Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, or simply Delta-8 THC, has garnered a lot of attention over the past several months. You’ve likely heard of it and maybe even tried it, but how much do you really know about this cannabinoid?
This guide explores the origin story of Delta-8 THC and how it’s made commercially available today. Dive into the benefits, what it feels like, and whether or not it’s even legal. Read on to learn more about this fascinating new cannabinoid.
What is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is very similar in structure to its sister cannabinoid, Delta-9 THC. When comparing molecular makeup, Delta-8 has a double bond on the 8th carbon chain, and Delta-9 has a double bond on the 9th carbon chain. Although this seems like a fairly minor difference, it’s what determines the varying effects each cannabinoid provides.
While Delta-8 is a naturally occurring cannabinoid, it is only present in trace amounts in hemp and marijuana. There are some strains that produce more Delta-8 than others, making these a top choice for smoking Delta-8 flower in the form of pre-rolls or in a pipe. However, there is such little to be found naturally that Delta-8 is almost always procured through a series of extraction in a laboratory. By doing this, laboratory technicians are able to amass enough to infuse into edibles, vape pens, and tinctures.
Most Delta-8 is made with CBD as a starting cannabinoid, although you could begin with Delta-9 THC. For legal reasons, most Delta-8 comes from CBD. First, the CBD is extracted from hemp and isolated. Then, the CBD is dissolved into a solvent before mixing in an acid. The mixture is heated and continually stirred for several hours. This creates a chemical reaction, and once it is complete, the solution is washed and neutralized.
The last step of the process is testing to ensure the chemical reaction worked properly and that the final product is free from impurities. Finally, the Delta-8 extraction is infused into various products for sale.
Delta-8 THC Effects
Consumers love Delta-8 for plenty of reasons, but like all cannabinoids, it’s important to know the pros and the cons.
Does Delta-8 Get You High?
Delta-9 THC is mildly psychoactive and will get you high. Many people refer to Delta-8 as “weed lite” for its slightly less stoney effects compared to Delta-9. This makes it a suitable option for people who would like to try weed, but don’t enjoy the uncomfortable side effects. Delta-8 still provides a stimulating buzz, but most people do not tend to feel overwhelmed by the physical and mental effects.
Any THC variant provides therapeutic and medicinal effects for the body. This includes promoting deeper sleep, reducing muscular tension, and relieving pain. Cannabis works within the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to provide these effects. THC cannabinoids have an affinity for the central nervous system, affecting the mind. Proponents of Delta-8 say that it produces feelings of relaxation, euphoria, and happiness. This is similar to Delta-9’s effects, but milder.
Possible Side Effects
Perhaps the biggest concern with consuming Delta-8 products is the possibility of failing a drug test. Even though this cannabinoid is hemp-derived it can still lead to THC build-up in the body and trigger a positive THC test result. If you believe you may have to take a drug test for any reason, it’s best to avoid all hemp and marijuana products.
Other side effects include dry eyes, dry mouth, drowsiness, mild anxiety or paranoia, and increased heart rate. Side effects may vary from person to person and the best way to avoid any uncomfortable effects is to start with a minimal amount before increasing your dosage.
Delta-8 vs. Delta-9
When comparing Delta-8 vs. Delta-9 it’s important to note that they typically come from different plants. Although both of these cannabinoids are found in both hemp and marijuana, Delta-9 THC is most prevalent in marijuana. Many Delta-8 products are derived from hemp to meet legal requirements and provide easier access to a larger audience.
In terms of effect, Delta-9 is stronger than Delta-8, but dosage and method of consumption still play a role in how high you’ll get. For example, if you take three hits of a Delta-8 joint one day, and the next day take three hits of a Delta-9 joint, it’s likely that the Delta-9 will have gotten you more high. However, if you compare the Delta-9 joint high to taking several rips off of a Delta-8 vape pen, you might be more stoned from the Delta-8.
Is Delta-8 THC Legal?
Delta-8 is a legal cannabinoid. However, there are some stipulations. Hemp is protected under the 2018 Farm Bill that allows for the production, sale, and distribution of any product derived from hemp so long as the end product contains less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC.
This means that as long as Delta-8 products are hemp-derived and contain less than the legal limit of Delta-9, they are legal for sale to adults over 18. While this is a federal bill, several states have chosen to ban Delta-8 products. Currently, this includes Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, Utah, and Washington. Much of the appeal of Delta-8 has to do with the accessibility to folks in states without legal weed.
Ways to Consume Delta-8 THC
Thanks to the isomerization process that allows for mass production of Delta-8 THC, you can find it in plenty of products in retail stores and online.
For those that prefer to smoke their cannabis, pre-rolls are a convenient option. Save time on grinding and rolling up your hemp and opt for the ready-to-smoke option. Hemp flower tastes great, burns well, and offers the benefits of all of the terpenes and cannabinoids found in the live flower. This is truly a full-spectrum experience.
Vape cartridges are fan favorites for their discretion and ease of use. They rarely smell, and the minor odor doesn’t linger on your hands or clothes. For even more simplicity, disposables are a one-and-done vape option that you toss after you’ve vaped all of the oil. These do not attach to a battery because they have one built-in, and it’s designed to last long enough for you to smoke the pen, and then dispose of the container.
Consumers love gummies. Plain and simple, the cannabis gummy market has shocked us all as sales skyrocket for this form factor. They’re fruity and delicious, travel well, offer discreet dosing, and produce reliable results. Once you dial in your perfect dosage, there’s no more guesswork. You can just pop a gummy or two and know exactly what results to expect every time.
Delta-8 THC FAQs
Still have questions about Delta-8 THC? We’ve got answers.
Where to Buy Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 is sold online through various retailers. You may also find it at head shops, smoke shops, liquor stores, dispensaries, and even convenience stores.
How Long Does Delta-8 THC Stay in Your System?
This depends on multiple factors like frequency of use, method of consumption, body fat percentage, and overall health. Because Delta-8 is a THC variant, you can learn more about it here.
Is Delta-8 THC Safe?
Delta-8 is just as safe as other cannabinoids but should still be used with caution. Everyone has a different reaction to cannabis products and should start with a small amount and increase dosage only once they are familiar with its effects. In addition, make sure that you are able to access the independent lab test results for the products you intend to buy. This ensures that the product is free of impurities and contaminants.
How is Delta-8 THC Made?
First, CBD is extracted from hemp. Then, the CBD is dissolved into a solvent and mixed with an acid. This solution undergoes a chemical reaction to create Delta-8. Further purification and testing is required before the Delta-8 is considered usable.
How Much THC is in Delta-8 THC?
To remain legally compliant with federal laws, all Delta-8 products sold to the public must contain less than 0.3% THC per total volume of the product.
(Editor's note: If you are considering adding Delta-8 to your daily regimen, it's best to consult with a medical professional to discuss potential health impacts.)
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