How To Pass a 5-Panel Drug Test

How To Prepare and Pass a 5-Panel Drug Test?

Last Updated on February 12, 2023

Drug testing involves testing and analyzing biological specimens taken from individuals in the form of urine, blood, breath, sweat, or saliva.

They are used in order to identify or discount the presence of specific drugs or their metabolites (the intermediate products produced during metabolism).

Athletes and sporting professionals may be subject to drug testing to discount the use of performance-enhancing steroids when competing. Employers, police, and parole officers may use drug screening to test for the presence of illegal drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, or cocaine.

Blood alcohol content may also be tested, particularly when driving or having committed a driving offense. These tests will typically be administered via a breathalyzer, although they may be followed up with blood or urine samples.

Are you facing taking a 5-panel drug test? We will explain exactly what that means and discuss all you need to know about passing one.

What Is a 5-Panel Drug Test?

The panels refer to the thing that reacts when a person is tested. Each of the 5 panels in this urine sample test contains chemicals that will react to specific types of drug metabolites, including:

  • Marijuana and Cannabis
  • Opiates
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Phencyclidine

The test sample is forced into a gas and then checked against each of the 5 panels.

A 5-panel drug test is a standard form of testing that is used and recommended by public and private companies throughout the United States. It is reported to be 81% effective for accurately detecting the presence of illegal drug substances and MMJ or medical marijuana usage.

Understanding the test will help you to ascertain whether or not you are likely to fail or pass the test if you have used illegal drugs.

What Is the Purpose of a 5-Panel Drug Test?

Lab Doctor

The 5-panel drug test is used to detect the use of illegal drugs through a sample of a person’s urine using a specific panel to identify and detect relevant substances in the bloodstream.

It is often used in situations that involve an accident or for which an ongoing investigation exists. The test may also be performed on someone holding a valid driver’s license with a date of birth that appears suspicious if the person was not born in the United States.

What Is the Procedure for the 5-Panel Drug Test?

If you are asked to take a 5-panel drug test, you will be instructed to collect a sample of your urine and send it to an independent drug testing laboratory. There it will undergo the necessary analysis to determine whether or not prohibited substances are present.

On receipt of the sample, the lab will conduct its analysis using its proprietary algorithms to detect drugs that may be present in the sample. After analysis, the results will be evaluated and then reviewed by a Medical Review Officer.

How Far Back Can the 5-Panel Drug Test Assess?

The whole point of the 5-panel drug test is to detect the presence of illegal drugs that could potentially impair you in any way when going about your work or life. Consequently, the test is able to detect usage several days ago if a medical professional has the appropriate drug testing capabilities.

This period of accuracy does not, however, apply if the person in question has recently used MMJ — within a minimum of 90 days prior to the test. As the 5-panel test operates by the detection of metabolites, recent use of MMJ will render it inaccurate as metabolites may still be present up to 90 days after usage.

It is also the case that a 5-panel drug test can be used within 70 days of a positive marijuana test. If you are looking to get back behind the wheel of your vehicle, it is essential that you refrain from usage for at least that time frame.

When Might a 5-Panel Drug Test Be Used?

The 5-panel drug test may be used in some of the following circumstances:

  • The drug test may be used as part of a pre-employment suitability screening process, particularly in jobs that involve the use or operation of transportation or jobs that may be safety-sensitive where there is a possible risk of harm or injury to employees or the general public.
  • In organizations or professions where random drug testing is part of the culture or operational procedures.
  • In circumstances where there has been an accident, post-accident drug testing may be used to assess liability and capability or negligence.
  • When a person is returning to duty after absence, whether the absence be directly related to positive drug testing or otherwise.

How Can I Pass My 5-Panel Drug Test?

A Girl Having Tea

Traditional Methods

  • The most obvious answer to this question is to cut out all drugs and alcohol 1-2 weeks before the test. Some prefer to detoxify their system for 48 hours as opposed to a full week. If you plan to use a detox kit for this aim then it is important not to use any additional means of detoxification.
  • Exercise and drinking lots of water and tea before and after the exercise has been recommended as a means of detoxification. Many people believe that sweating and then rehydrating can speed up the process.
  • It is argued that being well-hydrated during the test will reduce sweating and raise the body temperature reducing the effects of ‘cold turkey.’
  • Eat a diet that is low in sugar, carbs, and caffeine to reduce the level of toxins in the body. A good diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables is said to cleanse the body. Increasing levels of Vitamin C can aid the absorption of nutrients. Multi-vitamins can support bodily functions, immune functions, and detoxification.

These traditional methods are the most natural and healthy way to pass the 5-panel drug test, removing all chemicals from the body quickly and effectively.

However, it should be remembered that these methods may be dangerous for some individuals and will only work if used daily, weekly, and close to the exam time in order to be effective.

Modern Methods

These methods can be more effective than the traditional methods but can be more complicated and need more time and effort.

  • Use a diuretic to speed up natural detoxification. Kidneys are stimulated to produce more urine, which can flush out toxins.
  • An inhibitor can prevent the body from absorbing drugs but only on a temporary basis. Inhibitors, when used in connection with a diuretic, can speed up the detoxification process and include; white kidney beans, licorice root, and black tea.
  • A Masking Agent will cover up drug residues in your urine sample but not on a hair test. Around six drops of the agent are put into a cup of water 30 minutes prior to the test.
  • Using a synthetic urine kit can be the most reliable way to pass a 5-panel drug test, however too much or too little of the substance is likely to be detected at the lab.
  • Hair restoration products that are made of silicone will absorb hair follicle toxins and make them look thicker. However, you will need to check that the product does not contain chemicals that could produce a false positive.

Whilst modern methods are likely to be more effective than traditional ones, there is a considerable amount of effort required both in length of time and the relevant testing period. These strategies can prove difficult for some people and also costly.


The Department of Transportation is one of the leading organizations in the United States that is deputized to perform drug testing on its employees.

Being part of, or the cause of, an accident or for arrest for driving under the influence may lead to drug testing by police officers, especially if there are suspicions that they may have been using illegal or prohibited substances.

The drug testing records are held in the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which also allows for a 5-panel drug test to be administered to anyone who might need it for employment or otherwise.

Positive testing of any kind whilst on probation may mean that police officers are able to apprehend and order a 5-panel drug test without warning.

Any kind of accident, especially at work, may well expose you to a random 5-panel test in order to ascertain whether or not you have consumed illegal drugs whilst carrying out your duties and therefore assess your level of liability and/or negligence.

Failing a 5-panel drug test means that the Department of Transportation has the power to deny a commercial driver’s license. It may be the case that if you have only consumed a very small amount of drugs, then you may be able to apply for an extended license after a period of 90 days has elapsed, but this is, in itself, a risky strategy.

You must pass your drug test to get your commercial driver’s license, plain and simple, and it should be remembered that the 5-panel drug test is used to detect anything in your system which may impair your judgment and capability on the road; this includes alcohol and MMJ.

Proof of past use of drugs could also be used to make a decision about whether or not your body is in a fit state for driving.

For your own protection and the protection of others, making sure that you are drug-free and fully capable is the best way to make sure that you not only keep your job but can also use vehicles and machinery safely.

Written by Karen Stanley

​​Karen is a former teacher of 20 years and ten times published author. She writes content for educational organizations and businesses, nationally and internationally. She coaches new and budding writers through to publication and is passionate about creativity; she runs creative writing workshops in schools and fostering agencies.

​​Karen is a former teacher of 20 years and ten times published author. She writes content for educational organizations and businesses, nationally and internationally. She coaches new and budding writers through to publication and is passionate about creativity; she runs creative writing workshops in schools and fostering agencies.