Urine tests are the most common form of drug detection used by employers, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, concerned parents, and other interested parties who want to identify drug users. Synthetic urine can be purchased online and used to alter drug tests, but what is synthetic urine, and how does it work? Find out what users need to know before passing a drug test using this unique chemical substance.
Synthetic urine is a man-made substance that contains the same chemical compounds as real human urine and mimics its visual and olfactory properties. It includes components like creatinine, urea, uric acid, ammonia, and sulfates that are found in accurate urine and features specific gravity and pH levels nearly identical to those of human urine.
While synthetic urine certainly isn’t the only product available to those who need to pass drug tests, it’s among the most convenient and effective options available. Whether you’re planning to apply to a new job, or you just want to win the trust of a loved one, it’s worth learning more about this helpful tool.
What is Synthetic Urine?
Synthetic urine is a mixture of chemicals that contains all the same organic and inorganic compounds as regular human urine. Most consumers know it as a quick fix for an unexpected drug test, but synthetic urine history dates back to the 1800s. Urea, one of the primary components of both natural and synthetic urine, was the first organic compound ever to be synthesized in a lab.
Today’s products are much more sophisticated than the urea produced by chemist Friedrich Wöhler. They contain far more ingredients and are better able to mimic the color, pH level, and other properties of actual urine. As a result, it can help some weed smokers, and other drug users pass specific urine tests.
A quick caveat: it will only fool the tests if prepared correctly, and it can’t compete against the most sophisticated types of urine tests. That being said, synthetic urine still has its uses.
Part of the reason that users get mixed results from synthetic urine is that every product has a slightly different chemical composition, and some are more convincing than others.
Those that work best contain all the chemical compounds found in natural urine and can maintain the correct color and temperature before test submission. Here’s what to look for:
- Sodium chloride
- Potassium chloride
- Sodium phosphate
- Distilled water
It’s essential to choose products that use distilled water because it allows manufacturers to manage their products’ pH levels correctly. If it doesn’t have the right pH level, it won’t fool even the least sensitive tests.
Not all synthetic urine products contain 100% of the same compounds found in the typical natural urine sample, so it’s always best to conduct some research on your own. Check the ingredients list to ensure that it has urea, exceptionally because, without urea, even an otherwise convincing product won’t be able to pass muster on most laboratory tests.
It’s equally important to check for creatinine. This substance is a waste product produced by your muscles and removed from the body by the kidneys. Every average person has some creatinine in their urine, so if the product doesn’t have it, don’t buy it.
Powdered vs. Liquid Synthetic Urine
Those looking for a way around failing their drug tests have two options: liquid synthetic urine and powdered urine. It may be tempting to assume that powdered natural urine is more effective than its synthetic alternatives, but in fact, this is rarely the case. While it’s true that some powdered urine products are made by dehydrating natural urine, most have just as many added compounds as synthetic urine, and they are just as easy to detect.
To use powdered urine, consumers must mix it with the right amount of water and keep it heated to average body temperature. This can be a problem if you wind up facing a surprise drug test. Trying to rush the mixing process is never a good idea since getting the ratios wrong makes it easy to detect the anomaly using even the simplest urinalysis.
Synthetic urine contains all the same organic and inorganic compounds as natural urine. Every manufacturer uses a different proprietary formula, so it takes some legwork to find the right one. Still, once users have purchased a top product, it’s a much more fool-proof method.
Unlike powdered urine, synthetic urine comes pre-mixed in liquid form. Users will still need to warm it up to body temperature before their tests, but they won’t have to worry about getting ratios right or having the time to prepare in private. Just keep in mind that liquid synthetic urine has a shorter shelf-life, so emergency supplies will need to be replenished more often.
What is Synthetic Urine Used For?
So far, this article has focused primarily on using synthetic urine to pass drug tests. That’s just one of the many reasons consumers buy powdered and liquid products, though. Here are only a few of the other reasons you might want to pick some up:
- Animal Repellents: There’s nothing more frustrating than dealing with rodent or other animal infestations in a garden. Many of today’s gardeners are turning to synthetic urine for a solution. It works just as well to repel rodents and other nuisance animals, but it costs less than real urine, and frankly, it doesn’t have the same “yuck” factor.
- Education and Clinical Experiments: Medical schools worldwide use synthetic urine to teach students about urinalysis tests and clinical experiments. It’s cheaper than purchasing real urine, and its easy availability makes buying synthetic urine in bulk easy for school administrators.
- Testing Cleaning Agents: Believe it or not, salespeople and marketers often use synthetic urine to show salespeople their products’ effectiveness. While door-to-door carpet cleaner salesmen don’t get much play in today’s society, it’s still common to see demonstrations in commercials that show how great a product is at removing gross, smelly stains. If those stains are yellow, chances are the marketer used synthetic urine, not the real thing.
- Pulling Pranks: Let’s be clear: using any kind of urine to prank a friend should be considered somewhat of a faux pas. If you’re going to do it, though, at least go for the fake stuff and not the real thing.
- Passing Drug Tests: Finally, back to the primary use of synthetic urine: passing drug tests. The right formulation prepared at the right temperature can help drug users avoid trouble with employers, landlords, parents, and even the law. Again, not all synthetic urine is created equal, and all the right conditions must be met for this trick to work. If the alternative is a definite failure, though, it’s usually a better option.
How Effective is Synthetic Urine for Passing Drug Tests?
Reputable vendors sell products that are as close to the real deal as possible, but that doesn’t mean it’s 100% effective. To beat even a simple drug test, the pH level needs to be spot on, and not all products hit that benchmark. Plus, even high-quality synthetic urine can’t mimic the froth that forms natural urine when it’s shaken because it lacks the protein found in regular urine. If the lab tests samples to catch fake negatives, it’s still relatively easy to tell the difference.
That being said, laboratories sometimes process thousands of samples per day. Urine samples for drug tests aren’t always at the top of their priorities lists. Both powdered and liquid synthetic urine can pass for the real thing if they contain the correct amounts of all expected compounds, and the lab techs haven’t taken the time to shake the sample to look for froth. Some high-quality liquid products also can mimic the frothy bubbles formed by natural urine. No powdered urine products can make that claim.
Proper storage, heating, and usage are all key to avoiding failed drug tests or falsified results. Both liquid and powdered synthetic urine can be kept at room temperature until they’re needed, but liquid products require far less preparation time. If you’re concerned about the potential for a surprise drug screening, that’s always the way to go.
All you’ll need to do to prepare liquid synthetic urine properly is heat it up. Most products come with heating pads, placed between the pouch of liquid and an adjustable belt. Read the instructions for the product in advance. Most will recommend keeping it pressed between your body and the heating pad for an hour before the test.
Many users skip the heating pad entirely and put the pouch between their legs, leaving it there for at least two hours. This all but guarantees that the product’s temperature will be within a normal range by the test’s time. It may be a little awkward, but this technique is worth it for the improved temperature accuracy.
Thankfully for those who need to pass their drug tests but don’t live like saints, most employers will not supervise urine sample collection. If you anticipate that the collection process will be managed, you may have to get a little creative. You should still be able to come up with a plan for dispensing the synthetic urine as intended, but you may want to buy an extra bag to try out said brilliant plan at least once in advance.
The legality of Synthetic Urine
As of right now, there is no federal law against submitting synthetic urine instead of the real thing for a drug test. However, many states have passed laws that make it illegal to attempt to falsify drug test results. Here are the countries that have explicitly banned the use of synthetic urine:
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
- South Carolina
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
They were wondering how manufacturers get around this legal problem so they can sell their products everywhere? It’s simple. They market synthetic urine as a gag gift, a rodent deterrent, or another type of work unrelated to drug screening.
These claims aren’t false, given that some consumers do use the products in these ways. However, it would be difficult for users to make that claim if they got caught in the act of using it during a drug test, so keep that in mind.
Manufacturers also have to include disclaimers on their products that reference the fact that their synthetic urine is not intended to help people pass drug tests. If that’s what you plan to use it for, you can go ahead and just ignore that disclaimer entirely. It’s more or less the equivalent to going into a smoke shop and seeing a sign that says its pipes and bongs are “for tobacco use only.”
Consequences of Getting Caught Using Synthetic Urine on a Drug Test
In most cases, states that have banned synthetic urine consider possession of it a misdemeanor offense. Some states only charge people who break anti-drug test cheating laws, which don’t always explicitly identify synthetic urine as a banned substance. The penalties for getting caught can be pretty stiff. For example, in South Carolina, first-time offenders can expect to face up to three years in prison, fines of up to $5,000, or both. In North Carolina, the second offense is a Class I felony.
Steep fines and prison time aren’t the only potential consequences for failing to falsify a drug test successfully. Employers tend to frown upon the use of synthetic urine and do school administrators and over-controlling parents. Ultimately, it’s up to each user whether he or she wants to accept those risks. If the consequences of failing the test are worse than those of getting caught falsifying it, it’s still worth a shot.