How Long Does Delta-9 Stay in Your System?

Shefali Sinha
how long does delta 9 stay in your system

Wondering, “How long does delta-9 stay in your system?” The answer varies depending on factors like usage frequency, quantity, and metabolism. 


While it may be frustrating, there’s good news! We’ll provide general guidelines to determine how long delta-9 remains detectable. 


Discover tips to clear THC drug tests, understand how tests detect THC and explore detoxification methods that may enhance your chances of passing a drug test for Delta-9 THC. 


Although no method guarantees negative THC levels, these steps can improve your prospects.

What is Delta-9 THC?

Delta-9 THC is a psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis Sativa plant. Furthermore, it is one of the most potent cannabinoids, producing pronounced neuropsychological effects.


Delta-9 is present in high concentrations in most varieties of plants in the cannabis family. While its psychoactive effects only last a few hours, THC stays longer in your system than other drug compounds.


The body stores THC in the fat cells for around a month. Different generic drug tests work in different ways. A hair follicle test can detect THC after 3 months of consumption. 


However, the most common and generic drug test is a urine test.

Benefits of Delta-9 THC

THC has medical as well as recreational uses. There is experimental proof of its efficiency in helping with various medical conditions. People now prefer to use THC products over prescription medications. 


However, it is important to take your doctor’s advice to decide on your best interest.


A few medical and recreational benefits of THC include:


  • better sleep quality
  • relief from chronic pain
  • reduced anxiety levels
  • increase in appetite
  • inflammation
  • helps reduce nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy
  • reduces muscle spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis

There is substantial proof from various experimentations that supports the positive outcomes of THC consumption for these conditions.


However, little research supports the advantageous effects of using it in patients suffering from glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), opioid misuse, and HIV/AIDS.

Effects of Using Delta-9 THC

While there are undeniable benefits of using delta-9 THC, it also has the potential of some adverse effects. The effects of cannabis products vary from individual to individual. 


THC stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which can induce the feeling of euphoria. However, the high neurotransmitter levels lead to paranoia in some patients. 


The cannabinoid in marijuana primarily responsible for producing a “high” is delta-9 THC, i.e., it is the main psychoactive compound. It works the quickest when it is smoked as it rapidly enters the body’s bloodstream.


 On the other hand, THC edibles take longer to absorb into the blood. 


These can take 30 minutes to an hour, depending on several factors, including how fast the body metabolizes THC. Also, the THC levels of the product and an individual’s tolerance towards it influence the time it takes for it to effect.


While most people associate it with its pleasant effects, THC also has some potential risk factors that you should not ignore. 


The dose you consume, the strain of the plant, and the method of consumption influence the range of side effects it produces. These include:


  • Dry mouth
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Distortion in sights, sounds, time, touch
  • Coughing fits
  • Uncoordinated movement 
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hallucinations

Marijuana users experience the short-term effects of delta-9, like trouble in memory, learning, and problem-solving capabilities. 


Nevertheless, these effects last several hours but can impact your driving skills for a few hours after marijuana consumption.

Effects of Delta-9 THC

Methods of Consuming Delta 9

With the rising popularity of THC and a substantial increase in its use, brands in the industry came up with an overconsumption method option. Traditionally, people dried the leaves of the cannabis Sativa plant and smoked them to get their fill of delta-9.


Currently, there are various methods to use THC, including:


THC in CBD Products

The simultaneous rise in popularity of CBD has earned the cannabinoid its place in the CBD industry. Hence, various reputable brands primarily focus on CBD products. However, in some cases, CBD products may also contain trace amounts of THC. 


The concentration is mainly under legal regulations and low enough to have no significant psychoactive effects. 


Nonetheless, if you have an upcoming drug test and wish to avoid false positive testing, find a CBD product that does not contain THC. 


Preferably, look at the third-party lab test results to ensure the product’s contents.

Different Forms of Marijuana Products

Besides having various methods of consumption, cannabis products are available in multiple forms. One of the most prevalent of these is cannabis flowers. They are popular because of the ease of accessibility. Also, many users appreciate the unprocessed rawness.


For people who cannot handle the strong taste and smell of marijuana, edibles are a great alternative. These include food items like brownies or may appear as candies. Moreover, this form of cannabis eliminates the harmful effects of smoking.


For more potent products, consumers rely on concentrates which contain high levels of THC. These include oils, shatter, wax, tinctures, hash, and capsules. These products produce more pronounced effects.

Is Delta-9 THC Legal?

The legality of delta-9 in the US is controversial as it lies in a legal gray area. The variation in the federal and state laws. According to the federal government, hemp-derived THC falls under the legal category.


While delta-9 is a Schedule I controlled substance, the Farm Bill 2018 creates a legal disparity as it legalizes hemp-derived cannabinoids.


 As per the Farm Bill, the growth, use, and possession of hemp-derived cannabinoids are legal as long as their THC concentration falls below 0.3%.


Hence, hemp-derived delta-9 products with less than 0.3% THC are federally legal. Not to mention, many states have their own laws concerning the medical and recreational use of cannabis. 


Therefore, it is best to ensure the legality of your products under state laws.

How Long Does Delta-9 Take to Kick In?

How long THC takes to take effect depends on many factors. Primarily, the dose, frequency of use, and method of consumption determine how long THC takes to set in. However, an individual’s age, weight, body metabolism, and tolerance influence the time it takes.


Different modes of consumption have different approximate times for THC absorption and longevity of its effects. While edibles take the longest period to set in, they stay in your system the longest.


Concentrates and sublingual products have a higher potency and rapid rate of absorption. However, the quickest way to feel the effects of delta-9 is to smoke it.

Delta-9 Misuse: Addiction

Regular use of delta-9 builds the tolerance of the consumer’s body to the effects of the cannabinoid. Hence, to achieve the same effects, the consumers need to progressively increase the dose they consume or the frequency of consumption.


With time, the prominence of the effects of the substance decreases in regular marijuana consumers in comparison with occasional users. The recurrent use of cannabis leads to cannabis use disorder:

Delta-9 THC Overdose

Overdosing on delta-9 THC is very difficult. Although rare, there have been a few instances of marijuana overdose. Nonetheless, there is a significant difference between a lethal dose of marijuana and its regular effective dose.  


There is a rare possibility for consumers to experience THC toxicity. A high dose of delta-9 leads to this condition. Some people may experience seizures.

Delta 9 vs. Delta 8 THC

Delta-8 is one of the minor cannabinoids present in some of the varieties of cannabis plants. It is an isomer of its more famous counterpart, delta-9. Their names indicate the location of carbon’s double bond in the chemical structure of the compounds.


While both naturally occurring psychoactive compounds have a significant difference in their potency. Like delta-9, delta-8 THC can also get you high. However, the strength of its effects is considerably lower than that of delta-9 THC.


Delta-8 is only present in trace amounts, but it also has various consumption methods. Unlike delta-9, the laws concerning delta-8 are also lenient as there is insufficient research about the effects of this cannabinoid.

Delta 9 vs. CBD

In stark comparison, CBD does not produce neuropsychological effects in consumers. Instead, this cannabinoid is famous for its recreational and medical benefits. People have been using CBD since ancient times for its medicinal properties.


Although the mode of action of both THC and CBD is the same, i.e., by interaction with the ECS, the outcomes are different. Hence, there is a difference in the legality of both substances.


While delta-9 in high concentrations is a federally illegal substance and falls on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) list of controlled substances, however, in combination with other cannabinoids, like CBD, THC below 0.3% concentration is considered legal.


The Farm Bill 2018 legalizes the use of both CBD and THC derived from industrial hemp. Nevertheless, the concentration of THC must lie below 0.3%.

How Long Does Delta 9 Take To Kick In?

To understand how long does delta 9 stay in your system, you need to also understand how long it takes to kick in.


The amount of time half of the marijuana in your system breaks down is equal to the drug’s half-life. Even though cannabis has more than 500 compounds and over 100 cannabinoids, most drug tests are designed to detect the presence of THC.


Delta-9 breaks down into THC metabolites which are modified molecules of the compound. The breakdown of THC can lead to the formation of around 80 metabolites. Moreover, these molecules induce unique effects on the body’s endocannabinoid system.


The body stores these cannabis metabolites in body fat. Eventually, these metabolites leave the body through excretory materials, i.e., feces and urine. Furthermore, these THC metabolites have different half-lives.


While some reduce to half their quantity in 20 hours, the remaining THC metabolites are stored in body fat. Hence, these remain in the body longer and have a half-life of 10-13 days. 


It is possible to detect THC metabolites stored in various parts of the body:

The presence of marijuana in the bloodstream is short-lived. Hence, a blood test is not an efficient method to detect cannabinoids. However, the THC drug test levels might work for roadside checkpoints and in the unfortunate event of automobile accidents.


Saliva tests are also insufficient as they can only detect the current presence of THC. However, the test does not assist in determining the level of intoxication.

Hair tests or hair follicle testing can help detect the presence of THC in recurrent users up to three months after using the substance. However, this test focuses on studying hair follicles but has limitations as it is unreliable to detect occasional consumers. Also, it does not help in determining the level of impairment.

Like other drug tests, urine tests are only efficient for detecting THC metabolites stored after recent drug consumption.


However, it fails to specify other factors like the level of toxicity and amount of cannabis consumed. Many companies with zero-tolerance policies for drugs use this method of detection.

Will Delta 9 Make You Fail The Drug Test?

Yes, it is likely for all forms of THC to be detected through a drug test. Moreover, the two most common professional drug tests are immunoassay and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry testing.


Both these tests are efficient for detecting the presence of even the smallest traces of various substances. However, in case your employer has a strict no-drug policy, then it is best for you to avoid full-spectrum CBD and delta-9 products.

Immunoassay Testing Used For Drug Test

The most often used body fluids for Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA) testing are urine, blood, and saliva. Mostly, the go-to method for drug testing is to collect urine samples and run a drug test on them. 


How long delta-9 can remain in the form of metabolites in your body depends on the type of drug test, the sample, and the dose and frequency of your THC consumption.

Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry Testing (GC/MS)

GC/MS is one of the most sophisticated analytical testing methods. This technique is a combination of various features of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. 


This analysis helps in identifying various components present within a liquid sample. GC/MS is a testing method that is most commonly used to determine different samples and identify unknown substances and contaminants present in a sample. 


If the presence of THC in your system is a concern to you, it is best for you to stay clear of delta-9 products. Moreover, you should also avoid full-spectrum CBD products for good measure.


You can read this guide to know how to pass the weed drug test?

How to Flush Delta-9 From Your System Before Upcoming Drug Test?

Many companies have a zero-tolerance policy toward drugs. Usually, workplace drug policies include random drug tests for its employees. Moreover, they may also conduct routine drug testing for all their job applicants.


You will most likely fail the drug test if you have recently consumed THC in any form. This is especially true for chronic users as their urine sample may contain THC metabolites like THC-COOH, which the drug test detects.


Failing a upcoming drug test can possibly get you fired despite the legality of the recreational and medical use of marijuana in your state.


 Hence, to avoid failing an upcoming drug test, the only reliable way is to stay clear of your stash of cannabis to ensure your body metabolizes any remaining THC metabolites.


How quickly you can flush THC from your system depends on the body fat content and the rate at which it can metabolize THC. Regardless, various products and techniques claim to help clear your system from all THC compounds.

This technique requires you to drink lots of water and take vitamin B-12 before the drug test. Consequently, it leads to more diluted urine, and vitamin B-12 reinstates the color of your urine.


While this method can decrease the THC content in the urine by diluting it, it is inefficient in eliminating the THC metabolites from the body. 


Besides, people try exercising before taking drug tests. However, this technique has a high chance of backfiring.


In people with a low body fat content, exercising may lead to the release of the stored THC metabolites into the blood.

Drug screening agents are an example of the products readily available in the market, claiming to clean any THC metabolite in the body. Nonetheless, there is insufficient evidence supporting the effectiveness of these products.


Moreover, these products need to be used for a more extended period in which the body can naturally metabolize and eliminate the THC compounds.

The oldest method in the book is to tamper with the sample and contaminate the urine by adding other substances. These contaminants include Visine, bleach, salt, or detergent. Notwithstanding, all these items are easily detected in the urine test laboratory.


There is no foolproof method of eliminating all the traces of THC metabolites from your system. The only way to ensure you pass your drug test is to abstain from THC consumption.

How Long Does It Take Delta To Leave Your System?

With the global legalization and decriminalization of marijuana and hemp products, the cannabis industry has witnessed remarkable expansion due to increased usage. Delta-9 products, known for their medical and recreational advantages over traditional pharmaceuticals, have particularly gained popularity.


However, it’s important to note that delta-9 metabolites can linger in the body for an extended period, leading to detectability in drug tests.


While delta-9 remains detectable in blood and saliva for a brief period, it can be identified in urine for up to three months. It is crucial to be prepared if anticipating a drug test.

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