Because this product is so new, there is little research on its effects so far and few regulations to guide or protect consumers. Here’s what you need to know so far before you chew, drink or inhale it:
What exactly is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is the result of a clever chemist taking a substance found in hemp — which is legal under the 2018 Farm Bill and does not produce a high — and finding a way to tweak the chemical bonds to create a closer cousin of marijuana while staying within the bounds of what the bill considers legal as per CBD flower UK.
Once all this is done, what’s left is Delta-8, which is very similar to Delta-9 THC, with just one chemical bond in a different spot. According to a report by the USCC, Delta-8 has “a lower affinity” to the CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the brain, so it is less potent for getting you high. However, the USCC report says it still may have up to 75% of the psychotropic potency of Delta 8 pen.
But here’s the rub: The Delta-8 THC that’s being sold in stores across the country isn’t a natural product like CBD (or, for that matter, marijuana), says Ross, who describes it as a synthetic, which has the potential to contain toxins.
What are Delta-8’s effects?
Because there has been so little research on Delta-8, you have to take the word of those who have tried it: “You have a lot of the therapeutic effects that we experience with CBD, like relieving stress and anxiety, but you also have a stronger, more calming effect and a powerful pain-management aspect,” says Vince Sanders, the founder and president of the retail chain CBD American Shaman, which sells Delta-8 products. “The benefit is that it doesn’t come with the heart palpitations and paranoia that many people experience from marijuana.”
While a few tiny human and animal studies have indicated that CBD may control seizures, reduce anxiety and relieve pain, few, if any, studies showing that Delta-8 will have the same effect. It does, however, give you a high, though the strength of the high may vary depending on the product and the person taking it. “I tried a piece of Delta-8 caramel, and it felt just like I had taken an edible with weed in it,” reports one Gen-X female user, who asked to remain anonymous. “I’m pretty sensitive to THC, and I can’t say it felt any different. I also had the munchies, just like with weed.”
Is Delta-8 legal?
The answer is a qualified yes, but not in all states, and probably not for long. The legality of Delta-8 THC is part of the murky, constantly evolving story about the legitimacy of all types of cannabis, including CBD. As of June 2021, marijuana is legal for medical use in 36 states and legal for adult recreational use in 18 states, including New Jersey, Connecticut, California and Illinois. Hemp-derived Delta-8 THC, however, is in a different category. The 2018 Farm Bill 2018 opened up the production of hemp for use as CBD, as long as it has a Delta-9 THC concentration of less than 0.3% (the bill makes no mention of the concentration of Delta-8 THC, which has created this legal loophole).
While we don’t know precisely what positive effects Delta-8 has, we also don’t know what adverse effects it has. “No one has ever died from cannabis,” says Sanders. And while that statement is considered generally accurate (you may not die directly from the physical effects of the drug, but you can die from reckless behaviour while you’re high on marijuana), it is not necessarily the THC that critics are worried about. It’s everything else that can come in an unregulated substance. “We are at the tip of the iceberg learning about all these things, we really don’t know yet what is safe and what is not,” says Ross. Even Sanders admits that we don’t know about any potential drug interactions or other harmful side effects.