The current reality of the cannabis industry is that it’s illegal federally. Despite the vast majority of beneficial properties of cannabis, the stance of the FDA on its legal status has not changed. THC is still on the list of psychoactive substances searched for in drug tests, and if found in the body it can cause you a lot of problems. This reality has always been a source of concern for cannabis users and as such most people go to great lengths to ensure they’re clean. However, given new developments that are being reported a lot of people are asking the question ‘can one fail a drug test for simply touching marijuana?’ The answer to this million-dollar question and a lot more will be discussed thoroughly in this article, read on!
A closer look at the cannabis industry and drug tests
The relationship between regular cannabis users and drug tests over the years has always required precaution. Despite the legalization of cannabis in different states, the majority of drug tests conducted by employers still check for THC. Drug tests are normally conducted by checking urine, blood, or hair samples, and to pass the test cannabis users employ different techniques, among which the most accurate is abstinence.
Over the years several studies have been conducted to fully understand all the factors involved and these have unearthed some really surprising facts. Prior to now, the only way people thought a drug test can be failed is if you’re a regular user. Nobody knew that the inhalation of second-hand marijuana smoke can also make you fail a drug test. These new facts are why more inquiries are being made to discover all the possible loopholes that can make an individual fail a drug test.
The importance of knowing the answer to the question being asked in this article cannot be overemphasized. If there’s a possibility one can fail a drug test because of handling cannabis, it’s highly essential that information is made available.
The growth of the cannabis industry has led to a huge influx of individuals involved in the supply cycle of cannabis. Before cannabis gets to the hand of the final consumer, there are a lot of processes and individuals involved. From growers that are saddled with caring for the cannabis plants to trimmers on the field, budtenders that attend to cannabis users at dispensaries, etc. A lot of people touch cannabis for a lot of different reasons, even those not involved in the supply chain of the plant may touch it for one reason or the other and it’s important that these people know if that touch can cause them to fail a drug test.
Is it possible?
A study conducted at the University of Freiburg, Germany provides deep insight on this subject. The study was solely centered on finding out if it’s possible to fail a drug test by touching cannabis. 10 participants in the study were asked to roll a joint a day and these participants were subjected to drug tests every day. The results from the tests showed that by the middle of the study, most of the participants showed good levels of THCA and THC in their systems. Four weeks after the study, hair samples of 5 participants still showed levels of THC in their system.
The rationale behind this result is that consistent touching of cannabis allows THC to be absorbed through the skin. Handling cannabis without gloves will leave cannabis residues on the fingers. The cannabinoids from these residues are absorbed through the skin directly into the bloodstream. This is similar to the working principle of transdermal patches. The absorbed cannabinoids do not go through degradation at the hands of the liver and lungs. This means a good quantity of the amount that makes it to the bloodstream goes through circulation in the body. This is why the hair samples will test positive for THC even after four weeks.
So is it possible, yes! But it is important to state that to fail a drug test because of touching cannabis, it has to happen over a considerable period of time. No one will fail a drug test just for touching a cannabis bud once. However, breaking cannabis buds over time will leave residues on the skin and this aids the absorption of the cannabinoids through the skin which causes the failure of drug tests.
What are the implications?
The implications of the possibility of failing a drug test by touching cannabis are very important. This means most growers, trimmers, and budtenders are at risk of failing drug tests even if they haven’t consumed cannabis. Without consuming cannabis these people would feel they’re not at risk of failing a drug test; however, that is not the case. It should be noted that consumers are also implicated in this as well. Users who are abstaining from the consumption of weed (but still regularly touch it) are also at risk of failing a drug test. Even those who help cannabis users break up cannabis regularly can also fail a drug test even though they don’t consume cannabis. This is why this information is very important.
Now that we’re informed of the risks we face, what are the reasonable ways available to protect ourselves from these risks?
Use protective instruments
The first and most important step that can reduce the risk of failing a drug test due to handling is the use of protective instruments. Gloves are a good way to start especially for growers and trimmers. This reduces the number of cannabis residues that make it to the fingers and stops absorption through the skin. Other protective instruments that can be used include hats, gowns, and glasses.
Indoor growers should ensure good ventilation
We all know cannabis can either be grown indoors or outdoors. The possibility of failing a drug test due to handling is a big reality check for indoor growers. The risk indoor growers face is more significant because even if they abstain from cannabis consumption, and wear decent protective clothes there’s still a good chance THC will get into their system. If the grow tent is not big enough and does not have good ventilation, there is a good chance that absorption through the skin occurs.
It is also important to note that it is advisable growers avoid excessive exposure to the ultraviolet rays of grow lights.
Budtenders and Individuals should reduce unnecessary contact
Most budtenders face a high risk of failing drug tests even without consuming cannabis. Their job requires close contact with weed and regular interaction with cannabis users to provide information about products, and so on. Even though it’s difficult, it’s advisable that budtenders ensure that only necessary contact with cannabis buds occur, and when it occurs, it is best done with protective gear. The same advice is applicable to regular individuals who don’t want to fail a drug test. Minimize your physical contact with weed during the weeks before your test.
The reality of failing a drug test due to the absorption of cannabis through the skin is very harsh especially for those who don’t have this information. It’s a tough pill to swallow if you find out that the reason you lost a job, an interview, a court case, etc is because you touched cannabis. This is why it’s advisable you take the necessary precautions. If the required precautions are taken seriously, the chances of failing a drug test due to handling reduce drastically.
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