How to Pass a Drug Saliva Test
If you or a loved one is facing a drug test at work or at school, or worse, while on probation, it can be nerve wracking. If you’ve recently used, passing a drug saliva test is likely to be difficult. That’s true whether you’re being tested for cannabis or heavier drugs like opioids or amphetamines. Oral swab tests are popular as “on the spot” tests everywhere because they’re cheap, easy to administer, and almost anyone can give them correctly. In addition, you can use a dipstick test to see results in about 5 minutes – although they’re normally sent off for lab analysis, which is more accurate and more specific. So, your employer or your parole officer could spring them on you and you might see results in as little as a few minutes, giving you very little time to prepare.
Still, if you’ve recently used, you likely want to know how to pass the test without being flagged as not being clean. Unfortunately, that can be complicated and there’s no guaranteed way to pass the test other than to not use long enough in advance. However, there are some methods you can use to try to get a false negative result.
Steps to Take to Pass a Drug Saliva Test
If you’ve smoked cannabis or used another drug in the last 24-48 hours, passing a saliva drug test is very likely to be a problem. Depending on the drug and your habit of use, you can expect saliva tests to show positive for 1-3 days following your last usage.
This happens because the drugs bind to the molecules in the saliva, normally from the saliva production glands in the cheeks. For this reason, swabs normally swab the back of the cheek where the saliva glands are. This also limits the efficacy of using a gum, drinking, or brushing your teeth to remove chemicals left by drug use.
However, there are a few methods you can try:
- Brush your teeth well, and often, leading up to the drug test. E.g., every 2-3 hours before the test
- Chew on gum the full day before the drug test
- Use mouthwash, especially a medical or dental mouthwash after brushing your teeth
- Don’t drink anything to dehydrate your body to decrease saliva production
- Decrease saliva production in another way, such as by eating spoonful’s of peanut butter just before the test
- Eat fatty foods before the test. E.g., thc and some other drug molecules bind to fat, which means less will be in your mouth. A burger or similar fatty meal will likely help.
- Drink soda with bubbles which could bind to the drug residue and move it out of your mouth faster
Unfortunately, none of these options are guaranteed to work. You could chew gum all day and still come up positive for a test. In addition, chewing a spoonful of peanut butter right before a mouth swab might be a lot suspicious – and it still might not help you pass the test.
There’s also another tactic that some people use. Here, you leverage a false positive to try to hide the actual positive. This also might not work and it might backfire, because the person doing the test might decide for a more intensive blood or urine test. However, it might help.
- Take ibuprofen every few hours before the test (marijuana, benzodiazepines)
- Use hay fever remedies or nasal decongestants (amphetamines)
- Start taking diet pills (amphetamines)
- Bring poppy seed snacks to work (opioids)
- Bring hemp products to work (marijuana)
Depending on where and why you’re being tested, a false positive might result in a more intensive lab investigation. However, if your workplace is doing a quick check without lab intervention, you might be able to use your false positive to get around having a “true positive”. Still, you’re likely to get caught if the test ends up going back to the lab.
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Do Detoxes and Special “Toxin Clearing” Gums Work?
You can often buy detoxes and “toxin clearing” gums and mouthwashes to use before taking a test. Do these work? They might, but not any more than using any of the options listed above. For example, mouthwashes normally contain fat and acids, which are intended to remove all of the detectable THC or other drug residue from your mouth immediately. In addition, because it’s intended to be done just before a test and typically includes something like 9 minutes of rinsing your mouth, it can be effective. On the other hand, there are no tests showing that you won’t get the same results by eating a bag of potato chips and then rinsing your mouth with normal mouthwash for the same period.
Other cleanses are detoxes intended to flush drugs from your system over a period of several days. These are less useful for saliva tests, which are usually given by surprise or “next day”. They can also include diuretics, intended to force liquids through your system faster to clear up your saliva. Here, you might use a diuretic in combination with a large quantity of water to attempt to “flush” your system. There’s also no evidence that these work any better than drinking a larger amount of water or soda in the period – which isn’t a tactic that works – although it can help.
How Long Do Drugs Show Up on a Saliva Test?
If you’re taking a saliva test, it’s important to understand when you’re likely to test positive. Most roadside, workplace, and police tests check for marijuana, methamphetamine, and opioids. Some will also check for other drugs like MDMA and LSD. However, drug tests can show:
- Amphetamines (including meth)
- Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, etc.)
- Opioids (pain pills, fentanyl, heroin)
For any of these substances, an oral swab test shows positive results for 5-48 hours after the last use. In addition, duration of positive results depend on where in the mouth is swabbed. E.g., swabbing the saliva glands may produce positive tests for longer as does swabbing the tongue, but many people administering tests are not experts.
Eventually, if you’re facing a drug test and you don’t think you’ll pass, it’s probably a problem. That’s not just because it may affect your driver’s license, your career, or your probation. Instead, if you’re using a substance when you know that it can endanger things you care about, you’re prioritizing that substance over your life. That may mean you’re struggling with a substance use disorder, that you’re using substances to deal with your life, or that you’re at risk for addiction. It’s important to reach out, talk to your doctor about substance use, and to make informed decisions about continuing substance use. If you’re struggling, there is help.
If you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our detox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. 10 Acre Ranch also has specialty tracks like our pet friendly drug rehab and couples substance abuse treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.