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July 13, 2023
8 min to read

Delta 8 Side Effects: What You Should Know

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Hayley Heidelbaugh

Even if you’re a fan of delta 8 products, you’ve likely encountered a side effect or two. This often takes the form of dry mouth, increased appetite (“the munchies”), and bloodshot eyes, although less common reactions to delta 8 carts and disposable pens can also be experienced.

Some users have reported anxiety or paranoia after consumption. Serious physical symptoms are uncommon, but also a potential risk. This could include vomiting, tremors, confusion, or side effects that last into the following day.

Delta 8 gummies and carts aren’t for everyone; if you experience severe side effects, stay away from this cannabinoid. That being said, most delta 8 side effects are mild and only last as long as you’re high.

What is delta 8 THC?

A psychoactive cannabinoid derived from hemp, delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a star of the modern cannabis market. Consumption will cause you to become high. The intensity of your high depends on the dose and other variables, though delta 8 is less potent than traditional delta 9 THC derived from marijuana.

Due to its low presence in cannabis, the delta 8 we buy is made by converting legal CBD into delta 8 THC, rather than extracting directly from hemp. This is the version of the cannabinoid found in edibles (gummies, chocolate, etc.), vape carts, and delta 8 tinctures.

Is delta 8 legal?

The legality of delta 8 is still in limbo, despite its federal legalization under the 2018 Farm Bill.

Ultimately, delta 8’s legal fate comes down to state laws. Due to its federally legal but unregulated status, a number of states have decided to ban or restrict sales and production, or only allow delta 8 sales through state-controlled marijuana dispensaries.

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Is delta 8 dangerous?

All in all, no, delta 8 is not a dangerous cannabinoid. This stands true whether you vape, take edibles, or use tinctures.

There is a level of risk when you purchase delta 8 products, however. Never buy products from sketchy, unknown sellers. Instead, stick to trusted retailers with transparent safety testing.

Always check for safety test results before buying a new delta 8 product. This information should be published on the manufacturer’s website. If you’re buying in person, don’t be afraid to ask the dispensary representative questions about the product and where it came from.

Knock-off delta 8 carts feature a host of risks, including lung-damaging additives used to dilute oil and increase profits, or other harmful contaminants. There’s no way to know what a cart actually contains without complete testing. Low-quality, untested delta 8 products might even contain delta 8 levels higher or lower than what’s promised.

That said, even trusted and tested products can have side effects, delta 8 included.

Side effects of delta 8

The side effects of delta 8 are extremely similar to delta 9 THC, or other intoxicating cannabis products. In fact, they’re nearly the same, with slightly lower instances of anxiety and other negative mental effects from delta 8 use.
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Dry mouth (“cotton mouth”)

Many cannabinoids, including delta 8, can cause dry mouth—referred to by weed users for decades as “cotton mouth.” Cannabinoids bind to the area of the brain in charge of saliva production.

Delta 8 causes the salivary glands to slow production. The consistency of your saliva may also change, becoming thicker and more sticky.

Although this side effect is one of the most common, it’s short-lasting and mild. Cotton mouth will usually fade alongside the psychoactive effects of delta 8 THC.

If you deal with severe cotton mouth, there are ways to minimize the effect. A popular technique involves chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candy. Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol, including alcohol-based throat sprays or mouthwashes.

Changes in appetite

You’re probably familiar with “the munchies,” or an increase in appetite after consuming THC. Appetite changes are common in both delta 9 and delta 8 THC.

THC can partially bind to a receptor known as cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1). Depending on the tissue housing CB1, its impact varies. For example, by activating CB1 in the limbic forefront of the brain, food becomes more palatable. CB1 in the small intestine or stomach stimulates appetite and speeds digestion.

In either case, the outcome is similar: you may experience food cravings after consuming delta 8 THC, regardless of consumption method.

Dizziness

Because delta 8 THC can lower blood pressure, you run the risk of dizziness or lightheadedness. This response is temporary, and blood pressure should return to normal after the high wears off.

Those who deal with this effect should avoid standing too quickly. If you have low blood pressure, stay cautious when consuming delta 8. Start with a small dose and wait to assess your body’s response.

Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain

Cyclical vomiting and abdominal pain is a rare side effect of delta 8 THC. This can be caused by a rare condition called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, and it’s more typical in those with a preexisting health condition who also regularly use large quantities of cannabis.

Remember that vomiting can also point to a contaminated delta 8 product, or simply an excessive dose. Bring your session to an end as soon as you experience this side effect. You may also want to speak with a doctor, especially if the issue continues to occur with different products and doses.

Other delta 8 side effects

Alongside what we described above, you might experience the following delta 8 THC side effects:

  • Changes in perception or mood
  • Dry and bloodshot eyes
  • Impaired memory
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Tremors or shaky hands
  • Confusion
  • Sleepiness
  • Remember that the adverse effects are typical among cannabis users, and are usually temporary. Stop taking delta 8 and consult a physician if any of these side effects are severe or persist after you stop using cannabis.

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    Delta 8 and anxiety

    Cannabis products can lead to anxiety or panic attacks in certain users. Although the risk may be lower than in delta 9 THC, it’s still possible to experience this side effect with delta 8.

    Individuals with an existing panic disorder diagnosis are at increased risk of racing thoughts, elevated heart rate, and feelings of anxiety or paranoia due to cannabis.

    If you’re new to delta 8 and have had this reaction to other cannabis products, start with a low dose and see how you respond. Increase your dose slowly, and only after the initial high has settled in. Stop taking delta 8 right away if you experience a panic attack.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, many users have reported a reduction in anxiety after consuming delta 8 THC.

    Delta 8 and psychosis

    Hallucinations and psychosis have been linked to cannabis use.

    Although research specific to delta 8 is limited, a 2023 report by Front Psychiatry made a possible connection between the cannabinoid and psychosis. Three individuals developed paranoid or psychotic symptoms after consuming delta 8 THC, and were admitted to a psychiatric hospital because of these symptoms.

    The case report raises questions, but additional research is needed to confirm this link. Sometimes retailers like gas stations sell products labeled as delta 8 that actually contain the dangerous synthetic cannabinoid called spice or K2, which has been shown to cause psychosis in some users.

    Delta 8 vs. CBD side effects

    Unlike delta 8 THC, CBD products won’t produce a high. Many CBD users take it for the same reason people turn to delta 8: its relaxing effects and potential for pain reduction.

    CBD carts and edibles have similar, but not identical, side effects to delta 8. This includes:

    • Gastrointestinal problems
    • Elevated liver enzymes
    • Low appetite
    • Dry mouth and eyes
    • Drowsiness or fatigue
    • It’s all about weighing the pros and cons of each cannabinoid. If delta 8 THC isn’t for you, CBD is another option. You can also opt for similar non-intoxicating compounds, such as CBG or CBN.

      Stay aware of delta 8 side effects

      Prior to your first experience with delta 8, it’s a good idea to review the side effects and keep them in mind. That way, you can keep an eye out and adjust your dose appropriately.

      Most delta 8 side effects are on the milder side, from dry mouth to sleepiness. Severe reactions are rare, but possible. This could involve vomiting, abdominal pain, and impaired memory.

      When these effects last longer than your high, there’s a chance that you need to lower your dose. It’s also possible that delta 8 just isn’t the cannabinoid for you. On the bright side, there are alternatives. HHC carts are a possible substitute, but if you’re not looking for a psychoactive hit, try CBD, CBG, or CBN. There’s something out there for everyone.

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      Hayley Heidelbaugh

      Vaping since: 3 years

      Favorite products:

      Favorite flavors: White Wedding, Northern Lights, Platinum Valley, OG Kush

      Expertise in: Oil carts, cannabis concentrates, cannabis flower

      Hayley Heidelbaugh

      I'm a Pennsylvania-based cannabis enthusiast and writer. As a part of the Vaping360 team, I'm eager to help cannabis consumers explore vaping and get the most out of their experience. You can also find me @faeberrystudios on Instagram.

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