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How Long Does Delta 9 Stay In Your System?

By Andrew Ward

How Long Does Delta 9 Stay In Your System?

When it comes to consuming hemp and marijuana products, there are frequent worries regarding how long plant compounds, primarily delta 9 THC (THC), will stay in your system. This concern is particularly felt among those subject to a drug test - whether it be a urine, hair, blood, or saliva test for a variety of reasons. Generic drug tests search for delta 9 THC in the system, which might be concerning for individuals who need to be tested for employment or a variety of other reasons, including: 

  • Medical screening
  • Employment testing
  • Military testing
  • Athletic testing
  • Legal and forensic testing
  • Parental rights 
  • Parole eligibility


Sadly, there is no definitive answer to the question, "How long does delta 9 remain in your system?" But we do have an understanding of the average duration. 


What are the measurements? 
How frequently do you employ this? 
What is your U.S.age? 
What is your metabolic rate? 


All of these inquiries build up to the answer to the above question. Still, "it depends" is the best answer. 


While we don't have a solid answer, broad guidelines can help in determining how long delta 9 THC remains in your system. In this article, we'll go into the specifics, providing you with a better understanding of what THC drug tests are, how tests detect THC metabolites, when you're out of the danger zone, and how you may be able to accelerate the detox process a variety of methods. 


What is THC Delta-9, and Why Screen For It?

Delta-9 THC is a shortened name for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol but is more commonly known simply as THC.


THC is the primary psychoactive component that induces intoxication in cannabis, otherwise known as a "high." A fraction of this psychotropic compound is absorbed into the bloodstream, while the remainder is retained in fats and organs. After it enters the liver, it is broken down into more than 80 distinct metabolites. 


Over time, both THC and its associated metabolites are eliminated from the body as urine and feces. While the effects of delta-9 THC may wear off within a few hours, the chemicals may persist in your system for days to weeks, depending on how often you consume the compound.


Being the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, delta-9 THC is routinely tested for instances where drug U.S.age might be harmful. This is of particular concern in any profession or personal interest that concerns operating heavy machinery, driving, or manufacturing. 


In addition, many companies mandate random or periodic drug testing of workers for safety and liability reasons. Drug testing may also be regularly necessary in highly competitive sports, both amateur and professional levels. 


Even though several states have already legalized medicinal and/or recreational cannabis, the federal government has not yet legalized or rescheduled the plant for Schedule I statU.S., the most restricted class in the U.S. As such, anyone working in federal positions, including the military, are not permitted to consume cannabis of any kind, THC, CBD, or otherwise. 


Additional drug screenings may be required for varioU.S. individuals, including but not limited to those in the criminal jU.S.tice system, those dealing with parent rights issues, and individuals in substance abU.S.e recovery programs. 


How long do Delta 9 and CBD remain in the body?

No matter the plant compound, how long it remains in your body depends on your frequency and several other factors. 


In most cases, cannabis compounds like THC and CBD remain in the body for anywhere from one to 30 days. This period can be extended depending on a person's U.S.e frequency as well as factors such as: 

  • Body Composition   
  • Form Factor 
  • Food in system 


Form factor plays an intriguing element in the answer. While frequency can prolong their stay in the body, it is believed that cannabis compounds remain in your system for an approximate amount of time:

  • Tincture: 3 to 4 days
  • Edibles: 3 to 30 days
  • Smoked: Up to 90 days (in more high-dose and/or frequent consumers)
  • Vaped: Up to 30 days


These numbers may change depending on the source cited. Still, enough anecdotes support the notion that heavy consumers may see positive tests for months after abstaining from the plant in all its forms. 


The type of drug screening utilized can also impact your results. Depending on the test type, THC and other plant compounds can be found in your system as far back as [1] [2] [3] [4]:

  • Hair: Up to 90 days
  • Blood: 12 to 48 hours
  • Urine: One to Seven days (but longer in chronic U.S.ers)
  • Saliva: Five to 48 hours

What Compounds Are THC Drug Screenings Looking For? 

Keep in mind the compound you're consuming. As most drug tests look for THC metabolites and cannot distinguish between the two, Delta 8 and Delta 10 THC may also result in a positive test result. full-spectrum CBD, which contains trace amounts of THC, can also trigger a positive result in some heavy U.S.ers. However, anyone CBD free of any THC should be clear, as most screenings have little to no concern about the non-psychoactive component. Instead, they're only focU.S.ed on THC [5]. 


How Much THC Does It Take To Trigger a Positive Drug Test?

A positive THC test is triggered when the sample reaches a designated threshold measured in nanograms (ng) or petagrams (pgs). The threshold may change depending on the job or screening parameters. On the federal level, the U.S. its testing mostly on urine, saliva, and hair to a lesser extent. While blood tests are utilized in varioU.S. organizations, federal guidelines rarely, if ever, mention blood testing parameters [6]. 


It’s natural that people subject to drug tests would have concerns about the THC levels in their urine, hair, saliva and/or blood. While many want to adhere to drug screenings, a range of reasons prevent some people from choosing to continue consuming. Medical patients, especially those concerned with or who have had negative experiences with pharmaceuticals, may be reluctant to give up cannabis if it works for them. Recreational U.S.ers may be reluctant as well, for a multitude of reasons. 


No matter the individual rationale, and despite the spread of legalization, the challenges of passing a drug test persist. In doing so, millions of Americans remain subject to testing and often stiff penalties for failing, including the loss of:

  • Employment
  • Benefits
  • Parental Rights
  • Freedom (Jail)


Those wondering how many days it’ll take to pass a THC drug screening need to get a bit more specific. The answer varies depending on the screening type and the organization administering the test. The federal government tends to U.S.e oral, urine, and possibly hair in its screenings. In recent years, the federal screening cutoff for marijuana have been [7] [8]:

  • Urine: 50 ng/mL 
  • Oral fluid: 3 ng/ml (1.5 ng/ml confirmation cutoff)
  • Hair: 1.0 pg/mg (0.1 pg/mg confirmation cutoff)


Testing thresholds can vary, especially in urine tests. Rarer but still utilized screenings looking for more precise, smaller amounts of THC have been known to have cutoffs as low as 15 ng.


Blood tests are often not utilized unless rapid detection is required, often measuring a window of two days to several hours. However, in one study, six subjects tested positive via blood test one week after their last cannabis consumption, testing positive at levels ranging between 0.2 to 1.5 ng/ml [9] [10] [11]. 


How Can I Detox Before My THC Test? How Else Can I Pass The Test?

For those subject to an upcoming drug test, there are methods to potentially lower THC concentrations. First things first, if you have an upcoming drug test and have been THC products, it is time to undergo a THC detox right away. 


Although we cannot ensure that you will pass, there are a few things you can do to eliminate any lingering THC metabolites. If you know you have an upcoming test, consider some or all of the following measures [12] [13]:


  1. Halt your U.S.e of cannabis products for several weeks: You may need to take a break for three weeks or more than eight weeks, depending on your U.S.age.
  2. Consume lots of water: Drinking large amounts of water can help flU.S.h THC from the system, but excessive drinking can trigger warnings in some tests. Some claim that cranberry juice can do the same, but public opinion is often split on its effectiveness. 
  3. Exercise: Exercise can help eliminate THC in your body's fatty cells. However, some research has concluded that exercise is unlikely to cause a significant change in THC levels. 
  4. Eat Fiber: Fiber has been linked to flU.S.hing THC, additional plant compounds, and other toxins from the system.
  5. Detox or Flush Products: Detox products, including drinks or pills, may contain various products, including diuretics, which can dilute urine and reduce THC metabolite concentration levels. However, the efficacy of products has been known to vary, with many considered misleading or ineffective. 
  6. Fake Urine: Synthetic urine products trick tests, replacing an authentic sample. However, most synthetic urines lack critical substances to cheat a test, such as cortisol.
  7. Specimen Integrity Disruption: Some products mixed with minerals and enzymes, such as iodine, papain, zinc, and several more, are added to urine after collecting a sample. Once added to the sample, these products break down THC and other drug levels for more difficult detection. Household products, like Visine eye drops and isopropanol, have also been added to samples.  


Remember that all the efforts above, except for the first option, are considered subversions of the test and can result in an immediate disqualification. One or more of these measures may prove effective. However, the only way a person can absolutely pass a THC drug screening is by going on a prolonged break, lasting weeks or months. 


While this delay may be frustrating, consumers may find benefit in knowing they’ll not only pass their test, they’ll likely have decreased their tolerance with a break, a positive for many consumers who have developed a tolerance over the years [14]. 


Check out this article for a look into how long delta 8 and delta 10 THC stay in your system.


Final Thoughts

Understanding how long Delta 9 THC stays in your system involves the consideration of several factors, such as: 

  • Frequency of U.S.e  
  • Metabolism   
  • Product type consumed   
  • Product potency    


Depending on the test, THC may be detected for anywhere from a few hours to 90 or more days. This significant time gap highlights the importance of understanding which test you're taking, when it will take place, and what measures you can and should take to ensure a negative test. 


Keep in mind that abstaining from cannabis for a multi-week period is the only way to pass a test without any potential of triggering a positive test or warning. It may not be the answer you want to hear, but it is the best way to pass a THC drug test. 

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