As any working class citizen knows, it is rare to fill out a job application that does not require agreement to drug test. As the substance abuse rate rises exponentially, the number of jobs who must proceed with drug testing unfortunately must follow suit. These tests are a wonderful deterrent for keeping drug abusers and users out of the work place, but new horticultural developments make users of the most widely abused drug in the US, Marijuana, undetectable on home drug tests. All made possible through a new craze known as synthetic Marijuana or "spice".
THC the active ingredient in marijuana and give the users the high they crave by releasing abnormal amounts of dopamine from the brain. THC is also the metabolite which drug tests detect in a urine, saliva or hair specimen. In synthetic marijuana, also known as k2 or spice, the absence of THC makes it virtually undetectable in standard substance abuse tests. This means that perspective employers may be hiring employees who pass drug screenings but are in fact synthetic marijuana users. Though a handful of states have made "spice" illegal, it is a tough drug to combat in the workplace, given the ease of obtaining the substance in any local head shop, smoke store or even gas station.
With the criminalization of marijuana still a big issue in the United States it is apparent how many of people are looking for the same 'high' through other substances not yet illegal. As working class individuals strive to remain employed in an economy struggling to stay afloat, we see an increase in the use of recreational drugs, such as alcohol and marijuana. When marijuana could ruin an opportunity to hold a job if drug tested randomly or upon entry many people looked for a similar high without the same consequence. With a new alternative for marijuana hitting the market that does not discredit one's ability to obtain and succeed in the workplace when tested, it is no surprise how 'Spice' has been a hit in smoke shops around the country
Thus far, there is only an expensive laboratory drug screening to test for synthetic marijuana ($ 50 dollars compared to $ 10 for a standard home or office marijuana drug testing kit) and the labs producing the exams can only detect traces of five major synthetics out of hundreds . Even if a universally effective and cheap drug test was created it would prove useless because an employer could not deny someone a job based on the use of a legal drug. Since synthetic marijuana is a legal product, it puts employers and business owners in a catch 22 between a safe work environment and the rights of an employee.