Delta-8 THC: What is It and What Do You Need to Know About D8?
February 16, 2021By JASON BRIETSTEIN
What is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is a close analogue to regular delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of traditional cannabis plants. The numbers in the names of the two compounds refer to the position of a double bond on a chain of carbon atoms. Regular THC has a double bond on the ninth carbon atom, while delta 8 THC features a double bond on the chain’s eighth carbon atom.
The slight shift in the position of the double bond makes an enormous difference in the effects of the two forms of THC. Delta-9 THC’s molecular structure allows the compound to make a strong bond with CB1 endocannabinoid receptors in the brain, producing the intense psychoactive effects of traditional marijuana. The movement of the double bond in delta-8 THC transforms the molecule so that it can’t bind to CB1 receptors as easily. The result is a milder psychoactive effect.
Cannabis knowledge seems to be expanding as rapidly as the laws regulating the plant are changing. CBD, a compound formerly only known by researchers, medical marijuana doctors, and cannabis breeders, has become a household word since Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill.
On one end of the spectrum, people who’ve never consumed cannabis are beginning to question negative opinions about the plant and realize the damage prohibition has done. On the other side, seasoned herb connoisseurs are discovering that their buds have much more to offer than just THC.
Most recently, both newbies and long-time cannabis enthusiasts have been wondering about a new cannabis compound that’s been flooding the shelves of CBD outlets and dispensaries— delta-8 THC.
What Do the Effects of Delta 8 THC Feel Like?
Delta-8 edibles and concentrates produce a mellower form of the “high” people feel when they consume cannabis and regular THC concentrates. Similar to the effects of marijuana, delta-8 THC products impart a relaxed, “stoned” feeling that may be accompanied by an urge to snack, listen to music, or embark on a creative project.
However, most people report that consuming delta-8 products leaves them feeling more clear-headed than traditional THC. Since delta-8 THC forms a much weaker link with CB1 receptors, consumers are less likely to experience side effects like anxiety or paranoia. Furthermore, many delta-8 consumers say that they feel more productive because the compound doesn’t seem to produce the heavy sedative effects that can accompany regular cannabis, especially Indica-dominant strains.
Does Delta-8 THC Have Any Side-Effects?
Scientific research still has a long road ahead before we can fully understand cannabis compounds like delta 8 THC, and any potential side-effects haven’t been investigated thoroughly. One study suggests that delta-8 may produce a temporary increase in blood pressure.
Accounts from consumers report few adverse reactions, apart from increased appetite and slight drowsiness once the effects of the delta-8 start to wear off. Delta-8 consumers should exercise the same caution when driving or operating heavy machinery as they would with any intoxicant.
What Are the Benefits of Delta-8 THC?
Besides its use as a recreational alternative to regular THC, delta-8 may also have many therapeutic benefits. According to the National Cancer Institute’s official drug dictionary, delta-8 THC is “an analog of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties.” In other words, according to the NCI, delta-8 may help to reduce vomiting, ease anxiety, stimulate appetite, relieve pain, and protect brain cells.
But before you get too excited, you should keep in mind that scientists have much more to learn about delta-8 THC, and this article is only intended for educational purposes. We suggest that you seek advice from a qualified physician who can give you a proper diagnosis and treatment for any symptoms or conditions you may have. That said, let’s examine the potential therapeutic role delta-8 THC may play in the future.
Delta-8 May Be Useful for Coping with the Side-Effects of Chemotherapy.
One of the original uses of medical marijuana was to reduce severe symptoms like nausea and wasting syndrome in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Since delta-8 stimulates the same endocannabinoid receptors, the compound is also useful for reducing vomiting and stimulating appetite. Delta-8 may be a valuable substitute for patients that don’t tolerate the potent psychoactivity of regular THC. Researchers expect that the compound may play an especially significant role in the treatment of children with cancer.
Delta 8 Could Help with the Symptoms of PTSD.
Clinical studies have shown that cannabis can help with the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), such as nightmares and cyclical thinking. However, regular THC can sometimes produce intense psychoactive effects that can enhance anxious and panicky feelings. Delta-8 THC may benefit people with PTSD in the same way as traditional marijuana without the risk of being overwhelmed by feelings like anxiety or paranoia.
Delta-8 Could Be Useful for Easing Aches and Pains
Although researchers still need to perform clinical investigations with humans, several animal studies have concluded that delta-8 may help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
Delta-8 THC May Help People with Glaucoma.
Delta-8 THC may offer a natural alternative for people with glaucoma. For decades, the medical marijuana community has recommended cannabis to reduce the intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma. However, some patients don’t tolerate the intense effects of traditional delta-9 THC, and non-intoxicating cannabidiol (CBD) doesn’t have the same effect on eye pressure.
Fortunately, research has concluded that delta-8 THC seems to help reduce the intraocular pressure associated with the condition at about the same rate as regular THC but with less intense psychoactive effects.
Delta 8 May Have Neuroprotective Properties
Based on animal studies, researchers have included delta-8 THC on the list of cannabinoids that have exhibited neuroprotective properties and may be of future use in the treatment of epilepsy and neurodegenerative disorders.
Is Delta-8 THC Legal?
The text of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, colloquially known as the Farm Bill, put forth guidelines that removed industrial hemp and hemp-derived products from the list of substances defined in the Controlled Substances Act. The new regulations effectively legalized cannabis plants that contain less than .3 % delta-9 THC.
The Farm Bill gave consumers all around the United States access to products like low-THC hemp flower, CBD oils, and cannabidiol-infused edibles like Tillmans Tranquils gummies and mints. The law also opened the door to hemp-derived extracts of alternative cannabinoids, including CBG and delta-8 THC.
Although hemp-derived cannabinoids are technically legal on the federal level, some confusion exists. Manufacturers can extract cannabinoids like delta-8 from both industrial hemp and cannabis, which creates a legal gray area. Consumers should only buy CBD and delta-8 products from reputable companies that provide lab results for all of their products. It’s also a wise idea to store your products with a copy of their Certificates of Analysis (COAs) to avoid misunderstandings with legal authorities.
Consumers should also keep in mind that state and local governments are free to pass their own regulations regarding cannabis products. Currently, delta 8 has been prohibited in several states, including:
Please keep in mind that this is not a definitive list. Cannabis laws are changing at a rapid rate these days, and this article is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. Consumers should check with their state and local regulations to find out if delta-8 is legal in their area.
Will Delta-8 THC Register on a Drug Test?
Unfortunately, delta-8 has a high likelihood of showing up on a drug test. Drug screenings are designed to detect metabolites of traditional delta-9 THC. Since delta-8 is produced as delta-9 THC degrades, the compound is considered a metabolite of regular THC.
Drug screenings will register a positive for marijuana use with a tiny 30 nanogram per milliliter result. Urine tests can detect cannabis metabolites that were consumed over 30 days prior, while hair and nail tests are even more sensitive with a 90-day window.
We suggest that you refrain from consuming delta 8 THC if you will need to pass a drug test in the near future. You may want to try products that were made with CBD isolate mints if you want to get the benefits of hemp compounds.