What's the Difference Between a Drug Test and a Drug Screen?

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2018

Even with the continued improvement of cannabis legalization around the country, drug testing and drug screening remain a pretty standardized practice across nearly all hiring organizations.

As such, it pays as a cannabis user when submitting your resume out to dozens of different companies, to know what to expect when that telephone rings and your potential employer asks you to come in for an interview – and later (hopefully), a drug test.

In this article, we point out the difference between a drug screen and a drug test, and highlight a few important things that are worth knowing about before you get yourself too worked up about having to go in to test for the presence of marijuana in your system.

There’s not really an official or “formal” recognized difference between drug screen and drug test. However, there definitely is a big difference between the two, and knowing that difference could result in you whether or not you get hired for your new job – or fired from an existing one (if they enforce randomized drug testing).

Taking over-the-counter NSAID’s. Studies have shown this to be incredibly improbable, but it is known that over-the-counter Non-Steoroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID’s) such as Advil, Motrin, Aleve, etc can skew initial EMIT screenings to the point that they would show up positive. However, the subsequent MS/GC drug test would quickly correct the results and deem the EMIT as a “false positive,” in which case the potential employer would not be subject to any penalization. Taking efavirenz. Efavirenz (Sustiva) is a relatively common prescription medication for HIV/AIDS patients, and it is known to be able to cause false positives on both EMIT screenings and MS/GC tests. Consuming CBD oil. This is far and away the most “worrisome” thing for cannabis users, and it can end up causing both a failed drug screening and a failed drug test. Full-spectrum CBD oils (and other full-spectrum CBD products) do in fact contain trace amounts of THC, thus it is entirely possible that if consumed frequently enough, THC-COOH metabolites can build up to high enough levels that users would fail a test. This can – and has – happened in the past, and there is typically not much you can do about it other than plead with your MRO (medical review officer).