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  • Alternative Cannabinoids

April 24, 2023

Does Delta 9 Show Up on a Drug Test?

Estimated Read Time: 10 min

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By Valerie Orta on April 24, 2023

Hemp-derived delta 9 may be federally legal, but you'll want to consider whether it's worth the risk if you're subject to drug testing. Here's what you should remember about drug tests and delta 9.

Congratulations on your new job! However, you just learned that you must take some drug tests. As a delta 9 fan, you're concerned about whether the THC in your products will cause you to fail the tests. Here's what you need to know:

  • Yes, Delta 9 shows up on drug tests.
  • Drug tests are designed to detect THC in your system. Delta 9 is the most abundant and common form of THC.
  • Even if you only use delta 9 products occasionally, THC can stay in your system for several weeks.
  • While some employers have a zero-tolerance policy for drug use, others may allow for medical or recreational cannabis use, depending on the state laws.

So, do you have something to worry about? The answer depends on your employer's drug policy and the state laws where you live. If you're concerned, it's best to talk to your employer or HR department for more information.

What is Delta 9?

Delta 9 THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of the most abundant and popular cannabinoids in cannabis.

Scientific studies suggest that delta 9 has potential natural wellness benefits, which has increased demand and consumption rates. It's best known for its noticeable euphoric effects, which people use for wellness, relaxation, stress relief, and other purposes.

Delta 9 is federally legal in the United States if it comes from hemp and doesn't make up more than 0.3% of a particular product by dry weight. However, consuming delta 9 products, legal or not, could affect the results of a drug test.

It's essential to know your employer's drug policy and state laws regarding cannabis use. If you're unsure, speak to your employer or HR department. You want to make an informed decision about whether to use delta 9 products.

Delta 9 and Drug Tests

Drug tests almost always screen for delta 9 THC. For decades, delta 9 was classified as a Controlled Substance and federally illegal. Only recently, with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, did hemp-derived delta-9 become legal.

This long history created a stigma that influences how many people think about all THC. Some employers may still test for delta 9 because they believe its euphoric effects could adversely impact productivity.

Drug tests are designed to detect current or prior consumption of various substances, including delta-9 THC. Depending on the test, you may be asked to provide a urine, hair, or saliva sample.

If you've recently taken delta 9, there's a strong chance it will trigger a positive test. But that's not always the case. Several factors influence if the test will return positive, including the amount of delta 9 you consumed, how often you've consumed it, and the type of test sample required.

How Delta 9 Tests Work

When it comes to Delta 9 testing, drug tests are designed to check for metabolites left in your body after your liver breaks down THC. For Delta 9 THC, the specific metabolite tested for by these tests is THC-COOH.

The accuracy of the Delta 9 test varies depending on the type of test used and the biosample collected. Delta 9 tests are standard, and the goal of the test is to determine whether you have consumed Delta 9 THC within a specific timeframe.

Since Delta 9 THC dissolves into fat, it takes longer to leave the body than water-soluble compounds. As a result, the THC-COOH metabolite can remain detectable for days, weeks, or even longer if you regularly consume Delta 9 products.

What Substances Do Drug Tests Screen For?

Potential employers are not explicitly searching for Delta 9 THC during a drug screening. Instead, they're also looking for other substances that might indicate the consumption of illicit drugs. In some cases, tests might also check for performance-enhancing substances, particularly in the sports industry.

Alongside Delta 9 THC, drug screenings typically screen for other substances, such as:

  • Opioids like heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and oxycodone
  • Cocaine
  • Steroids
  • Amphetamines and methamphetamine
  • Barbiturates
  • Phencyclidine

Knowing what you're being screened for and how the results will be used before undergoing a drug test is essential. If you have any concerns or questions, you can speak with the test administrator, your healthcare provider, or the organization that ordered the test.

Types of Drug Tests that Can Detect Delta 9 THC

The type of drug test you take will determine whether you test positive for delta 9 THC. Each test has advantages and disadvantages and can detect use over varying periods.


Urine drug tests are the most common; they screen for multiple substances, including delta-9. Compared to other tests, urine drug tests have a shorter detection window and usually only detect delta 9 use within the last few days. However, these tests are easily manipulated by drinking large amounts of water to dilute the urine and make it harder for the test to detect metabolites.

Hair drug tests

Hair drug tests are commonly used to screen for delta 9 use within a particular timeframe. The hair is trimmed close to the scalp and sent to a lab for an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and a gas chromatography–mass spectrometry test. Depending on the hair length, these tests can detect drug use over the past 90 days.

Saliva drug tests

Saliva tests, also known as a mouth swab or oral test, detect traces of delta 9 or other substances in your saliva. Generally, they involve a swab stick swabbing the inside of the cheek or under the tongue. Detection windows are very short compared to other types of tests.

Hair follicle tests

Hair follicle tests can detect drug use over an even more extended period but are rarely used due to their high cost and complexity. In addition, the US federal government does not support hair drug testing, although this policy may change.

All these tests can be used to detect delta 9 THC use. However, each test checks for consumption within a specific time frame, and they all rely on the same metabolite to generate a positive result.

What Level of Delta 9 Can Trigger a Positive Result?

If you take a urine test, the most commonly-used test, you can get a positive result if you've consumed more than 50 nanograms of THC per milliliter (ng/mL) of urine. This amount of THC can be present in your urine or blood if you've used delta 9 products in the last three days or have been a regular user until just before the test.

It's important to note that most tests cannot determine how long you've been taking delta 9 outside of their detection window. However, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Urine tests can detect delta 9 use for up to three days.
  • Depending on the length of hair, hair tests can detect delta 9 use within the last 90 days.
  • Hair follicle tests can detect delta 9 use over a more extended period, but they are costly and rarely used.

How Long Does Delta 9 Stay in Your System?

One of the ways to tell if you will turn a positive test is knowing how long delta 9 stays in your system.

There's no straightforward answer here, as with most things with delta 9. It will depend on the type of sample required for the test.


Experts believe delta 9 remains detectable in blood for up to two days. Your previous experiences with delta 9 can significantly increase the detection period in blood. In avid consumers, delta 9 might still be detectable in your blood for up to 25 days after your last consumption.


Delta 9 is detectable in urine from a few days to a month after the last use. This varies depending on how frequently you take delta 9 products.

It can be detected up to 3 days after the last consumption date if it's your first time. For moderate consumers, the detection period increases to 5-7 days after the previous consumption. For avid users, it's 10-15 days; for heavy consumers, delta 9 can be detected in your urine up to 30 days after the last time you consumed delta 9.


Most roadside drug tests prefer to use saliva as the preferred sample. Although effective in such situations, the detection period with saliva is exceptionally narrow. It is 12-24 hours from the last time you consumed delta 9 THC.


THC works its way into your hair follicles via the bloodstream, making hair testing another way to find delta 9 THC in your system. Traces of delta 9 are detectable in your hair up to 90 days after the last use.

Although these tests have the longest detection period, they are less reliable than other forms of cannabis drug testing. That is because hair can trigger a positive test when exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke or when you contact someone who has touched delta 9.

Besides your love and frequency of taking delta 9, other factors also affect how long delta 9 stays in your system. Therefore, it's essential to consider these factors to help you time the test more accurately. These factors include:

  • Your body mass index. The higher it is, the longer delta 9 stays in your system.
  • Your sex. Women tend to have higher body fat levels than men, making them more likely to metabolize delta 9 for longer periods.
  • Some people have more favorable genes with a higher metabolic rate, reducing the time it takes to clear delta 9 out of your system.
  • Clearing out delta 9 when ingested in the form of delta 9 edibles is thought to take longer than inhaling. Also, more potent products take longer to clear from the body.

Can You Detox from Delta 9 to Pass an Upcoming Test?

Is there anything you can do if you have a drug test coming up and you recently took delta 9 products? The only reliable way to avoid risking a positive test result is to refrain from using delta 9.

Nothing will guarantee you pass the test if you've used delta 9, but there are several things you can do to improve your chances of passing the test. These tips will help flush more metabolites out of your system and give you better chances of passing the test.

  • Stop any delta 9 intakes at least 8 weeks before the test. This gives you the best chance to expel all the metabolites before the test.
  • Drink plenty of water to help with metabolism and flush the metabolites out of the body. Drinking water also helps to dilute urine, making it harder for the test to pick up on the metabolites.
  • Adopt a healthy and balanced diet. Providing your body with the proper nutrition helps in clearing the metabolites.
  • Increase exercise. It helps torch fat deposits in the body, harbor the metabolites, and help expel some of the delta 9 through sweating.

These tips won't guarantee a negative test, but they will drastically enhance your chances by removing as much delta 9 as possible before the test.

Avoid any products that promise to clear THC metabolites, as they are almost always ineffective and can be dangerous and illegal.

More About Delta-9 and Drug Tests

Drug testing for delta-9 THC is relatively common, and it's essential to understand how it works so you can avoid the consequences of testing positive. While delta 9 gummies can be a very effective and enjoyable way to relieve stress and unwind, you need to understand the risks if you're subjected to testing at your job or in your sports organization.

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