Delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid in the hemp plant. While it’s similar to Delta-9 THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, Delta-8 THC is less potent. And unlike its cousin, Delta-8 THC won’t get you high. Instead, it produces a mild sense of relaxation that’s similar to the high from CBD.
But is Delta-8 THC safe? Is it legal? Does it get you high? And should you take it? Here’s what you need to know about this novel cannabinoid.
The short answer: Yes. The long answer: Yes, but it is important to understand what you are buying.
The extract used to make Delta-8 THC vape cartridges is derived from hemp plants, which contain less than .3% of Delta-9 THC. However, in order to create a product with the desired psychoactive effects, it is important that the extraction and purification process be done correctly. If not done correctly, the end product may have high levels of pesticides and other solvents used during the extraction process.
This is why we rely on third party lab reports for every cartridge we sell in our store. We work with reputable suppliers who get their products tested by ISO certified labs and provide us with a certificate of analysis (COA) with each batch of product they send us. Each COA has information about THC content, CBD content, terpenes present, pesticides present, and any other contaminants that were tested for. We know you are trusting us to supply you with quality products and we want to be sure that we are only selling products that meet our standards.
Delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid that exists naturally in small quantities within the cannabis plant. It’s also produced synthetically and legally in many states.
The “8” refers to the double bond on the 8th carbon chain, which makes it structurally different from delta-9 THC, or just THC, which is the main psychoactive component of cannabis.
THC binds to cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain — but this binding action happens more slowly with delta-8 because it has lower affinity for these receptors. This may result in less intense effects and a more mellow high.
Some people who use delta-8 report feeling:
Delta-8-THC, which has recently grown in popularity due to its promising medical properties and legality, has been making headlines for many reasons.
Delta-8-THC is a cannabinoid that occurs in small quantities in the hemp plant. It is very similar to Delta-9-THC, but with several important differences. Delta-8-THC has an affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system and binds more strongly than CBD. The compound is thought to be about half as potent as Delta-9-THC on a mg per mg basis.
“We should be cautious”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a warning for consumers who are interested in products containing delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): “We should be cautious.”
“I think we should be cautious about what we call THC or CBD,” says Ryan Vandrey, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University. “The FDA has a lot of questions about this emerging market. There’s a lot of uncertainty about the quality and purity of these products and how they’re manufactured.” The FDA has not approved any products containing delta-8 THC for use in humans.
In recent years, there’s been an explosion in interest in the compound, with many companies claiming their products can help people cope with chronic pain, anxiety and depression. But there are huge gaps in the scientific literature on delta-8 THC. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has reported that more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and harms of using it as medicine.
What do we know about the safety and effects of Delta-8 THC, the new legal cannabis product?
A. We should be cautious. The Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings about products being marketed with unproven medical claims and about possible serious risks to children who take them.
Delta-8 THC is a derivative of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. In 2018, the F.D.A. approved Epidiolex, a drug containing cannabidiol (CBD) derived from cannabis plants, to treat two rare forms of epilepsy in children; Delta-8 THC is not an F.D.A.-approved drug.
Products containing certain hemp-derived cannabinoids — including CBD — were legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill, but experts say it is not clear whether that would also apply to Delta-8 THC because it’s not explicitly named in that legislation as a legal cannabinoid.
In a statement last month, the F.D.A. warned consumers against using products containing cannabinoids like CBD or Delta-8 THC for any medical use without consulting it first and said it planned to issue more guidance soon on the marketing and sale of those products, including whether they are legal.
Delta-8 is a much more new substance. It’s made from hemp and marijuana plants, but it’s refined through a chemical process.
Unlike delta-9, it can be sold legally as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent of THC– the psychoactive compound in marijuana that makes people high.
Delta-8 has similar effects to marijuana, but manufacturers say it’s not as strong and doesn’t have the same anxiety-inducing effects.
“It’s a little bit less intense than delta-9, but we don’t know for sure,” said Dr. Richard Clark, director of addiction services at Kaiser Permanente San Diego. “We should be cautious.”
There has been a significant increase in the use of Delta-8 THC products in 2020. Products containing delta-8 THC are currently being sold as supplements or food additives, but they may be mislabeled as CBD products since they are made with the same hemp plant that CBD comes from.
The FDA is currently looking into these products and will likely release new regulations regarding their use soon. Until then, we should be cautious when using Delta-8 THC products.
The compound gets its name from its chemical structure: While most THC has 12 hydrogen atoms, delta-8 THC has only eight. It also has a double bond in the 8th carbon position instead of the 9th (like “normal” THC). This makes the molecule slightly more stable than regular THC, which degrades quickly when exposed to light and heat.
The effects of delta-8 THC are similar to those of delta-9 THC — the primary form of THC found in marijuana. However, delta-8 THC is much less potent than delta-9 THC. For example, one study found that delta-8 THC was about half as strong as delta-9 at activating cannabinoid receptors in mice.
Because it’s less potent than regular THC, you might think delta-8 would be safer, but that’s not necessarily true. The effects of most cannabinoids are dose dependent — meaning they become stronger as you increase your dose.