Does HHC and THC-O Show Up on a Drug Test?

drug test

According to one report, U.S. adults are failing drug tests at unprecedented rates. In 2021 alone, around 4.6% of samples tested by one of the nation’s largest drug-testing firms came back positive.

If you work at a company that requires a drug test, this news might have you shaking in your boots. Even if you know when and how to safely take your cannabis products, including HHC and THC-O, you may still wonder how the process will go.

Will HHC fail a drug test? What about THC-O? Does it matter that these substances are legal on a federal level? Today, we’re breaking down all the answers so you don’t have to worry.

Understanding HHC and THC-O

If you haven’t checked out any of our comparison blogs just yet, let’s start by briefly defining how HHC and THC-O work. You may know that they are both hemp-derived compounds (called cannabinoids), but what are their primary differences?

What Is HHC?

Hexahydrocannabinol, or HHC, is a naturally-derived cannabinoid found in very small quantities within hemp seeds and hemp pollen. To make bulk quantities, scientists normally create it today in a lab by adding a molecule of hydrogen to THC.

This process is called hydrogenation, and it completely alters the chemical structure of the THC molecule, turning it into HHC. As it’s technically different from THC, HHC can be considered legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. Most people who take HHC enjoy its mild, pleasant high, which is often described as lighter and less intense than THC.

What Is THC-O?

Unlike HHC, the THC-O cannabinoid (also called THC-O-acetate) is not found naturally in the cannabis plant. Instead, scientists have to synthesize it entirely in a lab. To do so, they first extract the cannabidiol (CBD) molecule from a federally legal hemp plant through a process called biosynthesis. To be considered federally legal, the plant must contain less than 0.3% THC.

Then, they convert the CBD into Delta-8 THC. From there, they add an inflammable, colorless liquid to the Delta-8 called acetic anhydride. This chemical is considered volatile, so workers must use very specialized equipment when they’re producing this cannabinoid.

Once it’s produced, it’s one of the most powerful cannabis products on the market. In fact, some studies suggest that the effects of THC-O are up to three times as strong as those of Delta-9 THC.

Taking a Drug Test

There are a few different reasons why someone might need to take a drug test. A few of the most common ones include:

  • To complete a screening prior to employment
  • To check for drug use on the job
  • To test for the presence of drugs or alcohol after a work-related accident
  • To ensure athletes are not taking performance-enhancing substances
  • To monitor treatment in programs designed to treat drug or alcohol use disorders
  • To provide evidence in a criminal or motor vehicle accident investigation
  • To fulfill orders as part of a court case
  • To monitor the misuse of prescription drugs

Regardless of the reason why you need to pass a drug test, it’s important to understand which substances will show up in one. While you might be used to your employer administering a marijuana drug test and testing for weed, products like HHC and THC-O are a little different.

Let’s go through each substance and discuss the potential findings that may occur.

Will HHC Fail a Drug Test?

It would be ideal if there were a cut-and-dry answer to this specific question. Unfortunately, no one can give you one just yet! The good news is that some anecdotal reports lean toward a negative.

In technical terms, HHC is structurally different from THC. As such, there isn’t any available proof that it breaks down into a THC metabolite once it enters your body. Put simply, metabolites are substances that are created while your body is breaking down a drug.

Though marijuana contains more than 100 distinct cannabinoids, most standard marijuana tests are only designed to measure a few of those cannabinoids and their associated metabolites. In most cases, this does not include HHC.

As such, there’s no evidence that HHC will show up on a standard drug test. Typically, employers and other supervisors are looking for the presence of THC in your system, as well as other similar substances. If you haven’t consumed any type of cannabis product beyond HHC, then the substance shouldn’t ping.

However, this doesn’t mean you’re completely in the clear. Keep in mind that HHC has a similar chemical structure as both Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC. As such, the HHC cannabinoid can metabolize in the same way. Most drug screenings are designed to analyze a few different substances for these metabolites, including your:

  • Blood
  • Saliva
  • Urine
  • Hair

To date, there hasn’t been any kind of drug test designed to look specifically for HHC, nor is there a reason to create one. Still, it’s best to avoid HHC products if you know you have a testing day on the horizon. The chemical makeup of this cannabinoid, as well as the specific way it metabolizes in your body, could cause it to show up on a test.

Here’s one more thing to keep in mind: If you consume an HHC product that’s specially marketed as “full-spectrum” then there’s a chance it could contain a small amount of THC, as well as the HHC.

If this happens, there’s a much stronger change you could test positive on a drug test for weed. Want to make sure you’re safe in the upcoming weeks or months? Stick with HHC products labeled as broad-spectrum or isolate, which should not contain any THC.

How Long Does It Stay in Your System?

Even though HHC is unlikely to show up on a standard drug test, you may still wonder how long it will remain in your system after you take it.

As scientists continue to learn more about this product, this exact answer will become clearer. For now, however, the most specific explanation we can offer is that HHC can stay in your system anywhere between six weeks to 90 days.

Of course, this timeline isn’t the same for everyone. If you’re new to cannabis, you’re likely to retain it in your system for a shorter time period than someone who’s a heavy, frequent user. In some infrequent users, HHC leaves the system in as little as one to five days.

In all, there are a few different factors that could determine how long HHC or THC-O stays in your system. These include:

  • Your age
  • How frequently you use cannabis products
  • The method of consumption you used
  • How much HHC or THC-O you consumed
  • Your metabolism

As you plan to take your preferred hemp products, remember to plan ahead. Keep in mind that drug testing is not an exact science, and there are a few different methods available. While you should be in the clear with HHC, it’s better to err on the side of caution and avoid it before testing day.

Will THC-O Fail a Drug Test?

While HHC might allow you to stay in the clear, that’s usually not the case with THC-O. As this product is considered to be an acetate of conventional THC, all of the normal tests designed to look for marijuana will likely pick up on it.

These tests aren’t only looking for Delta-9 THC. They are also looking for any and all THC metabolites. While more research still needs to be conducted on THC-O, scientists believe that it likely breaks down into a THC metabolite once you consume it.

In fact, all known THC analogs, including Delta-9, Delta-8, Delta-10, and THC-O are known to trigger the same type of metabolic response in your body. After you consume any type of THC, your body creates a metabolite called 11-hydroxy-THC. This process occurs regardless of the kind of THC you take.

Thus, if a drug test is designed to look for 11-hydroxy-THC, yours will show up positive if you have taken THC-O in the recent past.

Thankfully, if a drug test isn’t on the horizon any time soon, you’re free to enjoy THC-O on your own time! Keep in mind that this THC product is best suited for people who have at least some experience with using THC in the past. Start with a small dose and wait 30 minutes to see how your mind and body react before increasing it at all.

How Long Does It Stay in Your System?

Similar to HHC, THC appears to stay in a person’s system for around 90 days. However, the difference here is that you can almost guarantee that it will show up for that long on a drug test.

In fact, just like other forms of THC, it’s even detectable in the strands of your hair for up to three months. While scientists may one day discover that THC-O clears the system sooner than its conventional counterpart, that isn’t the case just yet. That’s why it’s smart to avoid this product for at least 90 days if you know you have a drug test scheduled in the future.

While blood tests may only be able to detect THC-O for up to 36 hours, if you’ve consumed it in the past three months, a hair test will likely ping positive. There’s even a chance that you could test positive for longer because scientists believe that THC-O may bind with your endocannabinoid system at a higher rate.

Why Does This Matter If THC-O Is Legal?

Wait, isn’t a drug test supposed to look for illegal substances? Why should you worry about passing one if you’ve only consumed THC-O and not any other type of cannabis product?

Here’s why.

While THC-O is legal on a federal level and is also legal in many states, a drug test is looking for THC metabolites only. This means that it cannot distinguish between the specific type of cannabis product you’ve consumed. It will show up positive regardless of whether you’ve taken THC-O, Delta-9, or any other type of THC.

All of these products look exactly the same on the test, and there isn’t a way for you to prove that you’ve only taken THC-O. This means that if you’re anticipating a drug test for any reason, it’s best to steer clear of THC-O far in advance.

How to Increase Your Chances of Passing a Drug Test

Be wary of any product that claims to help you quickly remove THC-O or HHC from your body. Often, those “cleanses” are filled with dangerous ingredients that haven’t been tested for efficacy, much less safety. Instead, try these simple tips.

Stop Taking Cannabis Products Immediately

As soon as you get a drug test on the books, stop consuming THC products. This gives your system more time to detox, which could improve the outcome of your results.

Stay Hydrated

In the days leading up to your test, hydration should be a top priority. For best results, stick to water and avoid other drinks, such as soda and sports drinks.

One element to keep in mind: If your urine is too diluted, it could cause your employer to schedule a retest. In some cases, such as testing for probation, this act could even be considered fraudulent.

Eat Fiber-Rich Foods

In addition to drinking a good amount of water, you could also try eating a hydrating diet that’s also high in fiber and antioxidants, including fruits and vegetables. These foods will move through your system faster than ones that are high in trans fats and processed sugars, which could act as a natural cleanse.

Stay Smart and Prepare for Your Drug Test

When it comes to taking a drug test, preparation is key. You don’t have to stop taking HHC or THC-O forever, but it is a good idea to stop if you know you’ll be testing soon.

Use this guide to help you answer questions such as, “Will HHC fail a drug test?” and more. The better-educated you are, the more likely you are to pass your test with flying colors.

When you’re in the clear and it’s safe to vape your favorite THC products again, start with us! We have all of the Delta-8 disposable vapes you need in our online shop.