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Can Drugs Come Out on a COVID-19 Test?

Many people wonder if drugs can come out on a COVID test. Do you have to take a COVID-19 test for work? Do you worry about the possibility of the joint you smoked over the weekend showing up on the test? Can it cause a false positive COVID result? This article will answer all your questions.

Table of Contents

drugs covid test

Types of Drug Tests

There are four main types of drug tests and they are as follows:


This type of test is the most popular one. It is used for drug testing because of metabolites that pass through the urine as its excretory route. Metabolites are produced after substances are ingested by the body. Urine drug tests lookout for these metabolites.

Saliva (Mouth Swab)

This is a less invasive type of drug testing and it is becoming popular for this reason. Saliva drug tests are only used to detect recent drug use. According to a study, this method could only detect cannabis that the participants smoked 4 to 24 hours before.


Drug metabolites also enter blood vessels in the scalp and can remain in hair shaft for as long as 3 months. A small amount of hair is usually collected to analyze whether the subject has used drugs in the last 90 days. Hair follicle test is not very common.


The most invasive and expensive drug testing method is the blood test. However, it is the most accurate one. It can detect the presence of substances as well as their metabolites. This test can also detect and measure the amount of drugs used. It isn’t used frequently because of its cost as well as its invasiveness.

Types of COVID-19 Tests


Also known as RNA or PCR test, this diagnostic test is considered the most accurate for testing for COVID-19. This is why it is used more often in many countries. It is usually done by collecting mucus from the throat or nose with a specialized swab. It isn't as comfortable as most people prefer, so molecular tests in some cases use saliva.


Also known as rapid test, this test is cheaper, quicker, and less accurate than molecular tests. It is prone to producing false-negative results and could miss active infections. It is also done by using a swab on the back of the throat or nose.


Also known as serology test or blood test, this one looks for antibodies in your blood to determine if you had an infection in the past. Antibodies are proteins, and they help you fight infections and provide immunity against some diseases. This type of test is done by taking a blood sample from your vein or a finger prick.

Why Drugs Cannot Come Out on a COVID Test

Like drug tests, COVID tests are conducted on saliva and blood samples, but this is the only similarity that they share, because they search for different things in the body.

Drug tests look for pieces of drugs or their active metabolites. COVID tests are different as the swab tests search for a part of the coating of the virus or nucleic acid (such as RNA) belonging to the coronavirus, while the blood test searches for antibodies, which are the proteins that show that the virus was once present. These antibodies strengthen the immune system to fight off the virus and other foreign invaders.

Neither virus RNA nor antibodies are similar to drugs, so COVID-19 test cannot detect drugs even unintentionally. Remember that the tests are made specifically to find parts of the virus and not drug metabolites. It is impossible that a joint you smoked over the weekend will affect the outcome of this test. You can safely go to the testing facility because drugs cannot come out on a COVID test.