It is commonly believed that the detection of cannabis metabolites in a hair follicle means that the test has come back positive for marijuana. However, a new study from the Institute of Forensic Medicine says that some results are actually false positives. The research indicates that cannabis can be transferred from an individual who used the substance to a person who has not.
Such transfers can occur through a user's sweat, when a user touches another person's hand or through cannabis smoke itself. While hair follicle tests may be used in the United States, most child protection drug testing is done through urine tests. Urine tests are standard for government employees, and according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, it is the only certified drug test method.
Regardless of the type of test used, testing for marijuana may be ineffective overall. This is because an individual who has marijuana in his or her system may not necessarily be impaired. However, a positive test could lead to a parent losing custody rights or losing his or her job if tested while at work. Therefore, it is important to understand the limitations of a hair test and the limitations of drug testing in general when so much may be at stake for a parent.
A parent who is going through a child custody battle may wish to have an attorney try to establish that the client is fit to take care of a child or otherwise have parental rights. In some cases, a parent may need to submit to drug testing to verify this claim. Legal counsel may be able to ensure that a parent's rights are protected and any testing is done correctly.