If you’ve been using delta 8 products or are thinking of using delta 8 products but have an upcoming drug test — you’re probably wondering how long this substance remains in the system after you stop taking it.
The short answer to this question is between 2 and 30 days.
Yes, this is a very broad range, but it’s true.
There are a ton of factors that can affect how long delta 8 remains detectable in the body. If you’re curious about how it works, how you can shorten the amount of time it takes to clear delta 8 from the body, keep reading — we cover all these questions and more.
HOW LONG DOES DELTA 8 THC STAY IN THE BODY?
Delta 8 can remain detectable in the blood or urine for as long as 30 days or as short as two days. There are a lot of factors that can either shorten or prolong the amount of time it takes for delta 8 to be completely cleared from the body.
Hair analysis can detect delta 8 THC for the longest duration of time — up to 90 days. However, these tests often produce inaccurate results and are rarely used in drug testing.
The amount of time delta 8 stays in the body depends on a few factors:
- Frequency of use — the more often you use it, the longer it stays in the body.
- Your age — older people tend to metabolize compounds slower.
- Method of consumption — inhaled forms of delta 8 remain in the body the longest.
- Your individual metabolism — some people metabolize faster than others.
- The dose you used — the higher the dose, the longer it takes to clear from the body.
- Other supplements or medications — some compounds will slow the breakdown & elimination of delta 8.
DELTA 8 THC HALF-LIFE
Delta 8 THC has two metabolic phases — a rapid phase and a slow phase. Within about 1 minute of taking delta 8 THC, a portion of it is already cleared from the body — after this occurs, metabolic rate slows down substantially. The half-life of delta 8 in the slow phase is around 32 minutes.
This means it takes about 30 minutes for exactly half of the delta 8 THC to be metabolized — leaving behind around 50% of the starting dose. Another 30 minutes later, half of this dose is cleared — leaving 25% of the original dose. This goes on until there’s nothing left.
Here’s a timeline of the half-life of delta 8 THC to help you visualize how different doses can remain in the body for more or less time because of the half-life.
FACTORS THAT AFFECT THE DURATION OF DELTA 8 THC
1. FREQUENCY OF USE
The more often you use delta 8 THC, the longer it takes to clear it from the body.
This is also the case with other cannabinoids, including CBD.
Cannabinoids are fat-soluble, which means they’re able to make their way into the body’s fat cells. When we use cannabinoids like delta 8 in high doses or long periods of time, they accumulate in our fat cells (adipocytes).
When we stop using them, these accumulations slowly start to flow back into the bloodstream — prolonging the amount of time needed for these compounds to be eliminated entirely from the body.
People who use delta 8 once or twice per week will usually be completely rid of the compound within about 7 days.
Someone who uses delta 8 five or six times per week (or more) may have to wait a few weeks before it’s no longer detectable in the blood or urine.
2. BIOLOGICAL AGE
As we get older, our metabolic rate begins to slow down. This is well-known phenomenon doctors take into account when prescribing medications.
If it takes three days for someone to clear delta 8 from their body in their 20s and 30s, it may take up to 6 days to clear the same amount when they’re in their 60s or 70s.
However, there are lots of people in their late 70s or 80s who clear compounds like delta 8 just as fast as a 20 or 30-year-old.
3. METHOD OF CONSUMPTION
The way you take delta 8 plays a role in how it’s metabolized.
Inhaled forms of delta 8 exert their effects much quicker than ingested forms (within just a few minutes), but they’re also cleared from the body more quickly.
There haven’t been any official studies to compare the metabolism of different ingestion methods of delta 8, but there’s a lot of data available for the delta 9 form of THC as well as another related molecule — CBD.
One study showed smoked, or inhaled CBD was cleared from the body nearly twice as fast as ingested forms. IV injection had the fasted elimination of them all — but this isn’t a common (or recommended) way of using delta 8 regardless of experience.
4. GENETICS & METABOLISM
Our individual genetics and metabolic rates play a big part in how fast substances like delta 8 are cleared from the body.
We rely heavily on our liver to metabolize delta 8 and other substances.
Depending on the chemical structure of the target substance, the liver uses a specific enzyme to break each substance down into smaller inactive metabolites. These are then removed from the body via the kidneys.
These enzymes can be thought of as different types of tools, and the right tool needs to be used for the job.
For example, you wouldn’t want to hammer a nail with a wrench or try and cut some wood with a screwdriver. Only the tool specifically made for the job at hand is going to be effective.
This is the same concept as liver enzymes.
The specific enzyme involved with delta 8 is called CYP3A4. Some people naturally have less of this enzyme than others, which means it’s going to take longer to metabolize delta 8 than someone with a high ratio of this particular enzyme in the liver.
5. DOSAGE USED
This may be common sense, but the higher the dose of delta 8, the longer it’s going to take to clear it from the body.
The half-life of delta 8 is relatively short, so increases in dose will only affect the amount of time this substance stays in the body by a few hours — rather than a few days.
6. SUPPLEMENTS & MEDICATIONS
Most supplements and medications we consume need to be metabolized for the liver. Sometimes they’ll compete with each other for the same set of enzymes which can slow down the entire process.
Going back to our tool example — let’s say we only have one saw available. As long as each cutting job comes through one at a time, we’ll be able to keep up with the work. But as soon as two, three, or more jobs start coming through at a time, we won’t be able to keep up. The jobs coming through will start to back up and form a line.
This happens with supplements as well.
We know that delta 8 is primarily metabolized by CYP3A4. This means if we use other substances that require the same enzymes, it will cause both of them to metabolize at a slower rate.
Unfortunately, the CYP3A4 enzyme is in high-demand — many supplements and medications require this enzyme for metabolism.
If you’re using delta 8 at the same time as other supplements or medications, it’s going to take longer to clear from the body after you stop taking it.
CAN DELTA 8 THC MAKE ME FAIL A DRUG TEST?
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably thinking about an upcoming drug test.
The truth is that it’s completely possible for delta 8 to lead to a failure on a drug test. As long as this substance is detectable in the body, it’s most likely going to be discovered on a urine or blood test.
Even though delta 8 is legal on a federal level in the United States — it’s difficult for standard drug tests to differentiate this compound from the nearly identical delta 9 version. Delta 9 THC is illegal in most states.
If you’re required to take a drug test for any reason, it’s wise to avoid using delta 8 THC.
SUMMARY: DELTA 8 THC METABOLISM & DURATION
In summary, delta 8 THC will remain in the system for about two days if you’ve only used it once or twice.
If you take delta 8 often or in high doses, you may need to wait somewhere between 2 and 4 weeks to be cleared from the body completely.
Hair deposits can last even longer, with some reports detecting delta 8 THC in the hair up to 90 days later.
The more often you use delta 8, the longer it’s going to take to clear from the body. Other factors like your age, weight, and adjunctive supplements and medications can all impact the amount of time needed to metabolize delta 8 THC.