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Does Delta-8 Show Up on a Drug Test?

Warning: It’s not the answer you want to hear.

does delta 8 show up on a drug test
Alexa Edgerton

Looking for more on Delta-8? Here's what you need to know: What is Delta-8? What are the best Delta-8 edibles? Does Delta-8 get you high?

Thanks to a legal loophole, Delta-8 THC can be found in practically any headshop or shipped online. Delta-8 provides users with a similar body and head high to delta-9 (the most common and federally illegal stuff), making it a great alternative for those who live in states that have not legalized medical or recreational marijuana and want to use cannabis as medicine.

However, if your employer is a complete and utter narc requires routine drug tests, or you’re worried that you will fail a drug test due to cannabis consumption, is delta-8 a good alternative to prevent your pee from professionally penalizing you?

Does Delta-8 show up on a drug test?

Riley Kirk, Ph.D., aka @cannabichem on Instagram and TikTok, has some bad news.

“Yeah, you're gonna fail that drug test,” she says. “It is not a good alternative if you're trying to get high and pass a drug test.”

The scientific explanation requires you to put on your high school chemistry thinking cap. Delta-8 is an isomer of delta-9 — meaning they have the same formula, but a different arrangement of atoms in the molecule and thus different properties. The “delta” refers to the position of a double bond in the molecule. Delta-9 THC has a double bond between the ninth and 10th carbon molecule. The double bond in delta-8 THC occurs between the eighth and ninth carbon in the molecule.

delta 8
Delta-8 THC Structure
Courtesy of Vortioxetine, Wikipedia

“So technically, CBD and THC are also isomers because they have the same chemical formula, but they look different, and act differently on our body,” Kirk says.

Delta-8 products aren't very regulated

Now that science class is over, here’s another gut-punching fact: Your delta-8 might contain delta-9.

“There's been evidence that delta-9 THC is found very often with delta-8 products,” she says. “It's not usually just pure delta-8.”

Delta-8 might also contain some other unfavorable stuff if you’re not buying from a reputable seller who is transparent about their lab processes, Kirk warns.

“Because this is a synthetic process, because almost anyone can just open a company selling delta-8, we need to make sure that people aren't poisoning customers or giving them products where they don't know what's in them,” she says.

As more states legalize recreational and/or medical marijuana — inching closer toward federal legalization and allowing those with cannabis-related offenses to have their records expunged — Kirk says the market for delta-8 will potentially decrease, since delta-8 doesn’t bind as tightly to the CB1 receptor as delta-9, and synthetic products have a negative stigma to them thanks to spice and K2.

close up of weed porn in mason jar on table
Oksana Smith / EyeEmGetty Images

“I think with federal legalization, people will be more apt to go with the natural product,” Kirk says. “I don't think people know that delta-8 is synthetic. My partner didn't know. And once he found out it was synthetic, he's like, ‘Oh, I don't want to be using that.’ And I'm like, ‘yeah, don't you think that it should be mandatory for them to say that this is a synthetic THC product?’ Because nobody knows what a delta means. I mean, that's cryptic language.”

Most drug tests don't distinguish between Delta-8 and Delta-9

If you’re still holding out hope that you can skirt a failed drug test, you’re going to be hurt. The cold, hard truth is, you simply cannot pass a drug test by using delta-8.

“There's different ways that we can analyze drug tests” Kirk says. “But the majority of the way that's yours is, it's going to show up exactly the same as delta-9 THC, you would absolutely fail a drug test. If for some reason you're using super sophisticated lab tools for your drug test, they would be able to tell the difference. But as I said, oftentimes there is delta-9 THC in delta-8 products.”

So, if you have a drug test to pass, lay off the delta-8, since it can stay in your system for 2-30 days, or even up to 90 if your hair is used for testing. Until then, stick to CBD for your chilling needs.


Delta-8 will show up on a drug test because delta-9 might be found in delta-8 products. While there's a legal loophole around delta-8 usage, it won't help you pass a drug test. So if you are about to get tested, make sure to lay off the delta-8 for up to 90 days.

And if you're looking to test yourself ahead of time to see what you're in for, you can always snag an at-home THC test and see for yourself.

Amanda Reed is Gear Patrol’s cannabis lifestyle writer.
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