Whether you are a new or long-time cannabis user, you have probably heard of the latest craze: delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). What is Delta 8? Delta-8 THC, generally made from hemp, falls under a legal gray area and can carry some health risks if you are not careful. Here is what you need to know about delta-8 THC.
What Is Delta 8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is a mildly intoxicating cannabinoid found in trace amounts in hemp and cannabis. Delta-8 THC works similarly to delta-9 THC, the primary intoxicating compound in the cannabis plant. The difference in chemical structure between delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC is the cause of their difference in potency.
How Is Delta-8 THC Made?
Delta-8 is found in small quantities in cannabis and hemp plants. The majority of delta-8 products are made from hemp, which is legal to grow in the US. Generally, processors extract CBD isolate from hemp and then synthesize it into delta-8.
An acid reagent is used to trigger a chemical reaction in the CBD isolate. The extract is then neutralized with an alkaline material. Delta-9 THC is purged from the extract leaving behind a pure delta-8 product.
Delta-8 THC Effects
Similar to delta-9 THC, delta-8 THC can produce euphoric and relaxing effects. Delta-8 THC’s subdued effects can provide mild relief for minor aches and pains. It does not produce an intense high like delta-9 THC. Still, research on delta-8’s effects, benefits, and risks is still in its infancy.
Delta-8 Side Effects
Delta-8 THC’s side effects are similar to delta-9 THC’s side effects. Common side effects include:
- Dry and red eyes
- Dry mouth
- Slow or fast heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Delayed reaction times
- Short term memory loss
- Motor control problems
Apart from its common and mild side effects, delta-8’s manufacturing process using hemp-derived CBD may produce harmful byproducts in the final product, especially if it is not tested by an independent lab for purity and potency.
In some cases, untested delta-8 products can contain delta-9 and delta-10 THC compounds. Research on delta-10 THC is also limited. While these THC derivatives may not cause adverse side effects, there still may be harmful byproducts that can be unsafe to consume.
Does Delta-8 THC Produce a High?
Delta-8 THC has a similar but different chemical structure as the highly intoxicating delta-9 THC compound. While delta-8 THC can produce a high, it is much milder than a high from delta-9 THC.
Is Delta 8 THC Legal?
A majority of delta-8 products are made from hemp-derived CBD. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production of industrial hemp products. Hemp products with less than 0.3% THC are legal now, but the bill does not address delta-8. As a result, many hemp producers use this loophole to sell delta-8 products across the country.
Delta-8 is now one of the fastest-growing products in the hemp market. Due to the unregulated nature of the market, many in the industry are worried about potential impurities and lack of testing in the production of delta-8 THC. Due to these concerns, many states, including Colorado and New York, have banned the use of Delta-8 THC.
Delta-8 THC vs. Delta-9 THC: What Is the Difference?
Delta-8 THC and delta 9 THC both produce intoxicating effects, although delta-8 THC’s high is much subtler than delta-9 THC’s high. In terms of their chemical structure, both compounds have double bonds and a chain of carbon atoms. Delta-8 THC has its double bonds on the eighth carbon atom, while delta-9 has it on the ninth carbon.
Delta-8 Medical Uses
Due to the novelty of the compound and the trace amounts found in cannabis, there is not too much research on delta-8 THC. Much of its medical uses have been anecdotal reports on social media posts, forums, blog posts, and more.
Users have reported using delta-8 for the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Side effects of cancer treatment
While delta-8 THC has seemingly worked for many users, the limited research does not fully support these claims. For this reason, we recommend users take caution when buying and using delta-8 products. Many of these products may not be safe to use.
There is some controversy in the industry surrounding the sale and use of delta-8 THC products such as pre-rolled joints, tinctures, and vapes. Since delta-8 THC production is not regulated properly, the synthetic production of delta-8 THC from hemp can create harmful compounds that can cause adverse side effects.
Where Are Delta-8 THC Products Sold?
Delta-8 THC products are available nearly everywhere nowadays from gas stations to convenience stores to dispensaries to online retailers. Customers can buy a wide range of delta-8 products including edibles such as gummies and candies, tinctures, pre-rolled joints, beverages, and vape pens.
Keep in mind, delta-8 products vary in quality. We recommend doing as much research about the producer and their products. Look up how they source their cannabis or hemp and their processing methods that make delta-8 THC. Always choose products that have been lab tested for harmful substances.
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