What is delta-8?
Delta-8 THC is one of the many cannabinoids found in cannabis that has recently become popular due to its similarity to Delta-9 - the main cannabinoid that gets you high. Delta 8 is present in all cannabis plants, despite being THC, CBD or CBG dominant.
The similarities between the two cannabinoids lie in their chemical structures and their names. Delta-8, similar to Delta-9, is a form of THC and will yield a high for anyone that ingests it. The high from Delta-8 is much less potent than Delta-9 though.
Much of the Delta-8 that exists is derived from CBD dominant hemp plants, where the CBD is first extracted and a chemical reaction is conducted to isomerise Delta-8. The cannabinoid has grown in popularity due to increased availability in the US and the 2018 farm bill that deemed hemp to be legally grown and used for extractions all over the US.
How is Delta-8 made?
Naturally all plants hold trace amounts of Delta-8. However it would be unfeasible to extract thousands of kilograms of cannabis just to get a few drops of delta-8.
Instead, manufacturers take CBD isolate, extracted from hemp, and isomerise (a synthesis to change the isomer) the CBD into Delta-8. As such, Delta-8 requires more processing and is more expensive to manufacture than CBD - this is why it is often more expensive than CBD.
Delta-9 vs CBD
Delta-8 behaves more like Delta-9 when ingested - it binds to the body’s endocannabinoid system differently to CBD which is why it is intoxicating.
CBD will not get you high, and the negative effects that can come from delta-8 or delta-9 such as paranoia and anxiety will not surface.
Both cannabinoids are being researched by pharmaceutical companies for their effect on an array of health issues.
Delta-8 vs Delta-9 THC
Both Delta-8 and Delta-9 bind to the body’s endocannabinoid system, causing a high feeling. Chemically they both feature the “double bond” that is known to produce the intoxicating effects. However, the placement of this bond is where they are different; Delta-8 has the double bond on the 8th carbon, whereas Delta-9 has it on the 9th. Small change, huge effect!
What does Delta-8 feel like?
Delta-8 will get you high, even in lower doses. Anyone that knows the effects of Delta-9 will notice some similarities, however the intensity of the Delta-8 high is dramatically lower.
Because the high from Delta-8 is much weaker than Delta-9, many consumers prefer it as a foundation cannabinoid to begin their journey with THC. Many people have issues with the intense feelings brought on by THC, with negative effects such as anxiety and paranoia.
Many Delta-8 fans enjoy it’s pleasant effects such as mild euphoria, happiness and uplifted feelings. Medical studies are being undertaken to follow its impact on helping patients manage chronic pain, insomnia and more.
How much Delta-8 should you take?
For regular THC users, Delta-8 will be noticeably weak in terms of the high. For a brand new consumer though, Delta-8 could be a great introduction to psychoactive cannabinoids as the risk of negative effects is greatly diminished.
Within the Delta-8 market, suppliers often dose edible Delta-8 products with double the strength of their Delta-9 counterparts. A shop with 10mg Delta-9 gummies may also have 25mg delta-8 gummies.
Because research is minimal, we don’t know how strong Delta-8 really is and how much people need to get the desired effects. It’s always recommended to take a little bit at first to get a feel for how the cannabinoid affects you. Depending on how that initial dose feels, you could take more or settle with the initial amount.
Vaping Delta-8 would bring on the effects almost immediately. Taking a Delta-8 edible will take much longer to kick in, even an hour or two later.
Is Delta-8 legal?
Depending where you are in the world, Delta-8 can be legal. Even in the US, where the farm bill passed in 2018, there are some states that have prohibited this cannabinoid. Most of Europe, the UK included, have deemed Delta-8 to be illegal. This has not stopped its sale in prohibited regions and we call to question the quality of those unregulated synthesised products.
Is Delta-8 safe?
If purchased in a legal country/state, Delta-8 stands a strong chance of being safe to consume. However, because the cannabinoid is mostly synthesised from CBD, there are big risks if the Delta-8 is made by novices or groups that cut corners. It is possible to isomerise other versions of THC from CBD, not just Delta-8. Scientists are discovering new variants of THC such as THCP which is up to 30 times stronger than Delta-9. You could see that this could pose a problem if synthesised by a bad unregulated manufacturer…
It would be difficult to find Delta-8 that can be deemed safe in most of Europe because the Delta-8 on offer is illegal, and while the same could potentially be said about THC delta-9, delta-9 is not chemically synthesised - it occurs naturally.