Drug testing is common these days, and lets face it, failing a drug test due to a false positive can be devastating news. Some industries require it, like transportation, construction, sports. And we can’t leave out the military, and probation. Many companies in the private sector are now drug testing current employees and screening new employees.
First, we need to examine how drug testing works and how it can affect kratom users.
How are drug tests conducted?
Urine analysis remains the typical method for testing for illicit drug use, and is carried out either at the job site, at a clinic, or any other place chosen by the employer. An individual is informed that drug testing will have to be performed, then they will go to the lab clinic within a stipulated time period. Usually this time period is within one day, to minimize the possibility that any illegal substances in the system will be excreted and undetectable.
Will I get tested for kratom?
Employers and government agencies normally use a 5 panel test of street drugs which includes cannabinoids, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates and PCP. Probation officers might opt for a 9 or 10 panel test which will includes several prescription medications along with street drugs; Amphetamines (Adderall)/ Barbiturates/ Benzodiazepines / Buprenorphine / Cocaine / Marijuana / Methamphetamines / Methadone / Opiates / Oxycodone (OxyContin/Vicodin). The type of drug analysis that is used depends on the employer, federal specifications, or any other company guidelines that are in place. With this knowledge of current testing panels, it is extremely uncommon for employers to test for kratom, even if they test for extended opiates, they generally won’t be looking for kratom (remember, employers have to pay for every drug test they administer).
What are the different methods of drug testing?
Urine is the most often used specimen for restricted substances. Urine analysis make up for about 84% of drug tests, only 6% used hair analysis, and 5% used instant or off-site laboratory oral fluid tests. The results of a urine test shows the presence or lack of drug residues in an individual’s urine. Metabolites (drug residues) stay in the system for a period of time after the effects of a drug have worn off. These tests detect and calculate the consumption of a certain drug within the last few days, which can represent evidence of current use.
What types of tests are used for drug testing?
It is important to verify that the drug testing is conducted at a reliable and authorized lab. Any reliable drug test system will include a 2 step method:
– Preliminary (immunoassay)
– Confirmatory (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry , GC-MS).
The immunoassay test is always performed first and is usually used as a screening technique. If the preliminary test is negative, no additional testing is necessary, and the results are confirmed as negative. However, if the preliminary test is positive, a confirmatory test should be done on a separate segment of the biological sample. The more precise assessment (GC-MS ) is performed as a confirmatory test in order to find specific drug compounds or metabolites and to calculate the quantity of the drug in the system. Confirmatory assessments like GC-MS always need to be implemented before reporting positive test results.
How long can any substance be detected in the body with a drug test?
Kratom tests are not a standard and are extremely rare, but they exist. All drugs or medications, including kratom, that enter our system are metabolized in the liver, and eliminated by the kidneys, although they can also be eliminated via feces, sweat, etc. For this reason they are detectable in a urine analysis. Of course, the amount of time any substance stays in your system will vary, and is determined by your height, body weight, body fat, age, and overall health. Additional variables are the potency and frequency of use.
But what if I’m being tested for kratom? How long does kratom stay in my system for?
Kratom possesses two main alkaloids: Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine. Recent studies show that the average elimination half-life of mitragynine in healthy adults is 0.83±0.35 hour. 7-Hydroxymitragynine has a substantially shorter duration, having an average elimination half-life of 50 minutes. Half-life is the time necessary for the concentration of kratom in your organism to be lowered by one-half. The shorter the drug half-life, the faster it is flushed out by your body. Drug concentrations lower than approximately 5% are undetectable, this means that it takes about 5.5x elimination half-life for a drug to be eliminated. Kratom’s terminal half-life is 23.24±16.07 hours so it takes about 1 day for kratom to be cleared from your system. As mentioned above, any drug’s half-life, including kratom, also depends on several factors, such as metabolism and genetics so these times might be higher or lower.
Can kratom result in a false positive for opiates?
A false positive is a test result that returns a positive result because of inaccurate identification. “While kratom contains alkaloids that bind to opioid receptors in the brain, they are not structurally related to opiate drugs and are therefore not detectable through opiate drug tests” – Confirm Biosciences. There are many substances that might trigger false positives; anything from prescription medications to over-the-counter medications. However, the possibilities of you receiving a false positive is also dependent upon the quality of the lab center that performs the test. The chances of you getting a false positive depends on the quality of the laboratory that does the testing. “There seems to be about 1,200 of these labs in the United States currently testing for drugs. Less than a 100 of these meet federal standards and most of the individual states do not regulate drug test labs. The number of false positives returned range from 4% to over 50%, depending on the lab” – AskDocWeb. That means that you might get a false positive due to a lab error.
If you get a false positive test result for opiates or methadone in the preliminary test (immunoassay) you have the right to ask for a confirmatory test (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry , GC-MS) to clear you. Kratom won’t ever result in a false positive in a GC-MS test unless, of course, the laboratory is specifically looking for it, or if the kratom in question is not 100% kratom, and may have questionable additives. That being said, always purchase kratom from a reputable source.
There are misleading comments on popular forum websites that claim frequent false positives for methadone or fentanyl. However, people who experienced this generally followed up to say they were cleared by the Confirmatory GC-MS test. There have been no studies to prove or disprove these claims.
The result of a drug test may be considered personal health information. Consequently, there may be restrictions on how such information can be shared. This is why employees who undergo a drug test usually must sign a release in order for their employer to receive the results. For more information about issues related to the release of health information, contact DHHS. This agency administers the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which dictates under what circumstances and to whom health information may be released. More information about this issue can be found on Office of Civil Rights HIPAA Web page.
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