What is Delta-8 THC?

By now, you’ve likely heard the buzz about Delta-8 THC. While Delta-8 would be a cool name for a strain, it’s actually a chemical compound found in both hemp and cannabis plants. Delta-8 THC is a newly identified cannabinoid, just like CBD. Its more potent cousin, Delta-9 THC (commonly referred to as THC), is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that provides the body and brain with the “high” associated with smoking, vaping, dabbing, or consuming cannabis edibles.

Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol is an isomer of Delta-9 THC, meaning they have an identical chemical formula but different structures and effects.

How Delta-8 THC Is Made

Delta-8 is a natural substance found in cannabis and hemp plants. Currently, Delta-8 extraction methods are not really cost-effective to extract from THC-rich strains of cannabis, so few growers are doing it. As a result, more Delta-8-THC producers are working with CBD oil, which is technically legal in all 50 states after the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (The Farm Bill) legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp and derived products. The CBD extraction method allows for wider market distribution of both CBD and Delta-8 products, although 11 states have specifically banned the sale of it.

Delta-8 THC Effects

Many people refer to Delta-8 THC as “Weed Lite” as it provides intense feelings of relaxation and contentment minus the “head high” of traditional weed. While more research is needed to fully understand how it affects the body, some studies report it may help stimulate the appetite, reduce nausea, and ease anxiety and pain, much like THC. Like CBD, Delta-8 can also help people suffering from insomnia fall asleep more easily.

Types of Products

Delta-8 is rapidly gaining popularity among cannabis enthusiasts and novice users due to its unique benefits and effects. Delta-8 THC distillate and isolate concentrated forms are commonly made into consumer products like capsules, edibles, and vape products. Delta-8 is most commonly extracted from hemp, so it’s much less expensive than traditional cannabis.

Can I Buy a Delta-8 Strain?

Not in the purest sense. But just like high CBD strains, cannabis growers can cross-breed strains to produce cannabis flower that contains higher amounts of Delta-8 THC. However, as mentioned previously, most Delta-8 is currently extracted from hemp, putting it into a legal gray area. Like CBD, Delta-8 is federally authorized as long as the THC content is lower than 0.3% and naturally derived from the hemp plant. Delta-8 derived from the marijuana plant would be categorized as a managed substance. While 11 states have banned its sales, much like cannabis, it hasn’t stopped people from buying and using the products.

Learn more about the legality of Delta-8 THC in this recent article by Rolling Stone magazine.

Delta 8 Side Effects

Common side effects reported by users of Delta-8 THC are brain fog, dry mouth and eyes, drowsiness, and fatigue - much like THC. However, most consumers say they feel an intense sense of contentment, relaxation, clear-headedness, and calm after smoking, vaping, or consuming its products as opposed to traditional Delta-9 THC varieties.

Unfortunately, Delta-8 will most likely show up on a drug screening. Typical urine cannabis tests look for THC metabolites and will not distinguish between Delta-8 THC and THC. If you’re required to take regular drug screens for work or otherwise, be aware that using Delta-8 THC products might make you feel great, but your drug screen results might not. As always, with any cannabis or CBD product, consult with your doctor or budtender before use.