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Marijuana has many street names but the most used name is “pot” or “weed.” It’s the most commonly used illicit drug. The main compound responsible for the psychoactive effects is a cannabinoid known as THC. This is what we test for.

THC can be detected in urine for 2-7 days if used once but can be up to 2 months if used regularly. You can test for marijuana in a 5 or 10 panel drug test

What Is Marijuana?

These days, marijuana is a lot of things. Marijuana is a mind-altering (psychoactive) drug, produced from the Cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana contains over 480 constituents, including CBD and THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the latter believed to be the main ingredient that makes people high. This page is not meant to deal with the social, political or medicinal arguments about marijuana. Marijuana is grown in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, Caribbean, and Asia. It can be cultivated in both outdoor and indoor settings.

Common street names

Aunt Mary, BC Bud, Blunts, Boom, Chronic, Dope, Gangster, Ganja, Grass, Hash, Herb, Hydro, Indo, Joint, Kif, Mary Jane, Mota, Pot, Reefer, Sinsemilla, Skunk, Smoke, Weed, and Yerba

What does it look like?

Marijuana is a dry, shredded green/brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves from the Cannabis sativa plant. The mixture typically is green, brown, or gray in color and may resemble tobacco.

Physical Dependence And Withdrawal Following Discontinuation

  • Dizziness, nausea, tachycardia, facial flushing, dry mouth, and tremor initially

  • Merriment, happiness, and even exhilaration at high doses

  • Disinhibition, relaxation, increased sociability, and talkativeness

  • Enhanced sensory perception, giving rise to increased appreciation of music, art, and touch

  • Heightened imagination leading to a subjective sense of increased creativity

  • Time distortions

  • Illusions, delusions, and hallucinations are rare except at high doses

  • Impaired judgment, reduced coordination, and ataxia, which can impede driving ability or lead to an increase in risk- taking behavior

  • Emotional lability, incongruity of affect, dysphoria, disor- ganized thinking, inability to converse logically, agitation, paranoia, confusion, restlessness, anxiety, drowsiness, and panic attacks may occur, especially in inexperienced users or in those who have taken a large dose

  • Increased appetite and short-term memory impairment are common

How Marijuana affects the mind and body

Short-term physical effects from marijuana use may include sedation, bloodshot eyes, increased heart rate, coughing from lung irritation, increased appetite, and decreased blood pressure. Many marijuana smokers experience serious health problems such as bronchitis, emphysema, and bronchial asthma. Withdrawal from chronic use of high doses of marijuana causes physical signs including headache, shakiness, sweating, stomach pains, nausea, restlessness, irritability, sleep difficulties, and decreased appetite. No deaths from overdose of marijuana have been reported.

When marijuana is smoked, the THC passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, eventually reaching the brain. In the brain, the THC connects to receptors which influence pleasure, memory, thought, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement. Short-term effects of marijuana include problems with memory and learning, distorted perception, difficulty in thinking and problem-solving, and loss of coordination

The effect marijuana has on perception and coordination is responsible for serious impairments in learning, associative processes, and psychomotor behavior (driving abilities). Long term, regular use can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal following discontinuation, as well as psychic addiction or dependence. Clinical studies show that the physiological, psychological, and behavioral effects of marijuana vary among individuals. They include:

Marijuana remain detectable in the urine from 2-3 hours to 30 days or more for a heavy user. One-time use is only 2 or 3 days. 

The amount of detectable Marijuana also depends on many factors such as the weight, age, metabolic activity, regularity of Marijuana consumption and the test method adopted for detecting Marijuana.

Marijuana can also test positive in hair test, which can detect up to 90 days of history.

Marijuana can be detected in blood, hair, urine and oral fluid. Most employee drug testing is urine, but oral fluid and hair drug testing are on the rise. 

Marijuana is used both medicinally and recreationally, and can change human behavior noticeably. Users can appear sluggish, spacey and have difficulty concentrating.  With many states legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, you will need to make sure your company substance abuse policy is compliant with the laws in your state.

To maintain a safe, drug-free workplace, Marijuana drug testing must be included with any drug testing program.

Oral fluid samples: Generally, saliva samples are collected through mouth swabs and are tested for the presence of Marijuana. This is the best-suited method for detecting recent use of Marijuana.

Urine samples: Urine testing can detect the presence of Marijuana and other drugs too. Urine is the most common sample used for drug tests.

Hair samples: Best suited for detecting the long-term usage of Marijuana, this method is costlier, however, non-invasive. The drawback of this test is that it cannot detect the usage of Marijuana in the last 5 days.

An employer may test an employee for Marijuana under any of the following circumstances:

Pre-employment drug test:  Passing a drug test is a requirement to begin work.

Random drug test: Statistically random drug testing is the most effective deterrent to drug use in the workplace.

Post-accident drug test: A failed drug test for Marijuana following a workplace accident can invalidate a workers comp claim.

Reasonable Suspicion: If the employee has been behaving abnormally and displaying symptoms of Marijuana usage, employers can require a Marijuana drug test. 

Consequences for any failed drug test are described in the company’s substance abuse policy.

Marijuana drug testing is best done through accredited and licensed laboratories that are experts in both onsite and laboratory drug testing.

Recognizing Marijuana Use

The following are observable, possible signs and symptoms of marijuana use that should be documented by a supervisor:

  • Poor or deteriorating job performance

  • Lethargy or a tendency to “nod off” or fall asleep

  • Lack of attentiveness to the job or to instructions

  • Inability or difficulty in learning new tasks

  • Forgetfulness

  • Tardiness

  • Absences—unexplained or questionable sicknesses

  • Accidents

  • Work related mistakes

  • Hostility and/or aggressiveness

Physical signs can include:

  • Dilated pupils.
  • Bloodshot eyes.
  • Poor coordination.
  • Odor—strong smells of sweet/sour smoke or burned rope.
  • Slow reflexes.
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia, including kitchen baggies, rolling papers, pipes, and roach clip (tweezer-like devices used to hold joints so they can be smoked as far down as possible)
How Do You Conduct a Marijuana Drug Test?

Unless specifically excluded Marijuana drug testing is included in just about every drug test panel.