Can Kombucha Affect A Drug Test? Your Guide To DUI's – Grow Your Pantry

Can Kombucha Affect A Drug Test? Your Guide To DUI's

by Susan Grey on October 11, 2019
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It could yes, but it's unlikely.
A study concluded the following results: "A second MRO reviewed the case and had identified that yes Kombucha has been found to ferment, However, those Kombucha that is typically purchased in stores will not account for a positive of this level, or a positive at all." Source: Alternativeprograms.org.
A positive resulting drug test depends on what you've drunk and what type of test you have taken. There have been anecdotal reports from people drinking kombucha and to have failed a drug test after. Below contains a break down of a few standard drug tests, what they're looking for, and how kombucha could affect the result.
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What Is A Drug Test?

Drug test definition: "A test performed on blood or urine to determine the presence or absence of proscribed drugs and used especially to detect athletes using performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids — source: Lexicon. For the context of kombucha, we'll extend the definition to include breathalyzer tests standard in roadside stops, and the drug that they're testing for is alcohol.

What Do They Test For?

Most standard drug tests look for any substances that would compromise your performance, competence, and safety at work. Typical jobs that test for substances are heavy machinery operators, drivers, pilots, and medical professions. Tests detect alcohol, an opioid medication, and recreational drugs. 

Who Uses Them?

  • Employers. It's become more commonplace for employers to randomly drug test employees if you're in a responsible position, where your mistakes could injure or kill then expect to be tested.
  • Police. Law enforcement frequently does drug tests. Most commonly, they'll be performed after a traffic stop. If an officer sees suspicious driving, then the driver will be pulled over before testing for substance abuse.
  

Common Drug Tests

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ETG Tests

Who Uses It?
ETG tests use a urine sample to test for alcohol. Probation services commonly use an ETG test. Many convicted criminals that are let out of jail early may be under probation. A condition of probation may be no-alcohol consumption. A random ETG test will be taken to determine if somebody has broken their conditions of probation. 
What Does It Test For?
ETG Tests, are used to find out if somebody has consumed alcohol. As it uses bio-markers, it can not tell if somebody is currently under the influence of alcohol, nor can it determine how much alcohol a person has drunk. It will just produce a binary answer to the question, "have you consumed ethanol within the last 96 hours?"
How Does An ETG Test Work?
ETG tests work by looking for "biomarkers" of ethanol consumption. Ethanol is the chemical name for alcohol. After you've drunk ethanol, your body needs to excrete it. It can do this by excreting pure ethanol, through perspiration and faeces, or it metabolizes. When your body metabolizes, ethanol certain chemicals are produced. These are the chemicals tested in an ETG test. ETG tests can provide positive results for up to 96 hours after consuming ethanol. 
ETG Tests And False Positives
As ETG tests, detect the by-products of ethanol consumption, this method doesn't distinguish between the source of the ethanol. If you consumed some ethanol from sauerkraut that contains ethanol, then the results will appear the same as if you consumed ethanol from hard liquor. 
ETG and Kombucha
If your kombucha contains ethanol, then you will show a positive ETG test. Even though kombucha contains trace amounts of ethanol, it may be enough to produce the bio-markers than trigger the positive result. 

DUI Tests

DUI is short for Driving Under Influence. Influences could include alcohol or other drugs. It's commonplace for law enforcement around the world to pull over vehicles that are driving suspiciously. After pulling a driving over, they'll often have a chat before deciding to test the driver or not. Conventional methods include asking them to perform specific actions or take a digital test. The standard digital test would be a breathalyzer. 
Does Kombucha Show A Positive Result?
It's improbable to show a positive result for drinking kombucha, as the volume of alcohol in most kombucha drinks is low. However, it may give a false positive reading.  
How Does It Work?
You'll be asked to blow into a machine before the reader returns the results. The results would show a numerical reading. The officer would compare the result to known readings to determine whether or not you're under the influence of alcohol.
Breathalyzer Tests And False Positives 
As shown in a YouTube video, it is possible that a breathalyzer could give you a very high positive reading after just drinking kombucha. Even a Minnesota Vikings player seems to have been caught out by this. When you take a breathalyzer test after having any food or drink that contains alcohol, then it can show a positive result. There will be a lot of alcohol concentrated inside your mouth shortly after consuming it. This higher concentration of alcohol will be blown into the analyzer showing a positive result.
If you were to take a more accurate form of alcohol test, such as blood, then the result would be negative as the concentration of alcohol in the blood would be well within the legal range.
This situation is rare, however possible, and likely the reason why there have been some reports of kombucha setting off breathalyzer tests. 

BAC Tests

A BAC test is a Blood Alcohol Test. It uses a sample of blood that is then analyzed to determine the amount of alcohol present. This is thought to be the most accurate measurement for intoxication. You'll likely take a BAC test if the police are investigating you for a crime that may have been influenced by drinking. For example, in a traffic accident, samples could be taken from the drivers. 

Can Kombucha Raise Your BAC?

Yes, but likely by a negligible amount. As previously discussed, commercially produced kombucha will likely not likely increase it by much, therefore keeping you within the legal range for operating a vehicle and machinery.

False Positives

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A false positive is when a drug test may falsely give a positive result. An example would be if you hadn't drunk any alcohol, took an alcohol detection test, then the result would suggest that you have been drinking. This can happen for several reasons. 
The most common reason would be a faulty test kit. 
Another reason will be if you've just drunk kombucha and residue is left in your mouth. It may be testing the residue and not an accurate measurement of how much you have taken and the effect of taking it.
If you suspect a false positive test has happened, try a different kit that tests for the same drug by using a different method.

Kombucha By Alcohol Content

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Most commercially brewed kombucha is classed as a non-alcoholic drink. For a beverage to be sold as non-alcoholic in the USA by law, it has to contain less than 0.5% alcohol. Commercially produced kombucha has specifically been manufactured and brewed to be below the 0.5% threshold. Therefore homebrewed kombucha is slightly different, as the traditional method for brewing kombucha could produce alcohol at a higher concentration. Homebrew could come in up to 3% ABV.

How Much Would You Need To Drink For It To Test Positive?

For positive test results with commercially produced kombucha that has an alcohol content of less than 0.5%, it's near impossible. For the reason that you would have to drink so much that if your brew contained 0.5% ABV, you would have to drink at least 15-20 beer sized bottles to get the same volume of alcohol. You would also need to consume this within a short period to get the results too. Therefore you can assume that commercially brewed kombucha would not give you a positive test result.
As homebrewed kombucha can contain up to 3% ABV, it is possible to get a positive test result from drinking it. To get an accurate understanding of the alcohol by volume, you need to test the batch. There are a couple of methods, a digital hydrometer, and an alcohol hydrometer. For a digital hydrometer, look for a homebrewer's one. As the method and device to test beer at home can also be used for kombucha.

Common Questions

Can You Drink Kombucha And Drive?
It depends on what type of kombucha you have drunk. If you drink commercially produced kombucha that has been sold as non-alcoholic, then yes, you can drive. If you have homebrewed kombucha then be sure to test the ABV before you drink and drive.
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