Drug Testing & Delta-8
Hemp-derived delta-8 THC has been taking over the cannabis space since its legalization for commercial sale in 2018. It’s widely available to users and has milder psychoactive effects than delta-9 THC, making it an attractive option for users for a variety of reasons.
But users may be unaware of the relationship between delta-8 and drug tests. Does delta-8 show up on a drug test? And how long does delta-8 stay in your system?
Allow this blog to serve as your guide when it comes to understanding a delta-8 drug test. Below, we’ve covered everything you need to know before considering using delta-8 before a future drug test.
A Brief Recap: What Is Delta-8?
We’ve got a detailed blog on the ins and outs of delta-8 THC, so check it out if you’re interested in learning more.
But in short, delta-8 THC can be derived from two primary sources: marijuana plants and hemp plants. It’s much less naturally abundant in marijuana plants, so industrial hemp growers synthesize delta-8 THC from hemp, which contains less than 0.3% THC in the United States and Canada.1 Most delta-8 THC products sold on the market come from the more widely-available industrial hemp, with manufacturers selling products like hemp-infused delta-8 gummies synthesized from hemp rather than marijuana plants.
However, the effects for delta-8 THC are the same regardless of whether they’re derived from marijuana or hemp. It’s considered to be less psychoactive than delta-9 THC when the same amount is taken (which we’ve also written an in-depth blog about), so users who consume delta-8 THC have reported the same benefits without as many of the negative effects caused by delta-9 THC, like anxiety.2
Some of the clinical benefits of delta-8 are as follows:
- Lessening the effects of anxiety
- Managing chronic pain
- Stimulating appetite
- Preventing nausea and vomiting
- Treating symptoms of stress2
Even though delta-8 THC doesn’t make you feel “stoned,” it does make you feel high. It alters your brain’s serotonin production, so think of it as a middleman between cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9 THC.
Marijuana & Drug Testing
Under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is federally classified as a Schedule 1 substance.3 However, the clinical benefits of marijuana have been recognized by a number of states who have legalized it for patients with chronic illnesses. Currently, 37 states have legalized medical marijuana use for managing the symptoms caused by chronic medical illnesses.4
Marijuana has also been legalized for recreational use in a number of states. As of now, 18 states allow for the sale and growing of recreational marijuana.4
What Are Testers Looking for During a Marijuana Drug Test?
Cannabis is made up of over 70 phytocannabinoids, which all have an effect on how the brain regulates serotonin production.2 When testing for marijuana in a person’s system, laboratories are looking for the most abundant, active phytocannabinoid within marijuana: Delta-9 THC.5
Delta-9 THC, whether its derived from hemp plants or marijuana plants, is identical in both molecular structure and how it affects the body when it’s consumed. Laboratories testing for delta-9 THC will identify it as positive for marijuana even when users have consumed hemp-derived delta-9.
Delta-8 & Drug Testing
Delta-8 THC is another phytocannabinoid found within marijuana, though it’s much less naturally present than delta-9 THC. Less than 0.1% of delta-8 is naturally found within cannabis, making cannabis-derived delta-8 difficult to produce on a massive scale for manufacturers.
After the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (also known as the 2018 Farm Bill) was passed in the United States, hemp farmers and extractors used this legislation to synthesize and sell hemp-derived delta-8 and delta-9 products, so long as the industrial hemp contained less than 0.3% delta-9 THC.6
Hemp-derived delta-8 is newer to the market and is yet to be debated on by legislators on a federal scale. As a result, there isn’t a defined standard within most laboratories for delta-8 and drug testing. As it stands currently, most testers aren’t equipped to identify the differences between delta-8 and delta-9. Ultimately, many labs would most likely yield a positive test result for a user of delta-8 THC, since it is so closely related to delta-9.
Although delta-8 THC has a different molecular structure than delta-9, it’s nearly identical in how it appears on drug tests and metabolizes within the body. Testers looking for delta-9 THC during a drug test are likely to identify delta-8 as a “positive” result, since it metabolizes in a similar way even when it’s derived from industrial hemp.
Does Delta-8 Show Up on a Drug Test?
Yes, delta-8 will most likely show up on a drug test. Delta-8 is a positional isomer of delta-9. It shares a similar molecular makeup to delta-9, with the only difference being the location of a single double carbon bond.1
Delta-8, just like delta-9, will most likely show up on a drug test. Structurally, delta-8 and delta-9 still look quite similar. So, testers who see delta-8 THC in a user’s system are likely to identify it as delta-9 THC. We do not recommend consuming delta-8 if you are subject to drug testing.
How Long Does Delta-8 Stay in Your System?
So, delta-8 will likely show up on a drug test. But how long does delta-8 stay in your system?
This can all depend on where you’re looking and the variety of factors that affect how your body processes delta-8. Once ingested, delta-8 metabolizes in the body at different rates. This depends on a number of factors, namely:
- Method of consumption
- Resting metabolic rate5
Generally, once a person has consumed delta-8 THC, they can feel its effects for around 2-10 hours, with an average of about 6 hours. After that, delta-8 stays in their system anywhere from one week to three weeks. Delta-8 stays present the longest within hair while leaving the body over a period of time through the excretory system.5
Delta-8 can stay present in urine for as short as 2 days and as long as 30 days. It’s dependent on how much a person consumed at a given time, how well their excretory system functions, and whether they’re habitual users or infrequent users.5
As a general rule, it takes at least two weeks for delta-8 to no longer be present in urine during drug testing.
Within plasma, delta-8 stays in your system for roughly 2-10 days. Immediately after inhaling delta-8, THC concentration peaks within blood after about 10 minutes. If delta-8 is ingested, as with a delta-8 gummy, the THC concentration peaks in about 45 minutes to an hour.5
Though conducting drug tests with blood is less common, it does occur. So be aware that delta-8 remains present in plasma for at least a week.
There is contradicting evidence that testing hair follicles is a viable process when identifying if someone has consumed marijuana. Though it’s widely used by testers, a 2015 study conducted by German scientists concluded that hair follicles are not reliable enough for marijuana and an accurate delta-8 drug test.7 Though hair follicles can show testers that a user has consumed delta-9 THC, there’s a higher percentage of false positives than those who test using urine or plasma.
For users who are getting drug tested by their hair follicles, delta-9 THC can be detected within hair for around 90-120 days.5
An Upcoming Delta-8 Drug Test: What If You’ve Consumed Delta-8?
There’s a common misconception that delta-8 will not show up in a drug test. So, users will typically consume delta-8, either infrequently or habitually, then panic when they realize they’ve got a drug test coming up. We’ve previously answered the question: How long does delta-8 stay in your system? It can be identified within your body as long as 120 days depending on the test type.
There are a variety of popular myths out there that claim users can get delta-9 or delta-8 out of their system quickly. From strenuous exercise to drinking vinegar, these myths aren’t likely to immediately change the results of a drug test from positive to negative.
If you have a drug test coming up and you’ve consumed delta-8, your best bet is to give your body time to excrete the delta-8 from your system. If you’re an infrequent user, give yourself at or around two weeks for a negative delta-8 drug test. For habitual users, try to give yourself closer to four weeks. Schedule your test accordingly and make sure you don’t consume any marijuana-derived or hemp-derived products during this period.
Delta-8 THC typically stays in your system for a couple of weeks and delta-8 will show up in a drug test. Skip the old wives tales and opt for giving your body the time it needs to expel the delta-8 from your body. Plan ahead!
For Those Interested in Delta-8 Products
For those curious about delta-8 products, like delta-8 gummies, you can check out our shop where we sell hemp-derived delta-8 and delta-9 gummies for you to try out. They’re vegan, gluten free, and infused with natural flavors. So they’re more shelf stable and resistant to temperature changes.
We also offer transparency into our rigorous third-party testing standards. We believe in delivering a safe product from manufacturing to packaging, and sharing our testing results assures that you’re receiving some of the best quality delta-8 and delta-9 products on the market.
And if you want more information on marijuana, delta-8, and delta-9, you can check out our blog where we’ve shared research and industry knowledge on both marijuana-derived products and hemp-derived products.