Is delta-8 Really Cannabis Light?
There are at least 144 known cannabinoids that have been isolated from the cannabis plant, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). The best known among them is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC. It's what gets you high whenever you consume straight-up cannabis, and it's what gives the plant its reputation. However, not all the cannabinoids in the plant achieve the same effect.
Among those cannabinoids is what's considered to be delta-9-THC's little brother, which is delta-8-THC. It's now technically legal, thanks to the Farm Bill that was passed in December 2018. However, the cannabis world still held its breath until September 2019 when 3Chi, an online cannabis retailer, dared to become the first company to sell delta-8-THC products in both online and retail stores.
That has opened the field for delta-8 to be consumed by a mass market. While there are still some hurdles regarding its true legal status in the US, delta-8 is making a statement of cannabis being safe and healthy. Let's take a look at the phenomenon of delta-8 and if it truly is what people call "cannabis light."
What is delta-8?
First, let’s have a brief rundown on what delta-8 is.
There are many compounds in the cannabis plant, such as flavonoids, terpenes, and cannabinoids. Among the cannabinoids, the most familiar ones to people are CBD and THC. With the latter, things get more complicated as there are different variants of the same compound.
The regular THC most people know of is delta-9-THC. As mentioned, its little brother is delta-8-THC, which is an isomer of delta-9. That means it's mostly the same chemical, but with a slightly different arrangement. The isomer that is delta-8 naturally occurs when delta-9 oxidizes, but that also means it exists in the plant in trace amounts.
But thanks to modern manufacturing and processing techniques, it has become possible to make lots of delta-8 from delta-9, which has paved the way to many delta-8 products like oils, tinctures, vape cartridges, and so on.
Do note that most delta-8 that's commercially sold are from hemp, which are basically plants that are considered to have less than 0.3% THC, which makes it technically legal under the 2018 Farm Bill.
With that out of the way, let’s now take a look at why delta-8 is being considered a light version of cannabis.
Why is delta-8 Being Called “Cannabis Light”?
What sets delta-8 apart from delta-9 ("regular" THC) in terms of its effects is how the former doesn't give a high. It can be said that it goes in between CBD and regular THC in its effects in that it doesn't get you high, but it certainly has more punch than CBD.
The way delta-8 is absorbed and processed in the body is pretty similar to that of delta-9. However, that slightly different arrangement in its molecular structure is enough for delta-8 to have a different interaction with the endocannabinoid system compared to its counterpart. While it gives less of a euphoric feeling, less stimulation of appetite, and so on, you will still feel it a bit.
That's why delta-8 is being touted as the light version of regular THC. What makes this good is that it can be used by people who don't want to get high from cannabis products, but still want to experience its benefits. The proliferation of delta-8 has made that possible, widening the market for cannabis products.
While that's mostly true, it still depends on the individual consuming delta-8. Everyone is different, and some people may still turn out to me more sensitive than others. Some may feel a pronounced effect from delta-8, while others may not feel anything at all. It all still depends on the user's physiology.
It also depends on what form of delta-8 is consumed. Vaping delta-8 will produce an immediate but short-lived effect, while eating edibles with delta-8 will have a more profound and long-lasting effect with a slower release. You'll have to experiment in order to determine whether "cannabis light" is right for you and which form you may prefer.
Is delta-8 Safe?
There are two sides to this argument—the health side and the legal side. Due to the current state of cannabis legalization in the US at the moment, these two sides may intersect. Let's take a look at the legal side first.
While delta-8 is technically legal under federal law, it may not be true with state law. Much of the country still doesn't have full state legalization of cannabis, so you can expect those governments to frown upon the use and distribution of delta-8.
This has led to unregulated delta-8 products flooding the market, this bringing in the health side of the equation. Many of these unregulated delta-8 products can be detrimental to health due to additives, wrong dosages, and so on. Illegitimate sources will likely not have the same stringent safety policies followed by legitimate processors and manufacturers, which can lead to health emergencies.
A report published on June 2 by the US Cannabis Council states that there had been a boom in unregulated THC sales at an alarming rate. This is bringing a bad name to delta-8, especially legitimate brands that get their products tested by a third party for both safety and quality.
That level of safety adds more cost to the delta-8 products, so you may want to shelf out that extra cash. While you do spend a little bit more per order, you do get a guarantee that the delta-8 products you get are safe and effective.
Take note that delta-8 is not the new CBD. They're two very different compounds that have different effects. They do have some crossover like relief from anxiety, nausea, and insomnia. However, if you want much less of that kick, then CBD is better for you. If that slight kick is something you want, then you should try delta-8.
Remember to look for reliable brands in order to get safe and reliable delta-8 products. We have our own delta-8 products that will definitely be more than satisfactory.