What is a Swab Drug Test for Pot?

It is very important for cannabis users to know their way around various different drug tests, especially saliva tests. Many companies have different drug testing policies so you never know what type of situation you are walking into. These tests are also used by police so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Swab drug tests are used to test the saliva in your mouth and are able to determine if you used cannabis quickly and recently.

Swab tests are best suited for immediate or very recent cannabis consumption. More common tests like urine or hair can backtrack as far as 90 days. Swab tests can also be used by cops when you are getting pulled over to determine if you are driving under the influence.

If you suddenly have to take a saliva drug test you want to be prepared especially, if you are smoking pot on a regular basis.

Pipette Use In A Lab
Using a pipette to put a liquid into a smaller vessel for testing.


Fluids are your best friend when it comes to passing a drug test. If you drink enough water you can pass majority of drug tests out there. The best thing to do is to stop smoking for 24-48 hours before the swab test and you should be able to pass after flushing your mouth out with fluids. The most common adulterant is hydrogen peroxide, but there is also mouthwash and gum created with the sole purpose in helping you pass a swab drug test. Keep in mind that this will only help you pass with a 30 minute window.

So When Are You at Risk of Failing a Saliva Test After Marijuana Use?

Whenever you have consumed any concentration of cannabis or THC you put yourself at risk of failing a drug test, plain and simple. To be clear, every test and every state is different. Some states have lower levels of intoxication than others when it comes to THC.

For example: In California a mouth swab test (“MST”) is used by law enforcement personnel to check whether drugs are in a driver’s system. The test is used in the field once an officer suspects that a driver is driving under the influence of drugs (DUID). The mouth swab test can detect seven specific drugs (including marijuana and cocaine). However, it cannot detect the precise level of drugs in a person’s system. Blood tests are used to determine this.

If you’re concerned about passing an upcoming saliva drug test then stop smoking! If you give yourself 24-48 hours of no consumption you should be fine. If you want to play it super safe then stop smoking or vaping cannabis for at least a week.

Most employers give you at least a day notice on when you have to take a random drug test which should give you enough time to “clean your saliva.”

Remember these tests are used to determine if you are high at the moment, so as long as you are prepared you should be able to pass the test.

A Common Drug Test for Cannabis
Urine analysis is a much more common way to drug test for cannabis use.

How Long Does THC Stay in Your Saliva?

According to a 2014 review Trusted Source on cannabinoids in oral fluid, weed is detectable in saliva for the following amounts of time after last use:

  • Occasional users: 1 to 3 days
  • Chronic users: 1 to 29 days
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Good news! THC does not stay in your saliva for that long, so it can be easier to clean your saliva versus cleaning your urine or hair for a more complex drug test.

Basically, THC metabolites need to go into your body to get you high and staying in your saliva doesn’t allow that to happen. Therefore, the only time cannabis stays in your saliva is right after smoking because the smoke coats your mouth with THC. After a few hours your mouth should be clean.

How to Pass a Saliva Drug Test?

Knowing what the swab test is looking for is very important and to pass simply stop smoking for a few days to a week.

Edibles can help as there is no smoke when consuming edibles so it will not coat your saliva with THC, making it undetectable on swab drug tests.

How to Pass a Swab Test in 24-48 hours

Let’s start with the best care scenario, you go to work and your boss tells you to have a random saliva drug test. He or she tells you that you have the next 2 days to take care of it.

First you should drink as much fluids as you can, water helps flush the body out so try to drink at least a gallon of water if not more. Also, rinse your mouth several times with water to knock off any of the weed that may be coated around your mouth.

A cop giving a driving under the influence a sobriety test.

How to Pass a Swab Test Without Warning 

Now let’s review the worst case scenario, you’re getting pulled over and a cop is requesting you take a swab drug test. There are few things you can be prepared with to help pass a test.

One thing that seems to work as an adulterant is hydrogen peroxide.

There are a few companies out there that have gum and mouthwash products that quickly help clean your mouth out in order to pass a swab test.

Keep in mind, using something like that will only temporarily clean your mouth for 30 minutes to an hour.

Final Thoughts 

I hope this article helped relieve some stress about swab tests as a cannabis smoker it’s nothing to be too concerned about. Of all the drug tests swab tests are the easiest to pass. Remember if you have one coming up, drink a lot of fluids and stop smoking for at least 24-48 hours.