By Sean Zucker –
If you thought CBD was a legal loophole to enjoy the benefits of marijuana without getting thrown in the can, delta-8 promises to take consumers even higher. The trendy component has exploded in recent months, with companies developing a wide array of products that offer the potential for CBD’s health benefits combined with the physical effects of THC.
So, what exactly is delta-8? Short for delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol, it’s a compound of the cannabis plant that, similarly to CBD, does not contain traditional THC found in marijuana. But unlike CBD, delta-8 does have psychological and physiological effects (read: it’ll get you high).
Leafly, a cannabis information platform, notes the distinction between delta-8 and classic THC weed lies between the two cannabinoids’ chemical structures and names. “THC’s scientific name is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-9 THC, or just delta-9. Delta-8 is short for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-8 THC. Delta-8 THC can cause effects similar to regular delta-9 THC—but they will be much less potent,” the site reports.
Generally, when people refer to THC, they’re talking about delta-9 whether they know it or not. Delta-8 is about as close as you can get to its physical impact and benefits.
“People in states where THC is illegal crave cannabis products and are now looking to delta-8 because it may be legal in their state, even though it is less potent than regular THC. Many extractors are ramping up delta-8 production to meet this new demand and shipping it all over the US,” says Leafly.
As of March 2021, delta-8 is legal in 39 U.S. states after being banned in Utah, Rhode Island, Montana, Mississippi, Iowa, Idaho, Delaware, Colorado, Arkansas, Arizona, and Alaska.
What does it feel like smoking or ingesting delta-8? Andrea Michelson, a reporter at global news network Insider, recently detailed her experience.
“Unlike CBD, delta-8 THC will get you high—maybe not as high as regular weed, but I can attest that consuming enough of this cannabinoid will leave you giggly and a little slow to form full sentences,” she said.
Michelson spoke with a medical physician who likened the difference between alcoholic beverages leading the reporter to make this comparison, “Just as you would need to drink several beers to reach vodka-level drunk, you’d have to consume more delta-8 to feel as high as you would on delta-9.”
Luckily for those looking for a less-leisurely excuse to indulge, various sources report there appears to be a banquet of positive and substantial health benefits tied to delta-8 that range that range from nausea treatment to pain relief and even possibly addressing mental health conditions.
While Delta-8 doesn’t appear to have many outright distractors, EcoWatch, an environmental news site, did recently raise a few related issues. The site noted delta-8 products aren’t as widely available as other cannabis items, which can make them more costly.
It also reported that delta-8 may face an uncertain legal future. While technically legal because unlike delta-9 it was never specifically identified as illegal, the outlet warns this could change going forward.
While acknowledging a host of beneficial benefits, EcoWatch also issued a cursory advisory to consumers. “As a relatively new product, Delta-8 THC products are not regulated by the FDA and there is not independent testing in place to verify that it is safe or pure.”
Should these issues raise a red flag for consumers? Probably not, at least according to the research site Scholarly Open Access, which outlined the tantalizing health promises delta-8 presents.
“Delta-8 THC is effective nausea and vomiting medication. The role of THC in inhibiting vomiting is not new science. Scientific evidence shows that Delta-9 THC is effective in relieving nausea and stopping vomiting,” it reports. Due to its lower psychoactive potency in comparison to standard THC, the site went on to note it’s an ideal nausea treatment. Delta-8 also act as a more significant appetite stimulant, perfect for those who suffer with conditions that lower it.
Additionally, the site reveals many are turning to delta-8 for its pain-relieving benefits by helping to reduce inflammation and regulate serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate–these hormones and neurotransmitters regulate communication between cells.
The cherry on top of this hemp-flavored sundae–brain health. “It works in various ways, including inhibiting adenyl cyclase and regulating potassium and calcium channels in the central nervous system. These activities lead to improved brain health. The effects Delta-8 THC has on choline, and acetylcholine levels could help treat degenerative mental health conditions. It improves neuron generation and growth, which leads to improved brain health.”