Are There Different Types of Drug Panel Tests?

A Doctor in the Medical Office Holding a 7-Panel Urine Drug Test in his Hand Above a Cup with a Urine Sample

 

The number of drug testing programs may vary, however the most common you've probably heard of is the 5-panel drug test. But what exactly does it imply? The number of panels shows the number number of drugs that the test can identify. A "drug panel" is a group of drugs paired with an indicating number of panels the test can detect. 

Once the test is performed, it will show a number. The higher the number, the more drugs in the drug panel test were detected. The clinical setting will determine which drugs to test for in a UDT (urine drug test) panel. The five drugs needed by federal workplace guidelines, including amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, and phencyclidine, are included in most panels. 

 

How Many Panel Drug Tests Are There?

Depending on the testing company, this can be different. A basic 5-panel drug test, which screens for five illicit drugs and occasionally alcohol, is commonly used in pre-employment drug testing and others.

A comprehensive panel drug test, on the other hand, might be the way to go if you're concerned about illicit drugs and other prescription drug addictions in the workplace. A larger panel drug test can help to broaden the scope of the test and the drugs that are tested.

Oftentimes, urine is chosen for its familiarity and convenience of use. It's low-cost and can be used during drug screening to detect specific drugs (depending on the panel selected). Drugs and their metabolites also have a long-lasting effect on urine, thus increasing the time it can detect drugs. 

Let’s get into the different panel drug tests below!

What do most 5-panel drug tests test for?

A 5-panel drug test most often tests for common illicit drugs, including:

  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Cocaine (COC)
  • Opioids (MOP)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Amphetamine (AMP)

The most frequent sort of drug test offered to individuals and employers is the 5-panel drug test. A 5-panel drug test is a good alternative for organizations wishing to implement a reliable drug testing program, as they are regularly utilized by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and other Federal tests.


The 5-panel drug test is frequently used for random drug testing via lab tests or rapid urine drug tests. The rapid test, which can provide results on the same day, is used by the majority of unregulated businesses. These drug panel tests can detect the substance between 4 and 7 days after usage using urine testing.

What is on a 7-panel drug test?

A 7-panel drug test like the Exploro 7-panel urine drug test looks for 93%+ of commonly used illicit drugs in the USA: 

  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Cocaine (COC)
  • Opioids (MOP)
  • Amphetamine (AMP) 
  • Methamphetamine (MET)
  • Benzodiazepines (BZO) including Xanax, Valium, & Ativan. 
  • Ecstasy (MDMA)

Below you can see the detection levels in this test for each drug.

Detection Levels Used in Exploros 7-Panel Urine Drug Test

You can get the Exploro 7-panel urine drug test here 

What is included in a 9-panel drug test?

The 9 drug panel test looks for the following illicit drugs:  

  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Cocaine (COC)
  • Opioids (MOP)
  • Amphetamine (AMP) 
  • Methamphetamine (MET)
  • Benzodiazepines (BZO) 
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Methadone (MTD) 
  • Barbiturates (BAR) 

Employers commonly utilize the 9-panel drug test to establish whether a possible recruit is a safe and dependable addition to the company. This type of screening is also often used to check athletes for illegal substances that may be artificially boosting their athletic performance and giving them an unfair boost.

What does a standard 10-panel drug test for?

As the name states, this last test looks for traces of the following illicit drugs: 

  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Cocaine (COC)
  • Opioids (MOP)
  • Amphetamine (AMP) 
  • Benzodiazepines (BZO) 
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Methadone (MTD) 
  • Barbiturates (BAR) 
  • Methaqualone (MQL)
  • Propoxyphene (PPX) 

While a 10-panel drug test can assist in the detection of drug usage, various substances have different detection times. The length of time it takes to detect a drug depends on the type of substance, how much was taken, and how quickly the person's metabolism functions.

A 10-panel drug test will not reveal whether or not the person is actively using a drug. The tests only assess byproducts in the body that result from the medication's breakdown, but they can't tell you how much of the drug is in circulation.

Below you can see specific drug detection times on a 10 drug panel test:

Table Showing Detection Times for Drugs Including Marijuana, Cocaine, PCP, and More Made By Exploro Products

Reading the results of a drug panel test

A urine drug test can give three possible results positive, negative, or invalid. 

Positive results

A positive result means that the drug or its metabolites are present in measurable concentrations in the person's system. This indicates that they have lately used one or more of the detected drugs. 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, federal employees and personnel in many other safety-related sectors have the right to have their samples retested if a positive result is obtained. This safeguard protects the person from disciplinary action as a result of false positives.

Negative results

A negative result means the substances being tested aren't present or aren't present in sufficient quantities to be detected. Keep in mind though, that these results don’t imply that the individual has never used the drugs or will not use them in the future.

Invalid results

An invalid result means the test was not successful. Labs can order the test again if the results come back as inconclusive.

To sum it all up

Drug panel tests are often used for new hires, athletes, rehabilitation patients, and more. Most employers who require testing will use a 5-panel drug test and an alcohol test. With that said, some professions involving personal and public safety may require regular 10-panel drug tests. Whatever the case may be, you can test yourself at home before the official drug test to make sure your body has fewer or no drugs based on the test cutoff level.

 

 

13 comments

  • When I was working a corporate job, drug tests are a pre-employment requirement. All employees also undergo a yearly medical check up which includes drug testing too. I did not know that there were so many different drug panel tests. I think the best one would be the 10 panel one.

    Eileen M Loya
  • Wow….I see all these tests are out for the marijuana! That’s interesting because I am not seeing a more dangerous drug, on this list!

    Ntensibe Edgar
  • That’s crazy. I never knew they had more than a 5 test. But I guess it’s just the most common ones they would test for. Makes sense now.

    Michele
  • Oh wow! I didn’t know that there were so many different types. So interesting. I hope to never have to take one. Ha!

    Jennifer Prince
  • It is good to know about these drug tests and the amount of time that drugs stay in your system. We still require a drug teste where I work, for new employees, plus periodic, random tests for current employees.

    Bryan

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