How Much Marijuana Does It Take to Test Positive on a Drug Screening?

testing a cup of urine for thc

To those in legalized states, puffing on marijuana is an everyday thing. To those in non-legal states, marijuana consumption is not something to discuss openly; especially, in the workplace. In fact, cannabis is easily one of the top substances most employers look for in drug screenings.

Nevertheless, drug tests certainly do not halt everyone’s cannabis consumption. With the help of top-notch detox kits and further cannabis research, it is possible to puff on some cannabis and still pass the test. Granted, it is not ideal to keep smoking every day if it is a matter of having a job or not.

For those who need cannabis in their daily routine, it may be a good idea to understand the different drug tests available and just how much marijuana it takes to test positive for each test.

Cannabis Detection Times and Threshold Levels       thc urine test

Detection or detox times for marijuana are not an exact science. Multiple variables go into how long marijuana will stay in the body. However, there is a general rule for marijuana consumers to follow. The more consistently someone smokes, the longer cannabis will be in their system. No matter what, if someone puffs down every day, they are going to have a high concentration of marijuana metabolites in their system.

Other Factors:

  • Type of Product Consumption
  • Dose and Frequency of Consumption
  • General Health of Consumer

While these are all good things to take into consideration, it is always best to allow more time to detox than necessary. The actual threshold required to test positive for marijuana in a drug screening is relatively high, but it varies depending on the test. The average limit or cut-off level for testing positive on a drug test for marijuana is 50 nanograms per milliliter (50 ng ml).

How Much is 50 ng ml of Cannabinoids?

verdant test tubes marijuana

When it comes to drug screenings, the unit of measurement for recording the level of a substance in our body is nanograms per milliliter (ng per ml). Every illegal or controlled substance is allotted a threshold level, which is the amount of a substance it takes to test positive. While some drugs require a large threshold, others are relatively low. Marijuana is usually at 50 ng ml of cannabinoids as its threshold for most drug screenings. However, it does vary by the type of drug screening used.

Types of Drugs Tests Available

 empty pee bottle for drug test

Drugs tests vary in detail and accuracy. For those employers merely looking to ensure its employees are not currently consuming illegal substances, then an in-depth drug screening is unnecessary. It is also dependent on the types of drugs the employer is looking for and what threshold they are comfortable allowing. While the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration releases recommended threshold levels, not everybody follows them.

Urine Screening

Urine drug screening is the most popular and accurate test for detecting marijuana. It is usually a two-part urine test that looks for trace amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. The urine screening is commonly the test of choice for most employers due to its accuracy, affordability, and timely results.

The urine screening does have the highest threshold level as well. It is not uncommon for mild cannabis consumers to still pass a urine test. Even those who test positive must undergo a confirmation test to ensure the results are accurate.

Saliva Screening

The fastest and most inaccurate testing is saliva screening. It is the cheapest option and is a great at-home test for personal use. However, most employers do not utilize the saliva screening due to its low threshold that creates false results at times. Saliva or oral screenings are ideal for detecting the current use of a substance. For that reason, this test has one of the lowest threshold levels.

Saliva screenings may come back with a lot of false positives, but it does a great job of letting an employer know when a candidate is currently using a substance. Unlike urine, if someone tests positive on a saliva screening for marijuana, it is probable they smoked before coming into the test. Someone who tests positive on a urine test may still be in the process of detoxing but not currently consuming.

Hair Screening

The most detailed and accurate drug screening available is the hair follicle test. This test analyzes the long-term history of drug use in a candidate. It is excellent for detecting chronic use of marijuana and a variety of other substances. It is tough to detox marijuana from a hair follicle as it takes years to leave the body.

A hair screening test is the most expensive but gives an authentic look at a person’s history of drug use. It does not detect current use, but it is ideally used amongst people with substance abuse to determine a treatment plan. This test has the lowest threshold level for marijuana. It only takes one-trillionth of a gram of marijuana to test positive on a hair screening!

Threshold Levels Per Test:

verdant herbals bottle of product

  • Urine Test: 50 ng per ml
  • Saliva Test: 25 ng per ml
  • Hair Test: 1 Picograms per Milliliter

As shown above, the threshold levels vary per test. It is essential to keep these levels in mind when determining a detox treatment plan. Anyone who needs to take a hair screening is probably out of luck depending on what the employer is looking to detect. Either way, consumers are better safe than sorry when dealing with drug tests, especially when it is a career opportunity.

If you've got a urine drug test coming up, or you want to be prepared for the inevitable, check out Verdant Herbal's THC Detox Kit.

Verdant Herbals is a proud partner of Leafbuyer


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Justice Council
Justice Council is a freelance writer, CBD specialist, and cannabis enthusiast located in Denver, Colorado. His wide range of experience as a budtender, delivery driver, and CBD sales rep has given him a unique look into this new world of cannabis. Throughout his career in the industry, Justice has written many pieces on culture, economics, product knowledge, and career opportunities within the cannabis space. He takes pride in being part of a truly pioneering industry.