It seems like a new cannabinoid is discovered daily, and yes, Delta-8 is no exception?
But what exactly is Delta-8 THC? Delta-8 vs Delta-9? Can it get me high? Is it safe?
TL;DR: Delta-8 is a cannabis compound similar to THC, although less potent. It’s become popular lately because it’s legal in states where THC is illegal—sometimes.
Let us dive a little deeper together ya nerds.
Delta-8 vs. Delta-9 THC: What’s the difference?
Delta-8 and delta-9 are both forms of THC. In common usage, when people refer to THC they are talking about delta-9 THC.
Chemically, delta-8 and delta-9 are similar in that they both have a double bond in their structures. Yes, this double bound structure is believed to be part of what creates that enjoyable euphoric effect.
Because delta-8 has the double bond on the eighth carbon, whereas delta-9 has it on the ninth, it binds to your endocannabinoid receptors differently.
Effects of Delta-8: Will it get you high?
Which leads us to the age old question everyone in an “illegal” state/country is asking.
Does Delta-8 get you high…mmaaannn?
The answer is a yes, but not to the same level of euphoria.
Think of it similar to a 1:1’s (CBD to THC) effect — less stressful and/or paranoid for some of you. If you like the blends, then you’ll find Delta-8 to be a great fit in their journey into the marihuana frontier.
The effects of delta-8 keep users more alert, focused, and boost energy rather than sap it.
It provides a similar set of uplifting effects, minus any anxiety or paranoia. And instead of feeling groggy, which common occurs with cannabis consumption, users consistently report feeling clear-headed and energetic.
Delta-8 THC binds to receptors in your endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a signaling network that helps your body maintain its internal balance. Delta-8 specifically binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors, which is why it can produce such potent effects.
How is Delta-8 Made Exactly?
You can’t just smoke marijuana and extract pure Delta-8 THC on your own with a lighter — no matter how magical you are. It occurs in small concentration on the plant, making it hard to extract.
It would cost a pretty penny to extract from a plant in it’s pure form. You’d need a lot of plants.
Fortunately, the structure of each cannabinoid is similar and can be converted from one cannabinoid to another. A simple chemical reaction will convert to your desired Delta-variant.
In fact, all cannabinoids start as CBGa and convert over time and temperature.
THC & CBD oil is first extracted from legally grown hemp. The oil is refined into Delta-8 THC or Delta-10.
Delta-8 THC is not easy to manufacture. It must be refined extensively, so you usually don’t see it in abundance.
How Legal is Delta-8 THC
Currently, delta-8 sits in a four tier legality based on your state; legal, regulated (sold in licensed cannabis dispensaries), illegal, and a gray-area-legal.
Delta-8 products are federally legal because they are derived from hemp, which was legalized in the US when Congress passed the 2018 farm bill. This is what makes delta-10 so appealing—consumers who live in states where cannabis is illegal can purchase delta-10 because it is technically derived from hemp and not cannabis.
Is Delta-8 THC Safe and What Brands Should I Trust?
Yes and no. My favorite corporate answer to any question that comes my way.
Yes, Delta-8 is perfectly safe in it’s natural form.
No, if you source your product from companies that don’t adhere to safe practices.
Delta-8 is a naturally occurring cannabinoid, so we can assume it’s very safe. But the process of synthesizing into a distillate through a conversion process is where we run into problems.
This process involves first extracting it from hemp or CBD using acid (and not the fun trippy type of acid) — prone to creating unintended byproducts.
We suggest sourcing your Delta-8 from reputable, licensed cannabis dispensaries or be sure to find online shops that are following best practices.
Our friends at Leafly dove a little deeper on the safeties of Delta-8 THC we recommend you check out.
If you go with the online approach… we beg you to please find their lab results and triple check for safety concerns.
A Couple Companies We Are Beginning To Vet
We have started to explore the online world of Delta-8 and are beginning to find a handful of companies that appear — at first glance — to be approaching the cannabinoid extraction process in a safe and sustainable way.
Here’s a quick list (in no particular order) of where we plan to dig in, question, and hopefully discover if they are safe… or something to avoid.
Any suggestion on the above companies, feel free to comment below and let us know.
Stay groovy out there!