The quick rise of the cannabis industry has shown there’s more to the THC molecule than we thought. While THC is the most abundant and effective compound of the cannabis plant, researchers and entrepreneurs have brought to light new variants with unique effects and uses.
Delta-8 THC is one of the more intriguing compounds in the THC family, known for its milder effects and versatility in combination with CBD and other cannabinoids.* You may be interested in trying delta-8 THC for yourself but still want to know how long it stays in your system and whether it will trigger a positive drug test.
We’re all-in on delta-8, and industry trends suggest it’s the next big thing. There’s no better time to answer your delta-8 questions and set the stage for safe and effective usage.
What is delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is a naturally-occurring compound found in the cannabis plant, sharing a structure similar to delta-9 THC. While delta-9 is considered the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, delta-8 is known as its “younger sibling” due to lower concentrations in the plant and milder effects on the body and mind.*
In the natural plant, think of delta-8 as a supporting cast member in the entourage effect of CBD and standard THC; it plays a part but isn’t in the spotlight like other compounds. In fact, delta-8 is one of the least common cannabinoids of them all, making up around 0.1% of the net volume in most cannabis strains.
Delta-8 has grown in popularity due to the recent uptick in delta-8 products derived from CBD, generated through new extraction and concentration processes. The primary technique is synthetic; it involves the dissolution of CBD with solvents and an exothermic heat reaction, which chemically converts CBD to delta-8.
Unfortunately, most producers have not mastered this process—and the end product usually ends up having not only synthetic delta-8 THC, but an illegal amount of delta-9 THC alongside it. This gets especially dangerous when companies choose not to account for this delta-9 on the product label.
But Sunmed's method is simple: we we use cannabis biomass that contains naturally occurring delta-8 THC, and extract the desired compounds. While this extraction process isn’t exactly “natural,” the cannabinoid remains in its natural-occurring composition.
In terms of effects, delta-8 is similar to its big brother, delta-9 THC. However, while delta-9 interacts primarily with CB1 receptors, delta-8 produces a more mellow “body high” experience by hitting CB2 receptors throughout the body.* This helps users achieve feelings of relaxation, reduced feelings of tension, and support for general well-being—without some of the downsides of acute THC intoxication.*
Additionally, delta-8 products are often combined with other compounds to produce the entourage effect. For example, you may find delta-8 gummies with 12 mg of delta-8, 2 mg of delta-9, and another 12 or more CBD cannabinoids. This provides a balanced experience that maximizes the benefits of each compound.*
On the research front, delta-8 is slightly behind the curve due to its recent introduction to the commercial cannabis scene. However, studies are in the works to discover more about delta-8 and its benefits, and the future looks bright with initial reports.*
Is delta-8 THC legal?
Delta-8 is legal in some states, as it qualifies as a naturally occurring cannabinoid. However, rules vary in states without legalized cannabis.
Further complicating matters is legislation banning the sale of delta-8 products in certain states, even those which have legalized THC in other forms. Lawmakers have argued that because delta-8 is often created synthetically from CBD, it should be treated with more rigorous restrictions.
While the current legal situation seems confusing at first glance, we expect things to change for the better as research shows the benefits and harm reduction potential of delta-8 in the near future.
For now, be sure to research and take delta-8 products cautiously, prioritizing quality and transparency with trusted brands and ingredients.
Does delta-8 THC show up on drug tests?
Delta-8 is structurally similar to delta-9 THC and will almost certainly result in a positive test with recent or frequent consumption. Even though the effects of delta-8 are commonly milder than its more potent counterpart, drug tests are not designed to distinguish between the two compounds, meaning you’ll want to think ahead before taking delta-8.*
Additionally, delta-8 products are often created with smaller amounts of delta-9 THC to add to the entourage effect and produce more benefits for the ECS. Even if you’re trying to avoid delta-9 altogether, this is something to remember when taking delta-8 gummies or drops.* Always be sure to check the label for all cannabinoid content.
What drug tests can detect delta-8?
Because of the close chemical relation between delta-8 and delta-9, virtually every THC drug test can detect delta-8 in the system. This goes for urine tests, which can detect THC for up to a month or more, but also applies to more stringent hair strand tests, blood tests, and other methods.
With this in mind, it’s best to avoid delta-8 products altogether if you have an upcoming drug test. Thankfully, CBD products can offer considerable benefits without the psychoactive effects of delta-8. You can generally safely navigate drug tests by switching to a broad spectrum CBD product within a reasonable timeframe.*
How long does delta-8 THC stay in your system?
It’s always worth knowing how long a compound will stay in your system before taking it. With delta-8, you can expect metabolites to remain in your system for a few weeks before clearing entirely, depending on biological and environmental factors. But this timeframe also correlates with how long you have been using delta-8 THC.
If passing a drug test is your top priority, you’ll want to avoid delta-8 and other forms of THC for at least a month or two before taking your test. This should be enough time to detox from THC entirely, although it may take longer if you’ve taken high amounts of THC for many months or years prior.*
Does delta-8 leave your system faster than other forms of THC?
Because delta-8 is less potent than delta-9, it doesn’t stay in the body for as long as delta-9 THC. This is because the compound interacts with fewer receptors in the body and requires less of the metabolism to break down and clear the system in full.
Delta-8 products also tend to feature lower concentrations of THC overall, meaning responsible consumption will likely not result in the heavy buildup of the compounds in the tissue over time.*
So while you might need a few months to clear delta-9 from the system with a focused detox program, you may be able to accelerate that timeline if you’ve only been taking delta-8. Still, it’s better to play it safe when it comes to testing, so give yourself more time than less if your goal is to pass a test without question.
What factors influence how long delta-8 stays in your system?
Many variables determine how long a particular compound stays in your system. Some of these factors are entirely out of our control, while others come down to your regimen and methodology.
Let’s look at the main four factors that influence how long delta-8 stays in your system, plus some tips to stay balanced and detox if necessary.
Method of consumption
How you take delta-8 will impact how much of the compound builds up in your bloodstream and tissue, so your method of consumption does make a difference.
Fast-acting formats like water solubles will result in quicker ingestion and metabolization, though these will also clear from the system in a shorter time frame due to their lightweight structure and ingredients.
Delta-8 gummies and baked goods, on the other hand, take longer to absorb into the system and also produce effects for a longer duration. This sustained delivery method means the compounds metabolize more slowly and will take longer to clear.*
What you eat and drink will also influence how the compound is processed.
Metabolism refers to the body's many functions that process and break down organic material introduced to the system. A fast metabolism means that compounds like delta-8 will absorb more quickly into the bloodstream and also clear out in a shorter time frame.
Slower metabolisms might require more time and energy to eliminate lingering delta-8 compounds, especially in individuals with higher amounts of fat tissue.
Frequency of use
The more often you take a THC compound, the longer these molecules will stay present in your body, even long after the noticeable effects have worn off.
If you take delta-8 just once a week for a few months, the detox process will be significantly shorter than someone who has taken it daily for years.*
Also, remember that other forms of THC contribute more significantly to your overall levels and can take even longer to clear out. An optimal detox plan will remove all THC and provide plenty of time for a complete cleanse.
Your delta-8 levels depend largely on the serving or how much you take at once. The typical serving found in gummies or tinctures is around 12 mg, though this might be too much for a beginner.
We suggest starting with a 6 mg serving of delta-8 to gain comfort with the experience and take note of any early benefits. This full spectrum gummy blend offers an ideal balance of delta-8 with a smaller serving of delta-9 and plenty of extra cannabinoids for a perfect introduction.*
The bottom line
Delta-8 is a promising compound offering a nice change of pace from its more potent THC counterpart. Always stay informed on your delta-8 products, and only shop with trusted brands that formulate with balance in mind.
Sunmed has all your delta-8 needs covered and plenty of resources to keep you on top of the latest research.* This way, you can configure the ideal possible cannabis plan for your needs and get the best this fascinating plant has to offer.