A hair follicle test is recognized as one of the most efficient ways to detect toxins in people, and it can be one of the most difficult tests to pass if you aren’t “clean.”
If you’re a cannabis consumer who needs to pass a hair follicle test without issue, there are a few things to familiarize yourself with before showing up on test day.
And if you prefer to avoid drug tests altogether, perhaps a career change is in order?
How Does THC Get into Your Hair Follicles?
A hair follicle test is one of the easiest ways to detect cannabis use: it’s less invasive than a urine or blood test, takes less time to reap results, and is much more difficult to deceive. And yes, THC can definitely be detected in your hair – a concept most cannabis consumers never even consider.
When cannabis is consumed, cannabinoids are released into the bloodstream, where they bind to cannabinoid receptors and do their thing (a.k.a., exert their effects on the body). Every human has blood vessels that feed scalp cells, which allows THC to be carried into your hair follicles.
How Long Does THC Stay in Hair?
Once THC has transmitted to the hair, it can usually be detected for up to 90 days – about two months longer than urine or blood samples will reveal. This reflects how long it takes for hair at the root to grow past your scalp.
While hair will be pushed past the scalp in about five to ten days of growth, a hair follicle test will typically collect samples from hair that is about 1.5 inches from the scalp. As hair tends to grow on an average of about 0.5 inches per month, most experts estimate about 90 days (or more) before your hair is clear of THC.
How Does a Hair Follicle Drug Test Work?
So, how does a hair follicle drug test actually find cannabis in a one’s system?
As we mentioned, the sample will typically be collected from hair that is about 1.5 inches from the root of the scalp. Once collected, the sample will be washed to remove any contaminants, chopped into smaller pieces, and immersed in a solution to break the hair down.
The solution will be put through an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) screen, a procedure that utilizes antibodies to bind the target molecule the test is trying to identify. In this case, that would be THC.
If the ELISA comes back positive, another sample of the hair will typically be put through a secondary test, which uses gas chromatography and/or mass spectrometry to provide a more accurate result.
This will provide the final verdict of “clean” or “dirty,” confirming whether or not you’ve used cannabis in the past three months or less.
Methods to Pass a Hair Follicle Test
As terrifying as this all may sound, don’t freak out – there are a few different methods you can keep in your back pocket that will help you pass a hair follicle test.
Using a Detox Shampoo
Thankfully, industry experts are well-versed on the various drug tests that have been used throughout the years to target cannabis lovers. Today, we’re at least one step ahead of the game with products designed specifically for consumers who need to pass a test – like this folli-clean shampoo from PassYourTest.
This cleanser works in 60 minutes, promising to cleanse your hair of toxins for up to 24 hours. It’s safe for permed and/or color-treated hair, so no need to worry about messing up your ’do.
Just make sure you time the wash correctly. As its effects only last for one full day, you want to make sure you cleanse a few hours before your test to make sure it does its job.
Use a Total Body Cleanser
Paranoid the shampoo just isn’t going to cut it for you? If you’re an incredibly heavy, regular user and want to ensure the toxins are removed from your entire body, you may want to check out this Extreme Total Body Cleanse Program.
The product is designed to cleanse your entire body with a permanent cleanser. It also includes the cleansing shampoo, resulting in a full-body detox.
You’ll also receive two free home testing kits, a detailed detox guide and meal plan, and contact with a cleansing coach, who will help make sure you pass the test.
Abstain From Cannabis
Of course, there’s always the straightforward, simple option of abstaining from any cannabis at all. However, since a hair follicle test can trace back to at least three months of cannabis use, you’ll have to ensure you stay off the plant for a minimum of 90 days.
Hair Follicle Test FAQ
What if hair is too short for a drug test?
Maybe you keep your hair in a super cropped buzz cut, or you shave it off entirely. Can a hair follicle test still be used?
Yes, but this can be even more of a risk. If head hair is too short, body hair can be used, but anecdotal research suggests that a body hair test can actually detect toxins much farther back – as much as a full year.
Should you cut your hair before a hair follicle test?
You might be tempted to go in for a haircut before your test, but this won’t make much of a difference. Since the test collects hair close to the root, cutting from the bottom won’t change anything, and if it’s cut too short, the tester can always turn to body hair instead.
Can you pass a hair follicle test if you bleach your hair?
No. Your results won’t be affected by hair dye, regular shampoo, or any other styling product – not even bleach.
Will apple cider vinegar detox your hair?
Apple cider vinegar is a popular natural remedy to help wash out product residue and oil, while adding shine to your hair.
However, it’s not the most effective way to detox your hair for a drug test. Although it can be effective in lowering hair pH, which is normally raised by THC, it’s definitely not an instant fix – especially if you’re in a time crunch.
Can pubic hair be used for drug testing?
Yes, body hair can be used for a hair follicle test, and pubic hair falls under that category.
Can a hair follicle test go back 6 months or more?
As mentioned, it’s unknown exactly how far back a body hair follicle test can go, but some experts believe it may be up to a year.
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