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Educational

Educational

Delta 8 THC: Is It Worth Trying?

By Andrew Ward

Delta 8 THC: Is It Worth Trying?

Cannabinoids are one of many chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. Delta 9 THC, commonly referred to as THC, is the most prevalent compound, with CBD the second most widely present. Under the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, or the Farm Bill, hemp and hemp-derived cannabinoids were no longer considered controlled substances. The change in law also came with the legalization of hemp production and sales, stipulating all products must contain less than .3% THC to qualify. 

 

The legalization of hemp was intended to allow the CBD market to take place, and it certainly has. However, federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill unintentionally legalized the production of all hemp-derived cannabinoids in the process. In doing so, a flurry of new options became available. One of the most prominent and popular is delta 8 THC, often referred to as delta 8 or D8. 

 

Today, delta 8 is helping provide consumers with legal access to THC products. But is it worth a try? Read on to learn more about delta 8 THC, including how it’s made, its effects, and how it compares to other popular cannabis options you can legally purchase. Then, decide if it’s right for you. 

 

What is Delta 8 THC?

Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as delta 8 THC and other more shortened names, is an intriguing recent addition to the world of legal cannabis in America. Like delta 9 THC, delta 8 is psychoactive, meaning you will feel its “high” effects. Unlike delta 9, delta 8 is federally legal for production and sale in many states–however, some have enacted restrictions in response to the rise of hemp-derived cannabinoids. 

 

Delta 8 and Delta 9 share several similarities, including effects. Delta 8 is often considered a subtler yet similar consumption experience to delta 9. The compounds share similar mental and physical effects, which include relaxation, pain relief, euphoria, and an altered perception of time [1].

 

The combination of similar effects and legal access allowed delta 8 to surge in popularity across much of the country in relatively short order. Today, products are sold just like delta 9 THC, with consumers able to buy flower, concentrated oil, tinctures, and edibles online and in stores.  

 

How is Delta 8 THC Made?

The naturally derived hemp-based compound is manufactured from hemp-derived CBD using various chemical conversion processes permitted under the Farm Bill. Delta 8 THC is not typically present in large quantities in cannabis plants. Instead, it is created by converting other cannabinoids, like CBD, into delta 8 THC through a process called isomerization.

 

Isomerization involves using chemicals and heat to convert the CBD into delta 8. While the process is relatively straightforward, it requires specialized equipment and knowledge, making it difficult to do at home.

 

Research so far suggests that delta 8 THC is safe when compared to similar products like delta 9 THC and CBD. Consumers should have minimal worries as long as a safe, compliant manufacturer makes the product. 

 

That's why consumers must find a reliable delta 8 source. Unfortunately, its production is not regulated like THC. As such, some brands may contain harmful elements or impurities. 

 

Consumers can buy safe and effective delta 8 with a little research. Scan websites, social media, news sites, and product reviews to understand the brand and its products. You can streamline the research process by looking for a company’s lab reports. These certificates of analysis provide in-depth looks into a product, including its plant profile and confirmation that it is free of unwanted contaminants. 

 

If a company won’t provide its lab analysis, consider shopping elsewhere. 

 

What are the Benefits of Delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 THC has been described by many as a subtler comparable experience to delta 9. Like delta 9, many delta 8 effects have been linked to therapeutic effects on various medical conditions, such as: 

  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

 

Both cannabinoids have been linked with various medicinal effects, including:

  • Increased appetite  
  • Vomit prevention   
  • Improved mental health (in specific conditions)

 

These potential benefits make delta 8 an appealing option for people looking to treat themselves with cannabis without experiencing the psychoactive effects of delta 9. However, while seemingly safe, additional research is needed to fully understand the effects and potential benefits of delta 8 [2]. 

 

What are the Risks and Side Effects of Delta 8 THC?

Like any psychoactive compound, delta 8 THC has side effects, especially when taken in large doses. In most cases, these side effects resemble delta 9 intoxication [3].

 

Some of the short-term effects of overconsuming delta 8 THC include:

  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Slow heart rate (bradycardia)
  • Numbness
  • Fast heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Hallucinations or psychosis
  • Vomiting
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Loss of consciousness

 

Long-term risks of delta 8 consumption may exist. However, limited research is available, so no conclusive statements can be made at this time. 

 

What is the Difference Between Delta 8 Derived from Hemp vs Marijuana?

Two main differences separate hemp-derived and marijuana-derived delta 8 THC: legal status and chemical composition. 

 

The 2018 Farm Bill federally permitted hemp and hemp-derived products containing less than 0.3% delta 9 THC on a dry weight basis. This loophole allowed for hemp-derived delta 8 to be legally made and sold. Marijuana-derived delta 8 THC, on the other hand, is still illegal and remains a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States. 

 

Chemically, both types of delta 8 THC are the same. Still, marijuana-derived delta 8 THC may contain higher levels of delta 9 THC than allowed by the .3% threshold. Exceeding that limit could result in a more potent high and potentially result in federal authorities cracking down on the businesses involved.  

 

There have been attempts to increase the THC limit in hemp-derived products, but nothing has changed since 2018 so far. In another legislation update, The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urged Congress to pass legislation on hemp-derived cannabinoids in January 2023, but nothing has come about [4]. 

 

Is Delta-8 THC Legal? The FDA Weighs In

Like all cannabis compounds, legalization is complicated in America. The 2018 Farm Bill made CBD legal and inadvertently allowed products like delta 8 to hit the market legally. In response, many states have enacted restrictions and bans on hemp-derived cannabinoid products. 

 

Making matters more complicated, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet issued any clear regulations regarding delta 8 THC, which can make it difficult to determine whether the hemp-derived cannabinoid is legal or not. However, it's worth noting that the FDA has expressed concerns about the safety and legality of delta 8 THC products.

 

Delta 9 THC is in a different yet equally grey legal landscape in America. Federally, THC is still a Schedule I narcotic and is banned as such. However, more than two-thirds of states have legalized cannabis for medical and recreational purposes. 

 

Rumors are that the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) may reschedule the plant to Schedule III, per Health and Human Services (HHS) recommendation. Still, nothing has been announced as of early March 2024. 

 

Is Delta 8 Worth Trying?

Delta 8 THC is a product worth trying if you think it’s right for you. 

 

With D8 just hitting the market in the past couple of years, there’s a lot of warranted interest. Still, there’s lots to learn and some risks to be aware of. 

 

We do have some concrete understandings to go off of. Delta 8 is a newer and milder form of THC that is gaining popularity in the cannabis market. It has similar but less potent effects than delta 9 THC, including calming and relaxing properties. 

 

Products are made by converting other cannabinoids, like CBD, into delta 8 cannabinoids. While legal, the production process is not regulated, leading some products to possibly contain harmful contaminants. Consumers are advised to buy from reputable brands that provide lab analyses of their products. 

 

While delta 8 has its reported benefits, it also contains side effects similar to THC overconsumption. It's important that consumers not only find a reliable source but also be aware of their dosage to avoid overconsumption risks. Consumers can lessen overconsumption risks by beginning with a low dosage and gradually increasing or repeating the first dose every 30 to 60 minutes. 

 

Consider the effects linked to delta 8. If you’re looking for a milder experience similar to traditional THC, then delta 8 might be right for you. If you're looking for a laid-back but not as potentially overwhelming cannabis experience, delta 8 might be worth checking out as an alternative to delta 9. 

 

Delta 8 is also an excellent option for any consumer in a state that prohibits delta 9 access. Be sure to check your state laws; some have responded to the Farm Bill with state-level restrictions that may prevent access. 

 

Remember that while delta 8 THC may seemingly be enjoyed by all, it may not be appropriate for everyone. It is recommended that pregnant or breastfeeding women, individuals with a history of mental illness, and people taking medications that interact with THC should avoid delta 8 THC. Consumers are advised to talk to a healthcare professional before trying delta 8 or any cannabis products before trying. 

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