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THCA Flower Drug Test: Why You Would Fail

THCA flower is the latest product to take over the hemp market, providing us with something almost identical to marijuana.  By infusing THCA distillate into raw flower buds, we get to enjoy a federally legal way to get delta 9 THC into the body, as THCA converts into delta 9 once it’s heated, like as it would be through smoking, vaping or baking.

It’s easy to see the appeal in what’s essentially a legal alternative to marijuana flower.  But, there’s one thing that people do need to consider, which is the influence that it can have on a drug test.  Let’s find out if using THCA flower can cause a failed drug test result.

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How is Cannabis Tested for?

Before we specifically get into the possibility of failing a drug test after taking THCA, we need to go over the most common types of drug tests that are administered across the country, as the test you end up taking can have the most influence of all when it comes to passing or failing.

  • Urine Test: Urine tests are by far the most common type of drug test in the United States, and almost all employers use this type of test when testing employees for drugs.  Urine tests can show evidence of drug use roughly 2-60 days after the last dose, depending on the amount that’s in the body.  They’re reliable, cheap and have a fast turnaround time, making them a highly efficient means for drug-testing.
  • Saliva Test: A saliva test typically detects whether or not certain drugs were taken within the last 10 hours.  And, they’re far more commonly used by law enforcement officers than anyone else, basically to inform them whether or not a person may be intoxicated at the time of the test.  
  • Hair Test: Hair tests usually show evidence of drug use within the last 90 days.  They’re not commonly used for employment, as they’re expensive and have a long turnaround time, not to mention somewhat unreliable, and negated if the person cuts or dyes their hair.  
  • Blood Test: A blood test only shows if a person is actively high on a substance, as for a person to be intoxicated, they must have the substance in their bloodstream.
  • Sweat Test: A sweat test is rarely used for drug-testing, and more associated with clinical trials.  That’s because it’s quite invasive, involving a person attaching an adhesive patch to their skin for 2 weeks, which collects their perspiration.

Does THCA Get Picked Up on a Drug Test?

Here’s where things get a little complicated, so bear with us.  THCA, aka tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is the raw precursor to delta 9 THC.  In other words, once the cannabinoid is heated, it becomes delta 9.  THCA may be picked up in certain drug tests, but in its raw form, it’s usually not something that standard urine tests look for.

But, the thing with THCA flower is that it’s inevitably heated to be used.  What this means is that if you’re using THCA flower, what you’re actually consuming is delta 9 THC, as the THCA has been converted.  And, as we all know, delta 9 THC, whether it comes from hemp or marijuana, will cause a failed drug test result.

THCA/delta 9 THC are not actually responsible for that result.  It’s THC-COOH, which is an enzyme that the body produces from THC cannabinoids after we take them.  THC-COOH is simply a delta 9 metabolite, which lingers in the body for longer than the high itself.  For how long it can linger, and cause you to test positive, depends on a number of factors, which we’ll get into now.

What’s the Likelihood of Failing a Drug Test Because I Used THCA Flower?

So, you took some THCA flower recently, not realizing that you have a drug test coming up.  Are you doomed?  Not necessarily.  As it turns out, the likelihood of failing a test actually depends on a pretty complex variety of factors, some more predictable than others.  Let’s elaborate.

#1: How Much You Consumed

The amount of THCA flower you took leading up to your drug test is going to make a difference.  Taking a few puffs one time off of some flower is different from going through a 28g bag in less than a week.  The more THCA flower you took, the more THC-COOH is in your system, and the longer it will take to break down.  If you took a tiny dose, you may only test positive for a few days, while a heavy dose can linger in the system for weeks.

#2: How Frequently You Consumed It

How often you were taking the flower matters for the same reasons as above.  Enjoying THCA flower daily is different from having a little bit once in a while.  The more frequently you took it, the more of a “backlog” of THC-COOH is in your system, and the longer it will take before all of it is gone – in other words, before you’re no longer testing positive.

#3: The Strain You Chose

As you may know, some strains of THCA flower contain higher concentrations of THCA than others, and since what’s being tested for is THC-COOH, a more potent flower strain is going to increase your chance of failing a test.  Typically, THCA flower can contain anywhere from 15-28% THCA, which, again, converts into 15-28% delta 9 THC.  So, that’s something that you may want to consider if you have a test coming up, although flower with any amount of THCA puts you at a good risk of failing.

#4: How You Decided to Use it

Yes, the delivery method you went with makes a difference too.  It’s likely that smoking or vaping your flower puts you at higher risk of failing than if you used flower to make homemade edibles.  That’s because when we consume edibles, we absorb less THC into the system, as a lot of it gets processed by the liver quickly before entering the bloodstream.  So, the THC-COOH may leave the system faster as there’s less of it.  

#5: Your Metabolism and Health

Of course, some people just metabolize THC-COOH faster than others due to the state of their metabolism, as well as their health.  For instance, being dehydrated causes a higher concentration of THC-COOH that can be detected in the body, and when we’re sick, our metabolism slows down.

The Bottom Line: THCA Flower is Likely to Make You Fail a Drug Test

The key takeaway from all of this is that if you’re going to use THCA hemp flower in any way, know that you’re really putting yourself at risk of failing a drug test.  Naturally, if you have a drug test coming up and your job depends on it, the best course of action would be avoiding THCA flower entirely.  When it comes to your chance of failing, THCA flower is about on par with actual weed, so consider being safe rather than sorry.

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