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how long does delta 9 thc stay in your system

How long does Delta-9 THC stay in your system?

Tatum Blakeney

How long will THC stay in your system?

When it comes to using hemp and marijuana products, there are often concerns about how long these compounds will remain in your system, especially those that can trigger a positive drug test - whether it be a urine test, blood test, or saliva test.  Generic drug tests are looking for THC in the system and can cause concern for those who need to be tested for work or other factors.

Unfortunately, when answering the question, "How long does delta-9 stay in your system?" the solution is that it depends. What are you measuring? How often do you use it? How much do you use? How fast is your metabolism? All of these questions add up to the answer to the above question, which is "it depends". Frustrating at best, anxiety-inducing at worst, it's not the end of your answer.

On the bright side, there are some general rules you can go by to determine how long does delta 9 stay in your system. We'll go into these details below so that you have a better idea of what THC drug test levels in urine will be, how tests detect thc, when you're clear of the danger zone for getting a positive test and how you can speed up that rate using a range of detoxification methods. Though none of these methods will guarantee negative THC drug test levels, they should help improve your chances of passing a drug test for Delta-9 THC.

Chemical Compound Structure of Delta 9 THC
Chemical Structure of Delta 9 THC

What is Delta-9 THC?

Delta-9 THC, an abbreviation for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the active psychoactive ingredient in marijuana varieties of cannabis plants that causes intoxication. You can read our in-depth guide answering "What is Delta 9 THC" here. This psychoactive substance enters the bloodstream, while other portions are stored in fats and organs. Once it reaches the liver, it breaks down into over 80 different metabolites, which are tested for in urine, blood tests, and hair sample tests. Over time, both the THC and the related metabolites leave your body as waste products, specifically urine and stool. Though the high associated with delta-9 THC may pass within a few hours, the compounds may remain in your system from days to weeks, depending on how often it is used.

As the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, delta-9 THC is commonly tested for in situations where drug use can be dangerous, such as companies that deal with heavy equipment, driving, manufacturing and similar aspects. Many businesses also require on-demand or periodic drug testing of employees for safety and liability issues. For that reason, it's important to understand how long does delta 9 stay in your system.

Drug testing may also be commonly required for highly competitive athletics, which can be concerning if you wandered into a situation where marijuana was being used excessively and couldn't find an easy way to extract yourself from the situation. Potential exposures such as these can be handled carefully, specifically by adding hydration and exercise to your regimen to attempt to remove the metabolites from your system more quickly.

Though many states have already legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana, the federal government has not yet legalized marijuana and may cause problems for those having to travel across state lines, even when they have a medical reason for taking the herb and documentation to back it up. For that reason, it's vital that you know and understand the laws that can impact you during travel to avoid potential legal issues.

Woman Vaping Delta 9 THC
Vaping THC can produce a more rapid onset than ingesting by other methods.

How does Delta-9 get into your body? 

The most common way for delta-9 to enter the body is through smoking or ingesting marijuana or its extracts, though you could have some very small amount enter the body in the form of THC-containing extracts, such as full-spectrum extracts. Also, due to the similarity in delta-8 and delta-9 metabolites, you could also see a false positive. This creates a wide range of ways that you may end up with the compound and its metabolites in your systems that can show up in drug tests.

For this reason, if you're considering taking CBD oil that could contain some trace amounts of THC, it's important that you consider the consequences of that action. If you need to take CBD oil for a medical issue, you should seriously consider working with an extract or oil that is isolate or broad-spectrum rather than full-spectrum, as well as stick with brands that do testing in an independent third-party laboratory to ensure that it contains no or very low delta-9 THC levels.

As delta-9 enters your body, it is absorbed into your bloodstream, and from there, it may be stored in your organs and body fat to be released at a later time or metabolized by the body. If it is stored in the kidneys, THC is able to be reabsorbed into your bloodstream again, creating a cyclical effect to a certain extent, though it will disappear over time. Eventually, delta-9 THC will be broken down into dozens of metabolites by the liver, after which it can pass out of the body in urine and stool.

Because the metabolites remain in your system for longer than the delta-9 THC does, most generic drug tests will look for the metabolites in your system. These metabolites can be tested for in urine, which is the most common method, in blood, saliva, and in hair follicles. However, to determine how long does delta-9 stay in your system, you'll need to consider how much is taken, how frequently, and your metabolism, all of which will play a part in how long the metabolites remain in your system.

Hemp Delta 9 THC
Delta 9 THC can be derived from Hemp

How long does a Delta 9 THC gummy stay in your system?

Like other forms of delta-9 that are available for consumption, delta 9 gummies will release traceable cannabinoids into your system. How long the compound or its metabolites remain in your system will depend very strongly on how often you partake in them and how much you use them as well as other factors. If you use very high doses several times a day, the THC metabolites will stay in your system much longer than if you use small amounts once or twice a week. If you have a job that requires regular drug testing, you may want to consider alternatives to avoid positive drug tests.

In a recent study by the Mayo Clinic, it was found that urine tests would provide different results based on dosage and usage. For occasional use of up to three times weekly, metabolites can be detected in a urine test up to three days after your last usage. The moderate use of four times weekly had persistence of 5-7 days, while daily use would show up to 15 days after use ceased. Using delta-9 multiple times daily could cause it to persist for over 30 days after you've stopped using the product.

This same study showed that blood tests allow it to be detectable for one or two days, but with heavier or chronic use it can be detected for up to 25 days. Similarly, saliva tests of occasional tests showed cannabinoid metabolites in saliva for occasional users for 1-3 days, and in chronic users from 1-29 days. Hair follicle testing provides the longest-term coverage because THC metabolites can show up for up to three months or 90 days.

If you have an idea of what type of drug test you would be using, you can taper your usage towards that end, ensuring that the metabolites will have dissipated from your system prior to the testing period. This provides you with the ability to plan for the test, making adjustments as needed to provide a better result if possible.

What Is CBD Oil

How long does Delta 9 & CBD stay in your system?

We already know that delta 9 can stay in your system from anywhere 1 - 90 days, potentially more. But how about CBD? How long does CBD stay in your system?

Similarly to Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 THC, or any cannabinoid for that matter, how long CBD stays in your system depends on many factors.  Your metabolism, frequency of use, or even what kind of product used can factor in.  You can read more in a previous article here. 

To avoid accidentally having a positive drug test while using CBD oil for medical uses, try using a broad-spectrum rather than a full-spectrum oil. Broad-spectrum CBD oils have had all THC compounds, including delta 8, removed prior to packaging, and should not trigger a positive drug test result unless the product you're using has not been independently lab-verified and does actually contain some delta 8 that impacts your impending drug test.

Delta 8 THC may also trigger a positive for THC on generic drug tests, since most drug tests are testing for THC metabolites and can’t notice a difference between the two.  So it’s important to always do your research and proceed with caution if you utilize any hemp or cannabis product, even if you are an occasional user.

What is a high THC level in urine? 

If you're wondering about THC levels in urine, you're not alone. From people who use medical marijuana for serious health reasons to those who use it recreationally where it is legal on the state level, there are still associated issues with being able to pass drug tests for a wide range of reasons.

As time passes, the amount of THC that will show up in your urine will lower. Some people have asked, "is 44 days enough to pass a drug test?" Unfortunately, it still depends on usage. If you're using delta-9 daily or several times a day, you may still have trace amounts of delta 9 triggering a positive drug test as late as 90 days after usage in a hair follicle test, though many people will be able to pass a drug test in 30 to 60 days with lighter usage.

That being said, all scientific tests, including drug tests, have parameters and limitations. Most urine tests won't show up as positive until they rise to a level between 15 nanograms per milliliter to 50 nanograms per milliliter, with the lower end considered to be a very accurate level of testing. Most tests tend to fall closer to the 50 nanograms per milliliter, providing a little more leeway.

For this reason, many people who face an imminent and unexpected drug test may have some options to thin out that concentration. Strenuous exercise coupled with taking in large quantities of water can reduce your concentration, as can caffeine consumption, while various detox kits that are available may or may not improve your odds of passing an unexpected drug test.

In 2018, the Farm Bill that legalized hemp and its constituents – as long as the amount of Delta 9 THC present in dry weight is under 0.3%.  Meaning legally there can still be small amounts of THC present in your CBD products - especially if they are full-spectrum CBD Products.

If full spectrum CBD products contain such a low amount of THC, can that result in a positive drug test? Even in small amounts, they can produce metabolites, which, as was mentioned above, is what drug tests look for. However, these metabolites typically won't trigger a positive drug test due to the small amount that is available to the body. But keep in mind that it is possible.

However, because the industry is not always well regulated, you may end up with a higher concentration, or heavy use could cause more to show up in a drug test, triggering a positive effect. By sticking with broad-spectrum CBD oil, you can enjoy the entourage effect of different cannabinoids while avoiding the potential legal issues due to drug testing when using full-spectrum products.

How can I detox from THC to pass an upcoming drug test?

If you have a drug test coming up and you’ve been using THC products, it's time for a THC Detox.  While we cannot guarantee you will pass, there are a few ways you can try to get rid of remaining THC metabolites in your system.

  • Stop using cannabis products 8 weeks before your test
  • Drink plenty of water and clear liquids
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Increase exercise

In Conclusion

The question of how long does delta-9 stay in your system is complex, depending on testing types, usage, dosage and metabolism, but most people would have it out of their system entirely by 30-90 days after usage. For occasional usage, that figure decreases to well under a week. By taking into consideration your usage and dosage, you should be able to determine a more likely estimate of when you would have the metabolites out of your system. This allows you to answer the question of how long does delta-9 stay in your system much more accurately for your specific situation and hopefully pass any upcoming drug test.

Tatum Blakeney

Tatum Blakeney

Tatum is the Digital Marketing Manager at VIIA Hemp Co. His passion for helping people finding the benefit in Cannabis flows through in the expert industry coverage and trending topics he provides. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn

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