a few states with recreational cannabis laws have a limit of 5 ng/mL of THC for cannabis DUIs.


How Long Does Cannabis Linger In A Smoker’s System?


There’s no simple way to figure out how long cannabis stays in each person’s body. Everyone has a different metabolism and endocannabinoid system. A smoker’s weight and age may also influence how long cannabinoids remain in their bloodstream. There’s even evidence that different cannabis products (e.g., edibles, vape juices, and flowers) could affect cannabinoid absorption.

Most tests suggest THC metabolites have a relatively long half-life. Indeed, these THC-related chemicals could stay in a person’s body for about ten days after using a marijuana product.

Of course, the more often someone uses cannabis, the longer THC will remain in their system. Frequent cannabis users could have detectable traces of THC in their urine for months.


Could CBD Hemp Flowers Affect Drug Screenings?


CBD hemp is touted as a legal, non-psychoactive alternative to THC marijuana. Although CBD products with ≤ 0.3 percent THC are federally legal, that doesn’t mean they can’t ruin a drug screening.

Please remember that everyone absorbs cannabinoids at different rates. Since full-spectrum CBD products have some traces of THC, there’s a chance these metabolites could wind up in a urine screening.

Customers should carefully scan their CBD products for THC percentages before using them. Reputable CBD companies should provide third-party lab analyses to confirm their THC levels. Broad-spectrum and CBD isolate products should have zero percent THC, but consumers must double-check their company’s lab results before using them.


Always Take Weed Screenings Seriously!


More states are legalizing recreational cannabis, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to use this drug anywhere or anytime. It’s especially important that cannabis consumer’s DON’T DRIVE HIGH.

Even cautious cannabis consumers still take risks when driving a car – as they are likely to fail a drug screening should they be required to take one. This is why reepher offers up to $15,000 in cannabis DUI coverage for the price of a pre-roll. Click here to learn more about reepher’s cannabis DUI coverage.

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