When you go for a drug test, you’ll often hear about the 5 panel drug test. What we’re going to do here in this guide is to explain exactly what a 5 panel drug test is, and tell you what drugs it looks for. But we also talk about the panel drug tests that look for more types of drug metabolites, including the 10 panel drug test.
But what’s little-known is that there is actually 12 panel drug test, plus people who commission drug tests can ask for additional add-on panels, to detect things like kratom and alcohol as well. So this is a complete guide to what you can expect a panel drug test to look for, what the process is for taking a drug test, and also how you can pass any type of drug test.
But more than that, we’ll also quickly discuss jobs that don’t drug test, and the careers that definitely do, alongside how you can never get caught out by making sure you use an at-home drug test to always know if you’re going to pass or fail.
The Difference Between A 5 Panel Drug Test And A 10 Panel Drug Test
So let’s start this quick guide to passing a panel drug test by telling you about the differences between five panel drug test and a 10 panel drug test. Basically, it’s all about the type of drugs that are detected.
In fact, let’s talk you through all the different types of panel drug test out there:
- The most basic type of drug test is the 4 panel drug test. That’s because it only contains four panels that react to 4 different types of drug metabolites. Those drugs are cocaine, opiates, amphetamines (including methamphetamine), and PCP. This is the only drug test that doesn’t include cannabis, and it’s often used by companies who want a cheap drug test done, but who are progressive and don’t penalize people for cannabis use out of work (you can have cannabis metabolites in your body for up to four weeks after the last joint).
- The 5 panel drug test is the most common one used. It’s cheap to commission and looks for the five most common drug types: cocaine, opiates, amphetamines/meth, PCP, and cannabis.
- Although not actually used that often, the 7 panel drug test is used for more advanced drug testing for jobs and law enforcement. There are two different types, the first contains mostly panels looking for prescription medication use, for people who might be abusing prescription meds. The standard 7 panel test looks for the same five substances on the 5 panel test, with the addition of panels for barbiturates and benzodiazepines.
- The next highest type of test is the 10 panel drug test. There are two different types for this as well. The first mostly look for prescription meds, alongside the five types of the drug on the basic five panel test. You can also get a standard 10 panel test that looks for everything on the 7 panel test, but in addition, it also has panels that detect methadone, quaaludes, and propoxyphene.
- The most advanced type of drug test is the 12 panel test. As with 10 panel drug test and 7 panel test, it comes in two types. One that looks more for prescription meds alongside the five basic types and the other one looks for 12 different types of drug metabolites, including all of the drug types already looks for, alongside MDMA and oxycodone.
- In addition to all that, you can add panels to the drug test you commission. These can look for alcohol and kratom. There are other things that can be added as well, but those are the main two. Basically, if you’re willing to pay, you can get the drugs company to basically look for any type of drug that you don’t want people who are working for you to have in their bodies.
These Are The Types Of Panel Drug Tests That Are Done
There’s a bit of a misconception about panel drug tests. When people talk about a 5-panel drug test, the assumption is we are talking about a urine sample drug test.
But the thing is, the panel is just what reacts. Each panel contains chemicals that react to a certain type of drug metabolites. What you submit is forced into a gas which is then checked against the panels. This varies slightly depending on how the test is conducted, but that’s basically what happens with professional testing.
You can get the same panel kits for home drug testing. They contain panels for each type of drug that things like oral and urine sample drug testing.
So you could face a panel drug test for urine, hair, blood, or saliva. So don’t just think that a panel drug test relates to urine samples.
The Process For Taking A Drug Test
So now you understand what the different types of panel drug tests are, let’s talk through what actually happens when you take a drug test.
Now the thing to remember is that different types of drugs will remain in your system for different lengths of time. It also depends on the type of drug test that you’re taking.
On average, most drug metabolites leave blood in less than 48 hours. Even as a heavy user, you’ll be clean in about 72 hours for a saliva drug test. For the most popular urine sample drug test, a heavy user could take up to a week to be free of metabolites, but it’s more usually around 3-4 days.
So the process for taking the different types of drug test are:
- For an oral swab drug test, a swab will be put in your mouth and will collect a sample of saliva from around the inside of the gumline and under the tongue, because this is where drug metabolites mostly congregate. Sometimes they will get you to do the swab yourself. This swab is then put into a plastic testing kit containing various panels, and they will react.
- For urine sample drug test you will go and submit the sample behind a screen or in a different room (unsupervised drug test), and that sample will be checked to make sure it’s within the correct temperature range for human urine (legally it has to be between 90°F and 100°F). It will then be tested for the presence of the various metabolites on the relevant number of panels. If it seems that you have metabolites in your system, then it will be sent for more rigorous testing.
- The hair follicle drug test is the most difficult type to pass. They will take hair from your head and test the most recent inch and ½ of growth (equivalent to 90 days drug history).
- It’s the same process as the blood sample drug test. They take a sample, and then they test against the various panels. However, blood drug testing is very rare because of the short time that drug metabolites stay in the blood and the fact that you have to be specially qualified. It also more expensive.
Jobs That Don’t Drug Test
Lots of people wonder about the jobs that don’t drug test. I’m guessing that means that they are going to fail one, so they are looking for careers where they might get away with using drugs.
The problem is that it’s very difficult to tell you which companies don’t drug test because there are literally thousands of companies. Worse than that, an awful lot of companies in the USA that do mass employment are franchises, which means that the drug test policy can vary between branch, state, or even at the whim the person doing the interview. Even though a company might specifically say that nationally they drug test, that isn’t necessarily true at the local level.
It also depends on the type of job. Although you might get an initial urine sample drug test for a basic job, it’s also unlikely in many industries because it’s just not worth the investment.
What I can tell you is when you will face a drug test during employment. If you work for the federal government, state government, the Department of Transport, or any civil service position, then you will be drug tested. The policy is for a basic 5 panel drug test, but some states now enforce a minimum of 10 panel drug testing.
In addition to that, if you work for a company that contracts their services to the government, you are also going to face drug testing. Anyone working for the federal government has to have a drug-free workplace program in place, and this has to be enforced. So if you know that the company you are seeking employment with works for the federal government, then you will get drug tested.
Use An At Home Drug Test To Ensure That You Don’t Get Caught Out
My best word of advice is to make sure that whatever type of drug test you face potentially, that you make sure you do an at-home drug test so you know if you’re going to test positive or not.
If you know you will test positive, then you have the following strategies:
- Submit a sample of high-quality synthetic urine
- Use saliva neutralizing gum and mouthwash
- Use the Macujo method to flush drug toxins out of your hair
- Mask the toxins in urine with a detox drink
- Do a natural detox and accelerate it with detox pills
After using any of these methods you can use an at home drug test to check you are clean. These can be purchased from reputable companies like Test Clear and Test Negative. However, you should understand that the hair follicle drug testing you can purchase at home drug test kits, that they have to be sent off to be tested, meaning you won’t get results for several days.