How to Pass a Mouth Swab Drug Test for Marijuana

Closeup of woman's open mouth as she prepares for how to pass a mouth swab drug test

Drug tests detect the presence of illegal substances and prescription drugs in the body. Marijuana contains hundreds of chemical compounds, including more than 100 cannabinoids. Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC, is the most common and psychoactive cannabinoid. An oral drug test marijuana device is leading the way in detecting activated THC in saliva. While these convenient drug tests can be used to detect recent cannabis use, there are still many problems with this test. If you're looking for answers on how to pass a mouth swab drug test for marijuana, here's a guide that can illustrate how mouth swab drug tests work and how you can pass.

When Are Mouth Swab Tests Used?

Just because you have a medical marijuana recommendation or live in a state that has legalized recreational use doesn't mean you're immune to certain rules. Employers, law enforcement agencies, treatment centers, and government agencies can ask you to take a mouth swab test under reasonable suspicion or face the consequences. Some of the most common reasons for using an oral drug test marijuana device include:

  • Pre-Employment
  • Post-Accident
  • Random Screening
  • Reasonable Suspicion
  • Return-to-Duty

Nearly everyone is at risk for a mouth swab test (if there is reasonable suspicion), especially for industries that aim to reduce accidents on the job and absenteeism, all while increasing productivity. The convenience of on-site drug tests, especially, make them an optimal drug testing choice. You may choose to opt out of the test at work or when pulled over, but will likely face negative consequences.

How Do Mouth Swab Drug Tests Detect THC?

Instant mouth swab tests are extremely easy to use no matter what setting. Usually, a donor will collect their own specimen under direct supervision. Donors will place a special collection device between their gums and lower cheek for the device to absorb an adequate amount of oral fluid. Salivary glands reside inside cheeks, bottom of the mouth, and front teeth by the jaw bone. Depending on the specific oral fluid drug test instructions, you'll have to swab your mouth for up to four minutes. This makes learning how to pass a mouth swab drug test tricky.

Mouth swab drug tests detect activated THC in your saliva and oral fluids. All instant saliva collection devices feature an absorbent pad or paper that detects marijuana, and sometimes, multiple substances including:

  • Synthetic Marijuana
  • Amphetamines
  • Methamphetamines
  • Opiates
  • Cocaine
  • Oxycodone
  • PCP

While instant mouth swab tests may show a positive result, further lab studies are needed to confirm the accurate reading. Lab testing techniques employed after a positive initial screening are used to confirm results with more advanced detection technology. Lab testing also employs validity testing to ensure your sample contains naturally-occurring proteins found in human saliva.

Why Are Mouth Swab Tests Growing In Popularity?

Marijuana cannabinoids and metabolites can be detected in urine, blood, hair, and saliva samples. Urine is the most common drug test for marijuana because of its effectiveness and affordability. Urine drug tests detect tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (THC-COOH), a THC metabolite. Oral fluid swab tests offer many advantages over urine and other tests including:

  • No need for a separate facility to collect the sample
  • Immediate results (within ten minutes)
  • Less costly than other tests
  • Less invasive and easier to use
  • Easy to observe the process
  • Small and convenient (and less gross) to carry around

The difference in cost between mouth swab tests and urine tests is staggering, making low-cost mouth swab tests the more attractive choice. The last point is illustrated in a white paper by Confirm BioSciences, where they feature a cost analysis of lab results vs instant drug tests. Apart from taking up to two hours, lab tests can cost up to $3,833 per positive result compared with $475 for instant drug tests. That's a savings of 87 percent for agencies looking to reduce drug use.

How Long Does THC Stay in Your Saliva?

There are a variety of factors that determine how marijuana travels through your system and is removed out of your body. Mouth swab drug tests do not test for marijuana that is in your system currently like urine and blood tests do. Oral fluid drug tests determine if there is any THC in your saliva and other oral fluids. There are a variety of factors that determine how long THC remains in your saliva including:

  • Method of consumption
  • Potency of product
  • Metabolism
  • Lifestyle
  • Amount consumed
  • Frequency of Use

If you're a longtime, heavy marijuana user, you have a higher chance of testing positive for THC. Chronic smokers should abstain from marijuana use for at least one week, longer if possible. Less frequent smokers can pass the test by abstaining for a couple of days. Even if you've smoked recently, after a couple of hours THC levels drop significantly. When vaporizing, however, cannabinoids are released more efficiently which can be a double-edged sword if you're trying to figure out how to pass a mouth swab drug test for marijuana.

How to Pass a Mouth Swab Test For Marijuana?

The only surefire way to pass a saliva drug test is to abstain from consuming cannabis for at least a couple of days or more if you're a heavy user. Other home remedies for how to pass a swab test for marijuana lack scientific research. Your last ditch alternative may be in the hands of the person administering the test. If they are poorly trained, they may increase your chances of passing the test.

There are some easy things you can do, however, that won't hurt if you want to beat those oral drug test marijuana devices. Drink plenty of water and rinse your mouth with a mouthwash, or hydrogen peroxide (3 percent or less) to theoretically remove any THC from your mouth. Rinsing with hydrogen peroxide causes foaming that clean the area. Oral hygiene is also a must. Brush at least three times a day and rinse out with mouthwash to do your best to remove THC. Make sure to clean gums, tongue, and cheeks thoroughly.

Chewing on acidic or sour candy can affect your saliva's pH level as well as the concentration of THC in your saliva. Other agents such as chewing gum and mints may also work. They're proven to reduce the concentration of certain drugs by six-fold sometimes. Citric substances, including lemons and oranges, may also be used to increase your saliva production and dilute your sample. Since THC is lipophilic, it means it easily binds to fatty foods. Scarf down everything from avocado to eggs, nuts, and chocolate if you're desperate.

The Future of Mouth Swab Drug Tests for Marijuana

Mouth swab drug tests for marijuana are improving their screening and confirmation technologies to detect even lower concentrations of THC in saliva. Researchers have attempted to target other cannabinoid and metabolite markers to identify recent cannabis use with minimal success. Cannabinoid metabolites like THC-COOH appear in much lower concentrations in oral fluids compared to THC concentrations.

Ultimately, learning how to pass a mouth swab drug test for marijuana depends on how recently you've consumed marijuana and your frequency of use. On-site oral drug test marijuana kits are becoming more sensitive and reaching lower cutoff points across the country making these tests harder to beat. With an increase of cannabis use across the country, expect mouth swab tests to become the norm, especially during roadside screenings.