What are the detection periods?

The following chart from LabCorp gives approximate detection periods for each substance by test type.[1]

The detection windows depend upon multiple factors - drug class,amount and frequency of use, metabolic rate, body mass, age, overall health, and urine pH. For ease of use, the detection times of metabolites have been incorporated into each parent drug. For example, heroin and cocaine can only be detected for a few hours after use, but their metabolites can be detected for several days in urine. In this type of situation, we will report the (longer) detection times of the metabolites.

  • NOTE 1: Oral fluid or saliva testing results for the most part mimic that of blood. The only exceptions are THC and benzodiazepines. Oral fluid will likely detect THC from ingestion up to a maximum period of 1824 hours. Low saliva:plasma ratio continues to cause difficulty in oral fluid detection of benzodiazepines [2]
  • NOTE 2: Urine cannot detect current drug use. It takes approximately 68 hours or more post-consumption for drug to be metabolized and excreted in urine. Similarly, hair requires two weeks, and sweat, seven days.
Approximate values for detection periods
SubstanceUrineHairBlood / Oral Fluid
Alcohol 624 hours [3] up to 90 days 1224 hours
Amphetamines (except meth) 1 to 3 days[4] up to 90 days 12 hours
Methamphetamine 3 to 5 days[5] up to 90 days 13 days[5]
MDMA (Ecstasy) 24 hrs up to 90 days 25 hours
Barbiturates (except phenobarbital) 1 day up to 90 days 1 to 2 days
Phenobarbital 2 to 3 months[6] up to 90 days 4 to 7 days
Benzodiazepines Therapeutic use: up to 7 days. Chronic use (over one year): 4 to 6 weeks up to 90 days 6 to 48 hours
Cannabis 3 to 5 days, and sometimes up to 30 days[7] up to 90 days [7] Up to 24 hours [8]
Cocaine 2 to 5 days with exceptions for certain kidney disorders[9] up to 90 days 2 to 5 days[10]
Codeine 2 to 3 days[11] up to 90 days 2 to 3 days[11]
Cotinine (a break-down product of nicotine) 2 to 4 days up to 90 days 2 to 4 days
Morphine 2 days up to 90 days 1 2 days
Heroin 3 to 4 days[12] up to 90 days 1 2 days
LSD 24 to 72 hours (however tests for LSD are very uncommon) up to 3 days[citation needed] 0 to 3 hours
Methadone 3 days up to 97 days 24 hours
PCP 3 to 7 days for single use; up to 30 days in chronic users[13] up to 90 days 1 to 3 days[13]

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