A drug test can be a stressful event, and failure can mean losing a job, failing to meet probation requirements, or worse. For cannabis users, a drug test can mean months of abstinence just to pass. That’s why many are looking for alternatives, like Delta 8. So the question is, does delta 8 show up on a drug test?
Delta 8 Vs. Delta 9 THC: What’s the difference?
Delta 9 THC is what you find in most current recreational cannabis and is responsible for the drug’s intoxicating effects. If you’ve ever smoked weed, taken a dab, eaten an edible, or consumed any other form of recreational marijuana, you most likely had Delta 9 THC.
Delta 8 THC is like Delta 9’s calmer, more peaceful cousin. Delta 8 is a form of tetrahydrocannabinol like Delta 9 and can produce many of the same effects. It’s a bit lower potency, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; D8 eases users gently into its euphoric effects, letting you get buzzed at your own pace.
Delta 8 can also have fewer adverse side effects than Delta 9, like paranoia and anxiety. Especially for those who have recently taken a long break or are first-time users, traditional cannabis can be too intense. So Delta 8 can get you high just like Delta 9, but the dosages are slightly different.
How does a drug test work?
When you take a drug like Delta 9 THC, your body breaks it down so you can absorb the active ingredients. This absorption process is called metabolization, and your liver generally metabolizes the substance. Drug tests look for what substances are left behind in the form of residual metabolites. These metabolites stay in your lungs, blood, urine, saliva, hair, and sweat long after the effects of the drug have worn off.
The challenging part about tests looking for THC is that it is a fat-soluble compound. This means it stays in your system a lot longer than water-soluble compounds like alcohol. These filter quickly through the liver and kidneys, and all traces are generally gone in a couple of days.
What substances does a drug test look for?
Drug tests are specially designed to look for a wide variety of intoxicants. This list of drugs can include:
- Cannabis (Delta 9 THC)
- Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, etc.)
- Amphetamines (Adderall, Methamphetamines, etc.)
- Opioids (Heroin, Prescription painkillers, etc.)
Different types of drug tests
Different drug tests check the different areas where metabolites are left behind. This includes testing the blood, hair follicles, saliva, and urine. While a blood or hair follicle test is unlikely to be administered to test for THC, saliva and urine are commonly used in job-related drug testing.
There are two types of urine tests to check for illegal substances: The Immunoassay Test (IA) and the Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry test (GC-MS). The IA test checks to see if there are macromolecules in the urine but can produce inaccurate results. The GC-MS test uses a mixture of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to gather incredibly accurate test results but at a higher cost.
Saliva testing is used to check whether someone has recently been under the influence, as opposed to a urine test, which checks for the past days or weeks of intoxication. A saliva test can be administered by swabbing the testee’s cheek and is often used at roadside stops to check for a marijuana DUI.
Does Delta 8 Show up on a Drug Test?
Like Delta 9, Delta 8 shows up on a drug test. Unfortunately, lower-end drug tests aren’t sophisticated enough to distinguish between cannabinoids. However, If your employer is using a GC-MS test, they will see the difference between the delta 8 metabolites and the delta 9 metabolites.
While it may not be worthwhile to risk it, there is a way to show you have been using legal Delta 8 THC instead of illegal Delta 9 THC. But, If you intend to stop using Delta 8 before a test to be safe, it’s essential to know how long it stays in your system.
How Long Does Delta 8 Stay in your System?
Because all THC is stored in the fat, how long Delta 8 stays in your system depends on your usage level. If you only use Delta 8 occasionally, it can only be detected in your urine for a few days. But if you use it heavily, it may stay in your system for up to 2 months. Of course, all of this depends on a variety of factors, including:
- Level of hydration
- Frequency of use
- Dosage while using
How to Pass a Drug Test if you use Delta 8
To increase the rate you metabolize THC, the best thing you can do is consume large amounts of water. This will help flush the metabolites out and increase the chances of a negative test result. Also, make sure to purchase at-home tests to get a general picture of THC levels in your system.
It may also help talk to your employer about using a GC-MS test to prove you are using Delta 8 instead of Delta 9. There are plenty of legitimate medical reasons to use Delta 8, and if you are in a state where it’s legal, your employer should be a bit understanding. Delta 8 is a legal alternative to Delta 9 and has many of the same, if not better, effects.