June 16, 2022 8 min read

THC-O is both federally legal and has highly potent psychotropic effects, which is why its popularity is slowly spreading among therapeutic and recreational THC users alike. The problem is, it could still pose some issues when it comes to drug testing since it shows up the same way as traditional THC products.

This begs the question–how long does THC-O stay in your system? And is it safe to use it if you’re expecting a drug test?

The short answer is that it depends on the detection method used and how often you use THC products. Different types of drug tests will be able to detect THC-O for a different period of time, and daily consumers may take a bit longer to clear their system than those who partake occasionally.

If you're wondering how long THC-O is detectable, how you can get THC-O out of your system faster, or what to expect from different types of drug tests, you'll find answers below:

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and the time frames given below may vary. We do not recommend using any type of THC product before a drug test or in any situation where THC-O use is illegal.

Table of Contents
Factors that Affect THC-O Metabolism
What is the Half Life of THC-O?
Can THC-O Cause a Failed Drug Test?
How to Clear THC-O From Your System
Resources

Key Takeaways

  • The amount of time Delta-8 remains in your system varies based on how frequently you use THC, the dosage amount, your metabolism, and other factors.
  • Different types of drug tests have a different THC detection window.
  • There's no guaranteed way to cheat a drug test, so it's best to abstain from Delta-8-THC use altogether before a drug test.
A model of the molecular structure of THC-O, which is similar in nature to other THC products and may trigger the same positive drug test results.

How Long Does THC-O Stay in Your Body?

In general, THC-O can be detectable in the body for 48 hours to 6 weeks. That's a pretty large span of time, and the exact amount of time it will take to clear your system depends on a number of biological and lifestyle factors, such as:

  • How frequently you use THC-O
  • Your metabolism
  • The dosing method
  • The dosage used
  • Your medication routine

Let's break down each of these factors and how they may impact the time it takes to rid your system of THC-O metabolites:

Frequent THC Use

The more frequently you use THC products, the longer they take to leave your system. This is because THC is stored in body fat, and the more you use the more you store.

After you stop using THC products, the THC stored in your fat cells slowly begins to emerge into your bloodstream.

If you have a lot of THC stored, it can take a while for your system to clear. That's why people who use THC-O once may have a clean system after only a couple of days. Meanwhile, people who use THC-O daily or even several times per week may need a few weeks to clear their system entirely.

Personal Metabolic Rate

Your metabolism not only affects how quickly you break down food, but how quickly you break down all substances. The slower your metabolism is, the longer it will take for THC-O to leave your body.

A specific liver enzyme called CYP3A4 is required to break down THC-O and other THC products after consumption. Some people naturally have more of this enzyme than others, which means they may break down some substances more quickly.

As a rule of thumb, you metabolize substances much slower as you age. This is a phenomenon that doctors take into account when prescribing medication. That means it may take longer to metabolize the same amount of THC-O when you're in your 40s as it did in your 20s.

Dosing Method

Some forms of THC-O, like THC-O Vaporizers, leave the body faster than others. We don't have much data to help us further understand how this works for THC-O specifically, but it's thought to work in the same manner as other cannabinoids.

One study found that CBD was cleared from the body almost twice as fast when smoked versus when it was ingested in the form of an edible. The study also verified that IV injection cleared the body faster than any other dosing method. Of course, THC-O is not designed to be used intravenously and doing so may be dangerous.

Other methods, like edibles, may stick around in the body longer.

Dosage Amount

It may go without saying, but higher doses of THC-O take longer to leave the body. We aren't quite sure how heavily this impacts the amount of time it takes for your body to clear itself of THC-O, but it probably has only a minimal effect. Evidence suggests that taking a larger dose may only impact the metabolic rate by several hours and not several days.

Taking Other Medications

To reference a previous point, THC-O is metabolized by one specific liver enzyme. This specific liver enzyme is unfortunately in high demand because it's also the specific component needed to break down most common medications. When you take other medications regularly, it reduces the amount of available enzymes, which means THC-O will be metabolized at a slower rate.

A THC-O vaporizer and raw hemp material, two different THC-O products used via inhalation.

What is the Half Life of THC-O?

The half life of a substance refers to the amount of time it takes for the body to clear half of the original dosage.

For THC products, there are two metabolic phases that need to be completed before the substance has cleared the body. The first phase is nearly instant, and a portion of the dose is cleared from your body in only a few minutes after dosing.

The second phase of metabolism happens more slowly, although the overall half life of THC-O is still pretty short.

In the slow phase, THC-O’s half life is just over 30 minutes, meaning that after half an hour only 50% of the original dose remains in the body. The cycle continues like that, and after thirty more minutes approximately half of the remaining 50 is removed, leaving 25% if the original dose. This continues until all of the THC is gone.

It’s important to note that the half life refers to how long the THC-O is active in the body, and not necessarily how long it is detectable.

Can THC-O Cause a Failed Drug Test?

If you're expecting an impending drug test, you may be wondering if THC-O can trigger a positive result.

The answer is yes, THC-O can absolutely cause a failed drug test. In fact, it will trigger the same results as if you had used Delta-9-THC prior to taking the test.

There's a pretty simple explanation for this: THC-O metabolizes into 11-hydroxy-THC in the body, the same THC metabolite that's produced when you use traditional THC or any other THC products. Drug tests do not typically look for THC itself, rather they look for this THC metabolite.

In other words, you are likely to trigger a positive drug test result when using hemp-derived THC products, and it'll be a hard case to argue that you've only been using federally legal, hemp-derived products. If you're expecting an upcoming drug test, it's best to just steer clear of THC products entirely to be safe.

If you're already under pressure from an upcoming drug test, you may be happy to know that all tests have different detection windows. That means that the amount of time that THC-O is detectable in your system varies based on the type of drug test you take. Here's what you need to know:

How Long is THC-O Detectable in Urine?

Urine testing is the most common type of drug testing used, and it also has the most uncertainty in terms of how long it will be able to detect THC-O in your system.

THC metabolites are generally present in the urine in less than 60 minutes after dosing. Depending on many of the factors we listed above, THC metabolites may be present in your urine for as little as 3 days or as long as 30 days after last consumption.

For one time use, you can typically expect your urine to be clear after 3 to 5 days, but daily consumers may need to wait a full month before their urine will be clear.

An example of a positive drug test result caused by THC products

How Long is THC-O Detectable in Saliva?

Saliva testing has one of the shortest detection windows and is the one of the easiest types of tests to pass. THC is typically only present in saliva for about 48 hours after dosing.

How Long is THC-O Detectable in Blood?

Blood testing has the shortest detection window and can generally only detect THC for up to 36 hours.

How Long is THC-O Detectable in Hair?

Hair testing has the longest detection window and is the most difficult type of drug test to pass. THC may be present in a hair sample for up to 90 days.

Fortunately, hair testing is the least common type of drug test used by employers, although it may be more likely that you will encounter a hair test if you're having a drug test for legal purposes.

How to Clear THC-O From Your System

When under the pressure of an impending drug test, it may be tempting to buy into gimmicky detox drinks or fall for harsh fad diets that promise to rid your body of THC more quickly. In general, none of these methods are tested and there is no definite way to clear your system of THC. The only way to ensure a clear test result is to abstain from THC use entirely for the necessary period of time (depending on which type of drug test you expect to take.)

There are, however, some steps you can take to potentially increase your metabolism and help flush THC out, but don't rely on these methods alone. Here are some things you can do:

  • Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated supports a consistent metabolic rate.
  • Swap some carbs for proteins. Proteins require more work for the body to break down and can temporarily boost metabolism.
  • Drink coffee or green tea. Some caffeinated beverages, like coffee and tea, can temporarily boost the metabolism. Still, it's important to use caffeine and moderation.
  • Eat spicy foods.Spicy foods also help temporarily boost the metabolism, which can rid your body of THC more quickly.
  • Incorporate regular workouts. Working out is a surefire way to boost your metabolism. High intensity workouts, like cardio exercises, can boost your metabolism for several hours after the workout ends.

Conclusion: How Long Does THC-O Stay in Your System?

To put it briefly, those who used THC-O one time may have a clear system after only a few days, while regular consumers may need to steer clear of THC products for 30-90 days depending on the detection method used to look for THC metabolites in the body. The true amount of time it will take to rid your system of THC-O depends on various lifestyle and wellness factors, but mostly on the detection window for certain drug tests.

Although THC-O is currently legal by federal standards, the failed test results will appear the same way as if you had failed for Delta-9, and it can be hard to prove what type of THC product you used.. For this reason, you should avoid all forms of THC use if you're expecting a drug test.

Resources

  1. “Reintoxication: the release of fat-stored Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) into blood is enhanced by food deprivation or ACTH exposure” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782342/
  2. “Cytochrome P450 enzymes involved in the metabolism of tetrahydrocannabinols and cannabinol by human hepatic microsomes” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17303175/
  3. “A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans” https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2018.01365/full

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