Cannabis (marijuana) is one of the highly addictive illicit drugs of abuse in the United States. According to National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), there were about 2.2 million persons aged 12 or older who used marijuana for the first time within the past 12 months in 2008 averaging 6,000 initiates per day.
Cannabis is one of the five drugs tested for in standard NIDA approved drug tests, ‘SAMHSA-5’. The primary psychoactive substance in cannabis is Delta-9-TetraHydroCannabinol (THC), though many other cannabinoid compounds are present in it. Cannabis can be detected even after a long time of abuse as THC remains in the fatty tissues of the body and enters steadily into the blood and urine. The common methods of cannabis drug testing are-
Urine testing is the common test method as it is least expensive. Urine tests provide results within minutes. However, lab verification is required to get accurate results. They are commonly used at home by parents to track their children and by employers at workplaces to detect their employees. Cannabis can be detected by urine drug test for 3 to 5 days and sometimes up to 30 days depending on the amount of cannabis abused. The initial test cutoff concentration is 50ng/mL and confirmatory cutoff concentration level is 15ng/mL for its metabolite- Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid.
Cannabis abuse can also be detected with hair testing method, which is a little expensive than urine tests. Hair tests require a sample of hair about the diameter of a pencil and 1.5 inches long to detect cannabis abuse. Hair tests can detect cannabis abuse over a longer period for up to 90 days. The initial cutoff concentration in hair is 1.0pg/mg and confirmatory cutoff concentration for cannabis metabolite Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid is 0.05 pg/mg.
Blood tests are the least common methods of testing, as they are very expensive. Cannabis blood tests provide accurate results. The detection period of cannabis in the blood is up to 24 hours and it may be detected for a longer period in a frequent user.
Cannabis is considered as the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States. Its early detection leads to prevention of cannabis abuse. Therefore, it is very important to know about the drug testing methods, which you can use to detect the presence of cannabis in your dear ones.