Delta-8 THC is legal in the United States, but you’ll want to consider your frequency of use if you’re subject to a drug test. Here’s what you need to know about delta 8 and drug tests.
- Yes, delta 8 will show up as a false positive on a drug test if you take it too close to your test date.
- Delta-8 THC is federally legal, but with most tests, it’s indistinguishable from traditional THC.
- If you are concerned about failing a drug test, lay off using delta-8 products for at least 30 days.
Delta-8 THC has surged in popularity following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp and its derivatives. It quickly captivated attention because of its more laid-back, uplifting effects. But despite its federal legal status, delta-8 can get you in hot water if you’re subject to drug tests.
Whether your employer or athletic body requires routine drug tests, if you’re interested in using delta-8 THC, you’ll want to understand its potential impact on drug-testing results.
Keep reading to learn about delta-8 and drug tests, how long delta-8 stays in your system, and some guidance on how to get rid of delta-8 THC metabolites in your body.
Does Delta 8 Show Up on a Drug Test?
Yes– delta-8 THC will show up on a drug test if you take it too close to your test date.
Most drug tests for THC are looking for evidence of a recent encounter with the well-known cannabinoid delta-9 THC, rather than delta-8 THC. To do this, they screen for the presence of THC-COOH.
THC-COOH is a metabolite formed as your body metabolizes THC. Its technical name is 11-nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol. While THC leaves your systems relatively quickly, THC-COOH is lipid-soluble and can remain detectable for weeks after use.
Delta-8 THC produces the metabolite 11-nor-9-carboxy-Δ8-tetrahydrocannabinol, slightly different than 11-nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol. While some more expensive tests can differentiate between the two, the ones most commonly used aren’t sophisticated enough to tell the difference.
This is because delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC are closely related. They share the same chemical formula, with slight differences in how atoms are arranged. Delta-8 THC has a double bond on its eighth carbon molecule, while delta-9 THC has one on its ninth.
Despite this difference between delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC, in most drug tests they’re going to show up the same. Long story short, delta-8 THC can show up on a drug test if you’ve taken it recently.
Further Reading: Learn more about the differences between delta-8 and delta-9 THC.
What Science Says About Delta 8 and Drug Tests
Research exploring delta-8 and drug tests is still lacking since delta-8 is so new.
However, a 2022 study found that the use of delta-8 THC could be identified in a urine drug test by its metabolite, THC-COOH. In 2021, scientists could distinguish between delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC through both gas chromatography and fragmentation and confirmed that delta-8 metabolizes in the liver in the same way as delta-9.
How Long Can Delta 8 Stay In Your System?
While the effects of delta-8 last a few hours, your body can show signs of delta-8 THC use for up to three months, depending on individual factors and the type of drug test. Despite its lower potency, delta-8 can be detected for a significant amount of time.
Passing a drug test depends on the type of test you take. Urine, saliva, blood, and hair follicle tests can all detect delta-8 THC, but they vary in how long they’re able to detect past THC use:
- Urine (most common): 48 days or less
- Hair: 90 days or less
- Blood: 2 days or less
- Saliva: 2 days or less
These are estimates only, and results can vary from person to person.
Influential factors will affect the amount of time that THC-COOH lingers in your body, including the following:
The Frequency and Volume of Use
More frequent, heavier delta-8 consumers are most vulnerable to urine drug tests than those who use delta-8 products occasionally. One-time users can generally excrete all THC-COOH in as little as five to eight days. Those who use delta-8 a few times a week will show no signs of use after about two and a half weeks. If used every day, it could take a month or more to eliminate all THC-COOH from your system.
Age, Weight, and Metabolism
Physiological factors play a role in how long THC stays in your system. The faster your metabolism, for example, the faster metabolites will leave your body.
The more fluids you consume and ask your body to process, the more urine you produce and the quicker metabolites excrete from the body.
You Took Delta-8 Before a Drug Test: Now What?
The safest way to avoid a positive drug test is to refrain from using THC for at least a few weeks leading up to a test. However, if you’ve used delta-8 THC and are hoping to speed up its metabolism, you could try drinking large volumes of water.
Daily vigorous exercise can help you excrete waste through sweat, helping you get rid of THC-COOH and other metabolites. Eating foods higher in protein and fiber will also encourage you to eliminate body waste more regularly, driving THC metabolites from the body faster.
You can also buy at-home drug testing kits to screen your urine for the presence of THC-COOH before your official drug test. However, keep in mind that these tests are not as accurate as official ones.
Is Delta 8 Federally Legal?
Delta-8 THC is legal at the federal level in the United States. The 2018 Farm Bill permits the purchase and use of hemp and its derivatives, including delta-8 THC, provided they contain no more than 0.3% hemp delta-9 THC. Individual states have the right to regulate delta-8, and some have elected to restrict its use.
Learn More About Delta-8 THC
Want to benefit from hemp but prefer to lower your exposure to detectable THC? You may want to consider broad-spectrum CBD products like Koi Anytime Balance CBD Gummies, Nighttime CBD Gummies, and Koi Naturals CBD Tinctures. In most cases, CBD does not show up on drug tests, but it is recommended to avoid any cannabinoid products if you are subject to testing.