Weed drug tests are a reality in the world of work, and employers are using them more frequently. It’s not just recreational users that test positive for marijuana; even if you’re an occasional user who is tested, you could still be fired.
If you think this will never happen to you, think again. With recent legal changes on medical cannabis stateside, more people are using it every day. So, when you go through your annual physical or get hired by a company that requires pre-employment testing for drugs, be ready for the fact that weed may show up on your drug test.
Here’s everything you need to know about weed drug tests at work to help you prepare ahead of time.
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The Legal Status of Marijuana
In 2017, nine states voted to legalize medical marijuana use, which means that people in those states can legally obtain medical cannabis without worrying about being arrested. These states include California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Washington DC. Additionally, 11 other states have legalized recreational marijuana use, meaning that anyone 21 years old and older can purchase and consume recreational pot in these states.
This creates a new set of problems for employers. If you’re working for someone who lives in one of the nine states with medical marijuana laws, you should make sure to check out their individual state laws before applying for employment. For example, in Massachusetts, you would need to be able to prove that you had a valid prescription from a doctor licensed in that state. The same goes for recreational marijuana laws; if you live in a state where recreational cannabis has been legalized, you should definitely do your research first because you may not be able to legally work for an employer who allows employees to smoke.
However, even if you’re only applying for jobs in states where recreational use isn’t yet legal, there are still plenty of reasons why you might want to avoid testing positive for weed. For starters, if you’re living in a state where medical marijuana is legal but recreational use isn’t, you could end up losing your ability to receive insurance coverage. This is especially important for people who use CBD oil or any type of medical cannabis product that doesn’t contain THC.
As long as you’re clear on what exactly you can and cannot legally use, there’s no reason to worry about testing positive for marijuana. Employers aren’t going to fire you over something they can’t prove you did wrong.
How Do Weeds Show Up on Test Results?
A number of factors can lead to a positive result when taking a drug test. In some cases, a person can have trace amounts of THC in their system even after a week of abstinence. Additionally, even if you don’t use weed in the past few days, you could still test positive for weed based on your body’s reaction to it.
When dealing with weed drug tests, you always want to make sure you’re completely clean before taking your test. If you haven’t used weed within the last 24 hours, it’ll take longer for traces of weed to disappear from your system. As it turns out, even if you’ve been sober for a month, traces of marijuana in your system won’t necessarily disappear all at once. Instead, they’ll slowly start to dwindle over time.
That said, you can still take steps to ensure that your test results come back negative. Here are some things you can do to boost your chances of passing your job drug test:
- Don’t consume alcohol while you’re waiting to get your results. Alcohol will suppress your liver’s capacity to metabolize THC. This makes it much easier for your body to flush it out, which helps explain why binge drinking can cause you to fail a weed drug test.
- Make sure you don’t eat any foods high in fat or sugar. Both of these substances will slow down your liver’s ability to process THC. Fatty foods like butter, cheese, and coconut milk will increase your body’s absorption rate, so it will take longer to eliminate the THC from your system.
- Eat fiber rich foods such as whole wheat breads, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes. Fiber slows down the movement of nutrients through your digestive tract, which reduces the amount of THC reaching your bloodstream. Plus, it also increases the time it takes for you to feel hungry, which gives your body more time to metabolize THC.
- Exercise regularly. When you exercise, your body produces more enzymes, which speed up the metabolism of THC. It’s best to exercise 30 minutes before taking your test, otherwise, you’ll already be full from eating and you won’t produce enough enzymes to counteract the effects of THC.
- Keep stress levels low. Stress hormones release adrenaline into your blood stream, which inhibits your body’s ability to break down THC. Therefore, it’ll take longer for the THC to leave your system. To keep stress levels low, try meditating before your test.
- Stay hydrated during your test. Water helps flush out toxins and waste products, including THC, from your body. Make sure you drink water throughout the duration of your test and wait at least two hours after you finish to see results. Also, consider taking a magnesium supplement before your test to prevent dehydration.
- Take another test. Many companies require you to submit 2 urine samples. One sample will give you a false negative due to its short window of detection, but the second sample will give you a true reading. This helps ensure that you pass the test even if you’ve consumed marijuana within the past 24 hours.