VIDEO: Can essential oils interfere with drug testing? – Pharmacist Lindsey Elmore

Summary of Lindsey Elmore video from March 6, 2017

The question about whether essential oils can interact with drug tests is frequently asked because failing a drug test can have major implacations on our ability to be employed andit’s especially meaningful regarding athletes and animals who compete that are required to do drug screening.

00:55 Short Answer: It’s not necessarily essential oils that cause the false-positives on drug tests. The testing mechanisms themselves give false-positives 5-10% of the time. And they give false-negatives 10-15% of the time.

A false-positive is when there is a positive reaction that is not true.
A false-negative is when there is actually an illicit substance present, but the test doesn’t detect it.

2:00 There are a wide variety of foods and medicines that can trigger false-positives…

  • poppy seeds
  • tonic water
  • hemp seeds
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Bupropion
  • tricyclic antidepressants
  • quinolone antibiotics
  • vitamin B supplements
  • Efavirenz (HIV medication)
  • Phenazopyridine (for urinary tract infections)

These can trigger false positives for both opioids and marijuana. So merely consuming a poppy seed muffin before a drug test can trigger a false-positive.

4:00 Oxycodone will not be detected unless it is specifically tested for.

6:30 So many blogs claim that beta-caryophyllene and copaiba trigger false-positives. But I searched through thousands of papers and found NO data on the subject. What I DID find is lots of data showing how often drug testing fails. In my professional opinion, there is simply no data that show that essential oils interact directly with drug tests.

I have some opposition to drug testing in the workplace especially because some of the more dangerous substances leave the system very quickly. For example, there are many instances where it is critical that people don’t drink on the job. Yet alcohol leaves the system so quickly that a person’s daily drinking would never be detected. It’s the same for cocaine and methamphetamines. It’s only drugs that are more “fatty” that stick around for a long time. Secondhand smoke from weed or smoking it two weeks before may show up on a drug test because it hangs around it the tissues.


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