What is Delta 8 THC?
Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol--also called delta 8 THC, Δ8THC, or D8--is one of many cannabinoids found naturally in cannabis. It’s closely related to delta 9 THC, the primary psychoactive component in marijuana. Since it occurs naturally in tiny amounts, most D8 is converted from hemp-derived CBD by isomerization.
Does delta 8 THC get you high?
According to some users, delta 8 can get you stoned. Other users report feeling little to nothing in terms of intoxication. Delta 8 is psychoactive, but its intoxicating qualities are not a given like with delta 9 THC.
Similar to CBD, delta 8 also binds to the CB-1 cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system, but delta 8 THC tends to react differently due to its slightly altered molecular structure. Users have reported clear-headed, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), and non-sedative effects. In many ways, the effects of delta 8 are like the opposite of delta 9 THC. But everyone is different, and products and strengths vary, so always err on the side of caution.
How do you use delta 8 THC?
Delta 8 THC is generally produced into a distillate form. That’s because it occurs in such low amounts in cannabis plants. Delta 8 can be distilled into a thick translucent liquid that looks like any CBD distillate. This requires a multi-step process, in which the plant goes through levels of refinement including extraction, winterization and then decarboxylization.
Delta 8 carts and syringes containing delta 8 extracts can be vaporized using a standard weed pen or dab rig. It can also be mixed with flower to kick up the Δ8THC potency level. Since distillate is technically edible, it can be consumed orally, but there has not been much research conducted on the effects of delta 8 when metabolized in the body. There are now delta 8 tinctures (for sublingual use) and delta 8 gummies available as well.
These are the most common uses for delta 8 THC concentrates:
- Vaping: One of the easiest and most effective ways of consuming D8 THC is through vaping. You can choose to use delta 8 THC carts with a 510-threaded battery and have delta 8 on demand. Also, there is CBD flower available with added D8 that you can vape or smoke.
- Smoking: As mentioned, you can smoke delta 8 like a regular joint with CBD flower that has been enhanced with delta 8 concentrate. Some delta 8 hemp flower is available in pre-rolled joints ready to be enjoyed.
- Dabbing: Technically, dabbing could fall under vaping or smoking, but the major point is that if you own a dab rig, D8 concentrates can be dabbed in the same way as delta 9.
- Edibles: By far, the most popular edible for delta 8 is D8 gummies. The pros of edibles are also part of their cons. It’s easy to regulate what you consume and microdose with edibles, but it’s also easy to take too much if you get ahead of yourself. With all these methods, but particularly with edibles, start out low and assess your tolerance from there.
- Sublingual use: Another discreet way to take delta 8 is by dropping it under the tongue. Sublingual delivery bypasses the digestive tract and delivers D8 directly through the blood vessels located in the mouth. Delta 8 THC tinctures offer an easy and effective alternative way to use D8.
What are the benefits of delta 8 THC?
The limited research conducted on delta 8 THC appears to be promising. There are currently multiple patents for methods of producing Δ8THC concentrates. This could be an indication that we might be hearing more about this not-so-well understood cannabinoid in the near future. Here are some of the potential benefits based on existing research:
According to a study conducted in 2013 cited by the National Cancer Institute, delta 8 THC is considered to be one of the cannabinoids that has been shown to inhibit tumor growth, “…Delta-9-THC, delta-8-THC, and cannabinol (CBN) were found to inhibit the growth of Lewis lung adenocarcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo. In addition, other tumors have been shown to be sensitive to cannabinoid-induced growth inhibition.”
A study from 1995 published in Life Sciences indicates delta 8 THC’s ability to reduce symptoms of nausea with minimal side effects in children, “Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol…was administered (18 mg/m2 in edible oil, p.o.) to eight children, aged 3-13 years with various hematologic cancers, treated with different antineoplastic drugs for up to 8 months…Vomiting was completely prevented. The side effects observed were negligible.”
A 2004 study published in Pharmacol Biochem showed that delta 8 THC, even in extremely low doses, increased appetite and cognitive function in mice. “Delta(8)-THC (0.001 mg/kg) caused increased food consumption and tendency to improve cognitive function, without cannabimimetic side effects. Hence, a low dose of THC might be a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of weight disorders with minimal side effects associated with cannabis use.”
A 2018 study from the Cannabinoid and Cannabis Research journal has shown potential for treating pain and inflammation with topical delta 8 THC (and CBD), “Our results provide novel evidence that the phytocannabinoids Δ8THC and CBD…are antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory in an experimental model of corneal hyperalgesia.”
A study from a 1987 Alcohol and Drug Research journal conducted on mice, shows that delta 8 THC may also possess some neuroprotective properties based on brain activity that was monitored in the study. The point of the study was to test various cannabinoids, but delta 8 THC was one of the components of the cannabis plant that stood out to the researchers of this study for its significant effect from such a minute dosage.
What are the side effects of delta 8 THC?
The side effects of delta 8-THC as observed by researchers were pretty insignificant. Especially when compared to some of the more common pharmaceutical alternatives. There is still a lot more research that needs to be done, but delta 8 THC seems to possess many of the beneficial properties of cannabis, with significantly less adverse effects when compared to delta 9-THC.
However, it is still a form of THC. Any cannabis product with high levels of THC, a known psychoactive compound, should always be used with caution. While delta 8 is said to be less psychoactive than delta 9 THC, online users have reported that it is possible to overdo it. Start slow and low and assess your tolerance from there. Just because it gets you less high doesn’t mean it won’t get you high at all. One last thing to note is that delta 8 THC can still cause redness of the eyes, especially in stronger doses.
Will delta 8 THC make you fail a drug test?
Commonly used drug tests can’t distinguish between users of delta-9 and delta-8 THC. Because both kinds of THC break down in the body to the same metabolites that many drug tests are looking for, the tests can’t tell which kind of THC you used..
That means that a delta 8 user would likely show up on a drug test as a “marijuana user,” just like someone who consumed actual marijuana containing delta-9 THC. If your employer tests for marijuana use, don’t use delta-8 THC. And be aware that even in legal marijuana states, police use the same kinds of tests as evidence of “stoned driving.”
Is delta 8 THC legal?
In the 2018 Farm Bill, Congress legalized hemp and “all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
There has been considerable debate since then about lab-produced cannabinoids like delta-8 THC and whether they qualify as legal hemp products. In May 2022, we finally got a solid answer. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that delta 8 is federally legal under the Farm Bill’s definition, although attorneys note that other federal courts could reach different conclusions about delta 8. The court decision also seems to cover most other hemp-derived cannabinoids, like delta-10 THC, HHC, and THCP.
But the ruling only applies to federal law. Individual states can still ban or restrict sales and possession of delta 8 and other hemp-derived cannabinoids. Since delta 8 was the first intoxicating hemp product to gain traction in the marketplace, it was also the first one to face the concerns of state legislators, and many states have already made delta 8 illegal, or forced it into state-regulated dispensaries.