Using only a small amount of hair sample, a hair drug test can accurately screen for illicit drug use or drug misuse. Unlike traditional urine drug tests, which can only detect if you have used drugs during the last few days, a hair drug test can detect drug usage up to 90 days prior to taking the test.
Hair drug tests can be used to detect the presence of drugs such as marijuana, amphetamine, methamphetamines, cocaine, opiates, and many more inside the body. Click here for a full list of drugs tested.
Urine Drug Test vs. Hair Drug Test
While urine drug tests and hair drug tests are both accurate ways to detect drug usage, the main difference between both is the window of detection. A urine drug test can only detect drug use three days preceding the test while a hair follicle drug test is the only kind of drug test out there that can detect repeated drug use 90 days prior to the test.
How is it possible? This is because, as hair grows, hair cells contain drugs already present in the bloodstream. Apart from hair cells, sweat and sebum on the scalp can also contribute to the detection of drug presence in hair.
However, because hair drug tests can be dependent on the rate of hair growth, drugs are best detected five to seven days after use. Also, a hair drug test alone might not be enough if you want to identify the exact date when the specific drug was used by the person being tested.
How Hair Drug Tests Work
Whether done in the lab or ordered online, it is important to understand how hair drug tests work. By analyzing a hair sample, scientists can identify drug use or abuse using Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) methodology, which measures drug molecules embedded into the hair shaft.
Despite the complexity of the analysis involved in drug detection, it is actually quite easy to collect your own hair sample. Your hair drug test kit will contain a hair specimen pouch, a collection foil, and a clear transport bag. Simply cut 90-120 strands of your hair, taking them from several places around your head to avoid creating a bald spot.
If your head hair is shorter than ½ inch, you should use body hair instead. Don’t forget to mark on the sample collection form that you are submitting body hair and not head hair.
You can find the complete sample collection instructions here.
The Accuracy of Hair Drug Tests
Another benefit that hair drug tests have is the reduced opportunity for adulteration or contamination. Unlike other DNA samples, hair samples are not as sensitive. In fact, hair drug test results will not be affected even if you have used products in your hair such as shampoo, hair dye, or other styling products.
Hair drug test results are so accurate that they can be used for legal purposes. Legally defensible hair drug testing may cost a bit higher than normal hair drug tests because it requires a doctor or a professional sampler to collect the hair sample and verify the donor’s identity.
You might be pleased to know that our hair drug test results are ready in just 3 to 5 days after the laboratory receives your hair samples. Whether you need to confirm someone else’s drug use or need legally defensible drug testing, you can be assured of accurate test results without the long wait.
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