Delta-8-THC- The New Cannabinoid On The Block?
Delta-8-THC is the cannabinoid industry’s newest hype. With new products popping up at every corner, it is crucial that you – the consumer, understand what this lesser-known cannabinoid is, what it can do for you, and the risks associated with taking it.
For a very long time, the only tetrahydrocannabinol in the public eye was delta-9-THC – the infamous primary cannabinoid in the cannabis plant that makes people high. But delta-9-THC has its shortcomings.
First, it was illegal – it still is unless you live in one of the states where recreational marijuana is legalized. And second, even when it is being used for medical purposes, it has potent psychoactive effects that many would rather not deal with.
Until 2018, the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, was signed into law legalizing hemp and its derivatives in the United States.
This opened the door to interesting cannabinoids that weren’t or didn’t have the same intense psychoactive effects as delta-9-THC. The first cannabinoid to get popular was Cannabidiol, popularly known as CBD.
However, questions are arising as more people turn to a lesser-known cannabinoid – delta-8-THC. So what is delta-8? Should you use it?
The Basics – What Is Delta-8-THC?
The cannabis plant contains more than 500 compounds, a hundred plus of which are cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the naturally occurring chemical compounds in cannabis responsible for a big part of its effects.
These can be grouped into two – major and minor cannabinoids. The major cannabinoids include delta-9-THC, which most people think of at the mention of “THC” and Cannabidiol, also known as CBD.
Then there are the minor cannabinoids, which delta-8-THC is a part of. These occur at deficient concentrations naturally that it can be hard to extract them using standard extraction methods.
Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-8-THC is an analog of delta-9-THC that is found in the hemp plant. However, it occurs in low concentrations, usually less than 1% naturally.
Like its more famous sibling – delta-9-THC, delta-8-THC also has psychoactive effects, meaning it will get you high, albeit to a lesser extent than delta-9-THC.
The major selling point of this cannabinoid is that it promises all or most of the benefits found in delta-9-THC without the overbearing psychoactive effects.
Its high, according to its users, is more clear-headed, energizing, helping maintain focus. And in case of overconsumption, anxiety and paranoia may occur.
The milder psychoactive effects make delta-8-THC an excellent candidate for cannabis-based medical use. However, more research into the effects and benefits of this cannabinoid is still required before being approved as a treatment.
The lack of quality studies hasn’t stopped some consumers from turning to the newer cannabinoid.
Why Delta-8-THC Is Becoming a Big Deal
Delta-8, like CBD, is now everywhere. More companies are producing the cannabinoid, and products are popping up left, right, and center. But why is delta-8 getting this popular?
Should You Use Delta-8-THC?
Are you impressed by the potential benefits of delta 8? If yes, should you make the switch to the newer cannabinoid?
Well, your needs, as well as personal preferences, should determine which hemp product you should use. However, the use of this newer cannabinoid comes with several risks that you should be aware of before deciding.
As with most new trends in the health and wellness industry, there are questions and important factors that you should consider before you start using delta 8, especially when they involve legal status and safety.
Factors to Consider Before Using Delta 8
It is Psychoactive
Although many supporters of this newer cannabinoid insist that it is only half potent as delta-9-THC, it is still psychoactive and may be intoxicating to some people.
As you may already know, cannabinoids affect people differently. So while it may only cause a mild high in some people, it doesn’t mean it will have the same effect on you. It may even reduce your productivity or prevent you from carrying out your daily activities.
It is better that you don’t drive or operate machinery after consumption. Is getting high a risk you are willing to take?
Because of its low concentrations naturally in the plant, delta 8 must be created in the lab by converting other cannabinoids. It includes such as CBD or delta-9-THC through a process known as isomerization.
The primary safety concern is whether a qualified chemist performs the lab process. Is the environment sterile enough, and are they going to test all the products? To bring costs down, some producers may cut corners, risking the consumer’s safety.
On usage, there are no reports of overdoses. However, because of its reduced potency, it is easy to overconsume delta-8, which can lead to unwanted experiences such as paranoia and anxiety, just like delta-9-THC.
Note that because of its novelty, there is no long-term safety information for delta-8-THC.
A dearth of research and studies on its benefits and effects
There isn’t enough information and research confirming the benefits of delta-8-THC or its long-term effects.
Most of the available studies are old or performed on mice. There is a need for quality research studies, especially on humans, before we can truly say that delta-8 is beneficial and is safe to use for humans.
Is it legal?
Delta-8 currently resides in a legal gray area. Supporters claim that the 2018 Farm Bill legalized it, seeing as it is one of the hemp derivatives and contains 0.3% or less delta-9-THC. On the other hand, the DEA insists it is synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol because it is created in a lab.
Synthetic cannabinoids are illegal in the United States. However, delta-8 is still on sale until the confusion is cleared.
So What Are Your Best Alternatives?
Unless you aim to get high, you are better of using the perfectly legal Cannabidiol products. Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products will have the same benefits as delta 8 but without the psychoactive effects.
If you are afraid of failing a drug test, broad-spectrum and CBD isolates are the way to go as they contain no THC. Delta-8 has the same metabolites as delta-9 and will trigger a positive drug test result.
Delta-8-THC is the new health and wellness industry buzzword. It promises the same outcome as its more famous sibling – delta-9-THC. This time without the unpleasant effects. But, there is a lack of quality research studies to back the claims.
Note that delta-8-THC is psychoactive and may cause intoxication in some people if you decide to go ahead and try it. Ensure that you don’t drive or operate heavy machinery after consumption.
We suggest that you stick to full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolates for the same benefits because of the risks involved.