Different natural cannabinoids in cannabis plants have shown significance in different ways for human use. There are many naturally created cannabinoids in cannabis plants, and delta 8 is one of them. Most of the time, you can get it specifically from hemp rather than marijuana, and generally, it occurs in minimal amounts. Although currently there are over 113 known cannabinoids, many new ones are being discovered frequently, each of them producing their different effects.
Recently, delta-8 THC, a new marijuana-cousin, escalated its position onto the national stage. In the weed marketplace or internet, it’s being marketed as “weed light” or “the superior version of THC.” It’s usually sold to the users as a vape product or an edible. It is highly reported that the users feel a lot like a mild version of old-fashioned marijuana.
Structurally delta-8 THC is very similar to delta-9 THC, the primary active chemical ingredient, the most famous natural cannabinoid of marijuana. They differ mainly in producing process. Although delta-9 comes from the raw marijuana plant, delta-8 comes from hemp, a variety of cannabis plants bred without psychoactive THC and used for manufacturing fiber, biofuel, and bioplastics.
Now you may ask- What is delta 8? What is delta 8 CBD? What is delta 8 THC? Does delta-8 THC get you high? Is delta-8 THC legal? Or, is delta-8 THC safe? This article will help you know what you want. You can also know delta-8’s effects, potential benefits, and risks.
What Exactly is Delta-8?
Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as delta-8-THC, Δ8-THC, is a psychoactive cannabinoid identified in the Cannabis plant. It is an isomer of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or Δ9-THC, the compound commonly known as just THC. ∆8-THC has antiemetic, orexigenic, anxiolytic, analgesic, and neuroprotective qualities or effects.
Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring chemical compound available in small traces in cannabis hemp and marijuana plants. Its popularity is going up every day. Its chemical structure is similar to its well-known cousin, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-9 THC, the primary psychoactive compound identified in marijuana. Delta-9 is the cannabinoid responsible for making you “high.”
You should know that hemp and marijuana are closely related plants in the same family of cannabis. Both contain more than 100 cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemicals, having diverse effects on the body and brain. Among them, the two most famous cannabinoids are Delta-9 THC and CBD. Delta-9 THC has a psychoactive effect that makes you high, while CBD does not make you high but often relieves anxiety and pain. Under legal guidelines, if cannabis plants have more than 0.3% concentration of THC, they are known as marijuana. On the other hand, plants with less than 0.3% THC are hemp.
Delta-8 and Delta-9 are two similar forms of THC. But when people refer to THC, they mean the Delta-9 prevailing in high concentrations in marijuana. Delta-8 is similar to delta-9 THC with a slightly different chemical structure that makes it a lot less potent. Delta-8 THC is a minor cannabinoid of cannabis plants. It is very similar chemically to CBD and Delta-9 THC but occurs naturally in tiny amounts in the hemp plant. So, the proper growth of delta-8 occurs in a lab.
Michele Ross, Ph.D., a neuroscientist tells that the products made with Delta-8 THC have to be chemically manufactured. He says that they take the hemp that has CBD and put a chemical like acetic acid, or something much more potent and possibly even toxic, on it to turn the CBD into Delta-8 THC.
What are Delta-8’s Effects?
Although Delta-9 is the primary psychoactive natural chemical element in cannabis, Delta-8 can offer similar effects. In structure, the two compounds are almost identical except for the location of a double bond. The double bond exists on the 8th carbon in Delta-8’s structure and the 9th carbon in Delta-9. This variation in double bond location has made Delta-8 less potent.
For lack of research, there is little chance to know about the effects of the substance. Consumers report several similar effects as THC, including mild euphoria, happiness, uplifting feelings, and pain relief.
Vince Sanders, founder, and president of the retail chain CBD American Shaman that sells Delta-8 products says that you can have a lot of the therapeutic effects that we experience with CBD, like relieving stress and anxiety. Still, you may also have a more intense, more calming effect and a powerful pain-management aspect by taking Delta-8.
Like Delta-9 THC, Delta-8 produces a euphoric, fuzzy feeling, but Delta-8 causes a milder high. Delta-8 is often referred to and sold in the marketplace as “marijuana-lite” or “diet weed.” Delta-8 will have the same effects as CBD in controlling seizures, reducing anxiety, and relieving pain. It will get you high, though the strength of the high may vary depending on the product and the person taking it.
Delta-8’s effects may vary from one user to another and are not always immediate to happen. However, here are some effects that you can expect after consuming a Delta 8 infused product:
- Clear-headed high
- Better focus and concentration
- Improved appetite
- Feelings of relaxation, comfort, and calmness
Most users will explain that taking Delta 8 is a pleasant and high experience, which may fetch a deep feeling of relief and peacefulness. Some may even describe it as a floating feeling as if all of their weight had been taken off.
You should remember the essential point of the quality of the product because poorly made Delta 8 products will produce less of the desired effects.
Some companies put extra effort into sourcing the best quality ingredients for best quality products and ensuring that their product is produced and tested for purity and maximum potency.
What are the potential benefits of delta-8?
Ross again expresses that many people are interested in Delta-8 THC just hearing the sound like it has various health benefits. It’s relatively cheap, and it’s stronger than CBD. You don’t need to run to a dispensary to get it, and it gives you a little bit of a high, though it’s weaker and shorter-acting than marijuana. Vince Sanders says that the benefit of Delta-8 is that it doesn’t come with the same troubles of heart palpitations and paranoia that many people experience from marijuana.
Similar to delta-9 THC, delta-8 yields feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and potential pain relief, but they’re in a milder version. For people who don’t want to experience a “high,” the lower potency of delta-8 can be better beneficial.
Unfortunately, researchers still don’t know about delta-8 THC as much as delta-9 THC to confirm its benefits. The National Cancer Institute expresses that delta-8 THC can bind to the CB1 receptor throughout the body. These receptors are a vital part of the endocannabinoid system that helps our body regulate and maintain homeostasis. Although Delta-8 bears a lower psychotropic potency than delta-9 THC, it exhibits a variety of properties that present powerful benefits like the below:
Neuroprotective properties for a healthier brain
According to some research, delta-8 THC can help people produce Acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. This neurotransmitter helps memory, cognition, neuroplasticity, arousal, and it seems to have close to or zero side effects.
To stimulate appetite
In 2004, some researchers analyzed delta-8’s effect on appetite control. They made the trial and noted that even low doses of delta-8 stimulated an increase in food intake.
Little or no nausea for its antiemetic effects
The 1995 study suggests that delta-8 appears to have no side effects while eliminating nausea. The cancer patient children undergoing chemotherapy experienced a 100% success rate in reducing their nausea over 480 treatments in total.
Analgesic properties and less pain overall
Researchers have observed that delta-8 can help relieve some pain to some degree for having analgesic properties. Specifically, those with neuropathic and inflammatory pain can experience the most benefits.
Fewer anxiety symptoms with its anxiolytic effects
You have already known that delta 8 binds to the CB1 receptors throughout the body. But in fact, some researchers have found that it can connect to the CB2 receptors too. This ability to bind can help the cannabinoid convince the body to regulate pain and anxiety better. Again, the anxiolytic properties of delta-8 help to relieve symptoms of anxiety.
What are The potential Risks of Delta-8?
As Delta-8 THC is a new addition to the cannabis market, its risks can be unclear as further scientific research is required to unveil its qualities. However, delta 8 THC appears to carry little risk when used responsibly. Still, there are few short-term and long-term risks associated with delta 8 THC, similar to what delta 9 THC carries.
The main short term risks with delta 8 THC are:
- Dry mouth
- Visual distortion
- Body high
The main long-term risks with delta 9 THC and assumed with delta 8 THC include:
- Dependency & addiction
- Reduced memory function
- Reduced attention span
- Reduced cognitive function
- Acute psychosis
The CDC indicates that delta-8 THC intoxication can cause adverse effects similar to those associated with delta-9 THC intoxication, including:
- Slurred speech
- Low blood pressure
- Increased heart rate progressing to slowed heart rate
- Uncoordinated movements and decreased psychomotor activity
Will Delta-8 Get You ‘high’?
The short answer is yes, delta-8 gets you high. You may feel some psychoactive effects from Delta 8 THC as it is a psychoactive compound after all. However, it’s not exactly what you would experience with Delta 9 THC.
Does delta-8 THC get you high? The answer to this may vary for you and someone else. For starters, it is a far more mellow and mild buzzing with the euphoric feeling of being high- mainly being happy and giddy while the effect is present.
Again, most tend to report feeling relaxed and clear-headed after taking Delta 8. Some may also feel relief from pain and sleeplessness. However, some bodies are just different from others. So, some may find delta-8 THC too mild for their liking or still too hardcore for what they can tolerate. It relates to the body composition and tolerance to the THC components.
Is Delta-8 Legal?
Delta-8 was legalized in 2018 through a loophole in the new federal farm bill that legalized hemp. The farm bill 2018 also removed “tetrahydrocannabinol in hemp” from the federal definition of THC.
So is delta-8 THC legal? As delta-8 is derived from hemp that is less than 0.3% THC, it is technically legal. The federal farm bill (the Agriculture and Nutrition Improvement Act of 2018) removed hemp and its byproducts from the list of controlled substances.
The reason is the hemp’s low THC levels (less than 0.3%). The bill didn’t mention Delta-8 anywhere, and the hemp advocates and others selling it have used this loophole to legally market delta-8 products with no age restrictions. Therefore, it’s now the fastest-growing product from the hemp industry.
Companies started selling delta-8 THC with no legal restrictions in 2019, though the situation is changing now and then. Though delta-8 products are legal on a federal level, over a dozen states have moved forward with banning them.
Below are the states where selling or using Delta 8 is restricted as of June 2021:
- New York
- Rhode Island
According to the USCC report, 12 states have passed laws explicitly banning Delta-8 THC. Some other states, including those which legalized marijuana, such as New York, Oregon, Illinois, and California, are making regulations that any form of THC, whether Delta-8 or Delta-9, can only be sold if tested, verified, and sold in a “regulated marketplace.”
Is Delta-8 Safe?
If you look at the safety profile of delta-8 THC, you can find that most of the evidence comes from personal experiences, and no long-term studies exist on the derivative or its effect. This insufficiency of studies makes it even harder to reach a concrete conclusion about the safety of delta-8 THC.
Delta-8 THC is a newly popular means of getting high as it is legal in many places where regular cannabis isn’t. But just a legal loophole of it cannot reasonably ascertain if delta-8 THC is safe. Recently, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned consumers and health providers about potential downsides.
Although the possible adverse side effects are not well researched, the users of Delta-8 products say that some side effects may turn them unsafe or risky for use, which includes,
- Slow heart rate
- Fast heart rate
- Low blood pressure
The Bottom Line
If you live in a state where marijuana is legal, you should buy delta-8 through a licensed store. You may see Delta-8 everywhere and take it just like CBD, but there are many things still unknown.
If you want to try it, edibles may be a safer option than smoking or vaping. Needless to say that buying Delta-8 from a trusted CBD company rather than grabbing it off the shelf in a convenience store along with a soda and a bag of chips is probably a safer call. Pregnant and nursing women should be extra careful about using Delta-8.