Delta-8 THC can show up on a drug test. The amount of time can vary by the type of test, the frequency of use, and other factors.

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Nowadays, many people use delta-8 THC products instead of delta-9 THC products.

Cannabis plants contain dozens of different cannabinoids. These chemicals each have unique effects on the human body. Two common cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Most of the THC in cannabis is delta-9 THC. However, small amounts of delta-8 THC are also found in cannabis plants. Both delta-9 and delta-8 THC are intoxicating. In other words, they can get you high.

Although delta-8 is not regulated at a federal level, many states restrict it. They either specifically restrict delta-8 by name or restrict synthetic cannabinoids, which delta-8 often is.

The short answer is that yes, delta-8 THC can show up on a drug test.

The National Drug Court Institute recommends avoiding delta-8 THC if you’re going to be tested for drugs, and not just because delta-8 falls into a legal gray area.

Some impure delta-8 products also contain delta-9 THC. Additionally, delta-8 on its own can interfere with your test results.

Just as the courts can prohibit the consumption of poppy seeds because it might cause a positive drug test for opioids, treatment courts could ban the use of delta-8.

If you’re looking for a way to use cannabis that can’t be detected by a drug test, delta-8 isn’t the solution.

There’s no research that suggests delta-8 THC is detectable for a different period of time than regular THC.

Delta-8 THC can be detected via drug testing for different periods of time, depending on the kind of test used, the frequency of delta-8 use, and your own metabolism.

Urine test

Urine testing is the most common drug testing method. It can typically detect cannabis use up to 30 days after it was last used.

A 2017 review found that cannabis may be detectable in urine for the following amounts of time:

  • Single use: 3 days
  • Moderate use (four times per week): 5 to 7 days
  • Chronic use (daily): 10 to 15 days
  • Chronic heavy use (multiple times per day): more than 30 days

Blood test

Blood tests typically only detect cannabis use within the past 2 to 12 hours. However, in people who use cannabis often and heavily, it’s been detected 30 days after last use.

Saliva test

A saliva test can detect THC up to 24 hours after it has been consumed.

However, a 2020 review with people who frequently smoked cannabis found that THC was still detected in saliva 72 hours after use.

Hair test

Hair follicle tests can detect THC up to 90 days after it has been used. These tests work because cannabinoids reach the hair follicles via blood vessels after you use cannabis.

Drug tests don’t simply look for THC. They look for its metabolites.

Metabolites are small molecules that are produced when your body breaks down a substance. The metabolites stay in your body long after the actual THC does.

This is why drug tests can detect drug use long after you’ve stopped using the substance.

More frequent use is associated with a higher baseline concentration of THC metabolites. The more THC metabolites a person has in their body, the longer it will take for them to be excreted.

Although there’s little research on the factors that affect how long delta-8 stays in your system, we know many factors affect how long delta-9 stays in your system. The same factors might apply to delta-8.

These factors include:

  • How frequently you use it: If you use higher doses more frequently, it’ll take longer to leave your system than if you used fewer doses less frequently.
  • Your unique metabolism: Some bodies naturally eliminate THC faster than others.
  • How you consumed the product: If you use delta-8 products orally — say, through edibles or tinctures — it may remain in your system slightly longer than if you smoked cannabis.

Online forums and vendors say you can undergo cannabis detox programs to help your body metabolize delta-8 faster. But there’s no actual research that suggests this is an effective way to pass a drug test after using delta-8.

Be careful when trying “detoxes” that involve herbal supplements. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate herbal supplements for quality or purity. Some can be harmful to your body.

It’s always best to talk with a doctor or other healthcare professional before using supplements of any kind, especially if you’re taking any medication.

Some detoxes also involve laxatives. While many people safely use laxatives, they can have side effects. In some cases, they can cause diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration.

Other detoxes involve drinking copious amounts of water. Be aware that it’s possible to be overhydrated. This is when you drink so much water that you experience water intoxication.

Is there a difference between delta-8 and delta-9?

Yes. Delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC are similar cannabinoids, but their chemical structure is slightly different.

As opposed to delta-9, delta-8:

  • is usually synthetically made
  • is not specified in the 2018 Farm Bill, which made hemp legal to buy, sell, and grow
  • might have less potent effects

However, both delta-8 and delta-9 can make you feel intoxicated, and both may show up on a drug test.

How does delta-8 affect the body?

Delta-8 THC can make you feel intoxicated (or “high”). According to a 1973 study, delta-8 could have the following effects:

  • euphoria
  • relaxation
  • visual distortions
  • difficulties with thinking and speaking

A 2021 study surveyed people who use delta-8 and found that about half of them use delta-8 for medical reasons, such as:

There’s a lack of research on the benefits and side effects of delta-8. As such, it’s important to be cautious if you’re using it for medical reasons.

How long does it take for the effects of delta-8 to kick in?

This depends on how you use delta-8. If you smoke or vape a delta-8 product, the effects will be almost immediate. If you ingest delta-8 edibles or tinctures, it will take longer to kick in — between 30 minutes and 2 hours — because your body needs to digest it.

How long can the effects of delta-8 last?

The effects of delta-8 can last several hours.

Is delta-8 legal?

The legal status of delta-8 in the United States is complicated.

The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, which made hemp legal to buy, sell, and grow, defined hemp as a plant containing less than 0.3% of delta-9 THC by dry weight.

The farm bill specifically mentions delta-9, not delta-8 or delta-10. Thus, hemp-derived delta-8 and delta-10 products could fall into a legal gray zone.

This is appealing to manufacturers and consumers who live in states where cannabis is not legalized for recreational use.

But many states specifically restrict synthetic cannabinoids. If a delta-8 product is synthetically made — which they usually are — it might still be illegal.

Delta-8 THC can show up on a regular drug test. Because it’s chemically similar to delta-9 THC, it can cause a positive drug test for cannabis, even if you don’t use “regular” cannabis products.

If you know you’ll be tested for cannabis, it’s best to avoid delta-8 products altogether.

Sian Ferguson is a freelance health and cannabis writer based in Cape Town, South Africa. She’s passionate about empowering readers to take care of their mental and physical health through science-based, empathetically delivered information.