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Delta-8 THC: Will it Make You Fail a Drug Test?

The cannabis plant has myriad cannabinoids, but none are as famous or controversial as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. However, the fame of delta-9 THC might soon be contested by its lesser-known analog – Delta-8 THC. Delta-8 THC is a minor cannabinoid, which means it is found in smaller amounts in the cannabis plant compared to delta-9 THC or CBD. The Farm Bill's passage has caused a rise in the popularity of delta-8 products in the United States, but many wonder how this cannabinoid interacts with drug testing. Can delta-8 THC lead to a positive drug test?


Delta-8 THC molecular structure


The Science Behind Delta-8 THC


Delta-8 THC shares similar chemical structures with delta-9 THC, with one major difference: the placement of the double bond. In delta-9 THC, the double bond is on the ninth carbon chain, while in delta-8 THC, it's on the eighth. This minor change can create similar effects in the human body when binding with cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system. However, the effects of delta-8 THC are typically reported as less intense than its delta-9 counterpart.


Despite being a legal substance federally under the Farm Bill, given that it's derived from hemp, delta-8 THC's similar chemical structure to delta-9 THC can result in positive results on standard drug tests. THC metabolites stored in fat cells of the human body get released over time, often showing up in urine tests, hair follicle tests, blood tests, and saliva tests, regardless of whether the consumed product was a legal limit delta-8 product or illegal drugs like marijuana.


Drug Testing and Delta-8 THC


The frequency of use, the method of consumption, and even your metabolic rate can significantly affect the detection of THC in your body. A recent use of delta-8 products might not show up in a hair test, but a urine test might indicate a positive result. Many drug tests, including workplace drug tests, use immunoassays to detect the presence of THC metabolites. This method, however, doesn't distinguish between different forms of THC. Hence, if you've used delta-8 THC products, there's a chance you could fail a drug test.


Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry are other methods used for drug screening. These methods provide more accurate results, distinguishing THC molecules' different forms, like the minor cannabinoid delta-8 THC from the more prevalent delta-9 THC. However, they're more expensive, hence less commonly used, especially in routine screenings.


The Risk of False Positives


Delta-8 THC, despite being a legal hemp-derived product at the federal level, can lead to a false positive on a drug test. This situation is bad news for many people who rely on these products for health conditions like chronic pain, as they may be mistaken for illicit drug users. A false positive result might also occur due to cross-reactivity, where the test confuses delta-8 THC with similar compounds, including synthetic cannabinoids, certain prescription medication, or even other forms of THC.


Is There a Way to Pass the Drug Test After Using Delta-8?


The short answer is, it depends. Various factors, including your last use of delta-8 THC, the type of drug test, your body's metabolic rate, and the frequency of use, can influence your test results.


The best way to ensure you don't test positive is abstaining from delta-8 THC products for a while before an upcoming drug test. However, flushing out THC metabolites from your system isn't as easy as drinking cranberry juice or taking a detox drink, contrary to popular belief.


In some cases, an at-home test might help you gauge if you're likely to test positive. While these tests aren't foolproof, they can provide a rough idea of whether THC metabolites might show up on a urine test.


Delta-8 THC: The Legal Status


The legal status of delta-8 THC remains a gray area. While it's legal at the federal level under the Farm Bill, some states have banned it. The Drug Administration hasn't approved the recreational use of delta-8 THC yet. Plus, the Department of Defense has forbidden the use of any hemp products by military personnel, including CBD products and delta-8 THC products.


It's important to familiarize yourself with local laws regarding delta-8 THC and other cannabis-derived products. Additionally, recreational marijuana users should also be aware of public health considerations and the potential adverse effects of higher doses.


Cannabis plant and its cannabinoids

Delta-8 THC: A Worthy Contender or a Risky Bet?


While delta-8 THC offers potential benefits similar to delta-9 THC and CBD products, the risk of failing a drug test after using it cannot be ignored. Although delta-8 THC is a legal substance in many places in the United States, its structural similarity to delta-9 THC can lead to positive test results on standard drug tests, causing an unwelcome surprise for occasional users.


As the cannabis industry evolves, more research is necessary to fully understand how delta-8 THC interacts with the human body, its potential health benefits, and its implications for drug testing. Until then, delta-8 THC products should be used with caution, especially by individuals subject to regular drug testing.


However, should you need advice on medical marijuana and different cannabinoids, we at ARCannabisClinic are here to help. As a network of healthcare providers specializing in medical cannabis, we strive to offer accurate information and guidance to those seeking the potential benefits of cannabinoids.

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