If you’re a fan of CBD products, then you have probably heard of Delta-8 THC by now. There has been a lot of hype recently because this cannabis compound is being marketed as the middle ground between CBD and Delta-9 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is known for its ability to make people feel “high” after consumption.
Frankly, like many wellness enthusiasts nowadays, we’re quite excited about the potential of this cannabinoid. In a nutshell, Delta-8 promises to deliver the health benefits that are expected from hemp-derived products, and it has milder psychoactive properties than Delta-9.
To better introduce this latest trend, this article covers the essential information that you need to know about Delta-8. We have also answered some questions that you might have, such as its legality, safety, and how it might affect the results of a drug test.
What is Delta-8?
Delta-8 THC is one of the minor compounds found in the cannabis plant. It’s not exactly a recent discovery because Dr. Raphael Mechoulam had already identified it way back in 1965, along with the other cannabinoids, such as CBG (cannabigerol) and CBN (cannabinol), that naturally occurs in trace amounts only. However, Delta-8 has been gaining more attention from hemp brands and consumers after the Hemp Farm Bill has passed in 2018.
Interesting Fact: Dr. Raphael Mechoulam is widely regarded as the “Father of Cannabis Research.” We have to thank him and his team for their landmark studies that have brought more awareness to the health benefits that we can gain from various cannabinoids.
As we have mentioned earlier, Delta-8 possesses the health-enhancing properties of Delta-9 THC because of the similarities in their chemical makeup. The slight variations on the molecular level lower the potency of Delta-8 though. According to CFAH.org, you’d need to double the amount of Delta-8 to induce a sense of euphoria as strong as Delta-9 does.
Since Delta-8 is extracted and distilled from the hemp plant, there’s a chance that you have already consumed it if you prefer taking full-spectrum hemp products. In such cases, however, the Delta-8 level is so low that manufacturers tend to skip mentioning it as a distinct cannabinoid in their products.
Fortunately, due to the continuous research being done on the cannabis plant, experts have developed a way to extract enough Delta-8 to create products that contain higher levels of this cannabinoid. As a result, we’re seeing more and more Delta-8 products in the market these days.
Delta-8 vs. CBD
Cannabidiol—or CBD for short—is a major active compound found naturally in the cannabis plant. The main difference between Delta-8 and CBD is the latter’s lack of psychoactive properties. This means you can take CBD products without the risk of getting “stoned”, especially if the extract used falls under the broad-spectrum or isolate categories.
Something to Think About: If you’re wondering which one to pick, reflect on your health needs and preferences first because the right answer varies from one person to another. CBD has the advantage of having more research studies backing up its claims as a natural remedy, and it will not get you “stoned”.
On the other hand, Delta-8 is a newcomer in the market, but it’s regarded as a promising substitute to the typical THC. Some people enjoy the “high” that THC brings—Delta-8 can also get you there with fewer unpleasant side effects.
Many consumers opt for CBD because of this specific quality—for example, athletes who need pain relief after their workouts or parents who wish for their children to enjoy the health benefits given by the hemp plant.
This does not mean that CBD products are free from THC though. According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), hemp-derived products may be sold and consumed legally as long as the THC content does not exceed 0.3%. At this level, consumers may rest assured that they won’t experience the mind-altering effects associated with the consumption of marijuana.
Will Delta-8 Show Up on a Drug Test?
Based on a 2021 Swedish study, the similar chemical structures of Delta-8 and Delta-9 are one of the factors that have led to the detection of THC in the urine samples for routine drug tests. Because of the way the human body processes these cannabinoids, they tend to stay in our systems for the same amount of time. Moreover, the technology used for current drug tests isn’t advanced enough to differentiate Delta-8 from Delta-9.
Take note that the probability of Delta-8 showing up on drug tests is affected by various factors. For instance, edibles take a longer time to be absorbed by the body but their effects tend to last longer than those induced by vaping oils. Furthermore, Delta-8 products with higher potency will also increase the likelihood of THC detection.
Given these, we suggest taking CBD instead of Delta-8 if you need to pass a drug test.
Is Delta-8 Legal?
Because of a loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill, Delta-8 may be sold and consumed without legal ramifications in certain US states, provided that the two conditions are met:
- Delta-8 has been created using the hemp plant, not marijuana.
- The level of THC in the product is not more than 0.3%.
Take note that some states do not allow wellness products that contain both Delta-8 and Delta-9. Given these gray areas, we advise everyone to refer to the current state laws on the production and use of cannabis before purchasing or using these products.
Benefits of Delta-8
Since the interest in Delta-8 is still growing, scientific studies on its effects on the body and mind are limited. However, because of the close resemblance between Delta-8 and Delta-9, many users report experiencing the same benefits that the latter may provide albeit to a lower degree.
Therefore, the health benefits that you can expect from Delta-8 include but are not limited to the following:
Cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy may suffer from less nausea and vomiting if they take the prescribed amount of THC.
Some studies suggest that THC along with other cannabinoids may help treat different types of anxiety.
A 2009 review of research studies on THC highlights multiple pieces of evidence indicating that THC can provide mild to moderate relief for those who suffer from acute or chronic pain.
THC has long been recognized for its ability to promote a stronger appetite, especially if consumed regularly and for extended periods.
According to the 2013 study by Prof. Yosef Sarne of the Tel Aviv University, small doses of THC may protect the brain from long-term damage caused by insufficient oxygen, exposure to toxic drugs, or seizures.
Potential Side Effects of Delta-8
Just as how Delta-8 can bring in the positive effects of Delta-9 THC, the consumption of this cannabinoid can also lead to similar side effects, such as:
- Elevated heart rate
- Reduced motor coordinator
- Slower reflexes or reaction time
- Swollen or dilated blood vessels on the eyes
- Short-term memory impairment
- Feelings of dread, fear, or anxiety
Since Delta-8 has lower potency than Delta-9, these side effects are not as likely or as unpleasant as what you might be expecting from THC products.
The FDA also warns consumers about the health risks that Delta-8 might cause due to the lack of regulation and sufficient research about it. There have also been concerns about the manufacturing process of these products because only a small amount of Delta-8 is naturally present in the cannabis plant. Therefore, to obtain enough extract, most companies are likely synthetically producing this compound at the moment. While it’s not clear yet how this may affect us, there have been no reports yet of any serious illnesses or death due to the consumption of Delta-8.
Should You Try Delta-8?
Given what we know so far about Delta-8, we believe that it’s worth a try—just remember to exercise caution when exploring the available options in the market.
The FDA has not approved any Delta-8 product as of now. Therefore, you would have to rely on the COAs (certificates of analysis) from third-party laboratories of these products to verify their quality, safety, and potency. Verify if the involved laboratory is reputable, too. Check if the lab follows cGMP (current good manufacturing practices) principles, releases API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) certifications, and carries an ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certification.
Don’t forget to seek the medical advice of your physician before trying any cannabinoid product. While studies have shown cannabis is generally safe to use, it might cause some health complications if you’re taking certain medications, such as beta-blockers or blood thinners.
The Bottom Line
The growing popularity of Delta-8 is good news for those who are looking for a milder alternative to THC. This trend has been inspiring cannabis experts to continue their studies on its benefits and side effects. Meanwhile, more and more wellness brands are starting to develop different types of Delta-8 products to make the most of this relatively untapped market.
Therefore, if you’re not too concerned about passing drug tests, we encourage everyone to pay careful attention to how Delta-8 might further improve your lifestyle. Otherwise, you might be better off with CBD products from trusted brands. If you want to learn more about Delta-8 and our recommended products that contain this cannabinoid, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter now. You’d get notifications right on your inbox whenever we post new content that you might find helpful and interesting.