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Everything You Need To Know About Delta-8-THC – What It Is And Whether It Is Legal

What Is Delta-8-THC?

As you may have noticed, the health and wellness industry has a new buzzword from the hemp plant – delta-8-THC. As its popularity surges, more products in the market are now being infused with this newer cannabinoid. But what is delta-8-THC? How does it work, and is it legal?

The mention of THC often elicits mixed emotions in people, and depending on your previous experiences with this famous cannabinoid, you can either approach this new health and wellness trend with skepticism or excitement as a “wonder compound.”

Many don’t realize that THC is not a single compound but a family of cannabinoid analogs with different effects when consumed. In this article, we take a more in-depth look at one such analog – Delta-8-THC.

What Is Delta-8-THC? And Why Is It Gaining Popularity?

When most people mention THC, they refer to delta-9-THC, the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana.

Consumers who choose delta-8 THC products say they provide all the benefits of delta-9 THC with fewer adverse reactions, according to a pair of academic studies that give some of the broadest insights yet into the popularity of the THC isomer commonly derived from CBD.

However, it is not the only compound in the THC family in cannabis. There are four main compounds in the plant: THCA, which is the precursor to the other types of THC, THCV, delta-9-THC, and delta-8-THC.

Delta-8 is a minor cannabinoid that occurs in minuscule amounts naturally in the cannabis and hemp plants. It is a stable cannabinoid that forms when delta-9-THC ages and is oxidized.

Because delta-8 is an analog of delta 9, the low concentration of delta-9 may explain why it occurs in such low volumes naturally. In hemp, delta-9-THC is legally limited to 0.3%, which means that delta-8 concentration is lower.

Delta-8 THC is very similar to its precursor, delta-9. They share the same molecular formula, differing only in their structures. Both have a double bond, hence the delta prefix. However, the delta-8’s double bond occurs on the 8th carbon, while delta-9’s appears on the 9th carbon atom.

Like its well-known sibling, delta-8-THC has psychoactive properties. However, users report that its effects are only half as potent as those caused by delta-9. It does not induce confusion, anxiety, paranoia, or other unpleasant effects typically associated with marijuana.

Like its well-known sibling, delta-8-THC has psychoactive properties. However, users report that its effects are only half as potent as those caused by delta-9. It does not induce confusion, anxiety, paranoia, or other unpleasant effects typically associated with marijuana.

How Delta-8-THC Is Extracted

In hemp, delta-8 occurs in meager amounts naturally, typically at levels below 0.1%. This makes extracting it from the plant matter a challenging and costly process.

However, hemp processors have found a way to obtain it from hemp plant derivatives through isomerization. Cannabinoids are chemically and structurally closely related, allowing for relatively easy conversion from one cannabinoid to another.

Cannabinoids even change into each other naturally in the presence of heat, light, or aging. All cannabinoids come from CBGA, which is then synthesized into THCA, CBCA, and CBDA, the acidic precursors to THC, CBC, and CBD.

Delta-8 is created by subjecting CBD extract to the isomerization process, which involves converting one compound into a different isomeric form, such as CBD to Delta 8 or delta 9 to delta 8.

Some companies are also using another process called “thin-film distillation,” where they obtain delta-8-THC from hemp flower through pressure and temperature manipulation.

While some people may label these processes as synthetic, industry experts argue that “derivatives” or “conversions” are more accurate terms since these cannabinoids occur naturally and can transform into one another even without human intervention.

How Delta-8 Affects You

Delta-8-THC causes its effects by interacting with the cannabinoid receptors of the ECS. The ECS, or the endocannabinoid system in full, is a network of cell receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes.

The ECS is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body by regulating pain, appetite, mood, hormones, inflammation, memory, and other crucial bodily functions.

Delta-8-THC binds to the CB1 receptors similar to delta-9, which may account for its psychoactive properties. Delta 8 also exhibits an affinity for CB2 receptors, although there is limited knowledge about this mechanism at present.

Several studies have linked its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties to its effects on the CB1 receptors.

So, Will Delta 8 Get You High?

Yes, delta-8-THC is a psychoactive compound, and consuming it will produce a high. However, it differs from regular THC in its effects.

Users suggest that its high is more clear-headed, without any confusion, anxiety, or paranoia. As we know, these are just some of the unpleasant side effects of delta-9 overconsumption.

According to the HempIndustryDaily, a study based on a survey of more than 500 people showed that people who are utilizing delta-8-THC feel fewer negative side effects, and they are using it in modalities that are safer, like vaping or edibles or using topically,

However, some users caution that due to its milder effects, it is possible to overconsume delta-8-THC.

Is Delta-8-THC Legal?

Determining the legal status of delta-8-THC is not straightforward.

In 2018, The Agriculture Improvement Act, commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill, was enacted into law, making hemp and its products legal in the USA.

Section 297A of the 2018 Farm Bill defines the term hemp as the plant cannabis Sativa L, any parts including seeds, derivatives, acids, cannabinoids, isomers, salts, extracts, salts of isomers –  whether growing or not with less than 0.3% delta-9 concentration on a dry weight basis.

Delta-8, as an isomer CBD obtained from legal industrial hemp, falls into this category and is therefore legal federally in the United States.

However, the DEA recently published an addendum to the 2018 Farm Bill stating that it’s illegal to produce tetrahydrocannabinol in any form synthetically. According to the rule, synthetically derived THCs have still scheduled 1 controlled substance.

Currently, the federal legal status of delta-8-THC is not entirely clear. Its legality can vary among states, so it is important to check your state’s laws before making a purchase.

Risks of Taking Delta-8-THC

Psychoactive effects – This depends on why you are consuming the cannabinoid.

Using delta-8 may be intoxicating to some people. Meaning it may affect your ability to carry out daily tasks, reducing your productivity. So, if your aim is not to get stoned, you should steer clear of this cannabinoid.

Legal SituationAs explained earlier, delta-8 occupies a somewhat ambiguous legal space. It naturally occurs in very low concentrations for direct extraction, so it has to be produced in a laboratory by converting other cannabinoids.

Failing Drug Tests – Delta 8 is believed to produce the same metabolites as delta-9-THC. Most drug tests used for detecting marijuana use identify the presence and concentration of these metabolites in your system.

Delta-8 has the potential to trigger positive drug tests. If you are employed in a field that requires sobriety and conducts regular marijuana use tests, it is advisable to opt for broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate products that contain zero THC.

Everything You Need To Know About Delta-8-THC – Final Word

Delta-8-THC, or delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a cannabinoid gaining popularity in the cannabis industry. Delta-8 products have become widely available in the market. Like delta-9-THC, it has psychoactive effects but is milder and less anxiety-inducing.

Delta-8-THC is derived from hemp and is available in various forms for consumption, including edibles, vape cartridges, and tinctures. It interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, offering potential benefits such as pain relief, relaxation, and improved mood. However, more research is needed to understand their effects and benefits fully.

Its legal status varies, as some states classify it as a controlled substance. It’s essential to research local regulations before purchasing or using delta-8-THC products. As with any cannabis-related substance, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional before use.

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