What is Delta-8? A Look at the Cannabis Compound Everyone is Talking About
There’s no doubt that Delta-8 is the hottest new topic in the cannabis world. Haven’t kept up with the latest trends? Don’t worry. You’re not the only one asking, “what is delta-8?”
April 23, 2021
You may have seen the article dubbing delta-8 as “CBD on crack.” Terms like “marijuana-lite” or “diet weed” were thrown around in the article, but they’re not entirely accurate depictions of the compound.
Delta-8 and THC
Delta-8 is a cannabis compound that is very similar in structure to the THC we have come to know. THC is the main compound in cannabis that gets users high.
But it’s not just called THC. Maybe you’ve heard it referred to by its full name, tetrahydrocannabinol. Well, surprise! That’s not even its full name. The scientific name for THC is actually delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.
As you may be able to guess, the scientific name for delta-8 is actually delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol. These are two very similar compounds that differ just slightly. While they are both forms of THC, most people are referring to the significantly more common delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol when they refer to THC.
What are the effects of delta-8?
Unsurprisingly, the effects of delta-8 are similar to those of THC. They are significantly less potent, though.
Users can get high from delta-8 products, but the effects will be more subdued. Many users report feeling clear-headed, euphoric, hungry, and gently buzzed. Since the effects are much less powerful, most users report fewer or no negative side effects (paranoia, anxiety, etc) as they may report from typical THC use.
The slight difference in chemical structure affects the way delta-8 binds to cannabinoid receptors, which may be responsible for its mild effects.
With these descriptors, it makes sense that delta-8 falls somewhere between CBD and THC in most minds. It may be good for focus, anxiety, appetite, and more, while not causing any scary or negative effects. Many people describe their experience microdosing THC or using regular amounts of CBD in similar ways.
Keep in mind that CBD is non-intoxicating on its own, which is not the case for delta-8, which can get users mildly high. Therefore, calling delta-8 similar to THC is more accurate than comparing it to CBD.
Legal highs: Why there is so much hype around delta-8
CBD has become increasingly popular over the years. It became even more popular when the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp for agricultural purposes. This made CBD production legal across the United States, so long as the CBD is derived from hemp and has less than 0.3% THC, among other regulations.
Like CBD, delta-8 can be derived from both standard cannabis plants and also from hemp. You’ll notice that all reputable over-the-counter CBD products are derived from hemp, in accordance with the US Farm Bill.
The US Farm Bill is a big part of the delta-8 conversation. Under the bill, products derived from compliant hemp are legal. This has opened a loophole opportunity, specifically for states without legal recreational cannabis. Since delta-8 can be extracted from compliant hemp, many producers are extracting and selling it over-the-counter, similarly to CBD.
Naturally, the gray-area status of delta-8 has led to some controversies. In March, law enforcement seized $5,000 worth of delta-8 products from a South Carolina vape shop. Law enforcement argued it was against the law, whereas the shop owner argued it was in compliance and not illegal.
Expect more of these battles as the industry, and lawmakers, figure out exactly where delta-8 products fit.
Likewise, expect to see a continued rise in popularity for these products. Many consumers living in states without legal recreational cannabis are taking advantage of delta-8 products as they offer access to cannabis in a very controlled manner. How long this access will last in these states is up for debate.
How is delta-8 extracted?
Trace amounts of delta-8 can be found in both marijuana and hemp. Given the legalization of hemp and its easy access, delta-8 products are typically derived from hemp.
The most common way to produce delta-8 is not necessarily by isolating it from the plant in the same way you would isolate other cannabinoids. Instead, producers typically extract CBD from hemp, isolate it, and then synthesize it into delta-8.
Hemp and marijuana typically do not contain large enough amounts of delta-8 for extraction. If you’ve got your hands on delta-8 products, they were likely synthesized from CBD.
With this amount of processing, delta-8 products tend to be more expensive than other cannabinoids.
Does delta-8 show up on a drug test?
Delta-8 will show up on a drug test because it is a THC metabolite. If you’re looking for alternatives to smoking weed in case of an upcoming drug test, this is bad news.
Most drug tests are not able to distinguish between specific cannabinoids. They just look for THC metabolites, which you will have in your body if you use delta-8 products. You won’t be able to argue that you’re using a legal product, as there is no way for the test to make that distinction.
Potential medical benefits of delta-8
You may be wondering why users would turn to delta-8 products if they live in legal states. Many people prefer delta-8 because of its subdued effects in comparison to THC. Additionally, some people use delta-8 products in hopes of reaping health benefits.
Given the lack of research and information we have about delta-8, we still recommend new users treat the compound the same way they would THC. Start slow if you’re new and avoid going overboard.
There’s evidence that delta-8 may help with anxiety, pain, nausea, and loss of appetite. These effects are very similar to the potential medical benefits of THC in general. But many users turn to these products because there is a much less chance of getting anxious, paranoid, or too sleepy with delta-8 products.
While delta-8 is operating in a gray area according to many, we don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon. It’s just one of many cannabinoids in the plant that is finally getting its time to shine.
We have a feeling more and more cannabinoid extractions and products will appear over the years, opening the door for a wide range of uses and options for cannabis consumers.
It’s an exciting time for the cannabis industry!
Don’t forget to stop by your favorite Seattle pot shop, Bellingham dispensary, or Spokane weed store, Piece of Mind Cannabis today! We’ve got all the best cannabis products at great prices. Come say high!