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(Ad) Delta 8 THC, a popular new cannabinoid being hailed as “marijuana light” or “bud light,” has managed to slip through the cracks of a legal loophole that allows it to ship across state lines and appear on shelves at some convenience stores, CBD shops, and smoke boutiques depending on state and local laws. What is causing consumers to flock to delta 8 THC is that it’s more potent than CBD, is reasonably priced, has an abundance of potential wellness benefits, and may give you a “high” similar to that of delta 9 THC (also commonly known as just THC or regular old-fashioned marijuana). 

Although its psychoactive properties are alike, delta 8 is said to have about 60 percent of the potency of delta 9. But what it lacks in potency, it makes up for with its lack of negative psychoactive side effects such as paranoia or anxiety, leaving consumers the freedom to enjoy a potential therapeutic experience without any mental stress. 

 Even with all the great benefits that may come with delta 8, some states have begun banning the new cannabinoid for fear of improper production practices and lack of research. In addition, delta 8’s recent entry into the market has created some concern about safety due to its lack of regulation. From its legality to its benefits to letting you know how to identify which products are safe, we’ll give you a deep dive into the world of delta 8 

Delta 8 THC vs Delta 9 THC: What Is Delta 8, and How Is It Different? 

Delta 8 THC is a naturally-occurring psychoactive cannabinoid, found in hemp, that shares an almost identical molecular makeup with its more well-known psychoactive sibling, delta 9 THC. Although both are isomers of THC, one has a double bond on its eight-carbon chain; the other has the same double bond, but on its ninth carbon chain. This is why they’ve been named delta 8 and delta 9. 

Now, if both are isomers of THC, shouldn’t they provide the same experience? Not exactly. 

Even though both are similar compounds and provide psychoactive properties, that single change in the location of the double bonds does create a difference in users’ overall experience. The difference is that delta 9 affects users both mentally and physically, while delta 8’s effects are just physical. This difference is believed to be why consumers feel that delta 8 is less potent.

With that being said, delta 9 has several potential negative side effects, such as paranoia, anxiety, and addiction, while, in contrast, delta 8 seems to have few to none of these effects. This makes delta 8, potentially, a great functional substitute for regular marijuana usage. This could be especially advantageous for consumers who rely on medical marijuana for its medicinal purposes but who don’t want to deal with negative mental side effects that may come along with it.  

Let’s Talk About Legality: Is Delta 8 THC Legal?

To better understand the legal gray area that delta 8 currently resides in, it’ll help to know the difference between marijuana and hemp. Both are considered to be part of the cannabis plant but are differentiated according to their intoxication properties. Cannabis plants with less than 0.3% THC are considered hemp, while cannabis plants with more than 0.3% THC are considered marijuana. 

The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill, is a federal act passed by Congress that legalized the use of hemp in the United States. The act defines hemp as: “All derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta 9 THC concentration of not more than 0.3 percent.” This phrasing makes hemp a legal agricultural product in America—and because delta 8 is commonly sourced from hemp and contains less than 0.3% delta 9 THC, it is also considered federally legal. 

Because of this, in early 2019, companies began selling delta 8 with no real regulation or legal restrictions. However, this is constantly changing. As of July 2021, 12 states had passed laws specifically banning delta 8. Other states where marijuana is legal, such as New York, Illinois, Oregon, and California, are starting to pass regulations stating that THC in any form, whether delta 8 or delta 9, can be sold if tested and verified through certified labs. In the long run, this could create a safer delta 8 market for consumers, putting safety protocols and quality assurances in place. 

As of June 2021, the following states have banned delta 8: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Rhode Island, and Utah. 

The Effects of Delta 8: What Are the Benefits?

With reviews of delta 8 just beginning to emerge, most of what is known about its effects is anecdotal or comes from personal user experiences. The effects and benefits of delta 8 may include:

  • Appetite stimulation
  • Anxiety management
  • Sleep aid
  • Body relaxation
  • Nausea reduction
  • A calm and relaxed state of mind
  • Pain relief
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Mood boost

The effects of delta 8 THC may vary from person to person, but the average experience can be described as combining the best parts of CBD and delta 9 THC. It’s said to be euphoric, mood-boosting, pleasantly relaxing yet leaving the user feeling clear-headed, and not overwhelmingly intoxicating. With proper dosages, users have said that they felt far more functional and active on delta 8 versus delta 9. 

With delta 8, you may enjoy an abundance of these benefits without the worry of getting “too high” or going over the edge. Since delta 8 isn’t exactly the same compound as delta 9 and is less potent, it has the advantage of having few to no negative psychoactive side effects. [1] [2] Delta 8 may create opportunities to improve the quality of life for people suffering from illness, from those who are battling depression to regular partygoers fighting off a bad hangover. 

Delta 8 vs. CBD

 CBD (cannabidiol) is the second-most prevalent cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp, after delta 9 THC. However, unlike delta 8 and delta 9, CBD doesn’t contain any psychoactive ingredients. So, even though it may deliver the therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant, such as pain relief, anxiety management, appetite stimulation, and help falling asleep, it isn’t inebriating. This is because delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC both strongly bind to the body’s endocannabinoid system, but CBD’s bond is weaker. These bonds are the reason why you might feel a “high” when consuming cannabis products. 

The CBD bond is a major deciding factor in why you would choose one cannabis product over another. In spite of CBD’s rich properties, it isn’t psychoactive, but delta 8 is[3] [4] . Feeling uplifted or experiencing a head change is what many people seek, enjoying the euphoric feeling that delta 8 may offer. 

How Much Delta 8 Should You Take?

As with most substances that have intoxicating properties, like alcohol and marijuana, dosages are highly individualized and may not be tied to any specific physical feature like age, sex, or weight. Regardless of size, you should always start with a lower dose and work your way up. This could take a few tries over the course of a couple of days, especially with products like edibles or capsules that have a delayed onset before they begin to take effect. 

Again, it’s important to note that little research has been done on delta 8, and it’s always crucial to remember that THC (whether it’s delta 8 or delta 9) affects everybody differently. For example, experienced consumers may feel like delta 8 is a less intense variety of THC. But for more inexperienced consumers or those who may have a lower tolerance, it may feel like a more robust version of CBD. In addition, your consumption method will determine how quickly the effects take place. For example, if you’re inhaling delta 8, it should take effect within minutes; if you are consuming gummies or edibles, you should wait at least two hours before eating more.

Is Delta 8 Safe? Here’s What to Look For

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