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Overview Brief

Marijuana is derived from the cannabis plant – when smoked, it has a narcotic effect that is regarded as dangerous. Marijuana tests help to identify the effect of the drug on the patient.

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana test is a diagnostic procedure that screens a patient for marijuana use or confirms its presence in the body.

The active chemical present in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which enters the bloodstream after marijuana is smoked [1]. While THC can be detected in the blood for a few hours, the preferred method of testing is through urine, as the THC breaks down into metabolites that are passed out through urine. Saliva testing is also an effective way to detect THC.

Marijuana test can be administered as part of a workplace hiring process to assess a candidate’s tendency to substance abuse.

Why is Marijuana suggested?

Marijuana testing is suggested for the following reasons:

  • As part of a drug rehab programme.
  • During pregnancy or after giving birth.
  • While treating chronic pain [2].

How is Marijuana performed?

Marijuana testing is carried out by a trained pathologist.

  • A urine or saliva sample is taken from the patient.
  • The sample is tested for pre-defined cut-off levels for THC.
  • Confirmatory tests may be needed if the initial test is indeterminate.

Marijuana testing is highly sophisticated and rarely results in false positives.

Parameters measured in Marijuana

The following parameters are measured in Marijuana testing.

  • Level of THC concentration in the urine/saliva sample.

Preparations before performing Marijuana

The following preparations help ensure that Marijuana testing goes smoothly.

  • Patients should inform pathologists if they are on medical marijuana.
  • In the case of the saliva test, patients should not consume anything at least 10 minutes before the test.

Post-care after Marijuana

  • No specific post-care is needed for Marijuana testing.

Sample types for Marijuana

The following sample types are relevant for Marijuana.

  • Urine sample.
  • Saliva sample.

Side effects/risks of Marijuana

The following risks are associated with Marijuana testing.

  • False negative results when marijuana was consumed several days prior.
  • Distorted results in those on medical marijuana.

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