Are Hair Follicle Tests More Effective?

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There are many different types of drug tests that look for a variety of substances in a person’s system.  The choice of test depends on the purpose and the drug for which the individual is being tested. For example, heavy pot smokers can have trace amounts of THC in their system for up to a few months yet cocaine is expelled from the system in a matter of days.  While most parties interested in testing an individual for marijuana (such as a potential employer or legal body) use urine tests, hair follicle drug tests are another option.

RELATED: A Marijuana Breathalyzer?

What Does it Do?

A hair follicle drug tests identify use of a substance up to 90 days in the past, which is much greater than a urine test and therefore resulting in an increase in popularity. They are helpful to identify repeated, chronic, or binge usage over an extended time frame. Generally about 1.5 inches are tested, so results could potentially go back even further than 90 days.  If a person is bald or has a shaved head, then body hair may also be used.

Why Hair?

After a person uses a substance such as marijuana, the body creates metabolites as it processes the drug. As they circulate in the blood stream, they enter and nourish the hair follicle and are integrated as part of the strand. As hair lengths can vary, choosing this test can provide a more comprehensive result.

Given the recent changes in marijuana laws in many areas of the country, there is still some confusion regarding the appropriateness of drug testing all together, even in states where it is fully legal.  For example Colorado is still reviewing a 2014 case about a man who was fired for using medical marijuana. Unfortunately, this is still a bit or a grey area but with more states heading the direction of legalization, legal clarity may be provided soon.

Hair and urine are just 2 examples of the drug tests on the market. There are a variety of others and its important to abide by all local laws and regulations.

 

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Want to read more? Check these stories out:

Pesticides in Pot: A Growing Concern

Marijuana DUI: Are You Driving While Impaired?

How Accurate Are Home Drug Tests?

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