Drugs appear in blood and urine tests at different times depending on the substance.
Like other testing alternatives, saliva drug tests primarily look for drug metabolites. These the chemicals left behind after the body has processed a specific substance. The question is – what are the saliva drug test detection times? What substances and how long can an oral swab test detect them? Read on to find out.

How to read mouth swab drug test results

Mouth swabs screened using Enzyme immunoassay. Positive samples retested with liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, and mass spectrometry. Positive samples retested with liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, and mass spectrometry.


How do they work?

The least invasive method of drug testing is the mouth swab drug test. There is no need for needles or peeing in a cup.

All mouth swab drug tests follow the same basic procedure: First, swab the inside of the cheek with a collection stick or a sponge for a few minutes. Then replace the stick into the collection tube. Finally, hand the device to the evaluator.

On-site or in a lab, the sample is analyzed for traces of substances.

These tests also don’t require much preparation, though typically you should not to eat or drink anything for 10 minutes before the test.

So what are the saliva drug test detection times? Which drugs can it test? Below are some saliva drug test facts you should know.

Saliva Drug Test Detection Times


Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is a stimulant that can be smoked, snorted, or ingested to produce euphoric effects. Meth is not a naturally occurring substance. Drug creators make them in a makeshift laboratory with acetone, hydrochloric acid, ammonia, and ephedrine. Its half-life in the body is longer than that of other similar drugs, such as cocaine, with byproducts peaking around 12 hours after use.


When smoked or consumed in other ways, marijuana, a drug derived from a plant that is now legal in several states, produces euphoric effects.
Its metabolites are stored in fat cells and slowly released into the bloodstream, giving it a much longer life in the body than most standard substances, particularly for long-term users. Fat cells tend to persist in the average person, resulting in detection windows of up to six weeks via metabolites via blood or urine testing.

Unlike urine tests, which look for the metabolite THC-COOH, oral swab tests look for THC itself because it remains in the saliva before being metabolized within the body. Saliva tests can detect marijuana use within the last 24 hours, making them a popular choice for police officers and others seeking confirmation of recent use.


Cocaine is a popular drug among people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and social classes. It is a stimulant that is commonly snorted in its pure form, smoked, or injected in its impure form known as crack. However, cocaine has a short detection window, due to metabolites like benzoylecgonine and ecgonine methyl ester remaining in the body for up to 48 hours. Cocaine is only detected in drug tests for two to three days on average. This is also true for saliva tests; after 72 hours, an oral swab cannot detect the presence of cocaine or its metabolites.

Other Opiates and Heroin

According to recent overdose statistics, heroin is now an epidemic in the United States, with unprecedented levels of use.
As a result, heroin and other opiates like hydrocodone and fentanyl are common drug testing targets.

Do mouth swabs test for opiates?

While there are far too many analogs to test for individually, most comprehensive drug panels now screen for as many opioid substances as possible.
Because not all opiates are created equal, the amount of time they spend in the body can differ. In general, drug tests can detect heroin and many other opiates in saliva for 24 to 36 hours. This is less than the time required for detection in urine or hair tests. Some opiates, on the other hand, may be detectable for a longer period of time.
For example, OxyContin is an extended-release oxycodone that stays in the body longer. Many street opiates, especially illegally produced pressed pills, contain unknown components and analogs, complicating testing.

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Because of the widespread abuse of drugs like Xanax, a popular anti-anxiety medication, benzodiazepines frequently included in specialized drug panels.
However, because benzodiazepine is a drug class, many different substances fall into this category. So, detection can vary greatly.
Saliva drug tests can detect Benzodiazepines longer than other testing methods, but the duration varies greatly depending on the drug in question.
Because diazepam is a long-acting benzo, diazepam, nordiazepam, temazepam, and oxazepam metabolites can detected up to 10 days after use. Intermediate-acting benzodiazepine-like lorazepam is only detectable for about five days. This is due to the body’s increased rate of metabolizing the present substance.


Ecstasy, also known as Molly, is a popular rave drug on college campuses and parties. Standard six-panel drug screenings typically include Ecstasy due to its widespread use.

The metabolites of MDMA, 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), 4-hydroxy-3-methoxymethamphetamine (HMMA), and 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyamphetamine (HMA) can detected in saliva one hour after use.
However, the life of MDMA in saliva is shorter than that of other testing methods. Most traces will gone within 24 hours.

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Alcohol is not included in most blood or urine tests due to the rate at which it is metabolized in the body.
Unless consumed immediately before a test, the average person can have a few drinks the night before, sleep it off, and test negative the next morning.
On the other hand, saliva tests have a wider detection window and may detect alcohol after the body has metabolized it. A test using saliva can detect alcohol for six to twelve hours after the body has metabolized it.

These are some of the drugs that saliva drug tests can detect. If you need oral swabs that are 99% accurate, CLIA-waived and FDA-approved, check out the Ovus Medical Store. We have a wide variety of mouth swabs, drug testing cups, and drug tests in bulk you can choose from.

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