4 Panel Drug Test: The Ultimate Employment Screening Guide

4 Panel Drug Test: The Ultimate Employment Screening Guide


Are you running a non-safety-sensitive business, yet you want to drug test your employees? The best option to go for is 4 panel drug test.

The 4-panel drug screening is the very basic drug testing method used by employers to check for four major drug metabolites - COC, THC or PCP, Opiates (Natural), and MAMP.

Table Of Contents:

Why Can Employers Go For 4 Panel Drug Test?

Hiring and retaining employees has always been a daunting task for many employers of various industries. It becomes even more challenging with respect to drafting drug and alcohol policies and successfully running them without any hassles.

Recently evolving state-based marijuana policies (Job protections for MMJ and recreational marijuana),  drug testing litigations, and staffing challenges are pushing employers to look for a headache-free way to hire employees.

Employers in the safety-sensitive industries do have less impact compared to other industries as they are required to abide only by the DOT drug testing policy. 

What can employers from other industries do? Are they destined to hustle with the state and federal laws to create their drug testing policies in place?

No! That is where 4-panel drug test comes to the rescue!

Before learning what is a 4 panel drug test, it is significant to know how it can help you with complex drug testing policies.

How it can help employers?

1. 4 panel drug test (No THC) - Yes, the basic 4-panel drug test can test for four major illicit drugs - COC, OPI, THC, and MAMP. If your state has legalized marijuana, you can modify the testing cycle with PCP. This way, you can use a 4 panel drug test without THC.

Note: Marijuana use is still illegal as per federal law. As an employer, you can still test for Marijuana in a legalized state and detain an employee if the levels are above the SAMHSA's prescribed cut-off levels.

2. Affordable Preliminary testing - Rather than going for a 5-panel lab drug test, it is economical to go for a 4-panel drug test during preliminary testing.

Great! What is a 4-panel drug test?

4 Panel Drug Test

A 4-panel drug test is a basic drug test panel that looks for four major illicit drugs in the system. It is cheaper and customizable compared to other drug testing panels.

4-panel drug test is used by many businesses, employers, parents, and sports management organizations to detect drug abuse. An initial drug test may involve a drug testing kit which determines the drug usage within 3 to 5 minutes.

If the preliminary test comes out positive, a confirmatory test (GC/MS test) would be conducted to confirm the drug abuse. Some employers may conduct a lab drug test by choosing their nearest drug testing labs with the help of US Health Testing.

Apart from 4 panel drug test, there are different panel drug tests that an employer can choose to go for as per the company drug testing policy requirements.

4 Panel Drug Test - Drug Facts for Employers

    It is significant for employers to know about the abusive street drugs that an employee/candidate can possibly use. Here are the drug facts of the 4-panel drug test drugs.

    Cocaine (COC)

    Cocaine can be injected, inhaled, and snorted, or taken orally. Cocaine (COC) is extracted from the leaves of the cocoa plant. The cocaine drug is a potent nervous system energizer like a nearby sedative.

    A portion of the mental impacts prompted by the cocaine drug is joy, certainty, and a feeling of expanded energy joined by raised pulse, expansion of the students, fever, quakes, and sweating.

    Ongoing ingestion of cocaine results in physiological dependence, which further encourages its abuse, a cascading cycle of dependence, abuse, and arrests.

    Benzoylecgonine is a key metabolite of cocaine and has a natural half-life of 5 to 8 hours, which is longer than that of the cocaine drug (0.5 to 1.5 hours) and can be, for the most part, recognized for 12 to 72 hours after the cocaine drug use or exposure.

    The level for the drug in a 4-panel drug test is 300 ng/ml of Benzoylecgonine.


    THC can be ingested or smoked. The continued use or excess of cannabinoid can affect temperament, and tangible discernment produces loss of coordination, weakens short memory, and induces tension, neurosis, misery, disarray, fantasy, and increased pulse rate.

    The level for THC in a 4-panel THC drug test is 50 ng/ml. If you are an employer going for a 4-panel drug test - No THC, you can learn more about PCP on our Drug Facts page.

    Natural Opiates

    Opiates cover an enormous assortment of medications, going from legal ones like fentanyl, codeine, and morphine, to illegal drugs like 6-MAM and opium. Opiates are regularly utilized by infusion, oral utilization, or even suppositories.

    Methamphetamines (MAMP)

    Methamphetamines can be smoked, grunted, infused, or taken orally. The Methamphetamine drug (MET) is the most famous alternative subsidiary of amphetamines.

    The methamphetamine drug discharges in the urine as amphetamine, oxidized derivatives, and deaminated derivatives. Notwithstanding, 10-40% of the methamphetamine drug is released unaltered.

    The methamphetamine drug is, for the most part, noticeable in the urine for 3 to 5 days after use. This 4-panel methamphetamine drug test involves a cut-off level of 1000 ng/ml of (+) methamphetamine.

    4 Panel Urine Drug Test Procedure

    To perform the 4-panel drug test, You will require a sample collection cup and a high-quality 4-panel drug test kit. Follow the below-mentioned steps to conduct your drug test:

    1. Collect urine from the individual to be tested for drugs in a dispensable assortment cup. The sample should have a minimum quantity of 30 ml to 50 ml to test for drugs. 
    2. If the assortment cup has a temperature strip, read it and ensure the urine sample has an optimal temperature range
    3. Remove the base cap from the 4-panel drug test card to lower the medication test strips in the urine.
    4. AVOID passing the arrow when submerging the four-panel drug test card since this can flood the test and nullify the medication test card.
    5. Leave it for 3 to 5 minutes and remove the base cap to check the readings.
    6. Once the C (control) zone lines show up, you can open the base cap and read the drug test results as per the C and T line regions in your drug testing kit.

    How To Read A 4-Panel Drug Test?

    The most effective method to read a 4 panel drug test is comparatively more straightforward.

    For understanding the test results, two rose pink shading bands (in the C and T regions) are used to demonstrate a 'negative' result; 1 rose-pink bar in the C area shows a 'positive' effect; and if no band shows up or one rose-pink band shows up in the T region, it's considered "no outcome."

    A positive outcome demonstrates that the particular drug or the group of drugs is present in the individual's system above the cut-off levels.

    A negative outcome demonstrates that the drug or the group of drugs are either absent in the individual's system or present in minimal levels, say, less than the cut-off levels as determined by SAMHSA.

    There are cases where you may get false-positive or false-negative drug test results during your 4 panel drug test.

    In that case, the tester might use the same sample again or ask the candidate to give another sample or conclude it as a positive drug test. The deciding authority to have a say in this.

    Sometimes, you may get uncertain or non-conclusive drug testing results during your 4-panel drug test.

    It might be due to many reasons. In that case, the collector might demand another sample or decide it as a failed drug test result. The decision-making authority has a say in this.


    1. Be sure to tell the testing supplier or your medical services supplier if you are ingesting any physician-recommended medications, or over-the-counter medications since they may give you a positive outcome during your 4-panel drug test.

    2. Additionally, you ought to keep away from certain food items with poppy seeds, which can cause a positive result for THC.

    Difference Between 4 Panel and 5 Panel Drug Test

    4 Panel Drug Screen

    5 Panel Drug screen

    Check 4 drugs simultaneously

    Check 5 drugs simultaneously

    Drugs - THC, opiates, cocaine, and methamphetamine drugs

    Drugs - THC, opiates, cocaine, PCP, and amphetamines used

    Used commonly for employment, athletes, and at crime scenes.

    Used commonly for employment purposes or employers.

    Who Uses The 4 Panel Drug Test?

    • Sports organizations - to test athletes and professionals as they may consume drugs for better performance.
    • Employment - Employees should be checked for drug consumption before hiring (Pre-employment drug test) and on the job (random drug test).
    • Forensics use - drug screening is used as part of criminal cases investigation.
    • Monitoring opioids - when prescribed for several health conditions, must test it for the amount taken.

    Types of 4-Panel Drug Test

    A 4-panel drug test involves a urine sample collection method only. But in some cases, an employer might opt for a 4-panel saliva drug test or a 4-panel hair follicle drug test. 

  1. 4 panel Saliva Drug Test - This saliva drug test is considered the less invasive method where the tester will collect the sample using the sponge from the buccal cavity region of your mouth.  
  2. 4-panel urine drug test - A 4-panel Urine drug test is effortless, simple, fast, and cost-effective. They can likewise check for both illicit and physician-recommended drugs. The individual gives a urine sample, and a specialist or expert analyses it.
  3. The investigation can decide if an individual has utilized explicit medications in the previous few days or weeks, even after the impacts of drugs have worn off. Numerous variables influence the time that a test can distinguish a specific medication in the body. These variables include:

    • Weight
    • Hydration levels
    • The aridity of the urine
    • How sometime in the past, the individual took the medication.


    An employer of non-safety-sensitive may conduct a 4-panel drug test for their employees to maintain a safe and productive workplace environment.

    Specialists, sports authorities, managers, and employers may demand a 4 panel drug test for different reasons. These screens can check for a scope of drug abuse in employees and also helps to manage your drug and alcohol testing policy.

    A few drugs and their metabolites stay recognizable in the body longer than others. If an underlying outcome is positive, an individual may have to require a lab drug test for affirmation. Be aware of false positive drug test and understand your rights as an employer and an employee.

    Get high-quality 4 panel drug test kits from Uritox LLC - at huge discounts.


    1. What is a 4 panel drug test?

    A 4 panel drug test is the easiest and cheapest panel of drug tests used to identify drug abuse in employees and individuals for four major classes of drugs.

    The 4 panel drug test provides faster and more accurate results within three to five minutes of testing with a urine sample. It is easy to read and best-suitable for preliminary drug testing for on-site purposes.

    2. What does a 4 panel drug test test for?

    The 4 panel drug test can test for four drugs - Cocaine, Opiates (Natural), Marijuana or Phencyclidine (Based on preferences), and methamphetamine. Employers can opt for PCP instead of Marijuana in the states where marijuana is legalized. 

    3. Does a 4 panel drug test for THC?

    Yes. A 4 panel drug test test for THC. An employer can test their employee or candidate for THC using a 4 panel test. In case the state had legalized laws for recreational or medical marijuana, the employer can change THC for PCP during the test.

    The significant thing to note is an employer (In a Marijuana legalized state) can test for THC and can detain a candidate from employment if the THC levels are above the cut-off levels. 

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