Are you being concerned about an impending drug test at your new job? Some people are worried about marijuana’s potential to remain in the system for unpredictably long periods of time.
In such a case, you might be wondering if it is possible to do some sort of pre-test in the comfort of your own home. In this article, we will talk about home self-testing for drugs, how accurate it is, and the difference between home drug tests and lab tests.
What’s a home drug test and how does it work?
A home drug test is actually pretty easy to do, and know that you can normally buy one from your nearest pharmacy.
These little screening kits are made to identify the level of one or more prescribed (or illegal) substances in your urine such as:
- tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
- and ecstasy
Please note that if your test indicates the presence of drugs, then you should send the sample to a laboratory for further analysis.
How to use a home drug test?
Taking a drug test at home is simple, all you’ll need is a test subject (most likely yourself), some fresh urine, and a test card to get started. If you want to be sure, check out our 5-step guide down below:
Purchase a home urine drug test kit, which you can find online or in many stores, mostly in pharmacies.
You can easily collect your urine sample in a clean cup, usually, a brand new plastic or paper cup. A dixie cup or a party cup would work too.
In order to get the best results, allow the urine to cool down to room temperature before the screening. However, most test instructions state that a sample should be used within 24 hours.
Open the test kit package that you got from your nearest pharmacy and take the card out from its packaging. Remove the plastic cover from the bottom of the card, where the strips are located. Thereafter, dip the test card in your urine sample for about 10 seconds with the arrows pointing down.
Put the freshly soaked test card on a paper towel. To ensure accurate results, we recommend reading the results within five minutes of the test and no later than ten minutes after.
How accurate is an at-home drug test?
In all honesty, home drug tests aren’t as accurate as lab-based tests. They can tell whether or not a certain drug is present in your urine sample, but the findings can not be taken as conclusive nor as precise until the sample has been thoroughly analyzed in a laboratory.
If you want the most accurate results, we suggest undergoing a drug test performed by qualified professionals. Therefore, people should take that into account before buying a drug test kit, and keep in mind the following basic factors that could influence the outcome of a home drug test:
Incorrectly handling the urine sample or using a contaminated container may affect the results.
Some food and drinks that you have consumed before testing may affect the results as well.
Some prescription drugs may result in a positive test even though the individual being tested isn’t using illegal drugs.
Is the accuracy of a home drug test comparable to that of a lab test ?
Home drug tests are convenient and easy to acquire. But, they aren’t always effective. Indeed, a few things could alter your test results, and give you a false positive.
Certain (legal) drugs, vitamins, and even the food you eat can alter the accuracy of your test kit. Usually, a reputable lab will provide you a two-step test that involves screening and, if you fail the screening, they will double-check the test with a GC/MS confirmation.
In drug testing, a GC/MS test is the best standard. There is no ambiguity in detecting the real substances inside the sample. It takes several days to complete and is conducted by scientists working for a nationally accredited lab.
Does temperature matter on a home drug test?
Temperature is one of the most precise ways of ensuring an accurate result. Normally, if you get tested at a lab, the quantity found in your sample must be checked and the temperature must be recorded as soon as you brought the sample over to the collector – no later than four minutes after you left the room.
For the measurement, it is usually measured by reading a temperature label that is usually attached to, or put on the outside of the collection container.
If the temperature strip is read within four minutes of the collection, fresh urine will show a temperature between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Therefore, if you are going to do the drug test at home and want to be as accurate as possible, look at the temperature label and make sure it is in the accepted range. Once the temperature is good, you can put the test card in.
In summary, both methods of drug testing are good, even though we have to admit that nothing will ever beat a lab test.
While drug testing at home offers fast results at a low cost, laboratory tests, on the other hand, provide high-quality, and fully reliable results. Furthermore, it is preferable to use laboratory screenings for company drug testing.