How Long Does Delta-9 Stay in Your System?

how long does delta 9 stay in your system

In the last few years, there have been major reforms in cannabis laws in most parts of the world. Extensive experimentation has successfully helped in recreating the image of the plants of the cannabis family. 

Modern-day scientific advancements have an integral role in clearing the misunderstandings surrounding the uses and effects of cannabis. Correspondingly, proof from in-depth research shows the medical and recreational benefits of cannabis.

The rising support and advocacy, along with the presence of scientific data, have compelled authorities to reconsider their regulations concerning the use and possession of cannabis.

Cannabis plants contain over a hundred major and minor cannabinoids, each of them having a unique effect on the body. However, two of the most prevalent cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9 THC).

CBD is the chemical that primarily produces the herbal effects that people seek. This cannabinoid interacts with the endocannabinoid system and produces soothing effects without producing a high.

Unlike CBD, delta-9 THC is a psychoactive substance as it induces psychedelic effects. But, like CBD, it also interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors in your central nervous system to produce a high.

While it has many therapeutic effects and can help you deal with a medical condition, delta-9 THC leads to a positive drug test and stays in your system longer than you might expect. Most drug tests can easily detect THC regardless of the concentration you consume.

On the downside, besides THC products, even full-spectrum CBD oil can produce a positive test result. Not to mention, most full-spectrum CBD products also contain traces of THC.

If you have an impending drug test around the corner and don’t wish to test positive, stay clear of THC products to ensure that you do not fail a drug test. Moreover, there are a few techniques to help flush the delta-9 THC from your system.

In this article, you will learn all there is to know about delta-9 THC, its medical benefits, legality, potential side effects, and why it appears in drug tests.

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 and produces 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 for 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. Moreover, different drug tests work in different ways. Correspondingly, a hair follicle test can detect THC even after 3 months of consumption. However, the most common and generic drug test is a urine test. However, its reliability is questionable. 

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 make a decision that is in 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, there is little research supporting 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 comes with the potential of some adverse effects as well. 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. 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 like to associate it with its pleasant effects, THC has some potential risk factors as well 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 for several hours, but they can impact your driving skills, making it unsafe to drive for a few hours after marijuana consumption.

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 various methods of consumption. 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:

  • Inhalation: It is the most rapidly effective method of THC consumption as it is the quickest to enter the bloodstream. This method is the quickest in inducing the neuropsychological effects of delta-9. Different methods of inhaling marijuana include smoking, dabbing, and vaping.
  • Oral ingestion: This method of THC consumption takes longer to kick in. However, ingestible delta-9 products produce the most lasting results. You can consume THC orally in the form of capsules, edibles like gummies, tinctures, or oils. 
  • Topical application: For more localized effects, you can use topical products of THC such as lotions, balms, creams, oils, ointments, and bath salts. You can apply these products to the skin to treat chronic pain or inflammation. Not to mention, this mode of use does not produce psychoactive effects.
  • Sublingual administration: THC is also available in products like lozenges, sprays, edible oils, or dissolvable strips. These products are placed under the tongue, where the rate of absorption is considerably high because of the non-keratinized skin and the rich supply of blood vessels.

THC in CBD Products

The simultaneous rise in popularity of CBD has earned the cannabinoid its own 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 mostly in accordance with the legal regulations and low enough that it does not have any significant psychoactive effects. 

Nonetheless, if you have an upcoming drug test and you 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

Apart from having various methods of consumption, cannabis products are available in various 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 a controversial topic 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. Hence, it is best to ensure the legality of the products you use in accordance with your 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’s 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:


According to research, 10% who begin smoking THC become addicted. Moreover, 30% of current cannabis consumers meet the criteria.

The improvements in the method of cultivation today have resulted in an increase in the THC levels of cannabis plants. Correspondingly, there is a substantial increase in the addictive properties of the substance. Recurrent use of marijuana also poses the potential threat of mental and physical dependence on the drug.

Statistical data shows that people who begin the use of this drug in adolescence are four to seven times more likely to develop addiction in comparison with adults. Also, 2015 research shows that 30% of marijuana consumers suffered from use disorders during the years 2012 and 2013.

Long-term use of cannabis increases the potential of developing an addiction. A drug qualifies as addictive if its consumers either compulsively or uncontrollably urge to use it despite the negative consequences it has on their health and social life.


Recurrent drug use leads to the body’s dependence on the drug. Hence, for regular cannabis users, craving and withdrawal symptoms pose a hurdle in quitting the drug.

Symptoms of withdrawal include difficulty in falling asleep, a decrease in appetite, anxiety, mood swings, headaches, and depression. The intensity of these symptoms varies in every individual, ranging from mild to severe. Most people can manage these symptoms at home.

Delta-9 THC Overdose

Overdosing on delta-9 THC is very difficult. Although rare, there have been a few instances of a 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. Mostly, a high dose of delta-9 leads to this condition. THC toxicity is characterized by heart arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) and paranoia. Some people may even 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 are naturally-occurring psychoactive compounds, there is 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 methods of consumption. Unlike delta-9, the laws concerning delta-8 are also lenient as there is insufficient research about the effects of this cannabinoid. Read this blog: delta 8 vs delta 9 

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?

The amount of time half of the marijuana in your system takes to break down is equal to the half-life of the drug. 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, each of these molecules induces 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:

How Long Does Delta 9 Stay in the Blood?

The presence of marijuana in the bloodstream is short-lived. Hence, a blood test is not an efficient method to detect cannabinoids. However, the drug test 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.

How Long Does Delta 9 Stay in the Hair?

Hair tests can help detect the presence of THC in recurrent users up to three months after using the substance. However, this test has its limitation as it is unreliable to detect occasional consumers. Also, it does not help in determining the level of impairment.

How Long Does Delta 9 Stay in the Urine?

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

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.

Urine testing: Urine drug tests can lead to delta-9 THC detection for around a month after use. 

Saliva testing: Detection of delta-9 in a saliva drug test depends on what test is used. Typically, delta-9 is detectable in the saliva for around three days after use.

Blood testing: Blood tests can efficiently detect the presence of delta-9 for 36 hours after its use.

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?

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 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.

Washing Your System Out

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. In addition, 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.  

Using Drug Screening Agents

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.

Tampering With the Test

The oldest method in the book is to tamper with the sample and contaminate the urine by adding some 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. In fact, 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?

As a result of global legalization and decriminalization, there has been substantial growth in the use of marijuana and hemp products. While this has opened the floodgates of opportunities in the cannabis industry, leading to its exponential growth, there has been a rise in the demand for cannabis products.

People rely on delta-9 products for medical and recreational benefits instead of traditional pharmaceutical drugs. For example, people use these products for treating conditions like insomnia, anxiety, multiple sclerosis, and nausea caused by chemotherapy.

Although substantial research supports the positive effects of THC, you should not ignore the other end of the spectrum and the potential risks it imposes. Correspondingly, it is best to rely on medical professionals to determine your treatment options.

It is also essential to remember that delta-9 stays in your system for a long time in the form of metabolites. Therefore, drug tests can easily detect the presence of these compounds. Hence, if your workplace does not tolerate the use of drugs, you should rely on other alternatives and avoid using delta-9.

Delta-9 remains in your blood and saliva for a few hours after use. However, its presence in the urine lasts from three to 30 days. Meanwhile, it remains in the hair for around three months. Therefore, if you’re expecting an upcoming drug test, make sure you abstain from its use longer than the time it remains in your body.

Read about this new buzz in the delta 9 markets, i.e, delta 9 gummies.

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