I recently was offered a verbal offer for a big company, basically my dream job. The company before giving me the actual paper work in my email requested a background check and drug screen. When the company first called me I dropped all uses of marijuana. I was daily smoker and would use every night to sleep or enjoy the night better. Of course with my luck I did very well in the interview which was scheduled a week after I received the call. When I was done with the interview the people interviewing me said it would take about 2-3 weeks for a call. Not even 4 days later I get the call for the verbal offer, at this point I am 11 days clean. I knew I had to act fast so I started detoxing and cleansing myself. I tried to prolong the test as much as possible, but the company couldn't wait anymore. 18 days later I had 24hrs to attend the drug screen. I tried to prepare myself as best as possible, I wanted to be honorable and not take any synthetic pee or anyone else's in that manner. I tried different detoxes and nothing was working(multiple at home drug test). I finally decided to go with a masking detox to hide the thc in my system. Not the greatest idea, but had no other choice. What I did the morning before was test myself with a CVS at home drug test, and surprisingly came out negative. Although I was still cleansing the second line was very faint. As soon as I saw it was negative I tried to hold my urine till the exam was finished. I ended up doing a second at home drug test 8 hours after the exam and same type of result except the second negative line was not as visible but was there.

My question is, if the company finds any trace of thc in my drug screen and I get disqualified for this reason am I able to request a retest in any way or should I kiss my chances goodbye?

  • Once emplyed, do they do random testing? Will you stay clean?
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 11, 2019 at 4:04
  • 1
    I will definitely stay clean, there is not question about that. I'm sure there is randoms. Its just I didn't have the right amount of time to get clean, which is my only worry.
    – user0404T
    Mar 11, 2019 at 4:07

3 Answers 3


You cannot retake a drug test, you can dispute the results, but in that case they retest the original sample rather than take a new one. There is no other logical way to do it, otherwise there is no point requiring a test, anyone can clean up for a test. They're not looking for employees who crammed just for the exam, they're looking for non drug users.

This is the procedure for anywhere I am aware of. It's up to the discretion of the company whether a failed test debars you from employment or not, but usually if they stipulate one, then it does. Some industries it's mandatory. Depending on locale of course.

  • 2
    "they retest the original sample rather than take a new one" -> IF they have kept a second sample. Drug tests usually require 2 flasks, in case you dispute the 1st result. They most probably won't be able to use the same original sample because of cross-contamination. So, if there's no 2nd flask... hard to tell...
    – OldPadawan
    Mar 11, 2019 at 9:58
  • 1
    It's not new tech, they have the procedures pretty much sorted out I would think. Only one sample is necessary as far as I know, they don't use the whole lot. I've never had to fill two separate containers. Locales may differ in procedure, results would be the same though.
    – Kilisi
    Mar 11, 2019 at 10:07
  • 5
    I work for a state agency in the US that does in-house testing and we have the ability to send off the original collection container to be tested by an independent lab if an employee or applicant's specimen is questionable.
    – DreDre0623
    Mar 11, 2019 at 12:45

TLDR: No, but you can dispute it.

First, the good news:

Since so many things can cause false positives, drug tests are far less sensitive these days. Back in the 1980s, my SO's mother failed a drug test because of a poppy seed bagel, yes, this really happened back then. In the 1990s, a friend of mine failed because he got some second hand smoke from some stoners he was hanging out with. Stuff like this happened, and often enough that the sensitivity of the tests has been dialed down.

Modern drug tests don't have a pass/fail setup anymore, where any amount in your system will automatically trigger a failed test. The levels have to exceed a certain level for you to fail, and trace amounts almost never cause a failed test.

Now, for the bad news.

Different companies have different standards as to what amount in your system counts as a "fail". There is no universal standard as to what levels are tolerable, what levels could be background or attributable to incidental exposure or trace amounts. FYI, almost every dollar bill in circulation has trace amounts of cocaine on it. If you were tested at a 0% tolerance for cocaine, you could possibly fail if you handled money that day.

What to do

If they do come back with a positive result, you can challenge it by asking what the threshold was. If you were taking any NSAIDs, such as Advil, or Naproxin, you could get a false positive for cannabis use for that. Also, if you were around anyone smoking cannabis, you could also get a false positive. So, be armed with the facts if you need to dispute it.

  • 13
    The facts are the OP is a heavy pot smoker, better to be armed with the excuses, rather than the facts :-)
    – Kilisi
    Mar 11, 2019 at 14:24
  • 3
    @Kilisi facts make wonderful excuses. ;) Mar 11, 2019 at 14:45

This significantly depends on manager/team/division of the company in question.

Contrary to the message of some other answers, there are definitely pre-employment drug tests that exist only as a formality, where the only thing anyone cares about is that you passed the drug test. They don't care that you passed it the first time, nor that you never use drugs; just that you passed the required test.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to discern whether this test was one of that variety of drug test beforehand, since managers who actually do care about you not using drugs will look rather dimly upon questions probing that fact. The smarter solution is to pass drug tests every time, whether they are serious or not.

If you fail due to trace levels, I would ask to take the test again. They may refuse, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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