Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as plain old THC, is by far the most popular cannabinoid in cannabis. There’s also CBD, but researchers say there are more than 100 different cannabinoids within the cannabis species.
One such cannabinoid getting a lot of buzz is Delta-8 THC. That’s because the legality of Delta 8 remains up in the air in many States. Some argue it is completely legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, while others claim it simply takes advantage of a loophole.
Continue reading to learn more about what exactly Delta 8 THC is, its legality, and whether or not it gets you “high.”
Just like Delta-9 (regular THC), Delta-8 THC binds to your body’s endocannabinoid system. This interaction is what creates that classic THC high. Delta-9 and Delta-8, have similar double-bonded chemical characteristics with slight differences. More specifically, Delta-9’s double bond exists on the 9th carbon atom, whereas Delta-8 has it on its 8th (surprise!).
The double bonded chemical shape is thought to be the reason why THC gets you high in the first place. Researchers don’t know for sure, but it’s believed that the difference in the double bond position for Delta-8 is the reason why there is less of a high compared to Delta-9.
You may also be asking how Delta-8 THC compares to CBD. Delta-8 is chemically more similar to regular THC than CBD. It also differs from CBD because unlike CBD it can actually make you feel “high”. This is because CBD does not bind to the endocannabinoid system as much as THC or even Delta-8.
Delta-8 will get you high, but it offers a much less intense high than that of typical Delta-9 THC. For consumers living in a state where regular weed is illegal, Delta-8 offers a less potent, but “legal” high.
Some users even prefer the mellower high of Delta-8 especially if they typically report anxiety or paranoia from regular cannabis use.
Users tend to describe the high as producing slight euphoric, giggly, relaxing, sleepy (at lower doses), and productive high (at lower doses). Some of the most advertised uses are for pain and insomnia relief.
In terms of side effects, you can expect similar effects to that of Delta-9 THC. These include dry mouth, munchies, slight paranoia, etc…
The legality of Delta-8 remains in a sort of limbo gray area. Most state laws don’t provide any specific rulings on Dela-8, but it remains (for the most part) legal. The compound is most commonly derived from legal hemp, which is why you may see it for sale in states where Delta-9 is still illegal.
This legality is thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, which was a federal act passed by congress that defined hemp as “All derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent.”
This in turn, indirectly made Delta-8 THC legal. Despite this, the DEA recently proposed a rule that would indirectly classify Delta-8 as a schedule 1 controlled substance and therefore federally illegal.
As mentioned earlier, Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring compound within cannabis and hemp plants. The compound is only found in trace amounts, but new sourcing and extraction methods allow companies to produce the chemical in a financially feasible fashion.
More specifically, hemp is the most common place to source Delta-8 from because it is legal and far more readily available.
The most popular method of producing Delta-8 THC is to extract CBD from hemp and then refined into a type of isolate that is finally converted into Delta-8. Due to the laborious extraction process, Delta-8 is far more expensive to produce than CBD. Fortunately for producers, the strong demand for alternatives to regular THC keeps them in business.
More research needs to be done, but pure Delta-8 THC seems to be just as safe as normal Delta-9 THC and CBD. Not a single study has reported any adverse or life-threatening effects, but there are some complications to keep in mind. For example, Delta-8 is reported to slightly raise blood pressure and those with cardiovascular diseases are recommended to abstain.
The main safety risk comes from a lack of third-party testing and unlicensed products like vape cartridges that could contain contaminants or heavy metals.
To further the alarm on unregulated Delta-8, a recent report published the U.S. Cannabis Council, a national trade group representing state-licensed cannabis companies and legalization advocates, explained the rise in unlicensed delta-8 THC sales as a “rapidly expanding crisis.”
To make sure you get safe and regulated products, we suggest checking the manufacturer’s website and looking into how they source and test their products. On the other hand, legitimate products should also have QR codes or batch numbers that you can use to look up the company’s test results.
The legality of Delta-8 is confusing and a mix of opinions from within the cannabis industry further complicates things. As the cannabis industry matures and more research is done, Delta-8 may become a lasting and profitable cannabinoid.
On the other hand, further government rulings and action could halt production in its tracks or bring it back underground. One thing is clear, all form of cannabis is in high demand at the moment and Delta-8 is just another way producers are trying to fill that need.
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