When two California parents are going through a nasty custody dispute, there may be allegations of marijuana use. In these cases, the court may order the parents to take a drug test. One traditional way to test for marijuana use is to test the person’s hair follicles, but a recent study by researchers from the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Germany showed that it is possible to receive a false positive.

According to the researchers, the study demonstrated that the main targets used in hair follicle drug tests that give a positive result can be found in those who do not consume marijuana. The targets can reportedly be transferred to non-consumers through contact with consumers through their sweat, their hands or even their smoke. This can be problematic for parents who are fighting for custody of their children when there are allegations that one parent uses marijuana.

While urine tests are often the go-to test for marijuana consumption, there are still problems with both tests. Not only has it been shown that false positive results can occur for non-consumers, marijuana often stays in the body for a much longer period than most other drugs. Someone who consumed marijuana months before a hair test could be concluded to be a habitual consumer based off the results of the test.

If a parent is falsely accused of using marijuana during a child custody dispute, a family law attorney may help protect the parent’s rights should the court order a hair follicle drug test. If a false positive test is given, the attorney may request a new test or may ask that the court use a different test.