By Edmund Murphy

Last updated: 24 January 2024 & medically reviewed by Dr. Jenni Jacobsen

8-panel drug tests are among the most common forms of employment-based drug tests. It can detect the same drugs as a 5 or 6-panel test, with the addition of prescription medications like benzodiazepines and barbiturates.

What is an 8-panel drug test?

An 8-panel drug test screens for the same drugs as 6-panel tests with the addition of benzodiazepine and barbiturate metabolites, with a detection cut-off point above standard prescription amounts.[1] 

These tests are commonly used by employers during random and periodic screenings and as part of the onboarding process for new employees/prospective candidates.

How is an 8-panel drug test collected?

The 8-panel drug test is most commonly a urine drug test or in some cases a hair follicle drug test. Saliva and blood testing are also available but rarely used.

Read here for more info on types of drug tests.

What drugs are screened for on an 8-panel drug test?

  • Marijuana (including THC and Cannabinoids)

  • Cocaine

  • Basic Opioids (includes heroin, codeine, and morphine)

  • Phencyclidine (PCP, Angel Dust)

  • Amphetamines (includes Ritalin, Adderall)

  • Barbiturates (Veronal, Medinal) – The drug detection window for barbiturates is up to 5 days from the last ingestion.

  • Benzodiazepines

  • Methadone – The drug detection window for methadone is 3-7 days.

  • Hydrocodone

How is an 8-panel test carried out?

8-panel testing is carried out as either a lab-based test or as a point-of-care test (POCT), often referred to as express testing. 

Lab-based tests are collected by professional technicians before being forwarded to a laboratory for testing to take place. These tests are often seen as more controlled than POCTs, but they have the same level of cut-off.

Which testing method is preferred often depends on the timeline requirements of the test, as POCT tests can be completed and results processed almost immediately, while lab-based tests can take longer. 

Related: The drug testing process