Got drug testing? Hopefully TCHCOOH doesn’t love you too much, because it can produce false positives for at least 1 month.

We have already reported at VV about how drug tests can be unreliable, producing false positives. Now, new research indicates that even after not using for an entire month, it’s possible to drug test positive for cannabis.

Most drug tests that look for cannabis analyze urine for a compound called 11-nor-9-carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol (THCCOOH). The liver produces THCCOOH as it metabolizes tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound in cannabis that is psychoactive and produces head effects.

But no one really knows how long THCCOOH persists in the human body. This and the potential for false positives was the basis of this new research.

False Positives for THC in the Body

70 cannabis smokers between the ages of 15 and 25 were selected for the study. The researchers cited this choice based on the age range being “the most frequent users of cannabis.” The aim was to determine how long the team would be able to detect THCCOOH in the subjects’ urine samples.

All participants consumed cannabis on Day One of the study, but abstained afterwards. The scientists used other biochemical tests to confirm that the subjects were not using cannabis in any form during the study. Researchers tested their urine every few days.

Disturbingly, after one month without using cannabis, the researchers still saw false positives, detecting THCCOOH in 40 percent of urine samples! Fully 20 percent of the samples had enough THCCOOH to fail a typical drug test for federal employment.

This led the team to stop the research before determining the maximum time the compound might persist. After all, the basic conclusion is obvious regardless: more research is needed to produce drug tests that are actually accurate and are “best equipped to confirm abstinence.”

If You Need a Drug Test

So, what should you do if you have a drug test coming up?

First of all, stay calm. Realize that false positives on drug tests are very common. For example, most medical, healthcare information, and drug information websites all have detailed information on the many OTC medications and other compounds that can cause false positives.

Second, know your rights. Some employers are willing to talk about this issue, because they already know that realistically there is a lot of variation from test to test and person to person. Before you speak to an employer about it, know your state’s laws on drug testing.

And of course watch for more information on vaping and legal rights.