How Long Does Delta 8 THC Stay In Your System?

illustration of Delta 8 THC products, hourglass, and a clock
Written by Nina Julia | Last updated: September 30, 2021

If you’ve been taking delta 8 THC products or are considering adding delta 8 to your lifestyle but have an upcoming drug test — you’re probably thinking about the time it takes to flush it out of your body.

How long does delta 8 THC stay in your system?

It depends on whether you want a short or precise answer.

The short answer is: delta 8 THC can stay in your system between 2 and 30 days.

But that’s a very broad range, isn’t it?

Many factors affect how long this substance remains in the system after you stop taking it — from age to gender to metabolism and tolerance to delta 8 THC.

Let’s give you the precise answer then.

How Long Does It Take for Delta 8 THC to Kick In?

It depends on the product format.

Generally speaking, delta 8 THC has a delayed onset compared to normal weed. For example, regular THC tinctures tend to kick in within 15–30 minutes, while delta 8 THC tinctures need about 45 minutes to produce their effects. With gummies, this onset can be further delayed to 2 hours; vapes, in turn, usually get you high within 10–15 minutes.

The duration time of these effects is also dictated by the product type. For example, the effects of delta 8 vapes and oils will last shorter — between 1–5 hours — while THC gummies or capsules last up to 10 hours because delta 8 is released gradually into the bloodstream.

Now more to the point.

Here’s how your body metabolizes delta 8 THC.

How Long Does Delta 8 THC Stay In Your System?

Delta 8 THC can stay in the blood or urine in detectable concentrations from 2 to 30 days. Many variables can shorten or prolong the period needed for delta 8 to be completely flushed from your system.

Hair follicle tests can detect delta 8 THC for the longest duration of time (up to 90 days). However, the results from these tests are often inaccurate and thus rarely used as the go-to testing method.

The time delta 8 THC will stay in your system depends on:

  • Frequency of use – the more often you use delta 8 THC, the longer it remains in your body.
  • Your age – younger people tend to metabolize different compounds faster than older people.
  • Consumption method – inhaled forms of delta 8 THC demonstrate the longest duration in the body.
  • Your individual metabolic rate – some people just metabolize things faster than others.
  • The administered dose – the higher the dose, the longer it will take to clear it from the body.
  • Interactions with medications and supplements – any interaction with different chemical compounds in the liver will affect the breakdown of delta 8 THC.

The Half-Life of Delta 8 THC

There are two metabolic phases of delta 8 THC: the rapid phase and the slow phase. When you take delta 8, it takes about 1 minute for your body to get rid of its portion. The metabolic rate slows down substantially after that time, which is when delta 8 THC enters the slow phase.

It takes about 30 minutes for exactly half of the compound to be metabolized — leaving behind around 50% of the initial dose. 30 minutes later, another half is cleared — leaving 25% of delta 8 THC in the system. The process continues until there’s nothing left.

In the next section, we’ll elaborate on the main factors that affect the time delta 8 THC will stay in your system.

Factors Determining the Duration of Delta 8 THC

Hemp buds under magnifying glass

Frequency of Use

Delta 8 THC takes more time to leave your body the more often you use it. This pattern also applies to other psychoactive cannabinoids, such as delta 9 THC.

Cannabinoids bind to fat cells (they’re fat-soluble). When you take delta 8 THC regularly in high doses, it will accumulate in your fat cells.

Upon cessation, these buildups slowly start to flow back into the bloodstream — adding more time for these compounds to be entirely flushed from the body.

Occasional users who take delta 8 once or twice per week will usually have their systems free of the compound within a week.

On the other hand, frequent users taking delta 8 THC five or six times per week may need to wait a few weeks before a drug test can’t detect it in the blood or urine.

Metabolic Rate

The metabolic rate begins to slow down as we age. This is a common phenomenon doctors take into consideration when prescribing medications.

Someone in their 20s or 30s may need as little as three days to clear delta 8 THC from their body, while a person in their 60s or 70s may need up to 6 days to get rid of the same amounts.

That being said, there are some exceptions to that rule. Some people in their 70s or 80s can have the same metabolic rate as somebody in their 30s.

Method of Consumption

The administration method directly influences how delta 8 THC is metabolized. 

Inhaled delta 8 THC products produce their effects faster than oral or sublingual forms (within just a few minutes), but they also leave the system more quickly.

There haven’t been any studies on the metabolism of delta 8 THC in different ingestion methods, but there’s a lot of data available from the users who are experienced with delta 8 THC and related compounds.

One study showed that inhaled CBD was flushed from the body nearly twice as fast as other forms, with injection showing the fastest elimination of all consumption methods.

Learn more: How to Take Delta 8 THC?

Genetics 

Whether you need more or less time to cleanse your body from delta 8 THC depends on your individual genetics and metabolic rate.

Drug metabolism relies heavily on the liver. Depending on the chemical makeup of the substance, this organ uses a specific system of enzymes to process it into the bloodstream and remove it once the body has used it.

These enzymes work like tools for managing different compounds in your body. For example, you wouldn’t use a screwdriver to drive a nail to the wall, just as you won’t use a spoon to cut some wood. It would be best if you had specific tools for the job.

The same rule applies to liver enzymes.

The specific enzyme that metabolizes delta 8 THC is CYP3A4. Some people have naturally higher concentrations of this enzyme, meaning they will metabolize delta 8 slower than others.

Dosage

This may sound like an obvious clue, but the stronger your dose, the longer it’s going to take to remove it from your body. Delta 8 THC has a relatively low half-life, so the higher dose will only affect the amount of delta 8 for a few hours rather than days.

Learn more: Delta 8 THC Dosage Guide

Supplements & Medications

Everything we put in our bodies — including supplements and medications — need to be metabolized by the liver. Sometimes, they will compete with each other for the same system of enzymes; otherwise, they will inhibit its efficacy, affecting the metabolism of other drugs.

Let’s use our tool example again. Let’s say we only have one saw; as long as you need to perform a single cutting job at a time, you’ll be able to keep up with the work. But the moment two, three, or more jobs start coming through, and you will slow down the pace — which happens with supplements too.

As mentioned, delta 8 THC is primarily metabolized by CYP3A5, meaning that if you use other substances that require the same system of enzymes, their metabolism will slow down.

Unfortunately, CYP3A4 is used by the majority of drugs and supplements. If you’re using delta 8 at the same time as other supplements or medications, it may take more time to leave the body after you stop using it.

Can You Fail a Drug Test Using Delta 8 THC?

You’ve probably entered this article because you were thinking about an upcoming drug test.

So, is it possible to fail a drug test after taking delta 8 THC?

Unfortunately, this can happen. As long as delta 8 THC is detectable in the body, a drug test may show you a positive result for THC. That’s because drug tests aren’t designed to differentiate between different versions of this molecule.

If you’re required to take a drug test soon, it’s a good idea to abstain from using delta 8 THC.

Learn more: Does Delta 8 THC Show Up on A Drug Test?

Summarizing the Time Delta 8 THC Stays In Our Bodies

Wrapping it up, delta 8 THC can stay in your system for about two days if you’ve only used it once. If you’re an occasional user, the compound may take an additional few days to leave your body. For heavy users, this time may extend to 30 days.

Hair follicles can carry traces of delta 8 THC use up to 90 days later. The more often you take delta 8, the longer it’s going to take to be flushed from your system. Other factors affecting that duration include your weight, age, genetics, tolerance to delta 8, and adjunctive supplements and medications.

If you know of an upcoming drug test in your workplace, we recommend avoiding delta 8 THC until you pass the screening. 

Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.

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