Delta-8 THC is a cannabis product that has become a bestseller over the past few months, as many consumers find they can legally purchase it from CBD retailers. Its proponents say that Delta-8 THC will give you a nice buzz, minus some of the more intense feelings (including paranoia) that are sometimes associated with marijuana.
Delta-8 THC is being marketed as a legal option for consumers who either don't live in a state with legal cannabis, or are a little apprehensive about how traditional psychoactive THC products will affect them. But is it all it's cracked up to be? Let's take a closer look, exploring what Delta-8 THC is, how it differs from other THC products, and whether it's actually legal for use.
What is Delta-8 THC?
To better understand Delta-8 THC, it helps to cover some basics about THC and cannabis.
Cannabis plants come chock full of different cannabinoids. These are naturally-occuring chemical compounds that bind with receptors throughout your body. They can offer a wide range of mental, emotional, and physical effects; indeed, the healing and therapeutic properties marijuana or strong CBD products offer can be attributed to cannabinoids.
One of the most common cannabinoids is what's known as Delta-9 THC. Simply put, this is the part of marijuana that gets you "high." It's worth noting that Delta-9 THC remains illegal in many states, except for in the most minute doses, and is still illegal at the federal level. CBD products are made with trace amounts of THC, ensuring that consumers can enjoy positive health effects in a perfectly legal way, without the risk of getting high.
On a chemical level, Delta-8 THC is not too different from Delta-9 THC; the distinction comes down to just a few molecules. But those molecules make a big practical impact: Delta-8 THC will give you a buzz, but the psychoactive effects are considerably milder than with Delta-9 THC.
More specifically, many cannabis enthusiasts report that Delta-8 THC helps them feel good but also leaves them relatively clear-headed; and, it doesn't produce the anxiety or jitteriness that often characterize a Delta-9 THC high.
Additionally, because of the way the law is written regarding Delta-9 THC, some CBD companies now sell Delta-8 THC products in places where traditional cannabis is still illegal.
Related: Guide to Best CBD Oils of 2021
What's the Difference Between Delta-9 THC and Delta-8 THC?
Here are the primary differences to note between Delta-9 and Delta-8 THC:
- Delta-9 THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana. In other words, it's the part that gets you high.
- Though some states have found workarounds, Delta-9 THC is still illegal under federal law.
- Delta-8 THC is also found in the cannabis plant, though it's not quite as powerful or as well-known.
- Delta-8 THC is milder in its psychoactive effects. And, it's not technically illegal under current law.
These are just a few of the key distinctions to keep in mind. Delta-8 THC is popular among consumers who want a smoother high, and don't want to violate federal law.
Is Delta-8 THC Legal?
We noted that Delta-8 THC is not technically illegal. Here, we need to get into some of the nuanced legal considerations that surround this substance.
First of all, there are plenty of cannabis companies that actively promote Delta-8 THC as a legal way to get high. Again, that's technically true, but is still a point of debate for some.
For one thing, it's not explicitly listed as an illegal substance. While federal laws, and some state laws, specifically ban Delta-9 THC, Delta-8 THC is never mentioned. More to the point, though, many proponents will cite the 2018 Farm Bill. This law legalized several industrial hemp products on a national level, including CBD.
The Farm Bill also includes some fairly nuanced positions regarding THC. In summary, the law says that hemp and cannabis-derived products are legal so long as they contain less than 0.3 percent Delta-9 THC.
With that said, some lawyers contend that Delta-8's heyday may soon come to an end. That's because the Farm Bill clears it only so long as it's derived directly from hemp; most of the Delta-8 THC products sold today aren't made from hemp, but rather from synthetically-altered CBD.
Some of these issues are a little fuzzy, and the legal future of Delta-8 THC remains a little uncertain. For now, though, many experts would argue that it is legal to purchase.
What Kinds of Delta-8 THC Products Are Available?
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If you're looking to try Delta-8 THC products, you'll certainly find plenty of different products. Dispensaries and legal cannabis stores currently have a trove of products that use this cannabinoid. Some examples include:
- Vape cartridges, tinctures, and capsules.
- Beverages made with Delta-8 THC, including some seltzers.
- Edibles, including Delta-8 THC gummy bears, chocolate bars, and more.
The cannabis industry has really been running with Delta-8 THC, finding creative ways to bring it to market. And chances are, even more products will be springing up in the weeks and months to come.
It's very important to note that you should only purchase Delta-8 THC products from reputable brands and established cannabis retailers. We do not recommend purchasing any products that contain Delta-8 THC from gas stations or vape shops. If you are looking for a reputable place to explore these products, here are a few brands that we trust and recommend:
NuLeaf Naturals Full Spectrum Delta 8 THC Oil is made from organic hemp and organic virgin hemp seed extract. It's available in a 225 mg, 450 mg, 750 mg, and 1500 mg sized bottles, all of which provide 15 mg of Delta 8 THC per serving. This formula is also available in a soft gel.
NuLeaf Naturals offers a plant-based softgel containing their full spectrum delta-8 THC oil and made with an organic virgin hemp seed oil carrier. You can choose between three different sized bottles, including 150 mg, 450 mg, or 900 mg of delta 8 THC per container, but each softgel will always contain 15 mg of delta-8 THC.
The Botany Farms Delta-10 THC Vape Cartridge actually contains both Delta-10 and Delta-8 THC.This is designed to provide the desired effects of Delta-8 THC but without the drowsiness. They also offer a vape cartridge with a 1:1 concentration of Delta-8 THC and Delta-10 THC. Note that while vape products can be used to aid in smoking cessation, we do not recommend vaping or smoking because of the negative health effects they can cause.
The Live Resin Delta 8 THC Vape Cartridge from Botany Farms is made from a small batch of Sour Special Sauce hemp flowers that are picked early to retain the maximum amount of terpenes and cannabinoids. It's meant to provide both the balancing effects of full spectrum CBD and a buzz from the delta 8 THC. This product is best used in the evening to relax and unwind before bed.
Botany Farms' CBG Vape Cartridge offers a blend of Delta 8 THC and cannabinoids like CBD, CBG, CBC, and CBN to help you relax at the end of the day. Made from their Lemon Diesel sativa hemp flower strain, this vape oil includes a bright citrus flavor with notes of diesel. Each vape cartridge contains 35% CBD, 25% CBG, and 9% Delta 8 THC for a lighter and uplifting effect.
What are the Pros and Cons of Delta-8 THC?
As you consider whether Delta-8 THC is worth your time, it may be helpful to weigh the pros against the cons.
Let's start with some of the positives:
- Delta-8 THC does have psychoactive effects, but it's a milder effect than with traditional Delta-9 THC.
- Delta-8 THC is currently legal and widely accessible in multiple states.
- There are a wide number of products that use Delta-8 THC.
Now, a few of the downsides.
- Delta-8 THC isn't quite as commonplace as other cannabis products, including CBD, and some of the options on the market are expensive.
- While this substance is technically legal, there are plenty of uncertainties over its legal future. It's something you want to keep in mind.
- As a relatively new product, Delta-8 THC products are not regulated by the FDA and there is not independent testing in place to verify that it is safe or pure.
As with any cannabis product, Delta-8 THC has its pros and cons. As you seek the cannabis product that's best for you, it's largely a matter of personal preference.
Also note that smoking, vaping, or otherwise imbibing any kind of cannabis-related product can carry some medical risks and negative health consequences. If you have any specific concerns, we recommend consulting with your doctor before you try any Delta-8 THC product.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. He covers natural health, nutrition, supplements, and clean energy. His writing has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.