The Complete Guide To Saliva Drug Testing

Last Updated on October 14, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team

These days, many jobs will request drug tests for their employees, whether they are taken throughout their employment, or taken as part of the employment process.

The many options can be confusing, but pre-employment drug testing can help you maintain a safer, more productive workplace.

The Complete Guide To Saliva Drug Testing

You have the choice of drug testing with oral fluids (saliva), urine, hair follicles, or blood, each with specialized advantages and drawbacks.

In this article, we will be focusing on saliva drug testing. We will look at how the process works, as well as how accurate the tests really are.

So, let’s get started. Here is your complete guide to saliva drug testing.

How A Saliva Drug Test Works?

First things first, let’s take a look at how this form of testing works.

Food and beverages that are consumed by a person eventually result in the production of metabolites in their bodies.

The metabolites will attach to the person’s systemic cells because of their adhesive composition.

This is exactly what happens when a person consumes drugs; the metabolites that are produced as a result stay in the person’s cells, and can then be found in their saliva.

The user’s fat cells will hold all of the metabolite chemicals.

The metabolites will eventually make their way into the bloodstream from these fat cells as time goes on.

When the metabolites leave the circulatory system and enter the saliva, drug use can be identified.

In order to test a person’s saliva, a cotton swab is inserted into the person’s mouth.

It is typically used to wipe across their inner cheeks and gums to collect enough saliva to produce a sample.

Spitting, drainage, and suction extraction are additional techniques for collecting saliva for testing, but swabbing is the most commonly used method.

It is possible to do a mouth swab drug test on-site, such as in a workplace or at the scene of an accident, as well as in a specialized lab or sample collection location.

If the test was taken on-site, the results may be revealed there and then.

How Accurate Are Saliva Drug Test Results?

Unfortunately, saliva drug tests hold the lowest accuracy compared to other drug tests, such as urine and blood tests.

The accuracy is around 97%, which is still a promising percentage.

The issue lies in the fact that a person’s saliva can easily become contaminated with other substances, such as food, water, medications, and even hygienic factors such as toothpaste and mouthwash.

All of the above can affect the results of a saliva test.

To ensure greater accuracy, the person being checked could be instructed to refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking for 10 minutes before the test.

How Long Can Drugs Remain In Your System? (Saliva Detection)

The detection times can change based on the kind of drug you used.

As a rule, however, most drug types will only remain detectable in a person’s saliva for, at most, around 72 hours.

The approximate times when each substance can be found are as follows below.


Saliva can contain cannabis for up to 24 hours. After an hour has passed since the previous use, it is feasible to perform a THC test.


Saliva can contain traces of crack and cocaine for up to three days.

Immediately upon ingestion, saliva can be tested for the presence of crack and cocaine.


Methamphetamine and ecstasy can be found in saliva for up to two or three days.


Opiate compounds will linger in saliva for two to three days. It is feasible to test for opiates right after intake.

The Pros And Cons Of Saliva Drug Testing

The Pros And Cons Of Saliva Drug Testing

One of the most popular types of drug testing in the US and other parts of the world is saliva testing.

This is due to the fact that it may be completed quickly and is very inexpensive when compared to other testing methods.

This type of testing, though, is far from ideal.

In reality, given that results are not always reliable, there are some variables that suggest that this is not the best type of testing to do.

To illustrate the benefits and drawbacks of saliva drug testing, we have listed a few pros and cons below.

Pro: Quick, Easy, And Painless

Compared to urine and blood tests, the saliva test is one of the easiest drug tests available.

The test requires the patient to have their mouth swabbed with a cotton bud, and then the sample is taken away for testing, which can take as little as five minutes to reveal results.

Con: Only Able To Detect Recent Drug Use

Unlike most other forms of drug testing, saliva tests can only detect the usage of certain drugs within a day or two following the drug consumption.

At very most, drugs will remain present in an individual’s saliva for around 3-5 days.

This means that there is a very narrow timeframe in which drugs can be successfully detected through a saliva test.

Pro: Cost Effective

Saliva and urine tests are the most cost-effective drug tests that can be conducted, which is why they are the most popular tests conducted in most locations.

Hair and blood tests, on the other hand, are quite a bit more expensive.

Con: Gives The Least Accurate Results

When it comes to drug tests, saliva tests tend to produce the least accurate results.

Urine, blood, and hair tests tend to give way more accurate results.

Even though these tests are frequently closely watched while being taken, there is still a lower likelihood that the samples will be tampered with, making them less accurate than the other tests we described.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to drug testing, saliva tests may not be the most accurate overall, but they are the easiest to get hold of.

This is why they are the most commonly used drug tests throughout the country, alongside urine tests.

Results from saliva drug tests normally have an accuracy of 97-98%, which is still a respectable figure.

The fact that the test is absolutely painless and only takes a few seconds to complete makes it a very simple procedure.

You can get saliva drug tests online or at some pharmacies.

Any form of drug testing kit should only be purchased from a reputable company in order to guarantee accurate and dependable findings.

Going to a doctor or a site that specializes in drug testing is the best place to get tested, as you know that the tests in question will be of good quality.

We hope you found this article informative and helpful.