If you are a regular in the world of cannabis, the term Delta-8 THC must not have evaded your eyes. It’s likely that you have already tried some of the products or are planning to do so soon. Delta-8 THC is one of the many cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant that humans have found fit for consumption on their own. And it comes with its share of benefits—relief from pain, stress, or restlessness.
However, this feeling doesn’t last long. But Delta-8 THC leaves its mark on your body in the form of its metabolites. Not that it’s a bad thing in terms of health. But what about drug tests? Does Delta-8 THC show up in a drug test? Read on to find out.
Can Delta-8 THC Make You Fail a Drug Test?
Yes, it can.
When you ingest any kind of compound, your body eventually metabolizes it. These residual metabolites then start inhabiting your hair, sweat, urine, etc, serving as a potential witness to your consumption of the compound. It takes varying lengths of time for your body to flush them out of your system, completely.
Drug tests look for these witnesses in your body to find out what you did last weekend!
In other words, drug tests don’t look for traces of drugs, but their metabolites, in your body.
THC can be broken into 80 different metabolites. These nest in your body’s fat cells. It is this storage of THC metabolites in your body’s fat cells that can expose the story of your THC consumption – long after you consumed it.
A urine test is the most common way to snoop into your recent lifestyle and health conditions.
Some common substances that urine samples testify for are:
- Marijuana (Delta-9 THC)
But Delta-8 THC is not illegal.
So why does it matter if you have consumed it?
For that, you need to know a bit of science.
The primary non-active metabolite that Delta-8 THC gets reduced to in the body is 11-Nor-9-carboxy-THC or THC-COOH. These lipid-soluble metabolites do not get flushed out of your body easily and are caught in the urine test conducted for drug use.
Unfortunately, the metabolite is the same for Delta-9 THC. But the latter is illegal.
Since there’s no way of knowing whether you had consumed Delta-9 or Delta-8, you could quite easily fail a drug test for having consumed Delta-8.
The exactness of this test cannot be relied upon because it ends up detecting the metabolites of other cannabinoids found in the urine sample, too.
This phenomenon is termed cross-reactivity.
The urine test identifies all other metabolites and is equally sensitive to the metabolites of other cannabinoids and might produce similar results. You can even say that the test fails to correctly identify the cannabinoid metabolite that is required. Hence, it produces false or undesired results, which is also known as a “false positive” drug test for cannabis.
Let us dive an inch deeper into this loophole of urine tests.
Delta-8 THC & Urine Drug Tests
Two kinds of urine tests have been devised for drug testing.
#1. One of them is the Immunoassay (IA) Test. This one’s a quick test because it detects the large or macromolecules found in the metabolites. Its main motive is to reveal the inactive THC metabolite THC-COOH.
In a study, the results of which were published in the Journal for Applied Laboratory Medicine, four kinds of cannabinoids were tested to illustrate the urine tests’ sensitivity to them. The cannabinoids chosen for this study were cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabinol (CBN). The test results revealed that the urine test was sensitive to the metabolites of CBN in a similar manner to that of Delta-8 THC.
Delta-8 and Delta-9 have confusingly similar structures. Therefore, it is also obvious that tests designed to determine the traces of Delta-8 will end up finding Delta-9 as well.
This test also produces positive results for marijuana metabolites equal to THC-COOH at a dosage of 50 nG/ml. However, at lower doses, the marijuana metabolites produce similar reactions as that of THC-COOH. So, the urine test does not produce specific results for Delta-8 THC.
#2. There’s a second kind of urine test to detect the presence of Delta-8 THC in the system. This is called the gas chromatography test. It is a slow and tedious test. However, it produces the desired results, making it worth the time.
It is a combination of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. It is an analytical test and can make or break the results of the IA test. This test only identifies and holds you accountable for the consumption of Delta-9 THC. It recognizes Delta-9 metabolites in the urine sample. It won’t identify the lipid-soluble metabolites of Delta-8 unless it is looking for them. Hence, the chances of false results are nullified.
This test is, however, very tedious and time-consuming. Hence, most organizations go for the IA test.
So, think twice before consuming Delta-8 THC right before a test because you are likely to be at the mercy of an IA test!
How Long Does Delta-8 THC Stay in a Human Body?
As said before, the metabolites are stored in the fat cells of your body. The waste produced by these metabolites leaves your body through your urine for as long as 4 – 8 days after consumption. It can go up much higher — even a month and a half — if you are a frequent consumer of Delta-8.
The hallucinogenic effects of Delta-8 THC are much less intense than that of Delta-9. Yet, the body tends to remember it. Your saliva, blood, and urine retain it for different periods and show up evidence differently depending on the test. Your hair follicle retains it for the longest period.
The time of retention of traces of the compound in the body may vary depending on a list of factors:
- The fluid content of the body
- The frequency of the compound’s use
- Inhaling the compound, which is typically a temporary guest in your system, constitutes the method of intake.
- The benchmark that a particular drug-testing lab has set
- The time taken by the drug to reduce into half
Your blood receives the THC metabolites within 2 hours to 2 days of consumption and then retains these. The blood then becomes potential evidence of the consumption of the compound.
The body retains the drug traces only in the form of metabolites. This process of metabolism loses a larger portion of the actual concentration.
If you are a new user, your body won’t hold on to the drug metabolites for long. However, if you are a chronic user, your body will remember the compound for a long period.
You must drink lots of water to flush out the metabolites from your body.
Q: Can Delta-8 THC show up on a drug test?
A: Yes, it can. Your body will retain its metabolites for a long time. And since the metabolites are the same as those produced by Delta-9 THC, you can fail a drug test.
Q: What is Delta-8 THC beneficial for?
A: Delta-8 THC is a dependable answer for anxiety, food cravings, nausea, and vomiting. It is a neuroprotective substance for your body.
Q: How long will our body retain Delta-8 THC?
A: It remains in your urine sample for 4 to 8 days or even two months. The duration would depend on your frequency of consumption. It can show up in a hair follicle test for up to three months.