Consider this a friendly bit of advice from a professional pot smoker: if you haven’t encountered a mouth swab test before, prepare to run into one soon.
Mouth swab tests have become THE favorite test for detecting traces of marijuana. It’s inexpensive, it’s easy to administer, and gives results immediately. It can be performed anywhere, even by people that aren’t medically trained. There’s no need to send the sample back to the lab since the kit itself can already give a reading, and it can detect THC for up to 72 hours since you’ve ingested it.
So if you HAVEN’T encountered a mouth swab test, it’s only a matter of time. And I don’t have to tell you what kind of shit show your life will get once the higher-ups at your work have found out you’ve been enjoying a little green before earning the green.
All of this sounds bad. That’s because it is. But with a little planning, some awareness, and a few choice products, you can keep puffing away without ever worrying about another mouth swab test ever again. Sounds too good to be true? Well, let me explain.
The Thing About Mouth Swab Tests And Marijuana
There are three ways you can beat a mouth swab test:
- By doing a cleanse before the testing date
- By muddling the sample during the collection process
- By masking THC in your saliva
Each way has its own advantages and disadvantages, which I’ll explain soon. But first, let’s get some essentials out of the way – why do you want to beat a mouth swab test?
There’s a variety of reasons: maybe you need to be drug free for work, some papers require you to be clean, or someone snitched on you and now you’re caught with your pants down in front of people you REALLY don’t want knowing about your little puffing habit. It’s fine. I’ve been there, and so have many people aside from you and me.
The thing is, there’s no particular shame in a little weed now and then. Sometimes you puff after a long day at work. Other people need it to treat medical conditions like PTSD. But while the law catches up that a little marijuana never hurt anyone, we’ll have to find clever ways around getting past stuff like mouth swab tests.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a state that approved marijuana, then congrats! If you haven’t, this is a good reason to vote for people to help make weed legal. But civic duties aside, know that you aren’t the only one who enjoys a good smoke! There’s a lot of people like you that are looking for ways to beat tests like these. So chin up – you’re not alone.
What Are Mouth Swab Tests?
To beat something, you need to know everything about it. Fortunately, mouth swab tests aren’t that complicated to figure out. A typical test looks like this:
- The tester takes the kit and does any necessary prep
- The subject gets swabbed with a cotton ball or bud
- The saliva is collected and pressed against an indicator strip
And voila! You have yourself a result. That’s one of the biggest reasons a lot of companies are resorting to mouth swab tests right now. But how do these things detect THC in your blood anyway?
Well, whenever we smoke weed (or any substance, really) it doesn’t automatically get flushed out of our system every time we pee, though that certainly helps. THC stays in our systems for a while, and it leaves traces of it all around our body.
These traces – also known as metabolites – is what mouth swab tests look for. Since they’re just floating around in our bodies, they can travel to and from our organs and fluids, including sweat, pee, and saliva. The more weed you’ve been smoking means they can detect the higher concentration of metabolites in your body during a drug test.
Your mouth is a hotbed of metabolites, since it’s one of the primary ways that THC can enter your bloodstream. That means that even after two to three days of smoking pot, your saliva can light up a drug test like Rudolph during Christmas.
Before the Big Guns
First, there are ways that a mouth swab test can fail even without you doing anything. What makes them so effective as a testing tool are also their biggest drawbacks, and if you’re smart and paying attention, you can exploit them for your benefit!
It’s Easy to Get a False Positive
Remember that your mouth doesn’t just contain metabolites – it also contains traces of everything that you eat and drink. A lot of weird substances can trip off a mouth swab test, from cough medicine containing codeine to eating a lot of vinegar and poppy seeds. If you test positive, you can play it off as a false alarm and come up with a reasonable explanation of why you tripped it. Though this is a move for experts and I’d generally not recommend it.
It’s Tricky To Use Properly
Remember what I said about how anyone can use a mouth swab kit? That also means that if your tester is lazy, unskilled, or just isn’t paying attention, you can pass a mouth swab test without difficulty. The reason has something to do with the concentration of metabolites in your mouth. While your saliva keeps traces of THC for a while, your mouth contains a mixture of acids and other fluids that can muddle the composition of your saliva.
They Can Only Go So Far Back
Finally, something that makes mouth swab tests easy to pass is that they can only detect traces of drugs in your system for a short while. Your mouth replaces and rinses saliva constantly, so traces of drugs will only stay there for two to three days. With the right routine, it’s even possible to speed up this process and cut it down to a day or two.
These factors mean that if you’re confident in your deception skills (or know the tester), you might not have to do much to pass a mouth swab test. But being safe is better than being sorry – and if you’re looking for a foolproof way to pass a mouth swab test, let’s look back at the three ways that I talked about earlier.
When You Want to Be EXTRA Sure That You Won’t Fail
Do a Cleanse Before the Testing Date
If you’ve ever heard of detox diets and other food trends that “flush the toxins away from your body,’’ you’ll have some idea of how this tactic works. This strategy is slow, but it can be an effective way to completely get rid of all the metabolites in your body so there’s nothing for the test to detect.
There’s two types of cleansing that you can do before the date, and I STRONGLY recommend that you do both at once:
Internal cleansing involves clearing out your fluids of any traces of THC. You can do this in a variety of ways, but the simplest thing that you can do is to drink a lot of water. Since we excrete THC via pee and saliva, making your body pass more liquids is an effective way to lower the concentration of metabolites in your body – enough so it won’t trip up a mouth swab test.
Other methods also include changing your diet or eating something special before the actual exam, like fatty foods or caffeine to help bind and flush any last traces of THC in your bloodstream.
External cleansing means scrubbing out your mouth of THC. Since they’ll be testing for your saliva, the best thing that you can do is to gargle with a strong mouthwash (preferably something that contains a lot of hydrogen peroxide) and brushing your teeth multiple times before the test. This way, the saliva that they’ll sample from you is fresh and won’t have any traces of weed at all.
Don’t think a few gargles of water is enough to do the trick – you have to be thorough in how your detox, since your body can go right back to a state where metabolites can show up in your saliva again.
Muddle the Testing Sample
If you don’t have time to do a cleanse, messing with the testing procedure itself can help tip things in your favor. One of these ways is to control which areas of your mouth are you getting swabbed for saliva.
THC shows up in saliva and fluid deposits around the mouth, like the underside of your tongue and your gum line. If you get swabbed in areas like the tip of the tongue, teeth, or cheeks, there’s a much lower chance that the test will pick up on traces of THC.
There’s a lot of ways you can flavor this. Pretending you have a sensitive gag reflex, coughing when the swab is inserted, and pretending to have a stiff jaw are all ways you can force a swab to avoid those hard to reach places. If you don’t trip off your tester’s intuition, they can even hand the swab to you to test yourself, which pretty much guarantees the success of this strategy.
Mask the Presence Of THC in Your Saliva
If you’re caught REALLY flat-footed, your last resort is to use a product that can mask the traces of metabolites in your saliva. There are a ton of products that can do this, from cleansing mouthwashes that coat your saliva and cleanse your mouth to gum that can temporarily mix with your fluid to give a negative sample.
It’s important to be vigilant about the source of your product and do your research before you buy anything though. Not only are these things expensive, but the consequences if you put all your eggs in one basket can be pretty bad. I personally use a mixture of different strategies and products just to make sure I have all my bases covered when testing day arrives.
A Few Other Tips You Can Follow
But despite all these products and strategies that I’ve used, the best thing I can still advise is being aware of the risks of rolling a joint. And if you’re clever with your habit and don’t give yourself away, there’s a lot of potential for you to puff in comfort without the constant fear that you’ll get caught.
Here are some of my tips to make sure you aren’t unprepared for tests like mouth swabs:
Find out the testing date. Contrary to what you might think, companies don’t spring random drug tests until they’re at least 90% sure that who they’re testing is positive for stuff like THC. That means they’re legally obligated to post testing dates weeks, if not months, in advance. This gives you time to prepare.
Adjust your doses accordingly. If a test is coming up, put away the rolls for a while and stop eating those brownies. A higher concentration in your body means you’ll have a more difficult time clearing it of metabolites, even if you try to cleanse yourself.
Always be discreet. If you feel you’re getting too much heat on you drug-test wise, it might be because your habit is becoming obvious. Be a little more careful about leaving stuff like wrappers and try to be a little more tight-lipped about your puffing. You never know who can snitch on you.
Do these and you might find yourself just breezing through any drug test with no problem!
Puffing and Passing
As scary as they might seem, mouth swab tests are just a bump in the road for the experienced weed smoker. If you’re due for a test and you’re panicking about failing, calm down and try the methods I’ve described above.