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Delta 8 and Drug Tests

Will Delta 8 Show up as THC on a Drug Test?

Delta 8 is quickly becoming a top-selling hemp product, with companies offering a wide range of delta 8-infused products to satisfy our desires in different ways.  With this fast-growing trend is understandably a lot of confusion as to whether or not one can actually use delta 8 legally.  After all, delta 8, also known as “delta8” and “delta-8”, is a form of THC, and as far as most enthusiasts know, THC is illegal on a federal level.

If someone wants to invest in some delta 8, it’s only natural that they want to make sure that they won’t get into trouble with the law for doing so.  One of the most commonly asked questions we receive is whether or not delta 8 usage will result in a failed drug test.  After all, a failed drug test can destroy someone’s livelihood, leaving them without a job.

The good news is that ultimately, the laws regarding delta 8 are clear, thanks to the Farm Bill of 2018 which made clearly defined legislation regarding all things hemp-related.

The Difference Between Delta 8 and Delta 9

Before we talk about how delta 8 may impact a drug test, we need to make sure that our readers understand what delta 8 is, and more specifically, what makes it unique from delta 9.  Delta 8 THC is a cannabinoid that occurs in cannabis, and as we know, cannabinoids work with the body’s endocannabinoid system by binding to cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body, in order to produce regulatory effects that many find to be beneficial.

When we talk about cannabinoids in the hemp plant, we usually focus on CBD.  CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, is the dominant compound in the hemp plant.  CBD is non-psychoactive and shown to offer lots of useful properties to the mind and body.  In hemp, there is around 15 to 20 percent CBD present in the chemical composition.

Delta 8 is a minorly occurring cannabinoid, meaning there’s far less delta 8 naturally in hemp than CBD- only about 0.1%.  There is also about 0.3% delta 9 THC in hemp, while marijuana has 15% -25% of this psychoactive compound.

What Exactly is Delta-8 THC?

Well, in short, it’s degraded delta 9.  Over time, the compound ages and loses a lot of its potency.  Delta 8 is psychoactive like delta 9, but in a far milder way.  Most people who use it say it just gives them mood-enhancing properties, while their state of mind remains largely clear.

Something that makes delta 8 even more fascinating is the fact that it’s an isomer of both delta 9 THC and CBD.  This means that all three compounds have the same atoms, but they are organized differently.  Therefore, one could produce delta 8 by simply rearranging the atoms in CBD using advanced nanotechnological methods.  In fact, this is how many companies produce delta 8 extract.

If you use full spectrum or broad-spectrum hemp products, you’re already taking the amount of delta 8 that naturally occurs in hemp.  It’s not producing psychoactive effects because it’s only present in trace amounts.  Companies are now producing delta 8 concentrates, however, that allow us to experience the effects of delta 8 in full force.

Different Types of Drug Tests That Show THC Levels

We can’t clearly say whether or not delta 8 will result in a failed drug test.  What we can say is that based on what we know about this cannabinoid, it’s better to be safe than sorry.  If you are tested regularly, you should probably be cautious before taking delta 8.

  • Urine Tests: Used by about 90 percent of companies throughout the United States, and usually these tests are performed onsite. Therefore, most people being tested for THC are taking a urine test.  Urine tests can show THC levels for up to a couple of weeks after the last dose, depending on the amounts that a person has taken.  They are also very accurate.
  • Saliva Tests: Better at identifying recent consumption of THC and other controlled substances. A saliva swab can identify THC along with cocaine, heroin and other commonly abused drugs.  THC can only show up in one of these tests if marijuana has been used within the last 10 hours.  Most companies do not use these tests, because an employee could easily take a day off from their marijuana usage just to pass the test, and then resume once the test comes back clean.
  • Hair Tests: Rarely used by companies, as the results can be conflicting, and as it takes a long time for the results to be returned to the employer. They can detect trace amounts of drugs for up to 90 days after the drug was last taken.  They cannot, however, show evidence of recent drug use, which is another reason why they are largely abandoned in work environments.
  • Blood Tests: Almost never used nowadays because THC levels leave the bloodstream shortly after use.
  • Perspiration Tests: This type of testing is more commonly used in medical environments like rehab, largely due to its fairly invasive nature. A patch is adhered to the skin and left there for two weeks.  During this time, perspiration collects onto the patch, which can contain trace amounts of drugs, including THC.

How Drug Tests Look for THC

Even though delta 8 is legal in most states, what happens when you take a drug test after using this cannabinoid?  To understand, we need to talk about how drug tests search for THC in the system.  We said that companies largely prefer urine tests because of their accuracy and ability to find evidence of THC usage for up to a couple of weeks after the most recent consumption.

Interestingly, these urine tests are not actually identifying the THC compound.  What they are looking for is a metabolite known as THC-COOH, which the body produces to break down THC specifically.  THC-COOH is also tested for in hair tests and perspiration tests.  It is not searched for in saliva tests, as these tests can only identify the actual THC compound.  This metabolite is found in the body’s fat cells, and it remains there for a generous period of time, making it easy for it to appear on a drug test.

Delta 8 and Drug Tests: What we Know

So, we know that drug tests pick up delta 9 usage by the presence of a metabolite called THC-COOH.  But does this same metabolite exist in those who use delta 8, which is technically different from delta 9?  Here’s the thing: we don’t know.  Delta 8 hasn’t been around long enough for us to have reliable information about this subject.

What we can say is that it’s probably best to avoid delta 8 if you do get tested for marijuana regularly.  Because we are unsure as to how delta 8 affects this THC-processing metabolite, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Another thing to point out is that delta 8 may register as delta 9 when tested by law enforcement, being remarkably similar to delta 9.  Therefore, if your delta 8 is confiscated by a police officer, we can’t guarantee that you won’t face some form of legal penalty if you are in a state in with recreational marijuana has not been legalized.

What May Affect Drug Test Results After Using Delta 8

There are different factors that can play a role in how likely a test is to pick up on delta 8 usage such as:

  1. How long it’s been since you last consumed delta 8.  Depending on how sensitive the test is, you may be in the clear if it’s been several days since your last delta 8 dosage.
  2. How often you use delta 8, and how strong your delta 8 products are. Those who use it more frequently, and those who use higher milligram strengths will have higher, more detectable levels of the compound lingering in the body for several days or even weeks after the last dose was taken.

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