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Whether you’re a cannabis advocate for its health properties or for its recreational purposes, many employers still frown upon this all-natural green plant despite the scientifically-proven medicinal benefits.
Passing urine drug tests (we’ve a guide here) can be extremely stressful, but now there’s another test you need to worry about it: hair follicle drug tests. Is there a way to cheat it? Let’s find out.
First Things First: How Much of a Pothead Are You?
The “Once Was Enough” Type
So you tried pot that one time after high school graduation so you could finally check it off your bucket list. Okay, cool. Even though you only had it once, there’s only about 20% reason to panic.
Luckily, if you’re being tested for a hair follicle drug test, the odds of you getting caught are almost nil. But if you’re going in for a urine test, then you might want to come prepared.
The Special Occasion Smoker
You’re the type of person who consumes cannabis pretty rarely. You usually get your supply from a guy who knows a guy, who knows a guy, who’s roommates with a guy whose cousin sells pot.
You treat marijuana like a fancy dinner, saving it and savoring it for only the most special occasions. If there’s nothing to celebrate, you wouldn’t even consider touching the stuff.
You always have some weed on-hand or stashed away in your room, but that doesn’t mean you use it every chance you get. You know you don’t always need it, but you like knowing that it’s there.
Your usual times for consuming or smoking are Friday nights to start your weekends off right or maybe to help you fall asleep after hump-day drinks. You don’t smoke it every day, but it sometimes does feel like it.
You consume cannabis every single day, and in every method or vehicle of consumption that modern science will allow. You have cannabis-infused oils, kush toiletries, weed desserts, and a collection of blunt wrappers and pipes. Plus, you have a favorite bong. Your day just isn’t the same unless you’ve had it in your system. No judgment.
How Much Marijuana Do You Have to Have For It to Stay in Your Hair?
From first-timers to pro potheads, the accuracy of marijuana traces being found in your hair relies on how much of it you actually use.
If you’re consuming marijuana for the first and only time, traces can still be detected in your hair after 5 to 8 days. If you use marijuana 2 to 4 times a month (all the special occasion smokers, listen up!) it’s 11 to 18 days after the last time of consumption.
If you use marijuana on average of 2 to 4 times a week, it’s detectable in your hair after 23 to 35 days or more or less a month. If you average on 5 to 6 times each week, it’s detectable after 33 to 48 days. For the pros out there who consume cannabis every day, then the detection time is 49 to 63 days—that’s more or less two months.
So if you noticed, the pattern here is that the more regularly you consume marijuana, the longer it stays in your hair.
How Are Hair Drug Tests Done?
The lab technicians take a hair sample, usually a strand or a few. Testing labs require a hair sample of just around 1.5 to 2 inches long, or an entire strand taken from the root.
If you have long hair, it’ll be that much easier for lab technicians to go through your history of drug use. So like that molly you took one time 3 months ago at that rave. If they test for it, then they can see that too.
If you’ve shaved your head in hopes that your employer will opt you for a urine drug test rather than a hair follicle test, then you might need to shave other places too, and that’s going to look very suspicious!
The hair sample needed for testing doesn’t necessarily have to be on your head, but can also be taken from your arms, chest, or legs. Lab tests will not take hair samples from any other place on your body apart from those mentioned so fear not; your eyebrows are safe.
Results for a hair follicle drug test will usually be ready after three days, though they can even take longer.
How Accurate Are These Hair Follicle Tests, Anyway?
What do hair follicles have to do with drug detection? Well, each hair follicle has a blood vessel that’s responsible for giving your hair all the vitamins and minerals it needs to grow. When drugs are used, they enter our bloodstream, including hair follicles—that’s why traces of drugs can easily be found in hair.
Some of these labs also use hair follicles not only to check for marijuana use, but they also detect the presence of harder substances like amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, ecstasy, phencyclidine, and PCP.
Drug test centers all across America swear by the accuracy of hair follicle tests when testing for prolonged use. Not only can the test check for multiple drugs, but it can detect those drugs up to 90 days since you last used them. For some with long hair, drug testing professionals can even look back to as far as a year.
Despite all those, there are a few cons to hair follicle drug tests—cons for the employer, at least. While hair drug tests can be very thorough in terms of tracking long-term drug consumption patterns, they’re not great at detecting recent use. Hair follicle tests can only detect drugs as early as 7 days back.
Say, for example, you smoked a joint about two weeks ago, for the first time. You find out later at work that they’re doing random hair drug follicle tests, and before you know it, they’ve snipped off two inches from a few strands of your locks.
Unless they’re going to test a sample that’s an entire strand from root to tip, they might only be able to check on your apparent or non-apparent drug history from a few months or years back, since the hair sample they took was from the end.
Another con for employers with hair follicle drug tests is that they cost a lot more money compared to a urine drug test. Plus, the processing time before you can get the results can take days to weeks—you’re lucky to get your results within the week of your test.
Another obvious con/pro is that persons who do not have hair, those who do not grow any, for example, those with alopecia, cannot take a hair follicle drug test for… well, obvious reasons.
How to Get Weed Out of Your System Fast
A hair follicle drug test is not the end of the world. Detox shampoos are available to help cleanse your hair follicles of THC fast. Of course, the most effective hair follicle detox shampoos can be pretty pricey but are worth the cost.
Recommended reading: How to pass a drug test in 24 hours.
The Two Popular Methods for Detoxing Your Hair From THC Are:
The Macujo Method
The Macujo method is proven to work by thoroughly detoxing your hair. Although it does use aloe detoxing shampoos, some pretty nasty, harsh chemicals are still involved. With that said, it does the job, and it can help you pass your test. Be aware though that a side effect of this detox method could include skin and scalp irritation or even chemical burns.
The Jerry G Method
The Jerry G method can easily be done with the help of a few household ingredients and of course, detox shampoos. Similar to the Macujo method, it can cause some serious hair damage including your hair color being bleached or lightened and its texture changed.
However you choose to go about passing your hair follicle drug test, just remember that the test won’t be able to detect if you had a brownie or smoked a blunt just the other day.
Hair follicle drug tests are really more for employers who are really strict when it comes to hiring people with a history of drug abuse. If it’s something you struggled with years back or are currently struggling with, there’s still a chance for you to pass your hair follicle drug test with the two hair detox methods.
If you’re going the hair detox method, please proceed with caution. Remember as well as not to panic when you receive the news about a hair drug test. Just remain calm, and whatever you do, don’t panic-shave your head.