What Is Delta-8 THC and Is It Safe?

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Delta 8

Delta-8 THC sure seems to be a hot topic of late. Everywhere you look you are seeing more products being offered that claim to contain Delta-8 THC. So with all the hype, it is imperative that you know more about Delta-8 THC before you decide to try it.

Some of the biggest questions revolving around Delta-8 THC are also some of the most obvious questions. What in the world is Delta-8 THC? What does it do or not do and is it even safe for me to take? These are important questions because it has literally transformed the CBD industry in the past few years.

These may seem like logical questions but many people are not asking them before jumping on the Delta-8 THC bandwagon. If you prefer to be more informed before making a decision to try Delta-8 THC products then you have come to the right place.

We are going to look more closely at what Delta-8 THC is, where it comes from, the benefits and side effects, legality concerns, and whether or not Delta-8 THC is safe for you.

What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring substance found in the cannabis plant. With all of the signs for Delta-8 products, you would probably think that Delta-8 is abundant in cannabis. Delta-8 gummies are probably the ones you have seen the most recently.

In reality, Delta-8 is found in much lower concentrations than its cousin, Delta-9 THC. For this reason, Delta-8 THC is considered a minor cannabinoid in the cannabis plant as opposed to a major cannabinoid.

A cannabinoid is just another name for a chemical that is found in the cannabis plant. Major cannabinoids are more prevalent than minor cannabinoids. For instance, in marijuana, the main active cannabinoid would be Delta-9 THC.

How Does it Compare to Delta-9 THC?

Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC are both THC. THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol so it’s no wonder why we shorten it to just THC.

THC is a completely natural chemical that is found in the cannabis plant. Most of the time when we think of THC we associate it with marijuana. THC is the well-known psychoactive substance in marijuana that causes you to feel high.

Even though Delta-8 and Delta-9 are both THC they do have a slightly different molecular structures. The simplest way to describe each is that Delta-9 has a double molecular bond on the 9th chain. Delta-8 THC has a double molecular bond on the 8th chain. 

A seemingly small difference but it does make a big difference not only in how it affects the body but how the two substances are seen in the eyes of the law as well.

Is Delta-8 THC as Potent as Delta-9?

This is a big question on many people’s minds. It’s also a very important question that you should be answering prior to trying any Delta-8 products.

The simple answer is no, Delta-8 THC is not as potent as Delta-9. Remember, Delta-9 is the major cannabinoid THC found in marijuana that causes you to get high. It is the most abundant and the most potent cannabinoid in cannabis. Delta-9 THC is what causes you to feel high from marijuana.

Having said that, we don’t want you to underestimate the potency of Delta 8 THC. It is still a psychoactive component and can still get you high. For most people, the high from delta 8 is not as intense as from delta 9. 

A high from delta 8 THC could be described as slower and smoother than one from delta 9. Delta 9 can hit you hard and fast and can be very intense. The high from delta 8 doesn’t normally have the same effects and can give you a feeling of relaxation.

If Delta 8 Is a Minor Cannabinoid How Is There So Much of It?

We have mentioned that delta 8 THC is considered a minor cannabinoid because it was not as prevalent in the cannabis plant. We’ve also said that delta 8 is a natural substance that comes from cannabis. So the obvious question is how are there so many delta 8 products if there isn’t much delta 8 available in cannabis?

Unlike delta 9, delta-8 is not easily extracted from cannabis because there isn’t enough of it available. While delta 8 is a naturally occurring substance we do end up using synthetic methods to increase the quantity of delta 8 available.

The most common way to produce delta 8 THC is to use solvents to treat CBD. When CBD is treated with these solvents it actually produces large amounts of delta 8 THC.

This may be concerning if you are reading about solvents. However, the delta 8 THC that is produced from the solvents is then filtered and purified of the solvents which just leaves pure delta 8 THC. 

Is Delta-8 Found in Hemp or Marijuana?

Maybe the first step in answering these questions is to look at the differences between hemp and marijuana. We often hear these two different terms but sometimes don’t have a good understanding of what the difference is. Or are hemp and marijuana just the same thing?

They are not the same. However, both hemp and marijuana do come from the Cannabis Sativa plant and they are similar in some ways. But also very different.

Legally speaking, the major difference between hemp and marijuana lies in the amount of delta 9 THC. Marijuana plants often contain 15-20% delta 9 THC. To be federally legal a hemp plant contains 0.3% or less of delta 9 THC. Obviously a very stark difference between the amounts of delta 9 THC in each.

Hemp is used in making things like CBD oil because of the lower amounts of THC which allows these CBD products to be sold legally. CBD products could be made from marijuana plants but they would not be legal to sell because of the high THC content.

So, because delta 8 is an isomer of CBD it can be found in both hemp and marijuana.

When we see THC we automatically take a step back because we often that it’s illegal. Well, delta 9 THC was limited to a maximum of 0.3% on the federal level, that is true. But delta 8 and delta 9 THC are different compounds and have different characteristics. They are not the same.

Furthermore, there are many states who have passed legislation to legalize marijuana even for recreational use. So needless to say there is a lot of confusion around THC, especially around delta 9.

The problem is that delta 8 THC seems to get lumped into the same category many times. Even though it’s different, people see ‘THC’ and assume it’s the same thing.

Delta 8 THC products are legal. If you look at the 2018 Farm Bill it only specifically mentions delta 9 THC and gives a maximum concentration of 0.3% for delta 9 THC only. It does not address delta 8 THC.

That is true on a federal level but you should also pay close attention to state and local laws. There could be further restrictions that would inhibit the use of delta 8 THC products, depending on where you live.

Negative Side Effects of Delta-8 THC

Like anything else you put in your body delta 8 does have the potential to cause some negative side effects.  If you experience these negative side effects from delta 8 THC you should notify your doctor. Or if you believe it is an emergency then you should seek medical help immediately. 

  • Low blood pressure
  • Fast heart rate
  • Numbness
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Anxiety
  • Slow heart rate

Benefits of Delta-8 THC

There have not been extensive studies and research conducted on the overall health impact of delta 8 THC. But there are a lot of people who report using delta 8 THC products to help them with various things. Delta 8 THC may help with:

  • Easing depression
  • Coping with substance abuse
  • Calming nausea
  • Boosting appetite
  • Reducing pain
  • Preventing vomiting during cancer treatments

Is Delta-8 THC Safe to Consume?

As we noted earlier there is not a whole lot of research in regards to the overall health impact of delta 8 THC use. It doesn’t come without some risks of negative side effects but you run that risk with just about anything you put into your body.

Everyone reacts differently to things. Delta 8 could have a very minimal impact on some people and then someone else may experience negative side effects. It’s impossible to tell without trying delta 8 as to how your body will react.

There have been reports of people giving Delta-8 products to children. We strongly recommend that you do not give Delta-8 to children. Before considering anything like that for your children please consult the child’s physician. Delta-8 is still a potent substance and not something to be taken lightly. Please keep it out of reach of your children.

Will Delta 8 Cause Me to Fail a Drug Test?

This is a question on many people’s minds and it’s a valid one. The bottom line is if you know you have a drug test coming up then we highly recommend staying away from delta 8 THC. As it currently stands urine drug tests don’t differentiate between cannabinoids. Since delta 8 is a cannabinoid it could trigger a positive drug test.

Drug tests are often looking specifically for traces of delta 9 THC as opposed to delta 8. So it’s possible that you could get by and not trigger a positive result. But if you know you have one coming up it’s not worth the risk. 

If you are subject to random drug tests then it’s up to you but you are definitely running the risk of a positive drug test result by using delta 8 THC products.

Final Thoughts from The CBD Guru

Whether or not to use Delta-8 THC products really comes down to a personal decision. If you are looking for a high like marijuana then you likely won’t find it in Delta-8. However, Delta- 8 is still potent and you may likely experience a ‘lighter’ high than Delta-9 in marijuana.

The nice thing about Delta-8 products is that they are widely available. They aren’t specifically banned on a federal level so they are often easily attainable and you don’t have to worry about legal ramifications.

If you are just looking to try them for fun or you believe that you have an ailment that THC may help you with then just be careful. Start off with a small dose and make adjustments from there. 

You may want to consider discussing it with your doctor prior to using any Delta-8 THC products. And if you do experience negative side effects have a plan to seek medical attention just in case that does happen.

Lennox Carey | Editor in Chief

Lennox is a CBD enthusiast who strives to bring his readers joy through the words he writes. Lennox is a devoted husband and father who has been a part of the CBD game since it's early stages. If you need to know something about the CBD Industry, Lennox is your guy. Contact him today with any questions you might have.

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