Many of us have had fun exploring all of the different kinds of delta 8 THC products on the market, like strain-specific vapes, delicious gummies and sublingual tinctures. Delta 8 is undoubtedly a cannabinoid seeing huge popularity, due to its mild but effective high that’s regarded as being clear-headed, mellow and soothing.
But as delta 8 products continues to be enjoyed by more people, some individuals, such as those who are drug-tested for any number of reasons, have one important question: how long does the cannabinoid stay in the system before it’s fully metabolized?
As you’ll soon find out, the answer is more complicated than you may have hoped.
How Long Do the Effects of Delta 8 THC Typically Last in Our System For?
Before we talk about how long the cannabinoid can be detected in the body, it’s important to know how long you can actually feel the effects. Keep in mind, after the effects of delta 8 THC have worn off, the compound remains in the body for some time as it gets metabolized and leaves the body, primarily through a person’s urine.
Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8 THC) is a cannabinoid that is psychoactive, meaning that taking it will get you high. The high is about 70% as strong as that of delta 9 THC, and so its effects feel milder. Many people say that the high of delta 8 is more mellowing than stimulating, and that they can still generally maintain focus and mental clarity.
How long the effects last mainly depend on the delivery method, since different methods of absorption change the way in which the cannabinoid behaves once it’s active. This guide below is only general, since other variables such as dosage amount and user tolerance can have their impacts.
- Inhalable Products (Vapes, Dabs, Flower): These are going to last for the shortest period of time, since they’re the most bioavailable and therefore kick in the fastest and are the most potent. The effects usually last for 1-2 hours, and sometimes 3 hrs. if enough was consumed.
- Ingestible Products (Edibles, Capsules, Beverages): These are the least bioavailable, and so they take the longest to take effect, with those said effects lasting the longest – usually around 7-8 hours, on average.
- Sublingual Products (Tinctures): Somewhere in the middle of the bioavailability scale, and last for about 4-6 hours in most users, depending largely on the product’s milligram strength.
Is There a Duration of Time When Delta 8 THC is Supposed to Leave Our System?
As you now are aware, just because the high of delta 8 THC is over, that doesn’t mean that the cannabinoid is cleared from your body. And, we know this from all of the various things we consume. Take medications, for instance. After we’re done receiving their benefits, they’re still in the system, which is why we are told to refrain from substances that can cause an interaction long after the dosage has worn off. This is true of all cannabinoids, delta 8 THC included.
- About 30 minutes after the effects of delta 8 THC start to come alive, half of the dose or so has been metabolized by the body.
- Next, 30 minutes later, another 25% has been metabolized, give or take.
- Finally, the remaining 25% that’s left in the body is then going to metabolize at a much slower rate since the process itself has slowed down.
This is why it can take anywhere from 2 to 30 days to fully clear delta-8 from the system, depending on various factors like the strength of each dosage and how often you take the cannabinoid.
What This Means for Drug-Testing Purposes
If a cannabinoid remains in the body, even in trace levels, drug-testing can pick it up. And, because delta 8 THC is metabolized by THC-COOH, the same enzyme that breaks down delta 9 THC, delta 8 usage can lead to a positive result. In fact, there are a few different methods of drug-testing, such as the following:
Method #1: Urine Tests: Urine tests are used 90% of the time by employers and probation officers. They look for THC-COOH in the urine. They are extremely accurate, relatively non-invasive and inexpensive. And, they can show evidence of THC usage for weeks after it was consumed.
Method #2: Saliva Tests: Saliva-based tests only show THC usage within the last 10 hours, and are usually used by law enforcement, primarily to test those who may be driving under the influence.
Method #3: Blood Tests: A blood test will only show a positive result if the person is presently high. Once the high is over, THC levels leave the blood.
Method #4: Hair Tests: Hair strand tests only show evidence of THC usage if it’s been over 90 days after the last usage. This method is most commonly used in autopsies.
Method #5: Perspiration Tests: Perspiration tests involve placing a patch onto the skin for 2 weeks, as THC is partially metabolized by sweating. This method is only really used for clinical studies, because it’s extremely invasive and quite expensive, and therefore not an efficient testing method for employers.
What Actually Plays a Role in How Long Delta 8 THC Could Normally Last in the Body For?
Although we’d love to be able to give you a simple guide to determining how long it will take before delta 8 leaves the body completely, we can’t. That’s because there are many factors, some beyond the user’s control, that each contribute to the process of metabolizing the cannabinoid.
#1: Frequency of Use
How often you’re consuming delta 8 THC is going to have a lot to do with the process of metabolizing it. The more often you take it, the more that delta 8 is accumulating in the system, and the metabolism can only break it down so fast, resulting in something of a traffic jam effect. Taking it daily is going to mean that it stays in the system longer, overall, than taking it once every couple of weeks.
#2: Delivery Method
The delivery method also seems to have some influence, just like it influences the duration of effects, as seen earlier. Likely, inhalable delta 8 products metabolize the most quickly, followed by delta 8 tinctures, and then delta 8 edibles, based on the process through which they’re absorbed.
#3: Product Strength
The milligram strength of a delta 8 product matters in the same way that the frequency of usage does. The more milligrams of delta 8 you consume per dose, the more delta 8 is accumulating in the body, which can only be metabolized so quickly.
#4: Your Metabolism
If you just naturally have a fast metabolism, you may find that you clear delta 8 quickly than others. A metabolism’s ability to break down various compounds and substances depends on all kinds of factors like genetics, diet, exercise and even hormones.
#5: When You Last Took Delta 8 THC
If you took delta 8 within the last couple of days, you’re far more likely to still have some in your system than if it’s been weeks since you last consumed the cannabinoid. Take this into account, because if it’s been months since you’ve last had any delta-8, then you definitely don’t have any left in the body. The longest it can take for delta8 to fully clear is about six weeks.
#6: Product Quality
Some delta 8 formulas may not be as potent as they promise to be, due to things like expiration date and poor-quality extraction techniques that interfere with the cannabinoid’s chemical structure, and thus its absorption rate. This means that a delta-8 product you took may not be as strong as advertised, which in turn, clear the body at a quicker rate.
How Long After Using Delta 8 THC is it Safe to Take Any Type of Medication (Prescription or Non-Prescription)?
Delta 8 THC, like other cannabinoids, can suppress CYP3A4, a metabolite that breaks down a lot of common medications. This means that if delta 8 is in the body, medications may accumulate in the blood rather than break down and clear the system. This could be dangerous, as a medication could build up in the body to a dangerous level.
No research has been done to determine how long after taking delta 8 would be a safe time to take a medication. This is why we urge you to talk to your doctor if you are taking any medication and wish to start using delta-8.
Bottom Line: It All Depends
If you’re concerned about how long it will take for delta 8 THC to leave your system, we’re sorry that there’s no straight answer. Basically, if you want to use delta 8 but are worried about it lingering in your system longer than you’d like it to, for instance if you’re someone who has a drug test coming up, then we strongly suggest being as cautious as possible, and perhaps even abstaining from the cannabinoid until after your test is complete.