4 Panel Drug Test: Everything We Know

4 Panel Drug Test: Everything We Know


A 4 panel drug test is the standard drug testing panel used by employers to check for four major drug metabolites - COC, THC, Opiates (Natural), and MAMP.

Employers in the safety-sensitive industry may use a 4-panel urine drug test to identify drug abuse among their employees. Learn more about 4 panel drug test and how it is unique compared to a 5 panel drug test in this blog. 

Table Of Contents:

Drug Screening

A drug screen, commonly known as a drug test, is the test using a collection of various samples like urine, blood, hair, or saliva from the body to detect the presence of a type of chemicals left inside the body due to drug consumption that comes under the particular test category.

You might get positive or negative results based on the cut-off levels pre-determined in the drug testing kit or in the laboratory. Meaning, if you have the amount of drug metabolites above the cut-off levels, you may get positive results. Else, you will get negative results.

The cut-off levels in the drug test are determined by SAMHSA. Drug tests detect the performance-enhancing drugs athletes use, such as HGH and Steroids, as well as common abuse substances. Many types of drug screening methods are available depending on the type of sample used. Here, we are going to know about the 4 panel drug test and who uses it to detect drug abuse.

4 Panel Drug Test

As previously discussed, a 4 panel drug test detects the abuse of four major illicit drugs in the system.“Panel" refers to the specific group of drugs or substances that are included in the test itself.

(A 4 panel drug test kit is used to test for particular drugs or it can be customized. A 4-panel drug test is not as common as a 5 panel drug test in the workplace. It is cheaper and covers the most common drugs of abuse.)

A 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 lab with the assistance of US Health Testing.

So, you need not waste your time searching for "Labcorp near me" or "Labcorp," as US Health Testing, a prestigious partner of Labcorp, covers all the Labcorp centers in the USA. You can choose your nearest lab (5 to 50 miles) and order a drug test online instantly.

What shows up on a 4-panel drug test results?

The drugs that show up in the 4 panel drug test are commonly abused street drugs. These are listed below:

  1. COC
  2. THC 
  3. Opiates
  4. Methamphetamines

These four drugs are categorized as permanent but can also be customized. These drugs are the most used by addicts due to their wide distribution.

Cocaine (COC)

Cocaine can be taken orally, injected, inhaled, and snorted. 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 discernments, produces loss of coordination, weakens short memory, and induces tension, neurosis, misery, disarray, fantasy, and increased pulse rate.

Massive doses of cannabinoids could cause the improvement of resistances and physiological reliance and lead to mishandling. Resistance to the cardiovascular and psychotropic impacts of the MMJ medication can happen, and withdrawal condition produces anxiety, sleep deprivation, anorexia, and nausea. The level for THC in a 4-panel THC drug test is 50 ng/ml.

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 the 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 shows 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 are present in the individual's system above the cut-off levels.

An 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 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-taking authority has the say in this.

Note: Be sure to tell the testing supplier or your medical services supplier if you are ingesting any physician recommended medications, over-the-counter medications since they may give you a positive outcome during your 4 panel drug test. Additionally, you ought to keep away from certain food items with poppy seeds, which can cause a positive result for THC.

4 Panel Drug Test vs 5 Panel Drug Screen

4 Panel Drug Screen

5 Panel Drug screen

Check 4 drugs simultaneously

Check 5 drugs simultaneously

Drugs - THC, opiates, cocaine, and methamphetamines

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

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

Used commonly for employment purposes or employers.

Who Uses The 4 Panel Drug Test?

Find out whether a person has recently consumed drugs or not. Its primary use is for:

  • Sports organizations - to test athletes and professionals as they 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 opioid - when prescribed for several health conditions, must test it for the amount taken.

Types of Drug Screening Methods

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. 

  • Saliva Drug screen - 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. This method takes less time in detection as compared to others.
  • The common substances tested in saliva drug screen include:

    1. Opiates
    2. Alcohol
    3. Cocaine
    4. THC
    5. Methamphetamine
    6. PCP
  • Hair Drug Testing - A strand of hair is used as a time detectable of an individual's substance consumption history. For Example - Somebody might have consumed weed months ago. Yet, through hair follicle drug testing, the substance would, in any case, could be identified as the metabolites that remain in the blood after drug use and, for all time, stay inside the hair follicle can be detected by this screening method.
  • The common substances that be detected using the hair testing method:

    1. Phencyclidine
    2. Barbiturates
    3. Oxycodone and oxymorphone
    4. MMJ
    5. Opiates
    6. Cocaine
    7. Amphetamines
    8. Hydrocodone and hydromorphone
  • Blood Drug Testing
  • The common substances that can be detected using the blood testing method include,

    1. Ethyl alcohol
    2. THC
    3. Methadone
    4. Oxycodone
    5. Buprenorphine
    6. Propoxyphene
    7. Opiates
    8. Tramadol
    9. Cocaine
    10. Benzodiazepines

    Most drugs and its metabolites can be detected using the blood testing method. Since blood testing is invasive and expensive, it is rarely used for drug testing. 

  • Urine Drug Screen - Urine drug tests are the most well-known strategy for drug testing. They are 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.
  • 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

    Depending on the type panel test (4-13), the results will come positive or negative for the drug tested.


    An employer may conduct a 4 panel drug test for their employees to maintain a safe and productive workplace environment. An employer can conduct a pre-employment, random, and suspicion based drug testing as per their drug testing policies. So, it is significant to keep track of your drug usage before your drug test. It is more efficient if you keep yourself away from drug usage to prevent any mishap.

    Specialists, sports authorities, managers and employers may demand a drug screen for different reasons. These screens can check for a scope of medications, including pot, nicotine, barbiturates, and narcotics, like 6-MAM and methadone. A few drugs and its metabolites stay recognizable in the body longer than others. If an underlying outcome is positive, an individual may have to require a second test for affirmation.

    A drug screen can rapidly and adequately recognize the presence of illicit drugs or doctor-prescribed drugs in the body. A positive result can affect various aspects of life like your job, your eligibility to play sports, and the outcome of a court case. Be aware of false positive drug test and understand your rights as an employer and an employee.

    It is highly recommended that before you get drug tested, you learn about the type of drug test, why you are getting tested, and what the results will be used for. If you have questions about your drug test, you should talk to your health care provider or contact your employer that ordered the test. 

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