In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in a drug known as delta-8, as evidenced by the significant increase in Google searches for the term by more than 850 percent between 2020 and 2021 in the United States, especially in states where recreational marijuana is not legal. A recent study revealed that 16 percent of regular marijuana users consume delta-8.
What is delta 8 thc?
Delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid that occurs naturally in cannabis sativa plants among over 100 other cannabinoids. However, it is not abundant in quantity. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the production of concentrated delta-8 THC from hemp-derived CBD.
Delta-8 is a psychoactive substance chemically similar to delta-9 THC, commonly associated with the intoxicating effects of THC. However, It is known to be less potent, earning it the moniker of “delta-9 THC’s nicer younger sibling,” according to Daniel Kruger, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Michigan. It is believed to offer similar benefits to delta-9 THC, including relaxation, euphoria, and pain relief, but with fewer adverse effects.
How Does Delta-8 THC Compare to Delta-9 THC and CBD?
Compared to delta-9 THC, the most abundant psychoactive compound found in cannabis, delta-8 THC is less potent and produces a milder high with reduced anxiety. Delta-8 is produced synthetically from CBD or delta-9 THC.
Delta-9 THC is known to induce euphoria and may have negative side effects, such as panic attacks and impaired cognitive function. Though not federally legal, state laws vary for recreational and medicinal use.
Conversely, CBD potentially shares some therapeutic benefits with delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC without the psychoactive effects. Its potential uses include alleviating chronic pain, anxiety, and depression.
All three cannabinoids, including delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC, and CBD, interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates functions like pain and inflammation. These cannabinoids bind to endocannabinoid receptors in various body parts, including the brain, gastrointestinal system, heart, muscles, and reproductive system.
How to take it?
There are a few various methods to take it. The process is as follows:
- Inhalation: This method involves smoking or vaping delta-8 THC using a vaporizer. When inhaled, the effects can be felt within minutes, but they may not last as long as other methods.
- Edibles: Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol can be infused into various food items, such as gummies or brownies. Edibles can take longer to take effect, up to several hours, but the results may last longer.
- Tinctures: Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol can be mixed with a carrier oil, such as MCT oil, and placed under the tongue using a dropper. This method allows quick absorption into the bloodstream and provides longer-lasting effects.
- Topicals: Delta 8 can be infused into creams, lotions, or balms and applied directly to the skin. This method is commonly used for localized pain relief and may not produce psychoactive effects.
- Capsules: It can also be taken in capsule form, which allows for precise dosing and easy consumption. Pills, similar to edibles, may take longer to take effect, but the results can last longer.
Is it legal?
The legality of delta-8 THC is a complex and evolving issue. In the United States, delta-8 THC is not explicitly mentioned in the federal Controlled Substances Act, which means it is technically legal nationally. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has recently assumed that all synthetically derived THC, including delta-8 THC, is illegal under federal law.
Several states have also enacted laws banning delta-8 THC, while others have yet to take any specific regulatory action. It’s important to note that state and local laws regarding it can vary widely, so it’s crucial to research the laws in your location before purchasing or consuming any products containing delta-8 THC. Additionally, it’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using any new supplement or substance.
Limited scientific research and clinical experimentation on delta-8 THC and much of its purported benefits rely on marketing claims. The legality concerns surrounding this compound also present challenges to conducting research. As a result, more information is needed to determine any potential health benefits associated with delta-8 THC.
Despite the need for more research, initial findings indicate that it could potentially offer benefits such as inducing relaxation, helping with nausea and vomiting, improving focus and clarity, it has neuroprotective properties, promoting feelings of euphoria, and providing relief from pain, as per the Journal of Cannabis Research.
A survey published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research has reported adverse effects of delta-8 THC, including:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Short-term memory issues
- Time perception alterations
- Anxiety and paranoia
The FDA reported 104 cases from December 2020 to February 2022, indicating a rise in the number of adverse events associated with the use of it. Hallucinations, vomiting, and loss of consciousness were a few of these occurrences.