In the US, almost 12% of people over 12 say they’ve used illicit drugs in the last month. While some might be just experimenting and have tried drugs once, others enjoy it and regularly party.

No matter which category you fall into, what you do in your own time should be no one else’s business. Unfortunately, some employers feel like it is their business, which is why they administer regular drug tests, such as the hair follicle one.

So what exactly is a hair follicle drug test and if you’ve slipped up recently, how can you pass one? Read on for more information!

What Is a Hair Follicle Drug Test?

A hair follicle drug test is where your hair is used to identify which substances you’ve been using.

Usually, employers will order urine drug tests. You’d go to the bathroom to urinate, and then the sample is tested for drug usage. The caveat was that urine tests could only go about a week into your past, which is why employers are now turning to hair follicle drug tests instead.

You see, your hair tells a story since they store metabolites in them; more specifically, drug metabolites. This means that if someone runs a hair drug test on you, they’ll be able to see if you’ve done drugs in the last 3 months or so.

What you should know is as of 2021, hair follicle drug testing is not allowed for Department of Transportation (DOT) or federal workplace drug testing. So if you work in either of these 2 areas, you’re safe from hair drug testing.

It’s also worthy to note that because your hair has to grow out to provide a “history” of your drug usage, if you’ve used drugs just in the one week before your test, it’s very likely that it won’t show up in your hair follicle drug test.

What Happens During Testing?

If you need to go through a hair follicle drug test, then you might have to either go to a lab or hospital. Your workplace might also be able to use a kit on you.

The collector doesn’t just take 1 or 2 hairs from your head. Instead, think in triple digits! they’ll take 100 or so hairs from various parts of your head so you don’t end up with a small bald spot. For those of you with very short or non-existing hair, the collector might pluck body hair from your armpit or face.

Once they’re done getting your hairs, the collect will put them in foil and then mail them to the lab.

What Shows up on a Hair Follicle Drug Test?

So what shows up on a hair follicle drug test? Here are the various drugs that can be detected with this type of drug test:

  • Marijuana
  • Opiates
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Barbituates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • PCP
  • Methadone
  • Propoxyphene

Types of Drug Tests for Hair

There isn’t one single type of hair follicle drug test. Instead, there are several panels of varying numbers. They range from anywhere between 5 to 17-panel tests. The higher the number, the more drugs you’re tested for.

If you’ve had to do a hair follicle drug test, it can take just 2 to 3 days to receive your results if your employer’s ordered the most basic test (5-panel). Otherwise, expect it to take a few more days for higher-numbered panels.

How to Pass a Hair Follicle Drug Test

We all make mistakes, and your small one shouldn’t cost you your job. Or maybe you’ve been using CBD for relief (which is completely legal) and had no clue that some lower-quality products can cause you issues when it comes to CBD and drug tests.

In any case, you might be in a pinch and need to know how to stay out of trouble. Below, we’ll explore some ways to possibly pass a hair drug test, including some myths that are floating around.

Abstain From Drugs for a Few Months

If you’re lucky enough that your employer has regularly scheduled drug tests or if you know you’re applying for a job soon, abstain from drugs for at least 3 months. Before abstaining, you can also cut your hair so you have extra peace of mind.

Shave Your Head and Entire Body

This technically works since there won’t be any “hair history” for your employer to test. However, if it’s out of character for you to have a shaved head (for example, if you’ve always had a full head of hair at work), then this can be highly suspicious.

If you’re applying for a job, this can be enough to disqualify you.

Use Detox Shampoos

There are some products that claim to cleanse your hair of metabolites so that you can pass your hair drug test. However, you should know that these are all bunk. You’ll just waste your money on these “specialized” shampoos and will still fail your drug test.

Bleach Your Hair

There’s also the myth that bleaching your hair can help you pass a hair follicle drug test. While yes, bleach is very strong and can strip the pigmentation from your hair, chances are, most drug metabolites are left, which means you’ll fail your test.

Be Prepared for Your Hair Follicle Drug Test

After reading this article, you now know what a hair follicle drug test is and what can make you fail.

While the most ideal situation is to just steer clear of using substances, we all slip up once in a while. Plus, there are certain CBD products that could possibly make you fail drug tests, even if they barely have any THC in them.

But short of abstaining for a few months, there are no real ways to beat a hair drug test. Many methods are proven to be myths, so just try and steer clear of drugs, especially if you know your place of employment might give you a test at any time.

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