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What is Delta-8 THC?

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delta8 THC Flourish

  • Delta 8 is a cannabinoid that does cause a high, but it’s not like the high created from delta-9
  • It has powerful benefits and is technically legal because only delta-9 THC is limited under federal law

Have you heard of delta-8-THC? If you’re anywhere close to the cannabis industry, you definitely have. Delta-8 isn’t new, though our love and marketing of it is. Renowned cannabis scientist Raphael Mechoulam discovered delta-8-THC in 1965, and scientists have been experimenting with it ever since. It’s a cannabinoid just like CBD and THC, but it’s found in hemp. 

Delta-8-THC should be safe, but because we are lightyears behind where we should be in terms of cannabis research, we simply don’t know for sure. Cannabis and hemp’s federal restrictions have made adequate study difficult, but we do have a solid foundation to build upon. There have been studies with delta-8 THC, and like other cannabinoids, no severely adverse reactions were reported. But because there is limited research, we always need to exercise caution before using delta-8, just as we would any other product. 

So delta-8-THC is found in hemp, and because it’s THC it does cause a high. Delta-9-THC is typically what consumers and others think of when they hear THC, though delta-9 is rarely ever said. Delta-9 THC is found in high-THC cannabis or “marijuana” plants, and it’s the compound separating marijuana and hemp according to the government. 

But, the 2018 Farm Bill simply separated low-THC cannabis (hemp) from high-THC cannabis (marijuana) without separating the cannabinoid THC itself. The bill’s 2020 revision says THC does not include “any material, compound, mixture, or preparation that falls within the definition of hemp set forth in 7 U.S.C. 1639o.” 

In other words, all of the cannabinoids found in hemp are fair game: even if they make you high like delta-8. It’s being looked at almost as a loophole in the hemp and cannabis space, like how did we get away with this if delta-9-THC is federally and strictly banned? The two cannabinoids are just a few atomic bonds apart, they are nearly-identical at the structural level and create very similar, though not identical, effects. 

There are some people who are cashing in on this newly-popular cannabinoid, and there are plenty of others who are watching and waiting to see if it’s safe before they bite. Imagine building a business (or even a great product) around delta-8 only for federal regulations to change and your business model to become obsolete. 

Delta-8 in the media

There’s a lot of negative attention surrounding delta-8-THC right now. The cannabinoid as it stands isn’t dangerous, but delta-8 is popping up in a lot of smoke shops that don’t necessarily adhere to the same standards as other hemp and cannabis brands. The result is unsafe products. It’s the same story as with other cannabis products, some people make them safely and others don’t, and unfortunately, smoke shops tend to make up many of the bad seeds. Because delta-8 is so new (to us), it’s going to be a little dicey until we learn the waters. 

The Virginia Poison Center just released a warning a few days ago about delta-8 and saying it should not be confused with CBD products, and treated the same way as CBD in regards to how it affects somebody. They emphasized the importance of knowing the ingredients, and not blindly trusting what the label says. Children have apparently ended up in the intensive care unit after consuming delta-8, according to some news reports

“Delta-8-THC is not the same thing as CBD,” said Dr. Scharman, the Director of the West Virginia Poison Center and Professor of Clinical Pharmacy at West Virginia University in Charleston. “Taking more than one dose may cause harm. Even one dose may cause harm if the product does not actually contain the labeled ingredients. These products are not regulated so there is no assurance that the label is correct. Fruit flavored gummies containing drugs can easily be mistaken for candy by young children.”

But like we said, delta-8-THC isn’t inherently bad, according to the research available to us. It’s a cannabinoid, so it will interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system like any other cannabinoid would. Delta-8-THC has been studied for a variety of things, including appetite stimulation, reducing nausea and vomiting, and pain relief. This study, for example, explored delta-8-THC in conjunction with CBD for treating corneal pain and inflammation. 

Looking at the issues with the negative reviews of Delta-8

So alone, it’s believed to be a pretty innocent cannabinoid. There becomes room for issues when: 

The product is poorly made

Remember the vaping crisis in 2019? People were unfortunately dying because of poorly-made vape carts, in some cases the carts didn’t even CBD at all. Many of them instead contained harmful chemicals that killed the consumers. One of the most common perpetrators from the vaping crisis was Vitamin E Acetate, which essentially induced pneumonia and respiratory distress in people that vaped the product.

This is the kind of publicity the cannabis industry doesn’t need again, so while new products like delta-8-THC are enticing to try, please make sure you ask a million questions to the salesman before purchasing. If they can’t tell you where the hemp was grown, everything inside the product, and all about delta-8-THC and hemp: do not purchase anything from them. They should also be able to immediately give you a third-party Certification of Analysis detailing the cannabinoid content inside, though COAs are pretty easy to forge so don’t rely on this step alone.

People don’t understand how Delta-8-THC works

Because delta-8 comes from hemp, people assume it doesn’t create a high. It’s also assumed to be non-intoxicating because it’s legal; but what they’re forgetting is cannabis doesn’t make you high, the cannabinoid THC in cannabis does. It’s not about the plant, but rather the cannabinoid content inside the plant, hence different experiences from different cultivars. CBD doesn’t make you high, and it’s found in hemp, but it’s also found in high-THC cannabis alongside THC. Delta-8-THC will create an intoxicating effect, a pretty powerful one, so be aware of that before consuming or recommending to friends. 

Misinformation is not corrected and replaced

The cannabis industry battles mounds of misinformation as is, simply because we are a brand new industry emerging from being completely illegal just a short time ago. It’s important that we not only correct misinformation, but replace it with something we know is factual. 

If you don’t know something, it’s important to learn before speaking about it and potentially miseducating someone about their health. We have to remember, people are seeking cannabis and hemp-derived products for wellness. If we are advising someone on their wellness, we need to be more than sure about what we’re saying so we don’t create a problem. 

Otherwise, people can end up in harmful scenarios, such as allowing children to consume delta-8-THC because it’s marketed like CBD, a non-intoxicating compound. It’s important to prevent these situations as best we can, or else we risk scaring away people who would benefit from cannabis. 

How to buy delta-8-THC

If you’re interested in purchasing delta-8-THC, you need to vet the brands. Here are some tips:

  • Find an established CBD brand to purchase from. If you find a company with a history in the hemp space, they are more likely to be educated about delta-8-THC
  • Make sure they are publishing content that proves they know what they are talking about. You should see plenty of information on the company’s website before purchasing, and hopefully, plenty of content about delta-8-THC specifically. 
  • Make sure you know where the hemp was grown. If you can verify this information and prove it’s been grown somewhere that cares about quality, you have a great foundation to start with. U.S. grown hemp is typically always a safe bet.

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