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21 Jan 2022

Drug testing detection times

What are the drug testing detection times associated with drugs and sample types?

Drug testing detection time

What are the detection times for different drugs?

First, there are several factors that can affect drug testing detection times. These range from the metabolism of an individual, to the type, purity and quantity of the drug consumed.

As a guide, drug testing detection times are associated with the following sample types:

  • Saliva – 1 to 2 days
  • Urine – 3 to 5 days
  • Hair – up to 6 months (dependant on length of hair)

In addition to the above, drugs metabolise differently as well. For example, both cannabis and cocaine are fat soluble. As a result, the metabolites of both drugs can be stored in body fat. So, depending on the amount of body fat, and a person’s metabolism, both cannabis and cocaine can be detected beyond the range of the saliva and urine detection times listed above.

What about alcohol testing detection times?

Alcohol testing detection times can vary. Again, there are lots of factors that can determine how long alcohol stays in a person’s system, right down to the cellular processes. As a result, we would suggest speaking to one of our advisors. This way, you can determine the best alcohol test suited to your own circumstances. Whether this be a hair alcohol test, venous blood alcohol test, PEth blood spot test, or a combination of all three, there will be a test best suited for you.

How long should I wait before a drug has cleared my system?

Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer to this question. Again, it depends on all the factors mentioned above. For example, we have seen drugs detected in a 3-month hair drug test from an individual who last consumed the drug 9 months prior.

In addition, we have seen saliva and urine drug test results detect cannabis and cocaine up to one month after last use.

If you are having difficulties with drugs or alcohol use, there is lots of help available. We would advise seeking help from your employer or any of the organisations from the NHS website.