Delta-8 Everything You Need to Know About It
What is all the hype around delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol? The world has been looking at news related to cannabis over the past few years, especially in the U.S. There are various products that contain CBD and other substances meant to calm you down and help you focus, and there are also products that contain delta-8 THC.
You can now find gummies, tinctures, and a lot of other items infused with delta-8 THC, leaving you to wonder what this compound is and what it can do.
Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol is a psychoactive cannabinoid that has similar effects to delta-9 THC but is less potent than the latter.[] How does this compound compare to CBD and THC though, and what are its benefits and risks?
Before you click that “Buy” button for products that contain delta-8 THC, let’s take a look at some things you should know about the compound.
What Is Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol?
Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-8 THC is a psychoactive and intoxicating cannabinoid that can be found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Hemp and marijuana are two varieties of this plant. There are more than 100 cannabinoids that the cannabis plant naturally produces, with Delta-8 THC being one of them. []
However, delta-8 doesn’t exist in significant amounts in the cannabis plant. For this reason, higher delta-8 THC amounts are usually manufactured from cannabidiol derived from hemp. []
What Can Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol Do?
The endocannabinoid system is what allows you to experience the effects of cannabinoids through CB1 and CB2 receptors, so let’s discuss this a little bit.
Basically, the endocannabinoid system or ECS is something that is found both in humans and animals. Various invertebrate and vertebrate beings have been discovered to have the ECS. It is a full network made of cellular receptors and chemical signals that our bodies and brains have.
CB1 and CB2 receptors are the primary cannabinoid receptor types. CB1 ones are found in the brain and nervous system, whereas CB2 receptors are found in the immune system and the body. Every other type of receptor in our brain can be found in smaller numbers than CB1 receptors. []
When you consume anything with cannabinoids in it, they will bind to the receptors, which will then break them down and lead to the effects that frequent consumers report. Some of the Delta-8 THC effects include better relaxation, uplifted feelings, as well as a clarity and focus increase. []
However, research on Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol is still being conducted, so we do not know everything about it so far. What scientists have discovered until today is that the compound has various benefits and risks, and you should be aware of them before buying anything with delta-8 THC in it.
Is Delta-8 THC Legal?
One thing that people want to know is whether Delta-8 is legal or not. While it’s easier to know the laws around CBD products, things are still confusing when it comes to products infused with THC such as Delta-8. Right now, it is still a gray area.
On a federal level, cannabis is illegal, mainly because it has delta-9 THC content. However, laws are different in each state, so the place you live may have different laws regarding its recreational and medical use.
At the moment, delta-8 THC products have not been declared illegal on a federal level. At the same time, according to the National Drug Court Institute, it is a federal law violation to manufacture delta-8 THC. There are also states where delta-8 THC products are banned, and one example is Colorado.
There are other states that restricted the sale and use of delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, though, such as:
- Rhode Island
- New York
Before you buy any product that contains Delta-8 THC, you should check the rules in your state so you do not end up violating any law. Also, keep in mind that the laws surrounding the compound in some areas may change.
Differences Between Delta-8, Delta-9, and CBD
Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC have quite similar molecular structures. The one thing that makes them different in structure is a double bond. The “delta” in the name of the compound is what points to the double bond.
Basically, Delta-9 THC has a double bond on its molecule’s chain, more specifically on its ninth carbon. When Delta-9 THC begins to age, this bond then goes to the eighth carbon. This is what transforms it into Delta-8 THC. It is the reason why scientists often call delta-8 THC a “degraded THC form”.
This slight difference is what also makes the two types of THC cause different effects in people who use them. Dr. Peter Grinspoon from Harvard Medical School said that people make reports about how delta-8 is more clear-headed than typical THC and it is also not as sedating and as anxiety-provoking. []
CBD, on the other hand, can offer similar benefits to delta-9 and delta-8 CBD, such as pain relief and a decrease in depression and anxiety. The one difference is that it does not cause the “high” feeling. While for some this may be a disappointment, others consider it a blessing, as they want to experience the advantages of cannabinoids without going through the “high”.
Possible Benefits of Delta-8
Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol can offer feelings of relaxation and euphoria to consumers, which is one of the things that can make some individuals seek this compound in their CBD products. In some cases, there may even be some pain relief, depending on the reason for the pain and its intensity.
But if you are also someone who wants to experience the “high” sensation although not to an exaggerated degree, delta-8 THC can also help. It can still lead to the “high” feeling, but it will not be as pronounced as the one in delta-9 THC, which is a plus. []
And while some studies still have to be done, what we know so far from research is that not only can delta-8 THC provide pain relief, relaxation, and euphoria, but it may also have fewer side effects and less impact compared to delta-9 THC. []
Possible Side Effects and Risks of Delta-8 THC
While there are several benefits brought by Delta-8 THC, there are also several side effects and potential risks that you should be aware of.
When delta-8 THC is produced using synthetic manufacturing processes, CBD from hemp is converted using chemicals like acids and organic solvents. These could have quite a negative effect on your health. What makes things worse is that they are not regulated either. On top of that, there are no proper research studies that can tell you how they can impact your health in the long term.
According to a Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research survey, a few delta-8 THC side effects may appear, such as paranoia, anxiety, altered sense of time, short-term memory difficulties, and a hard time concentrating. []
The FDA had to send warning letters to various companies that were selling delta-8 THC products. This is after they have received adverse event reports from law enforcement, as well as consumers from December 2020 through July 2021.
22 patients used products with delta-8 THC, with 19 of them experiencing some side effects and 14 of them going to an emergency room or a hospital for treatment. Some of the side effects they experienced included loss of consciousness, difficulties standing, hallucinations, and vomiting. []
Moreover, the FDA has said that there were 661 delta-8 THC product exposure cases received by national poison control centers between January 2018 and July 2021. 39% of these included pediatric patients who were younger than 18, 41% were people who were exposed to delta-8 THC unintentionally, with 77% of the unintentional exposures affecting child patients, and 18% needed hospitalizations. []
What Can You Do If You Experience Side Effects?
If you used anything that contained Delta-8 THC and you are experiencing adverse effects, you should seek medical help immediately. Go to the local emergency room or call 911 for help.
Once you are safe and received medical attention, you may want to consider making a report to the MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program of the FDA. You can directly speak to someone by calling an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator. Another thing you can do is call 1-800-332-1088 and request a reporting form which you can then return to the address listed on the form or by fax, or you can simply complete the Voluntary MedWatch form online.
Can Delta-8 Show Up on Drug Tests?
We do not have enough scientific evidence to tell whether a drug test will be positive after one uses delta-8 THC products. But considering how similar the compound is to delta-9 THC, the chances are that it will show up.
Urine cannabis tests are searching for THC metabolites, and delta-8 THC is made when regular THC degrades. As a result, drug screenings should be able to detect the cannabinoid.
So, if you know you will have to go through a drug screening soon, you should stay away from cannabinoids like delta-8 THC. This is because it can stay in the fat cells for about 30 days, while drug tests based on fingernails and hair can find cannabinoids that you have consumed within the last 90 days before the testing. []
How Do Brands Make Delta-8 THC Products?
You may be curious to find out how big brands make their Delta-8 THC products. Well, most of them use a process known as CO2 when they need to extract cannabinoids. This process works by isolating the cannabinoids in hemp and extracting them.
But extracting Delta-8 is a bit more difficult, mainly due to how rare the compound is in a natural form. It is extremely rare for Delta-8 THC to occur naturally. Therefore, it is not that easy to find it and extract it. In fact, it makes for only 0.1% of the compounds one can find in hemp. Because of this, brands often end up synthesizing the Delta-8 compound from CBD.
Is Delta-8 THC Easy to Find?
If you check for CBD products online, you will see that there is no shortage of them. Many brands sell CBD products such as oils, tinctures, gummies, creams, pet products, and more. In comparison, delta-8 products are way harder to find, which could be due to the laws surrounding the compound.
But if you are planning on using delta-8 THC, you should look for trustworthy brands that can guarantee that their products are high-quality. Do not go for any brand or product before doing in-depth research.
Should You Use Delta-8 THC Products?
As a CBD user, you may be interested in trying something that has Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol in it. If that’s the case, you should talk to a doctor beforehand and refrain from consuming anything with the compound in it unless you’ve spoken to an expert.
There may be adverse interactions with other prescription medications if you are taking any. Therefore, you must talk about this with a doctor who can offer you some advice.
On top of that, you should also research Delta-8 and become as informed as possible about its effects and its legal status. The compound is still quite new, and we will most likely learn one or two more things about it in the future.
The Bottom Line
With CBD products becoming more popular by the day, a lot of people are looking toward trying out products that contain delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol. Even though there may be some benefits to using such products, there is still not enough research done. What we know so far is that there may also be some side effects associated with this substance.
Since the compound is not legal in all states, check for the laws where you live before you purchase any delta-8 THC product.