We’ve all heard about delta 9 THC, the main psychoactive compound, naturally found in the cannabis plant. In some states, it’s illegal at a federal level but legal for recreational and medical use. The battle with delta 9 THC has been raging for years, and those on either side of the debate are firm about their point of view.
What most of us don’t know is there’s a new product in the hemp industry that’s found its way to gas stations and other stores nationwide: delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol know as “Delta 8”. Delta-8 and delta-9 THC are very similar. What separates them is the location of a double bond, found on the eighth carbon in delta-8 THC and the ninth carbon in delta-9.
- The different structure between delta 8 and delta 9 is the double bond however the chemicals are still being researched due to the increased risk and harm
- Delta 8 is synthetically produced and there are safety concerns
- Over the counter by products have many impuritites and are easily attainable and sold locally with no oversight
- Those wanting to stop can find help
What Is Delta 8 THC?
Delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol or delta 8 THC is a chemical compound in the cannabis plant, getting consumers “high” without the intense paranoia and anxiety that some experience when consuming delta 9 THC. Some call it the “diet weed” compound because of its weaker effects, but it still binds to cannabinoid receptors in the body.
Along with cannabinoids and hundreds of other chemical compounds, we can find delta 8 THC in the hemp variety of the cannabis sativa plant in minimal amounts. As a result, much of it is not directly sourced from the plant and is synthetically produced from cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp.
People find delta 8 THC products sold online, in gas stations, head shops, and other specialty and convenience stores. They can be gummies, treats, vapes, joints, brownies, tinctures, raw flowers, or extracts.
Since delta 8 THC products are made in the lab, they have much higher levels of THC than the natural levels in raw extracts.
Simply put, delta 8 THC is similar chemical structure to delta 9 THC and delta 10, but we don’t know much about delta 10 yet. It’s another hemp plant THC chemical compound variety that doctors and chemists are still studying.
Why Do People Use Delta 8 THC?
Like delta 9 THC, which gives consumers a euphoric high, delta 8 THC can cause feelings of happiness. Delta 9 THC works by attaching to the body’s endocannabinoid system receptors, which causes a feeling of euphoria. Delta 8 THC also binds to those same receptors in the brain but produces fewer intoxication effects and pronounced highs, which some find less overwhelming.
People use delta 8 THC for its potential benefits, including help with anxiety, stress, depression, and chronic pain. Many use delta 8 THC for pain relief, reduced inflammation, and improved sleep quality and appetite. Some also favor its sensory overstimulation prevention and calming effect on overactive nervous or immune systems. Some prefer delta 8 THC over delta 9 THC because it makes them feel less paranoid and anxious when high, and others prefer its relief over pharmaceutical drugs and medical care.
Is Delta 8 THC Legal?
The 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized CBD production and sale as long as the hemp products contain less than 0.3% delta 9 THC.
The Farm Bill caused skyrocketing CBD production, which, unfortunately, caused the price to crash. The oversaturated market pushed hemp farmers to look for new opportunities, which made delta 8 THC their lifeline.
Like making methamphetamine from cold medicine, just because the starting materials are legal does not make the resulting product legal (or safe).
Christopher Hudalla, president and chief scientific officer, ProVerde Laboratories
CBD products don’t get consumers high, and since producers extract delta 8 THC from CBD, the same federal legalization applies to it. The problem with delta 8 THC being legal at the federal level is that, like CBD and supplements, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate and hasn’t approved these products. This means like supplements, delta-8 and CBD products aren’t regulated by the FDA, which warns that many of the chemicals used to synthesize concentrated amounts of delta-8 may be harmful. Because of this, the legality of delta-8 is still being decided at the federal level.
Some states have banned and restricted delta 8 THC consumption, while others are currently regulating the industry.
Is Delta 8 THC Safe?
As mentioned above, the FDA doesn’t regulate delta 8 THC products. Moreover, they have released guidelines that strongly warn against delta 8 THC product consumption because of the dangerous synthetics, which can involve household chemicals.
Safety Concerns, Risks, and Side Effects
Most research on delta 8 THC doesn’t involve human subjects and is mainly anecdotal and not peer-reviewed. However, because delta 8 THC are delta 9 THC are similar, the former also has the same risks and side effects, including the following:
- Red eyes
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Rapid heart rate
- Trouble with coordination
- Slowed reaction times
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss
Some think that delta 8 THC is safer than delta 9 THC because it makes them less high. However, there’s insufficient medical research to support this. Moreover, some delta 8 THC products contain delta 9 THC and delta 10 levels, meaning consumers never really know what they’re consuming.
The absence of regulation heightens the possibility of ingesting more delta 8 THC than what is considered a healthy level. The THC products may contain twice as much delta 8 THC as indicated on the labels or not contain delta 8 THC at all.
When people don’t know what they’re consuming, they also don’t know how it will affect them. As a result, consumers can go through unexpected intoxication, and impairment can lead to feeling off or doing something without knowing they’re intoxicated.
FDA Reports on Public Health Risks
Between December 1, 2020, and February 28, 2022, the FDA indicated that they received over 100 reports of delta 8 THC adverse reactions. The FDA has also received information from national poison control centers on delta 8 THC toxicity.
Over 2000 exposure cases occurred from January 1, 2021, to February 28, 2022. 41% of the cases involved kids under 18, and 70% required evaluation from healthcare providers.
Delta 8 THC can also show up on a drug test, though no medical research determines how potent or long it stays in our system yet. Psychiatrist and addiction specialist David Streem, MD, said that for most drug tests, delta 8 THC would not create a positive test by itself. However, it’s present in many products along with delta 9 THC, which is enough to test positive.
What Are the Alternatives To Delta 8 THC?
Since national poison control centers have received so many exposure cases for delta 8 THC and no drug enforcement administration classification exists, consumers should look for safer and regulated alternatives.
Why Alternatives Are Important
Experts say that we’re only just beginning to learn about our body’s endocannabinoid system. The complex enzyme systems, neurotransmitters, and receptors play crucial roles in our central nervous system development, which helps regulate pain, memory, appetite, inflammation, motor control, and more functions. As a result, we need enough scientific evidence to understand how delta 8 THC and other cannabinoids interact with our body’s systems.
Most experts suggest using CBD products like CBD oil containing only trace amounts of THC to reduce the risk of legal ramifications. Most states have laws about these types of CBD oils, so it’s important to research your local regulations.
These products are widely available online, in health food stores, and other retailers. The cost of CBD can also be much lower than delta 8 THC, making it more affordable for many.
When choosing CBD products, it’s best to choose those made by a company that discloses their hemp source. Proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab is also necessary. According to the certificate of analysis (COA), CBD products must contain less than 0.3% THC and must pass tests for heavy metals, pesticides, and molds.
It also helps to check for company certification and manufacturing processes final product name. Products must contain quality ingredients, and consumers can read user trust and brand reputation indicators, such as customer reviews.
If the company that produces the CBD has been subject to FDA warning letters or makes unsupported health claims, it’s best avoided.
Other recommended alternatives to delta 8 THC for those who use it for medical purposes are medical treatments specifically targeting the health conditions in question. These treatments have been proven effective for treating specific conditions, though they may have unwanted side effects and may not work for everyone. Still, they’re safer, more reliable options than delta 8 THC, which is still relatively unknown.
Delta 8 THC Addiction: Can It Happen?
There’s a need for more cannabis research on delta 8 THC, but since we know more about delta 9 THC, we can start to draw some conclusions.
Based on Delta 9 THC
The country’s most commonly used substance that’s illegal at the federal level is cannabis. Many believe cannabis not addictive, but precursors to addiction, like THC tolerance and dependence, have been documented.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) said that about 30% of marijuana users become addicted, especially those under the age of 18. These underaged users’ brains are still developing, which means there’s an increase in the likelihood of cannabis use disorder.
Based on these facts, the national battle over delta 8 THC can also become more complex. Add the absence of FDA approval and regulation into the equation, and we have controversial delta 8 THC products that may not be as safe as we would hope.
Turning Point of Tampa and Getting Sober in Florida
Controlled substances and their medicinal chemistry we believe are better left to federal law makers and public health experts.
At Turning Point of Tampa, we see the psychoactive effects and adverse events from those abusing cannabis. Our clients do not stay up to date on state laws around the the synthetic conversion of the typically manufactured cannabis. In fact cannabinoid research and cannabis council talk about the pros and cons of using marijuana based on significant levels and concentrated or very small amounts only, and at Turning Point of Tampa, we believe in complete abstinence to live a clean and sober life.
Delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol has intoxicating effects and for those who have a substance use disorder, adverse events happen when they use drugs and alcohol.
Turning Point of Tampa helps people who want to live without using any drugs or drinking alcohol and yes we believe that marijuana is a drug that is addictive and abused.
If you or a loved are concerned about addiction, we are here to help. Since 1987, our team of doctors and clinicians have been helping those wanting to change their lives. With proven results and a strong alumni we know how to help those with a drug and alcohol problem, eating disorder, or dual diagnosis.
Delta 8 THC is said to be less potent than its delta-9 counterpart, but it’s still a psychoactive substance that may lead to users becoming addicted. Ultimately, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with delta 8 THC and make informed decisions before consuming this product.
If you have been consuming delta 8 THC and are concerned about your health, or have been abusing any type of drugs and alcohol and want help, Turning Point of Tampa is a call you can make.