Cannabis enthusiasts are talking about delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The cannabinoid has a similar structure to delta-9 THC, the THC that most users are familiar with. However, delta-8 THC produces a much milder, less potent high. It’s also legal across the U.S. when it’s extracted from hemp, making it attractive to people in states without dispensaries. You can smoke delta-8 THC without worrying about becoming too intoxicated or getting into trouble with the law.
What you cannot do, unfortunately, is smoke delta-8 THC and easily pass a drug test. Let’s discuss why.
What is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid that, like delta-9 THC, binds to the CB1 receptor in the brain. Both compounds are naturally produced by hemp and cannabis plants, but delta-8 THC is significantly less common. Israeli researchers studying the two cannabinoids in 1995 determined that: “The major chemical difference between them is that delta-9-THC is easily oxidized to the biologically inactive cannabinol; delta-8-THC is stable, does not oxidize to cannabinol and has a very long shelf life.”
You may be hearing about delta-8 THC now because cannabis extraction methods have improved dramatically. Companies can now extract it from hemp, which is federally legal.
Delta-8 THC isn’t as psychoactive as regular THC, but it is associated with similar health benefits. The National Cancer Institue writes that delta-8 THC is “an analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties.”
What You Need to Before a Drug Test
Drug tests are not sensitive enough to distinguish between different types of THC. Whether you consume delta-8 or delta-9 THC, your body breaks it down into THC metabolites. In addition, hemp products can contain up to .03 THC, which can also potentially throw off a drug test.
If you know you need to take a drug test and have time to prepare, the best thing you can do is abstain. Exactly how long it takes for metabolites to clear your body depends on your size, but in general, you should be okay after three to four weeks.
If you don’t have enough time to pass a drug test naturally, you might still be okay if you haven’t smoked that much. You can try to dilute your blood by drinking lots of water and exercising often, so you excrete sweat and lose fat cells, where THC metabolites are stored.
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