The cannabis plant contains over 480 different compounds. Over 100 are classified as cannabinoids, but of those only about 70 are concentrated enough to have any effect. These are the compounds that work with your endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoids bind with receptors in various areas of the body to create different effects. Most cannabinoid products on the market today do not have psychoactive properties and don’t produce a high, but Delta-8 is different.
Is Delta-8 THC?
If you enjoy using hemp products, you’ve likely heard of Delta-8. Since 2018, Delta-8 has been a growing interest for consumers interested in its medical and wellness benefits. It has been available in the US since 2018 when the passing of the Farm Bill opened the doors to hemp farming. The language of this bill only banned one cannabinoid: Delta-9 THC. Delta-9 is the THC that many people are familiar with as the primary intoxicating compound in cannabis. Delta-8 is a form of THC that is almost the same thing, but not quite.
Delta-8 vs. Delta-9
Delta-8 and Delta-9 are two virtually identical compounds. The only chemical difference is the location of a double bond between two carbons. In the Delta-8 molecule, the double bond is located on the 8th carbon. In Delta-9, it’s located on the 9th carbon in the chain. It’s a tiny difference, but it’s enough to cause differences in the way the body reacts.
Both have euphoric effects, although Delta-9 is more potent than Delta-8. Some users say that the buzz or high that Delta-8 gives them is more energetic than a Delta-9 high. Other users enjoy Delta-8 because they can experience the psychotropic effects of traditional THC without the paranoia or anxiety they feel as a side effect of cannabis use.
Because Delta-8 has a gentler high than Delta-9, dosing is a little different. It’s estimated that Delta-8 is about half as strong as traditional THC. Keep that in mind when you’re using it— the effects will be weaker at the same dose you’d normally take of THC.
Delta 8 is also naturally found in fairly low concentrations and requires a complex extraction process to produce. It’s usually derived from CBD extractions, unlike Delta-9, which is easily extracted on its own.
Delta-8 Side Effects
Because Delta-8 has had such limited availability, there haven’t been too many lab studies. It was briefly studied and shown to reduce cancer tumor size in mice in the 1970s, and in the 1990s, medical trials showed that it was a safe antiemetic for children. It shows some serious medical potential for pain relief, especially for people with GI issues. Delta-8 also has numerous cognitive effects and may be a valuable treatment for eating disorders and Alzheimer’s. The fact is, we don’t know everything that Delta-8 is good for yet! Only time and testing will tell us what this cannabinoid can do.
Is Delta-8 Legal?
Federally, yes! But on a state level, not always. The reason for this is the specific language of the 2018 Farm Bill. That legislation made hemp— defined as any cannabis plant that contains 0.3% Delta-9 THC or less— legal to grow, sell, and use in various products. However, the bill does not address Delta-8 THC levels, which makes it legal for people to produce and sell the compound. While some states have bans in place, Delta-8 weed is a-ok to have, use, produce, and sell on a federal level.
Where is Delta-8 Available?
Right now, you can buy Delta-8 products in many different places. It’s often stocked at vape and smoke shops, wellness shops, dispensaries, and other places. You can also get it online. When you’re shopping for Delta-8, you need to keep in mind that because it isn’t federally regulated, the quality of the product can vary. If you want to get the best results, you should look for companies that offer proof of third-party testing certificates for potency and purity.
In addition to being sold as the type of product you can usually pick up in a dispensary— vape cartridges, tinctures, and edibles— Delta-8 has a different, fun social aspect to its consumption. Delta-8 cafes and bakeries are a growing trend. CBD and THC are not allowed to be added to most types of food or marketed as dietary supplements, but Delta-8 does not have these restrictions.
Because of its legal status, there’s a lot of interest in combining Delta-8 with food and drink; Delta-8 cannabis cafes are a growing industry in the US. It can be enjoyed publicly and is often paired with baked goods and coffee. In some places, you can get it in your pizza or on your burger, creating that euphoric high while you’re enjoying your meal. There are even coffee roasters who infuse it into the beans themselves, so that you can enjoy a Delta-8 latte in your own home!
Delta-8 is an exciting cannabinoid with many potential benefits. It’s definitely something to pay attention to in the coming months and years as hemp legislation changes and expands!