Delta-8 is a form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Most of us are only familiar with delta-9 THC, which is what most people refer to when they say THC.
Delta-8 is an isomer of delta-9 THC, which means it has the same molecular formula as but the atoms are arranged differently. THC actually has four different isomers: delta-7, delta-8, delta-9, and delta-10.
Research suggests that delta-8 is about 66% as potent as delta-9 and has similar effects (1). This means it can get you high and produce other typical effects of THC, such as sedation.
Delta-8 THC also appears to have a lower chance of causing anxiety and other common side effects of delta-9 THC, which is another reason for its popularity.
Why Delta-8 is Controversial
Delta-8 THC is controversial because it offers a “legal high” in states where recreational cannabis is banned. It’s all because of a loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp across the nation.
The bill limits hemp-derived products to no more than 0.3% of delta-9 THC but has no such limit for delta-8 THC. Cannabis and hemp plants naturally have low delta-8 THC levels, so legislators never bothered to mention it in the bill.
But you can also make large amounts of delta-8 from hemp-derived CBD through a fairly simple chemical process. By the bill’s definition, this delta-8 THC is considered legal.
Delta-8 THC has also generated debate about whether it counts as synthetic. The process used to create delta-8 from CBD is clearly not natural.
- On one hand, you could argue that delta-8 THC is not synthetic because it’s made from CBD, a natural cannabinoid
- On the other hand, you could argue that creating any new cannabinoid from another cannabinoid makes it synthetic
Some also argue that delta-8 THC is illegal because it violates the 1986 Federal Analogue Act, which bans substances that are “substantially similar” to controlled drugs.
Buying Delta-8 THC
Delta 8 products are sold by a growing number of brands across the country. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of trustworthy delta-8 brands because the market is unregulated and has attracted bad actors looking to make a quick buck.
If you’re 100% set on buying delta-8 THC products, make sure to look for a reputable brand. It should provide third-party test results for potency and contaminants from a reputable lab and be transparent about its business practices.
It’s best to choose established CBD companies that have already been operating for several years and have a solid reputation.
The Future of Delta-8 THC
Is delta-8 legal or illegal? It depends. It’s unlikely that we’ll see a federal law banning delta-8 THC since all signs point towards cannabis decriminalization and legalization. The DEA even confirmed that it considers hemp-derived delta-8 THC legal.
Meanwhile, individual state laws for delta-8 THC are constantly changing. The most likely outcome is that most states will choose to regulate delta-8 THC in a similar way to recreational marijuana.
This means delta-8 products will only be available from licensed businesses and go through proper testing, labeling, and other regulations.
This is the best solution for consumers as it will raise the quality and safety of delta-8 THC products.