What does a 5 panel hair drug test test for?

You might have heard of a 5 panel hair drug test before. If you haven’t, well, where have you been all your life? It’s a commonly used method of checking for drugs in an individual’s system. However, do not make the mistake of assuming it only tests for one kind of drug like many people do. In this article, we’ll explain what exactly you can expect from this type of test as well as how it works and some other important details.

The Basics

First things first- let’s start with some basic information about the 5-panel hair drug testing process:

A Brief Introduction to Hair Drug Testing

Hair follicle drug testing is becoming increasingly popular among employers and even law enforcement agencies worldwide because unlike urine or blood screening, it can detect previous substance abuse over months rather than days.

How it Works

A small amount of hair is taken from near the roots on various areas on your head or another part of your body which contains hair such as arms or legs (in case someone doesn’t have enough head hair) at laboratory facilities after signing authorization forms so that there are no discrepancies later on regarding confirming their agreement to undergo the test since placing oneself into sober living homes might take more effort.

Once collected by trained lab technicians who wear gloves specifically designed for handling these samples safely (not those cheap rubber gloves they give at hospitals), each piece gets cut vertically and cleaned several times using special chemicals to eliminate any dirt that could skew results making sure there’s standardization across labs performing these different processes which benefits everyone involved!

Hair sample goes through two separate stages during analysis; washing away compounds adhered to external surface called external wash followed by internal washing where metabolites residing within cortex will be released and isolated via ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry( UHPLC-ESI/MS/MS) technology which is one of the most advanced methods used in drug testing laboratories yet.

What the Five Panels Mean

The term “5 panel” refers to five different types of drugs that are commonly tested for. These include:

  1. Marijuana (Yes, we know it’s technically referred to as cannabis but who cares)
  2. Cocaine
  3. Opiates including heroin and morphine
  4. Amphetamines
  5. PCP (Phencyclidine)

That’s right; these are some pretty hardcore recreational substances showing up in your hair follicle samples so you might want to weigh your options if you’re considering participating in any activity involving them- not worth spending time on sober living resources unnecessarily!

A Closer Look at Each Panel

Now that you’re familiarized with how this hair analysis thing works and what 5 things it tests for let’s take a look at each type of substance more closely The table will give an idea about how long respective substances can be detected:

Substance Abbreviation How Long it Stays In System Lol moment cause length matters!
Marijuana/Cannabis THC Up to 90 days! No, there’s no typo here… Three months my friend
Cocaine COC Up to 90 days disguised within those frizzy curls
Opiates (Heroin, Morphine) OPI/MOR Up to 90 days, patience is key
Amphetamines (MDMA/methamphetamine) AMP Up To As many As Ninety Days Because tolerance ain’t nothing when trimming those locks!
PCP Phencyclidine Might stay up until three months or less depending on individual detox scale.

It should come as no surprise that all of these substances have differing lengths of detection since their molecular makeup and chemical behavior varies greatly, but it’s pretty wild to think that something you did three months ago could still be detectable in your hair!

The Verdict

Now that the results of your 5-panel drug test are in- what’s the verdict? What if there’s good news, bad news or no news at all?

Well…As with similar types of testing methods for illicit substances comes significant consequences when found to have partaken in drugs. Some employers may withhold a job offer even after everything else cleared during interview process while it is obvious some might feel violated about their privacy especially when kept voluntarily away from sober living resources.

The bottom line: Steer clear of recreational drugs folks! Unless you’re willing to sacrifice rewarding opportunities right out the gate, because this stuff will follow you around longer than glitter at Coachella- and nobody wants traces of sparkles or fun to linger in problematic contexts.


In conclusion, we hope this article has helped answer any questions you may have had about what exactly a 5 panel hair drug test tests for. While it’s not an enjoyable situation to embroil oneself over substance indulgence concerns let alone dealing w/ work sensitivity–it is always best err on side sobriety and caution when considering actions which could jeopardize one’s employment opportunities all together- despite how tempting said activity may appear initially. Stay safe my friends!

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