It’s true that cannabis isn’t nearly as socially unacceptable as it was even five years ago. Still, even though most states in the union have robust medical marijuana programs, and almost 20 have fully legalized the plant, marijuana drug tests remain a regular part of life for many Americans.
If you work for the government, operate machinery, or have had some past run-ins with the law, you may be one of the thousands of US citizens subjected to semi-regular drug screenings. Does this mean that all cannabis products are off the table? What about non-intoxicating cannabis products like CBD? Let’s explore the science behind marijuana drug tests and find out what could cause you to pop positive.
How Do Cannabis Drug Tests Work?
If you’re a working adult in this modern era, you likely have had to take a drug test at some point in your life. The most common form of these tests is the classic urine test—you pee in a cup, the administrator dips a strip of paper, and if a blue line shows up, you fail.
The biggest issue with these kinds of tests is the massive window of time where cannabis consumption can lead to a positive result. Even smoking a joint a month before your test can result in a positive.
That’s because marijuana drug tests don’t actually test for THC. Instead, they test for a metabolite your body produces after coming in contact with THC, called THC-COOH. Even though the effects of THC only last a few hours, THC-COOH is stored in fat cells where it can take weeks to metabolize depending on the factors like frequency of use and body fat percentage.
Some organizations are switching to oral swab tests, which test specifically for THC instead of THC metabolites. These have a significantly smaller window of time between consumption and a failed result, making them a much better indicator of whether a person has recently used cannabis. However, urine tests remain the most common form of cannabis drug screening.
Does Delta 9 THC Show Up On A Drug Test?
Even though delta 9 THC itself doesn’t show up on urine tests, consuming it will definitely cause your body to create metabolites which will cause you to fail your drug screenings.
Does Delta 8 THC Show Up On A Drug Test?
Delta 8 THC is a cannabinoid with a molecular structure incredibly similar to regular delta 9 THC, which tends to produce a more mild version of the conventional THC high when consumed. The 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized delta 8 THC, so long as it’s derived from a hemp plant with less than 0.3% delta 9 THC per dry weight. However, several states have enacted legislation to regulate or ban the cannabinoid.
While there is no specific delta 8 drug test, consuming it will cause your body to create THC metabolites which can cause you to fail a urine test. Likewise, because delta 8 is so similar to delta 9, most oral swab tests aren’t sophisticated enough to tell the difference.
Does CBD Show Up On A Drug Test?
Many people use the non-intoxicating cannabinoid CBD therapeutically, but can it cause you to fail a drug test?
The answer depends on the type of CBD you’re using. There’s no specific CBD drug test widely available, but full-spectrum CBD products do contain trace amounts of THC to encourage the entourage effect. While these small percentages of THC aren’t enough to make full spectrum CBD users feel high, they may cause them to fail a THC drug screening.
How To Clean Your System
For years, headshops have sold pills and drinks that claim either to mask the presence of THC metabolites or to expedite the natural detox process. Unfortunately, these mostly don’t work. At best, they do very little to help you pass a drug screening, and at worst, can have potentially disastrous health effects.
The only sure-fire way to clean your system is to abstain from cannabis use for a period of time while making sure to stay adequately hydrated and get regular exercise. This process may take up to two months, depending on how chronic your marijuana usage is, so make sure you have the appropriate time to prepare for an upcoming drug screening.