It may be tempting to replace marijuana with delta 8 THC products before a drug test. Screenings are searching for delta 9 THC, so they won’t pick up on hemp products like delta 8 carts or delta 8 gummies… right? Well, not necessarily. The situation is more complex than many weed vapers expect.
Products such as delta 8 disposables and vape carts have seen a huge popularity spike over the past few years. At last, there’s an accessible way to get high via cannabis products, even if recreational or medical marijuana isn’t legal in your state.
But just because delta 8 is legal doesn’t mean it’s a reliable way to pass a drug test. We’ve gathered all the information you need to know about D8 consumption, metabolization, and drug screenings.
Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta 8 THC) and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta 9 THC) have a lot in common. Both are intoxicating cannabinoids that induce euphoria. However, there are some key biological and legal distinctions between the two.
Marijuana is just one variety of the cannabis sativa plant. Delta 9 THC is the dominant cannabinoid in marijuana, and manufacturers extract it right from the source to craft commercial products. Unfortunately, marijuana is federally illegal in the United States.
Products containing over 0.3% delta 9 THC are legally deemed marijuana products, subjecting them to tight restrictions. Even in areas where marijuana sales are permitted, carts and edibles can only be purchased from a licensed dispensary—and they can’t be sold across state lines (even between two legal states).
Delta 8 THC is a minor cannabinoid found in cannabis sativa, but the naturally-occurring form is limited. Commercial D8 products are an isomerized byproduct of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD).
While delta 8 is restricted in certain states, there are no regulations on a federal level. After all, sales of hemp and its derivatives are allowed, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. That includes artificially manufactured cannabinoids derived from hemp, as long as they’re found in the hemp plant in any measurable amount.
Unlike an intense delta 9 THC high, the high from delta 8 is lucid and mild. It’s a good alternative if you find the effects of marijuana overwhelming, or just want to keep a clear head while you’re high.
Even with our limited research, it’s highly probable that delta 8 consumption will result in a failed drug test. You should be extra wary if you’re a long-term, chronic user.
The reason for this is relatively simple. When you receive a pre-employment screening, or any other type of drug test, detection isn’t geared toward a cannabinoid’s raw form. Tests are designed to target a compound’s metabolites—the late-stage compounds produced when your body processes THC.
Lipid-soluble metabolites like 11-nor-9-carboxy THC and THC-COOH are stored in fat cells and released over a period of time. From start to end, the metabolization process can take several weeks. Frequent users may even require two months to rid their bodies of THC.
Sadly for vapers, delta 8 and delta 9 are converted into the same primary metabolite. Once it’s detected, labs or employers have no way of knowing how THC found its way into your body. In other words, it’s not possible to distinguish delta 9 THC from delta 8 THC in your results—it all leads to a positive panel.
Modern urine tests were designed prior to the rise of delta 8 THC and other commercial hemp derivatives. While urine panels aren’t formulated to detect hemp-derived or synthetic THC, it’s extremely likely in the case of delta 8 that they will. Yes, our commercial form is artificially manufactured; but it’s still a cannabis byproduct and an authentic form of THC.
Urinalysis is the top pick for employers because it’s quick and inexpensive to perform. It isn’t the most sensitive option out there, but the results are highly accurate, especially if your most recent THC consumption occurred within the past few weeks.
Urine samples exceeding 50 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of THC’s primary metabolite are considered positive.
As soon as you learn of an upcoming urine test, put down the delta 8 vape right away. The earlier you halt consumption, the more likely it will be cleared from your system in time.
There’s no exact science in determining how long delta 8 stays in your urine. Everyone’s body is unique. Based on physiology alone, some individuals are predisposed to filtering out THC faster than others. That’s not considering the difference usage frequency and habits can make.
Any of the following variables can impact the length of time delta 8 remains in your urine:
With that in mind, expect THC to remain in your urine for a maximum of three months, depending on the factors listed above. That means delta 8 and any other THC products used during that period.
Daily use will typically show up in a panel for a month after your most recent session. Delta 8 and other THC variants may be detectable for longer if consumption is over an extended window of time, or if you ingest it multiple times per day (chronic THC use).
Short-term users will have an easier time, since infrequent THC consumption (up to three times per week) may only be detectable for approximately two weeks.
A one-off delta 8 session will appear in urine for up to a week, assuming you don’t use other THC products.
Urinalysis is the most popular route, but it’s not the only way to test for delta 8 THC or its metabolites. Other possibilities include blood, saliva, and hair panels.
Saliva and blood tests have a similar sensitivity level. They’re preferable for employers searching for recent THC consumption, rather than longer-term use.
Timeframe limitations are most severe in saliva tests. Although these tests are effortless to perform with a swab, they’re best at uncovering THC use within the past 24 hours. For the majority of casual or frequent users, saliva swab tests will come back positive for up to three days. Chronic users may have traces of delta 8 or other THC products in their saliva for a month.
Blood tests have an almost identical detection window, but they may be superior at detecting short-term use—even if it isn’t chronic.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, hair tests can produce a positive result for up to three months, particularly in heavy THC users.
There’s only one guaranteed way to clear delta 8 or any THC from your body: abstain.
Avoid detox products that claim to speed up THC filtration. There’s little scientific evidence that these products are effective, despite the hefty price tags they carry. Gimmicky drinks or pills can even contain unsafe ingredients.
In fact, these expensive cleanses can backfire. They wash out the kidneys and trigger frequent urination. This might reduce the density or specific gravity of your urine, leading to a discounted test. Products that boost creatinine levels might even render a sample contaminated.
Staying healthy and hydrated, as well as exercising regularly, keeps your metabolism in top shape. Positive, long-term habits can make a difference in your body’s ability to metabolize delta 8 efficiently.
Some people claim that drinking large amounts of water before a test flushes out THC faster, although this is based on anecdotal evidence. Be careful not to put stress on your kidneys by drinking too much water over a short frame of time.
As a rule of thumb, it’s wise to avoid all cannabis products before a drug screening, from delta 8 to CBD.
Any cannabis product can harbor trace amounts of THC. The only requirement is that this falls under 0.3% of the total cannabinoid content. It isn’t likely that occasional use of CBD products will trigger a positive panel, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
For the best possible outcome, put a hold on all marijuana and hemp products before a drug test. This gives your body its best shot at metabolizing and clearing out THC in your system.