Is Delta 8 THC A Synthetic Compound? – Vitaldiol
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Is Delta 8 THC A Synthetic Compound?

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Very few plants contain as many potentially therapeutic compounds as cannabis. The dozens of different cannabinoids found in cannabis all have unique benefits and often work together to enhance their individual effects. 

Recently, delta 8 THC, a previously obscure cannabinoid, has been thrust into the limelight thanks to advancements in cannabinoid extraction methodology. As more people have become aware of delta 8, several misconceptions regarding the compound have also risen. 

So what’s the deal with delta 8? Is it a natural cannabinoid like CBD and THC, or is it a synthetic cannabinoid like K2? Keep reading to find out. 

What Is Delta 8 THC? 

delta 8 molecule

Delta 8 THC is a cannabinoid found naturally in the cannabis plant, albeit in small amounts. Its molecular structure is remarkably similar to regular THC (delta 9 THC), the only difference being the placement of one covalent bond. Because delta 8 and delta 9 THC are so chemically similar, they both produce comparable effects when consumed by humans. 

Is Delta 8 Legal In The United States?

Cannabis laws in the United States can be incredibly confusing and often vary depending on where in the country you’re located. These laws get even more complicated when it comes to delta 8 THC. 

The 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized hemp, which it defines as cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3% delta 9 THC per dry weight. So a delta 8 THC product derived from hemp would technically be legal on the federal level. 

However, each state sets its own laws regulating the sale and consumption of cannabinoids. Several states have already outright banned delta 8 products, and others are in the process of enacting regulations limiting the sale of delta 8 within their borders. To find out if delta 8 is legal where you live, click here

Delta 8 Side Effects 

side effects icon

Delta 8 and regular delta 9 THC affect the human body in very similar ways. Both are considered intoxicating, meaning they induce a “high.” The subtle difference in delta 8’s molecular structure results in a milder version of the quintessential THC high. Anecdotally, users of delta 8 describe feeling mellow body sensations and some euphoria, but with less of the brain fog that comes with conventional THC.

Delta 8 symptoms are reportedly nearly identical to that of delta 9 THC. This typically includes: 

  • dry mouth 

  • red and irritated eyes 

  • increased appetite 

  • anxiety or paranoia 

  • accelerated heart rate 


Is Delta 8 Synthetic Or Natural? 

cannabis leaf

As earlier stated, delta 8 THC does naturally occur in cannabis, but here’s where some people get confused: 

Delta 8 THC typically only shows up in minuscule percentages—so small that extracting delta 8 directly from cannabis would take an exorbitant amount of plant material. Not only is it impractical, but it’s also extremely expensive. 

Instead, most of the delta 8 in circulation today originated as CBD isolate. Extractors then take the CBD isolate and combine it with a non-polar solvent and an acid reagent which creates a chemical reaction called isomerization, converting the CBD into delta 8 THC. The acids and solvents are then purged from the final product. 

So, while a chemical process is used to create delta 8 THC, it’s not dissimilar to the common solvent-based extraction methods used to make other kinds of cannabis concentrates. In other words, delta 8 THC is no more synthetic than any delta 9 THC dab or cannabis vape cartridge available at your local dispensary.  

What Are Synthetic Cannabinoids? 

Molecule attached to mound

The term synthetic cannabinoid actually refers to specific types of chemicals often sold at head shops or shady gas stations. You may have seen these drugs sold under the name spice or K2. 

They’re called synthetic cannabinoids because they interact with the endocannabinoid system when ingested, but not because they have anything to do with the cannabis plant itself. These drugs are considered addictive and dangerous. 

Is Delta 8 THC Safe? 

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Delta 8, on the other hand, is non-toxic. On its own, the cannabinoid doesn’t pose any health risk beyond conventional THC or CBD. However, like with any cannabis extract, consumers should look to buy products that have been adequately lab-tested by a third party to ensure there are no potential contaminants leftover from the extraction process.


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