With all the legalization continuing to pick up speed across the U.S., many employers are now requesting drug tests upon hire — regardless of the “drugs” legal status.
Most routine drug tests will detect nearly every type of THC you may have recently consumed. Drug tests do not know what kind of THC was consumed, only that THC was used. Your body breaks down delta-8-THC into smaller compounds known as metabolites which are picked up by specific THC drug tests.
Below, we analyzed how drug tests are performed and how to pass the drug test if you have consumed delta-8-THC.
How Much Delta-8-THC Shows Up On A Drug Test?
Delta-8-THC amount cannot be quantitatively measured with general drug tests.
For the few delta-8-THC specific drug tests that do, it is estimated that anything above 0.3% delta-8-THC will show up.
However, drug tests cannot tell what type of THC product was used unless they are delta-8-THC specific.
THC-COOH (a THC carboxylic acid) is part of THC metabolite molecules that are produced for every form of THC.
The metabolism of delta-8-THC is similar to that of delta-9-THC and 11-hydroxy THC compounds.
According to the Journal of Pharmacology, THC is broken down to form an 11-CH2OH moiety and a THC-COOH.
THC-COOH is a tell-tale chemical marker that confirms the consumption of THC in most standard drug tests.
The THC urine tests are finely tuned to detect the presence of inactive metabolites of THC-COOH.
Yet, different cannabinoid metabolites can also be detected by urine tests causing cross-reactivity.
Learn more: Is Delta 8 THC Safe?
Cross-reactivity indicates the ability of the test to detect compounds that have a similar structure to the targeted molecule.
A report from The Journal of Applied Laboratory Medicine (2020) analyzed the cross-reactivity of THC metabolites in urine-based drug tests.
Routine drug tests contain what’s known as THC immunoassays and are used to detect THC-COOH.
Researchers also screened CBD, cannabichromene (CBC),cannabinol (CBN) and cannabigerol (CBG) and noticed important cross-reactivity occurs with CBN which has a similar structure to delta-8-THC.
Further research found the presence of CBN and THC in the urine has a greater result than just THC.
Learn more: Is Delta-8 THC Synthetic?
Due to the similarities of CBN and delta-8-THC, some scientists suggest that delta-8-THC will show a more positive result. Yet, there is a lack of evidence that completely confirms their claims.
Can Cleansers Flush Delta-8-THC From Your System?
The body can retain THC metabolites for 30 days or more. Detox or system cleansers are a cult favorite to remove delta-8-THC from their system.
Instead of removing THC from the body or the urine, detox drinks are used to trick laboratory tests because they add vitamins and salts to the urine sample.
The camouflage of THC metabolites may result in a positive toxicology report.
While detox kits may seem like a quick fix to flush delta-8-THC, it is rarely the case.
These kits are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meaning that they may be more harmful than beneficial.
Lab tests cannot detect detox products because they do not leave traces in the urine. The tests are used to find any THC metabolites, specifically THC-COOH.
However, it is important to provide a normal urine sample, not a diluted one, as it may trigger some alarm signs of tampering.
Another great method to remove delta-8-THC is through exercising. THC stored in the adipose (fat) tissue can be released through exercise.
Theoretically, exercise boosts your metabolism to break down THC but it is only a marginal difference, perhaps 28 days instead of 30 days.
How Do Cannabis Drug Tests Work?
The exact procedure of a drug test will depend on what type of test you will undergo and factors like your metabolism, how frequently you use THC, and gender.
Drug tests look for THC metabolites, in particular, THC-COOH, rather than the products used.
Urine test is the most common form of testing, especially for the hiring process. An enzyme called immunoassay (EIA) is used during urine screening to detect THC-COOH.
Because of the structural similarities and THC metabolites produced, tests for delta-9 likely cross-react with delta-8-THC.
Evidence shows that certain concentrations of delta-8-THC can produce similar results to the THC-COOH cutoffs to get a positive result.
11-hydroxy-delta-8-THC-COOH metabolite may be detected by urine tests to confirm the consumption of a THC product.
Yet, some more advanced standard urine tests can detect the presence of delta-8-THC metabolites.
Urine tests have to attain a threshold to produce a positive THC result.
A negative result does not signify drug-free urine. Instead, it indicates below threshold concentration of THC metabolite.
To get optimized results, a Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS) test may be used for positive results.
This test is specific for Δ9-THC metabolites only. Since no delta-8-THC metabolite will be found, despite the initial positive test, the final results will be negative.
How To Pass The Drug Test If You Consume Delta-8-THC?
The obvious method is abstinence. Usually, your body will remove all THC metabolites after three or four weeks of the last use.
Abstinence may not be beneficial if the person is medically using THC.
Therefore, another method is to hydrate and exercise. Drinking a large amount of water every day will help to remove metabolites through your urine.
Yet, overhydration is a potential risk to your health since electrolytes and nutrients are also being flushed out.
You must replenish electrolytes and vitamins level in your diet during the hydration period.
Eating leafy greens and food rich in iron can speed up your metabolism to break down THC and remove it from your system.
Exercise is a great tool to shrink all the cannabis-storing adipose tissue. Any form of exercise that increases the heart rate boosts the chances of eliminating the metabolites.
Morning urination is paramount before your drug test. This will help you remove all metabolites that may have built up during your sleep.
Drink some water along with B-12 vitamins that may conceal the remaining THC metabolites.
Some evidence also suggests that the enzyme papain obtained from the leaves and fruit of papaya plants can limit the metabolism of THC.
This study also states that zinc can hide the THC metabolites level for some time, increasing the chances of passing the test.
How To Test Yourself For Delta-8-THC?
Several at-home THC drug test kits let you know how much THC and THC-COOH are present in your body.
Here are some factors that may provide a clearer understanding of your THC levels:
- The frequency of consumption
- How much do you consume?
- Your total body fat
- Your metabolism rate and overall health
- What products of D8 THC are you consuming (vaping, edibles, etc)
There are a handful of at home drug tests that you can easily purchase to verify whether or you’ll test positive before taking the drug test that might have an impact on your future.
How Much Time Should There Be Between Your Last Puff And Your Next Drug Test?
On average, approximately 80 to 90% of hydroxylated and carboxylated THC metabolites are excreted after five days.
More than 65% are removed in feces, and 20% are flushed out in the urine.
However, it is the slow release of THC from body fat tissues that increases the length of time to 30 days or more.
Urine tests usually detect any THC used during the last 45 days.
While occasional users can get clean after 1-5 days, regular light users can take up to 3 weeks to remove all THC.
For everyday heavy-dose users, it can take 4 to 6 weeks to remove all THC.
If you are a heavy daily user, it is recommended that you use an at-home THC drug test to get an idea of how much THC is in your body before doing the official one.