Imagine landing your dream job and agreeing to everything, but then they ask for a drug test. If you like taking THC, you may worry about if a mouth swab drug test will detect it and cost you the job.

Luckily, you can still take the drug test and start your new position. But you should consider when the drug test can detect THC so that you can maximize your chances of passing the test.

Read on to learn more.

How Do Mouth Swabs Work?

A mouth swab drug test uses a stick that has an absorbent pad or sponge on one end. You will have someone else administer the test to make sure the results are accurate.

Someone collecting your saliva knows how to do the test properly, and they can make sure people don’t try to cheat. They’ll insert the end of the stick with the absorbent material to collect enough of a sample for the test.

Depending on where you go, the testing center may analyze the results there, or they may send the results to a lab. Once the results come back, you and whoever ordered the test can use your results to move forward.

Are Mouth Swabs Accurate?

For the most part, mouth swab tests are between 97 and 98% accurate. The accuracy rate can depend on a few factors, such as the type of drug test they used and the materials of the swab. Other factors include:

  • Drugs they want to test for
  • Collector’s experience and skills getting saliva
  • Skills and quality of the analysis

Whether you’ve consumed marijuana compounds or not, the test should be able to determine if you have consumed drugs recently. Now, if the test doesn’t test for THC, it may not detect anything, even if you just did anything.

Before you have a drug test, you can ask what drugs they will look for during the analysis. Then, you can prepare for the test so that you have the best chance of passing it.

Can the Test Detect THC?

Some mouth swab tests can detect THC, but some can’t, and it all depends on the type of test. One mouth swab test may focus on THC, while another looks for cocaine or opioids.

A multi-panel drug test can detect multiple drugs in your saliva. If the test can detect THC or other marijuana compounds, you will need to avoid those for a while before the test.

It doesn’t matter if you normally consume Delta 8 or add marijuana to brownies. You can learn more about certain compounds at this site so that you can adjust when you consume marijuana before a mouth swab test.

Detection Timeline for THC

The drug detection timeline for THC in a mouth swab drug test is relatively short. You can detect THC in your saliva shortly after you consume THC. However, it can leave your saliva within 24 hours.

But you can’t use the same timeline with other drug tests. If you ever need to do a breath test, that will have a shorter timeline of only a few hours.

On the other hand, a blood test can detect THC for up to three weeks after you consume it. You may be able to detect THC in a urine test for up to a month, and a hair sample can hold THC for even longer.

If you can choose which type of drug test, a mouth swab can be a good option. Then, you won’t have to go as long without consuming marijuana.

Can You Beat a Mouth Swab Drug Test?

Some people may try to beat the mouth swab drug test so that they can still pass without giving up marijuana beforehand. While it may be possible to pass the test this way, it’s not very likely.

You can try using a ton of mouthwash to get the THC out of your saliva. Brushing your teeth a lot between taking THC and your drug test may also help. Another option is to drink a lot of water to flush the THC out of your mouth.

However, these methods aren’t always going to work. They may be effective if the person administering the test doesn’t take a ton of saliva or if the analysis isn’t accurate. It may also miss the THC because of the slight failure rate.

Either way, the best way to beat the test is to avoid THC for 24 hours before the test. That way, you can make sure it’s out of your saliva.

What to Expect When You Have to Take a Drug Test

If you’ve never had to take a mouth swab drug test, it can be stressful. While marijuana is legal in some states, it can still be controversial to have positive results for marijuana compounds.

The exact process will depend on where you go for drug testing and who gives the test. Even within one testing center, the process may vary based on who is working that shift.

Here are a few things to know when you have to go in for a mouth swab drug test.

Before the Test

You may need to arrive early for your testing appointment. Then, you can sign in and fill out any necessary paperwork. You may also have to sit for 10 minutes, and the testing center may watch you to make sure you don’t eat or drink anything.

The waiting period gives your saliva a chance to get rid of any food or dilution from water. That way, you can get the most accurate results possible.

Even if you don’t have to wait 10 minutes without food or water, it’s not a bad idea. If the analysis has issues, you may need to get another test.

During the Test

In most cases, someone else will swab your mouth for the test. For one, this allows the collector to control each step and avoid contamination. Even if you’re honest, some people may try to switch out the swab or do something else to lie on the test.

The person collecting your sample will then swab your cheek to get as much saliva as they need. You can sit there with your mouth open as they collect your sample.

Then, the collector will put your sample somewhere safe, such as in a bag. After that, the swab can go to the lab for analysis.

After the Test

After you take a mouth swab drug test, someone will analyze it. They may find THC or other drugs, depending on what the test looks for and what you’ve taken recently.

You should then get a call or message with your results, and you may get the call within a day or two. The timeline can depend on the testing center and the lab and how many tests they have to run.

Once you get your results, you can take them and do whatever is necessary, such as start work. Then, you can do so knowing you passed your drug test.

Why Would You Need a Mouth Swab Test?

If you’ve never had to get a drug test, you may not realize the reasoning for it. In some cases, the reason is clear, such as after a bad car accident or if a cop stops someone for reckless driving.

However, it can still help to look at some common reasons for needing to test for cannabis components or other drugs. Then, you can understand why you need the test.

Starting a New Job

Starting a job can be an exciting time, especially if it’s a job you really want. But you also need to do a lot of things to prepare. Some employers may require a background check, and you may need to take a drug test.

Your new employer may give you directions on where to go for your drug test, or you may have some choice. Either way, make sure you get the drug test so that you don’t have to put off starting work.

Depending on your job, you may also need to take a drug test after an extended period away from work. This could happen if you go on parental leave or are on furlough for a while.

Give yourself enough time to do the drug test before you plan to start work. That way, the lab can analyze the results and confirm you’re ready to go.


Once you start a job, you aren’t out of the woods regarding drug tests. Some employers may want to test for drugs if they suspect you or an employee, in general, has been doing drugs. Perhaps your employer finds marijuana in the break room.

If they can’t narrow down whose it is, they may test the entire team. Or if they see you acting high while at work, they may ask you specifically to get a drug test.

While this type of test can be scary, especially if you just consumed cannabis components, you may be fine. Make sure you follow your work’s drug policy so that you can pass any tests after you start working.

Random Employment Testing

Your employer may also implement random drug testing. Keeping the tests random means employees can’t prepare for it aside from abstaining from drugs entirely.

However, it can be hard if you need to use marijuana. If you do need to use it for medical purposes, you may get an exemption from random testing. But it’s still something to consider.

Participating in a Sport

If you’re part of a professional or collegiate sport, you may need to get a drug test. Sporting teams and associations may require drug tests to make sure players aren’t taking drugs that give them an unfair advantage.

Some coaches may also want to make sure players aren’t taking any drugs aside from prescriptions. You should ask your coach or organization about drug testing requirements.

Then, you can make sure you pass the drug test so that you can play or participate in the sport during your next game or match.

Forensic Investigation

After a car accident or another crime, a police officer may ask you to take a drug test. Because some drugs can impair your ability to drive, testing for drugs can rule out those causes when determining the accident’s cause.

Sometimes, these tests will use your breath rather than your saliva. However, you may need to do a mouth swab drug test after another crime or for police to use as evidence.

While you can refuse the test, taking it can be a smart decision. Then, you won’t have to deal with answering why you didn’t want to take the test.

Medical Use

If you take medical marijuana, your doctor may want to monitor your levels to make sure the drug is working. Your doctor may want to run a swab test at your appointment, and then they can compare the drug concentration with your symptoms.

Depending on the results, your doctor may give you a new recommendation for taking marijuana. Or they may adjust the other treatment recommendations to use with cannabis.

Can You Refuse to Take a Drug Test?

No one can force you to take a mouth swab drug test or any other drug test. However, taking a drug test can be a condition of things such as employment or the ability to retain your driver’s license.

If you refuse to take a drug test, a company can refuse to hire you. Law enforcement can also suspend your license. You may not be able to play in an upcoming game or match for your favorite sport.

Before you refuse a drug test, you should consider how it may affect you and if those effects are worth it. You may decide it’s better to take the test so that you can start your dream job or play in your next game.

Using a Mouth Swab Drug Test for THC

A mouth swab drug test can be a great way to test for THC. However, it does have a small window where you can detect it. After about a day, you may not be able to find THC in saliva, but it can still show up in blood or urine samples.

Fortunately, the short testing window can make it easy to pass a mouth swab drug test. Then, you can start your new job or keep your license after a car accident.


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