Does Delta 8 Show Up on a Drug Test?

Published Fri, October 28, 22

Delta 8 is different enough from the conventional form of THC to be regulated as a separate substance, but does that mean delta 8 also won’t show up on a drug test for delta-9 THC? The answer is no — biology doesn’t have to follow laws, and regardless of the federal position on the difference between delta 8 and delta 9, they show up the same on a drug test.

Why does delta 8 show up on a drug test for THC, and what can you do to avoid providing a positive result? Learn the answers in this guide.

What is delta 8?

Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta 8 or D8) is a natural isomer of THC, which means it naturally occurs in Cannabis sativa just like delta 9, CBD, or CBG. The only chemical difference between delta 8 and delta 9 is the location of a double carbon bond, and the two cannabinoids have unsurprisingly similar effects.

Like the conventional form of THC, delta 8 gets you high, but everyone from decades-long stoners to the National Cancer Institute admit that delta 8 gets you a bit less high than you might expect. Delta 8 is THC with the psychoactive effects toned down and the relaxing benefits maximized.

Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, delta 8 is generally not considered to be the illegal drug “marijuana.” Federal agencies like the FDA and DEA have repeatedly clarified that this bill singles out delta 9 THC as the only naturally occurring cannabinoid still defined as marijuana, meaning that delta 8 is inherently hemp.

Usually, cannabinoids produced synthetically are regulated differently from naturally occurring cannabinoids, but in a 2022 letter to the Alabama Board of Pharmacy, the DEA clarified that only synthetic cannabinoids “produced from non-cannabis materials” are considered to be unlawful. Since delta 8 is usually produced from natural CBD, it appears to be exempt from this definition.

What do drug tests test for?

The most common drugs that drug tests screen for include methamphetamine, opioids, PCP, THC, barbiturates, and cocaine. Drug tests generally test for illegal drugs that are believed to interfere with an individual’s ability to engage productively with society.

Does delta 8 cause a positive drug test?

Since delta 8 and delta 9 THC are so chemically similar, delta 8 usually appears as THC on a drug test. Even if you have not used any federally illegal delta 9 THC, therefore, using delta 8 could make it appear like you did when drug tested.

Understanding the difference between delta 8 and delta 9

If they’re chemicals that are different enough to be regulated separately, why do delta 8 and delta 9 show up the same on a drug test? Because drug tests are formulated to detect the general shape of a chemical compound, not distinguish between virtually identical isomers of the same substance.

The chemical structures of CBD and THC are dissimilar enough, for instance, to ensure that using pure CBD will never make you test positive for THC on a drug test. Being different forms of the same general chemical, however, the differences between delta 9 THC and delta 8 are not significant enough to show up separately in most forms of drug testing.

How much delta 8 will cause you to fail a drug test?

Even a small amount of delta 8 could make you fail a drug test, but it’s usually necessary to ingest this cannabinoid at least a few times to show a false positive. With a standard urinalysis drug test, the amount of time delta 8 could stay in your system and show up on a drug test depends on your heaviness and frequency of use.

If you use more than 50mg of delta 8 per day for more than a week, for instance, this cannabinoid might remain detectable in your urine for a full 30 days. A single 25mg dose of delta 8, however, will likely clear your system entirely within a week or less. The more delta 8 you use and the more frequently you use it, the more likely you will be to fail a drug test.

How long does delta 8 remain detectable?

The duration delta 8 remains detectable in drug tests depends both on the amount of delta 8 you ingested and the type of drug testing in question. In general, delta 8 remains detectable for the longest duration in your hair and for the shortest duration in your blood, but a variety of factors can play a role in the rate at which delta 8 is excreted from your body. Learn how long delta 8 will be detectable using the three most popular types of drug testing:

— How long will delta 8 stay in my urine?

The maximum amount of time any cannabinoid — including delta 8 — can stay detectable in your urine is around 30 days. And, delta 8 will only remain detectable at the 30-day mark if you had completely overloaded on this cannabinoid prior.

Light use lasting less than a week will usually result in delta 8 clearing your urine within 14 days or less. Taking a single dose of delta 8 on just one occasion will likely only make the cannabinoid detectable in your urine for 5-7 days.

— How long can you detect delta 8 with a hair follicle test?

Hair follicle tests detect the use of drugs much further back than other forms of drug testing. A hair sample taken from your head may still contain trace amounts of delta 8 up to 90 days after the last time you used the cannabinoid, but it takes longer for delta 8 to become detectable in your hair (up to 30 days) than it takes with any other type of drug test that can detect THC.

— How long is delta 8 detectable in your blood?

Delta 8 and other cannabinoids usually make their way out of your bloodstream within a maximum of 12 hours. It’s necessary to take a sample of your blood less than a day after the last time you used delta 8, therefore, for this cannabinoid to show up in a blood test.

How do I pass a delta 8 urine test?

If you’ve used delta 8 recently and you’re concerned about this cannabinoid showing up as THC on a drug test, there are a few steps you can take to help delta 8 leave your system faster than it would normally:

1. Sleep, exercise, and hydrate

Your body will naturally detox or process out substances like delta 8 faster when you treat it well. Set aside at least eight hours of high-quality sleep per night, get an hour of exercise per day, and continually sip on water from the moment you wake up to the moment your head hits the pillow.

2. Try detox kits (carefully)

You can also use detox teas, tinctures, or even kits designed specifically to help cannabinoids move through your system faster. Practice extreme caution when using cannabis detox kits, however, since some products contain dangerous ingredients.

3. Consider the pros and cons of fake urine

If you’re absolutely sure your body won’t be clear of delta 8 before your drug test, there’s always fake urine. While far from the best option at your disposal, simply providing a sample of urine that doesn’t contain delta 8 might be your best choice to avoid repercussions.

The bottom line: Will I fail a drug test if I use delta 8?

Yes. If you use a considerable amount of delta 8 sooner than a couple of weeks before your next drug test, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll test positive for THC. The amount of delta 8 you used and how long ago you used it both make a difference, however, so make sure to perform some basic mental math before you panic.

Delta 8 drug test FAQ

Want to make absolutely sure you won’t fail a drug test after using delta 8? Check the FAQ section below for more info:

— How do drug tests work?

Drug tests involve using laboratory equipment to test a biological sample for the presence of illegal or prescription drugs. A variety of different types of human biological samples can be used with the most common being urine, hair, and blood.

— Is delta 8 legal?

Under the 2018 Farm Bill, cannabinoids aside from delta 9 THC are generally considered to be industrial hemp, not the illegal drug marijuana. While the exact legal status of delta 8 remains a subject of considerable dispute, federal agencies have indicated that delta 8 should usually be considered hemp.

— How long does it take delta 8 to kick in?

The effects of delta 8 are usually noticeable within 1-30 minutes. Inhaled products take effect the fastest with orally ingested delta 8 products taking a while longer to kick in.

— How long do the effects of delta 8 last?

When inhaled, the effects of delta 8 usually last 60-90 minutes. Orally ingested delta 8 products, on the other hand, offer effects that can persist for 2-3 hours.

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