• 5 Panel Drug Test

    Standard for Pre-Employment and Workplace Drug Testing

What is a 5 Panel Drug Test?

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A 5 panel drug test is the most common drug test for employers in pre-employment drug testing. 5-panel drug test is also used in by DOT (Department of Transportation) and federal offices to screen a candidate's possible drug usage. It is a nationwide standard for workplace drug screening used all over the USA. 

The 5 panel drug test is mainly done through the urine.  Urine tests are effective to identify a candidate's possible drugs and substance usage maintaining their privacy. Urine tests are able to detect usage of drugs about a week after use. In strict situations, employers also can opt for hair tests. Hair tests can detect drug usage up to 90 days. 

5 panel drug test is the standard for drug testing in USA. The selection of drugs to be tested can be customized as per the needs of the employer. 

What does a Standard 5 Panel Drug Screen test for?

The standard 5 panel drug test mainly tests for the following substances: 
  1. Marijuana (THC)
  2. Cocaine (COC)
  3. Opiates (OPI)
  4. Amphetamines (AMP) 
  5. Phencyclidine (PCP)

1. Marijuana

Marijuana is the most common substance that candidate's fail on drug screen tests. Marijuana is also known as tetrahydrocannabinol or THC in short. It is naturally found and cultivated in the marijuana plant, also referred as cannabis plant. Marijuana is consumed through various means by majority of people through direct smoking, oils and edible items. 

Consuming marijuana gives the consumer pleasant sense of relaxation often referred as high. Consumers often express increased appetite and better mental health due to its consumption, however, uncontrolled consumption has shown various paranoid bearings as well. It is also medically used to relieve pain by some health professionals. It's medicinal benefits is recognized and prescribed legally, however, the federal government classifies it as a drug. 

Marijuana or THC is tested is all states regardless of legalization from various states. It is mainly due to the federal law and no substantial evidence of its benefits in medicinal usage. In California from 2024, employers cannot fire or suspend employees on grounds of using marijuana outside of work hours and premises. Marijuana has been legalized in California since 2016. It is suggested to study California drug testing laws before proceeding with drug testing. 

Due to the unconfident results from marijuana usage, employers refrain from hiring candidate's with marijuana positive on a 5 panel drug test. 

2. Cocaine (COC)

Cocaine is a highly strong and addictive stimulant drug. Cocaine is produced through a series of chemical processes on cocoa leaves to get a white powder substance. It is usually consumed by snorting directly through the nose. It is highly addictive and listed in as a Schedule 2 drug. 

Addiction to cocaine or even general usage is a serious problem in the USA. Regular use of cocaine leads to physical and mental dependency on it and leads to violent acts when dependency is not met. Without a doubt, getting cocaine positive on a drug test is a terrible result for any candidate. Not only s/he won't get the employment, they have to go through various further tests and most likely be subjected to rehabilitation. 

3. Opiates (OPI)

Opiates are pain-relieving drugs that work by relieving the opioid receptors in your cells. This class of drug substances include Heroin, Fentanyl, Oxycodone, Morphine, Codeine, etc. Opiates are prescribed in controlled amount medically to reduce pain in special circumstances like heavy injury and surgeries. 

Opiates are fine when used in prescribed and controlled manner, but can be seriously addictive if not controlled. Over consumption can lead to heart failure and instant death. Variations of this drug are treated differently. Heroin is classified as a Schedule 1 drug while Vicodin, another variation of opiates is treated as a Schedule 3 drug and treated harshly. 

4. Amphetamines (AMP) 

Amphetamines are synthetic stimulants that suppress appetite similar to cocaine. Usually, amphetamines are used to treat conditions like Attention Deficiency Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and in some cases Parkinson's disease. It is also taken as a focus drug that helps in studies and reduces mental stress by youngsters as it increases focus span. It is more popular as compared to cocaine due to its easier availability and less cost to cocaine. 

Methamphetamine or popularly known as Meth is a major issue among teenagers. Meth creates a quick and strong addiction which increases more rapidly. It destroys the dopamine receptors in our cells resulting in depression and violent actions. Amphetamines are considered Schedule 2 drugs and if reported positive, you won't get the job. 

5. Phencyclidine (PCP)

Phencyclidine (PCP), commonly known as angel dust, is a pain relieving white-yellowish powder drug. PCP is known for its extraordinary mind-altering effects which include visual and audible hallucinations and violent response to it. 

PCP is consumed in a variety of ways due to its various forms. It is synthesized in many ways such and consumed in respective ways. In powder form, it is snorted while it can be injected in liquid form as well. It can also be swallowed like a capsule. Overuse of this drug can lead to paranoia and the user might harm themselves out of fear of something that is not there. 

It is classified as a Schedule 2 drug by the federal government. 

Custom 5 Panel Drug Testing

If the standard 5 panel drug test does not fulfill the employer's requirements, they can always opt for a custom test. The custom 5 panel drug test can be used to detect the presence of 5 drug substances of the employer's choosing. 

How is a 5 panel Drug Testing Done?

5 Panel Drug test can be done mainly in two ways:  5 Panel Hair Drug Test and 5 Panel Urine Drug Test

5 Panel Hair Drug Test

Hair Drug test is the most accurate form of drug testing as it detects drug usage up to 90 days from the time of test. In this test, a small sample of the candidate's hair is taken and analyzed for the 5 drugs mentioned. 

5 Panel Drug Test however cannot determine the date or range of time of the drug usage. Additionally, dyeing or bleaching can interfere accurate with the accuracy of the test. Still it is the most preferred method of drug testing. 

5 Panel Urine Drug Test

5 Panel Urine Test is a popular method of drug testing which shows usage of drugs mentioned up to 7 days prior to the test. Its accuracy can depend on the frequency, quantity and recentness of the use. 

Comparatively, it is less accurate than the hair test as it can show false positives and there are chances of cheating using various methods to dilute or alter the urine sample. Additionally, it can also detect recent usage up to a maximum of 7 days. 

5 Panel Drug Testing with Background Partners

Most employers in California and the USA prefer 5 Panel drug testing as a standard for drug testing for employment. It is the nationwide standard for workplace drug testing as per Federal Government's Mandatory Guidelines.

However, there are range of drug testing panels to choose from 5 panel to 10 panel drug testing. If your company policy requires to check for more than 5 drug substances, you should choose for higher panels, else the standard 5 panel drug testing covers all the basic substances that need to be tested. 

We, Background Partner, provide a range of drug testing services. Book an appointment to discuss your drug screening needs and match then with our drug screening services for smooth pre-employment background screening.


Does a 5 panel drug test detect Marijuana(Cannabis)?

Answer: Yes. In a standard 5-panel test, marijuana is one of the drugs it can detect use of. 

Does Alcohol show up on a 5 panel drug test?

Yes. A 5 panel drug test can detect alcohol if the employer has selected alcohol among the 5 substances to be checked. However, a standard 5 panel drug testing does not include alcohol. 

Does Flexeril show up on a 5 panel drug test?

Yes. Flexeril can show up in a 5 panel drug test if the employer has included Flexeril among the 5 substances to be checked.  However, a standard 5 panel drug tests does not include Flexeril. 

Does Testosterone show up in a 5 panel drug test?

Yes. Anabolic steroids, or synthetic testosterone, can be detected on a 5 panel drug test but most of them pass easily out of the system. So depending on the time between the usage and drug test, it can not show on the test as well. In any way, a standard 5 panel drug test does not include synthetic testosterone. 

How far back does a 5 panel drug test?

5 panel drug test is mainly done through urine or hair. A urine drug test usually can go back 4-7 days while a hair drug test can go up to 90 days back from the day of testing. 

Does a 5 panel drug test for Nicotine?

Yes. A 5 panel drug test checks for Nicotine if asked by the employer. However, the employer should mention Nicotine in the list of drugs to be checked as a standard 5 panel drug tests does not check for Nicotine.