Delta-8 products are some of the most popular in the cannabis industry. A kind of little cousin to the more popular delta-9 THC (the THC found in most cannabis products), delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid that can be found in trace amounts in the cannabis plant.
One aspect of delta-8 that contributes to its popularity is that it can produce similar psychoactive effects to traditional THC, but is legal in most US states.
This fact raises the question: Will consuming delta-8 make a person fail a drug test, even in states where delta-8 is legal?
For athletes and employees in companies with strict drug laws, this is an important question to consider. So we rolled up our sleeves and did some research on it.
Spoiler alert: Yes, consuming delta-8 THC will make you fail a drug test. But like a lot of things in the cannabis world, it’s complicated.
Here’s what you need to know.
RELATED: How to pass a drug test when you’ve recently used cannabis: Ways to get THC out of your system, fast
Delta-8 THC: The basics
While delta-9 is especially prominent in cannabis plants and occurs only in small amounts in hemp plants, delta-8 is different. It occurs in tiny amounts in both plants. This makes it difficult and expensive to harvest.
Because there is so little of it available, most cannabis and hemp manufacturers prefer to make delta-8 synthetically in a lab. They do this by chemically altering another cannabinoid until it becomes delta-8.
Delta-8 is very similar to delta-9 and they produce very similar effects. Because they are both forms of THC, they can produce a psychoactive high when consumed. This can cause feelings ranging from euphoria and relaxation to paranoia.
Delta-8 THC products are generally reported to produce a milder effect than delta-9 products, which is why delta-8 is sometimes preferred by people who experience cannabis-induced anxiety.
RELATED: Where is Delta-8 legal in the US? Where is it banned?
Why delta-8 will probably make you fail a drug test
There are many cannabis laws regarding delta-9 but not delta-8. This is because delta-8 products are technically legal under the US Farm Bill, so you can find delta-8 available even in states where cannabis is illegal (unless it’s been specifically banned).
Many people think that delta-8 won’t show up in a drug test because it isn’t “standard” THC—the illegal, delta-9 kind. But when you’re taking a drug test, it doesn’t matter. Delta-8 will register as THC on most drug tests.
What’s important to remember here is Delta-8 is still a type of THC. It shares a similar chemical structure with delta-9, and most delta-8 products have enough THC in them to show up in any standard drug test even though these products are generally less potent than delta-9.
Yes, most drug tests look for traces of delta-9 THC. But most tests can’t tell the difference between delta-8 and delta-9. This will cause the test to come up positive for delta-9 THC even if that wasn’t what you consumed.
So if THC is banned at your workplace or athletic organization, you should not take any delta-8 products before you’re tested.
Of course, it is possible to pass a drug test if you use delta-8. Your body may rid itself of toxins more quickly than others or your test may just not do its job well. But it’s very rare. You will almost always fail the test, especially if you’re taking a modern drug test. Drug tests using the latest technology are very accurate and thorough.
RELATED: Delta-8, Delta-9, Delta-10, and hemp-derived THC: What’s the difference?
When to stop consuming delta-8 before a drug test
Delta-8 may stay in your system for a few hours or several weeks, depending on how much you consume it. If you use delta-8 every once in a while, it should get out of your system in a few days. But if you use it regularly, you may need to wait a couple of weeks.
Delta-8 also gets absorbed by fat. The more fat you have, the harder it will be to get this substance out of your system. It may sometimes take a month.
Cannabis products that will not show up on a drug test
If you are determined to pass your drug test, you should avoid delta-8 and any other form of THC. But this doesn’t mean you have to avoid all cannabinoid products. Certain forms of CBD are safe to use before a drug test.
CBD is not psychoactive but many people like to use it as a supplement. There are three main forms of CBD: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate. CBD isolate is the safest form to take before a drug test. The other two may have trace amounts of THC which may show up in a test.
CBD isolate contains no other cannabinoids or plant products like fat or oils. And because it has no THC, you should pass a drug test after consuming it (though in rare cases this is not the case). It’s for this reason some people have dubbed CBD isolate products “athlete-friendly CBD.”
Delta-8 products will show as THC on most drug tests. So if you have any amount of THC (delta-9, delta-8, or otherwise) in your system, you will likely fail your drug test.
It is best to avoid any form of THC several weeks before taking a drug test. And in the meantime, get your cannabis fix with CBD isolate.