Comprehensive Guide to Hair Drug Testing

Shawn Kilgarlin

June 20, 2023

Drug Testing

Hair drug testing has revolutionized the field of substance abuse detection, providing a comprehensive method to uncover an individual’s drug consumption patterns. By analyzing hair strands, this testing technique offers unique advantages over other methods, offering insights into long-term drugs use that extend beyond recent usage. This comprehensive guide will delve into hair drug testing, exploring the broad spectrum of substances it can detect and their significance. Understanding the detected meanings and their implications is crucial for employers, legal authorities, and individuals seeking effective drug monitoring solutions.

Detectable Substances in Hair Drug Testing

1. Cannabis (THC):
Hair drug tests can accurately detect the presence of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. THC metabolites bind to the hair strands and can be identified for up to 90 days, providing crucial insights into marijuana use.

2. Cocaine and Crack Cocaine:
Hair testing is highly effective in detecting cocaine and its metabolites, including benzoylecgonine. This method can identify cocaine and crack cocaine usage over an extended period, giving a comprehensive overview of an individual’s drug history.

3. Opioids:
Hair drug testing allows for detecting various opioids, such as codeine, morphine, heroin, and synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Opioids can be seen in hair samples for up to 90 days, making hair testing an invaluable tool for monitoring opioid use patterns.

4. Amphetamines:
Hair tests can identify amphetamines, including methamphetamine and MDMA (ecstasy). These substances bind to the hair strands and can be detected for approximately 90 days, providing insights into past amphetamine use.

5. Benzodiazepines:
Hair drug tests are capable of detecting benzodiazepines, including commonly prescribed medications such as diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), and lorazepam (Ativan). Benzodiazepines can be identified in hair samples for up to 90 days, offering valuable information about an individual’s benzodiazepine consumption.

6. Barbiturates:
Hair testing can identify barbiturates, which are central nervous system depressants. Substances like phenobarbital and secobarbital can be detected in hair samples for up to 90 days following use, providing insights into an individual’s barbiturate use history.

7. Hallucinogens:
Certain hallucinogens, such as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and psilocybin (magic mushrooms), can be detected through hair testing. These substances leave markers in the hair strands and can be identified for up to 90 days, offering insights into past hallucinogen use.

Significance and Benefits of Hair Drug Testing

– Extended Detection Window: Hair drug testing provides a longer detection window compared to other methods, allowing for drug use identification over 90 days. This comprehensive view helps unveil patterns of long-term substance abuse.

– Historical Perspective: Hair testing offers a historical perspective on an individual’s drug consumption by analyzing hair strands, providing insights into recent and past drug use patterns.

– Accuracy and Reliability: Hair drug testing is highly accurate and reliable, providing dependable results that can withstand scrutiny in legal and professional settings.

– Non-Invasive and Easy to Administer: Collecting hair samples is non-invasive and straightforward, making it a convenient testing method for individuals and testing facilities.


Hair drug testing offers a comprehensive and effective solution for detecting many substances, including cannabis, cocaine, opioids, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and hallucinogens. With its extended detection window and accuracy, hair testing provides valuable insights into an individual’s long-term drug use patterns. Employers, legal authorities, and individuals seeking drug monitoring solutions can benefit from the in-depth information hair drug testing provides. Implementing this testing method can promote safer environments and support individuals’ journey toward a drug-free lifestyle.