TODA PHARMA boite de tests salivaires

Everything You Need to Know About Saliva Testing: From Drug Detection to Medical Use

Saliva tests have gained popularity, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. Used for several decades, they serve multiple purposes, ranging from drug testing of drivers to the detection of various diseases. In this article, we will explore in depth the different aspects of saliva testing, how they work, their use in various contexts, and the associated advantages and disadvantages.

Use in drug testing

When and why are they used?

Saliva tests are frequently used by police forces to detect drug use among drivers. They are particularly used in the event of an accident with material damage, a traffic violation, or during mass screening operations. Articles L 235-2, R 235-3, R 235-4 and R 235-6 of the Highway Code govern these checks.

What substances are detected?

The main drugs detected by these tests are THC (Cannabis) , opiates , crack , cocaine , benzodiazepines and amphetamines . Detection time varies from 6 to 48 hours, depending on the drug and frequency of use. It should be noted that these tests can also be used as self-tests and are available on the Internet.

Medical use of saliva tests

HIV detection

HIV can be detected in saliva using a rapid saliva test. This test has been approved by the FDA in the United States since 2004 and is available in pharmacies in France, although it is not reimbursed by Health Insurance.

Hormonal tests

Saliva tests can also detect various hormones like estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, cortisol or testosterone. These tests are particularly useful for identifying hormonal imbalances, particularly in cases of fertility disorders or during the menopause period.

Hepatitis detection

Tests to detect hepatitis (A, B, C, E) are under development and look promising.

How it works ?

Saliva testing uses a swab or absorbent strip to collect saliva. The test works on the principle of competition or competition between antibodies and antigens. If the saliva contains a drug or virus, a colored line appears in the test line region, indicating a positive result.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • Speed ​​and Ease of Use : Saliva tests are quick to implement and can be used as self-tests.

  • Non-Invasive : They are less invasive than blood tests, making them popular for testing children and people with needle phobia.


  • Reliability : Saliva tests do not always distinguish between legal CBD consumption and illegal cannabis consumption, as both contain THC .

  • Accuracy : Saliva tests are not medical grade IVD devices, which may affect their accuracy.


Saliva tests are versatile tools used in a variety of settings, from drug testing to disease detection. Although they offer many advantages in terms of convenience and speed, it is crucial to understand their limitations in terms of reliability and accuracy. As science advances, it is likely that we will see improvements in saliva testing technology, making these tests even more reliable and versatile in the future.

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