General Warnings

List Of Herbs That Cause False Positive Drug Tests?

A drug test is a process used to detect the presence of drugs or their metabolites in a person’s body. It is commonly conducted for various reasons, including pre-employment screening, legal requirements, athletic competitions, and medical evaluations. The outcome of a drug test can vary depending on the purpose and context of the test. A negative drug test result indicates that no illicit drugs or drugs being tested for were detected in the individual’s system. This outcome is generally seen as a desired outcome, particularly in situations such as pre-employment screening or compliance with substance abuse programs.

A positive drug test result indicates the presence of the specific drug or drugs being tested for in the individual’s system. This outcome may have various implications depending on the circumstances. In some cases, a positive result could lead to consequences such as employment termination, legal ramifications, or restrictions in certain professional or athletic settings.

An invalid drug test result occurs when the test is unable to provide a conclusive outcome. This can happen due to issues such as improper sample collection, contamination, or technical errors in the testing process. In such cases, a retest or further investigation may be necessary to obtain a valid result.

Types of Drug Tests include:

1.      Urine Drug Test: This is the most common type of drug test. It detects recent drug use and can identify a wide range of substances.

2.      Blood Drug Test: Blood tests can detect drugs and their active metabolites in the bloodstream. They are typically used for more immediate or recent drug use.

3.      Hair Drug Test: Hair samples can provide a longer detection window, as they can reveal drug use patterns over several months. However, they are not ideal for detecting recent drug use.

4.      Saliva Drug Test: Saliva tests are non-invasive and can detect recent drug use. They are commonly used in roadside or workplace drug testing.

5.      Sweat Drug Test: Sweat patches are sometimes used to collect sweat from a person’s skin over an extended period. This method can detect drug use patterns over several days or weeks.

Drug tests can identify a variety of substances, including illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opioids, and hallucinogens. They can also detect prescription medications, including opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants.

A false positive drug test occurs when a drug test indicates the presence of a specific substance, even though the person being tested has not actually used that substance. False positives can happen for various reasons. In this article, we shall be looking at herbs that cause false positive drug tests.

What are herbs?

Herbs are plants or plant parts that are used for their aromatic, medicinal, or culinary properties. They have been used for centuries in various cultures for their therapeutic benefits and flavor-enhancing qualities.

Herbs have a rich history that spans ancient civilizations and traditional healing systems. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used herbs for medicinal and culinary purposes. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda developed sophisticated herbal knowledge. During the Middle Ages, monks preserved and expanded herbal wisdom. The Renaissance saw renewed interest in herbs. Indigenous cultures have their own herbal traditions. Modern science has contributed to the understanding of herbs, identifying active compounds and developing standardized preparations. Herbal medicine remains popular today as a complementary approach to health.

List of Herbs That Cause False Positive Drug Tests

Certain herbs and herbal products have been reported to potentially cause false positive results on drug tests. It’s important to note that these instances are not common and may vary depending on the specific drug test used. Here are a few examples:

1.      Hemp or CBD products: Hemp-derived products, including CBD (cannabidiol) oil, may contain trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component of cannabis. In some cases, consuming these products in large quantities or using low-quality products may lead to a positive result for THC on a drug test.

2.      Poppy seeds: Poppy seeds come from the same plant as opium, and they may contain trace amounts of morphine and codeine. Consuming foods or products containing poppy seeds, such as pastries or bagels, has been known to cause positive results for opioids on some drug tests.

3.      Kava: Kava is a plant native to the South Pacific and is often used for its sedative and calming effects. While uncommon, there have been reports of false positive results for benzodiazepines (such as Valium or Xanax) in individuals who have consumed kava products.

4.      Ephedra: Ephedra, also known as ma-huang, is an herb used in traditional medicine and weight loss supplements. Ephedra has stimulant properties and contains ephedrine, which can lead to false positive results for amphetamines on drug tests.

5.      Yerba mate: Yerba mate is a type of holly tree commonly consumed as a tea in South America. It contains caffeine and other stimulant compounds that might lead to a false positive for amphetamines or other stimulant drugs on certain drug tests.

6.      Ginseng: Ginseng is a popular herbal remedy used for its energizing and adaptogenic properties. While it is not known to cause false positives directly, some ginseng products may contain trace amounts of ephedrine, which can lead to false positives for amphetamines on drug tests.

7.      St. John’s Wort: St. John’s Wort is often used for its mood-stabilizing properties and as a natural antidepressant. It may potentially cause false positives for amphetamines, benzodiazepines, or opioids on drug tests due to its interactions with certain enzymes involved in drug metabolism.

8.      Valerian root: Valerian root is commonly used as a natural sleep aid and anxiety reducer. While it is not known to cause false positives, there have been a few anecdotal reports of valerian root causing false positives for benzodiazepines on drug tests.

It’s important to note that the likelihood of experiencing a false positive drug test result due to herbs is generally low. Most drug tests are designed to detect specific drug metabolites, and the presence of herbs in typical amounts is unlikely to trigger a positive result.

How to Avoid False Positive Drug Tests While Taking Herbs

While false positive drug test results due to herbs are rare, there are some precautions you can take to minimize the risk. Here are a few suggestions:

1.      Disclose herbal product use: Inform the testing entity, such as your employer or testing facility, about any herbal products or dietary supplements you are taking before the drug test. Providing this information beforehand can help them interpret the results accurately.

2.      Quality and reliability of products: Purchase herbal products from reputable sources and choose high-quality brands that adhere to good manufacturing practices. This can help ensure the purity and accuracy of the herbal products you are using.

3.      Research specific herbs: Before starting any herbal product, research its potential interactions with drug tests or medications. Some herbs are known to have specific effects that may impact drug test results. Understanding the properties of the herbs you’re using can help you make informed decisions.

4.      Consult healthcare professionals: If you are concerned about potential false positives on a drug test, consult with your healthcare provider, pharmacist, or herbalist. They can provide guidance based on your specific situation, including adjusting dosages, selecting alternative herbs, or considering other options to minimize any potential risks.

5.      Timing and discontinuation: If you have an upcoming drug test, consider discontinuing the use of herbal products a few days before the test, if possible. This allows sufficient time for the herbs or their metabolites to clear from your system and reduces the chances of interference with the drug test.

6.      Keep records: Maintain a record of the herbs and dietary supplements you are taking, including the brand, dosage, and duration of use. This information can be helpful if there are any questions or concerns regarding drug test results.

Remember, false positive results are generally uncommon, but by being proactive and transparent about your herbal product use, you can help ensure accurate interpretation of drug test results.


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker