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Our perspective on Delta-8 THC

Delta-8 THC has quickly become the hottest new trend in the cannabis and hemp industry. It produces a psychoactive effect similar to cannabis (Delta-9), but is derived from hemp. However, its ambiguous legality and safety have caused a controversial stir.

Delta-8 produces a milder and quicker-lived “high” than Delta-9, making it ideal for social settings. It’s our CSO’s, Rhiannon Woo’s, favorite form of THC, but some of our other team members have felt head pressure and dizziness.

Whether you like Delta-8 or not depends on how intense you want the effects to be, although the majority of consumers are in states without legalized cannabis programs, like North Carolina. This poses a series of concerns that reflect the overall issues with the hemp-derivative market.

Our Issues with Delta-8

  1. It’s Synthetic

Delta-8 only occurs naturally in minuscule amounts. To produce more significant concentrations, hemp-derived CBD or CBG undergoes isomerization, meaning the molecule is transformed into a different chemical structure that becomes Delta-8. It is then made into edibles, vapes, or sprayed onto CBD flower.

Because Delta-8 is considered an alternative to Delta-9, we’ve seen it compared to K2 spice, which has caused psychotic episodes and even death. One of the major issues that correlate Delta-8 to spice is that it’s usually inhaled. Although Delta-8 is technically legal under the 2018 Farm Bill (although the DEA considers all THC illegal), so is vaping, and we all remember what happened in the vaping crisis of 2019 when people inhaled harmful chemicals.

2. It’s Unregulated

Delta-8 is only found in markets without a legal cannabis program. Because of this, users can’t know if they are consuming a safe, reputable product. There are no reference points on labels, and no oversight to prove that claims or test results are accurate.

For 100% confidence, you would need to know the supplier and the lab to verify they exist and that the results are valid and truthful.

3. There’s Inadequate Guidance

Because we know so little about Delta-8, retailers are unable to provide adequate safety guidelines, effects, and whether it will fail a drug test or not (which it can, since Delta-8 is a double bond isomer of Delta-9 — meaning it contains the same number of atoms but has a different structural arrangement).

While overuse of Delta-9 is commonly accepted to not cause death or permanent damage, this may not be the case with synthetically derived Delta-8. Until we know more, consumers must understand the differences in how it is manufactured and the risks that come with it.

Our Recommendations

Letting Delta-8 run unregulated is risky. The chemical conversion process depends on hydrocarbon extraction, which is extremely technical and should only be done by experts underneath proper oversight and testing. Furthermore, if we are concerned with children getting access to Delta-9 products, the same should go for Delta-8.

While we are not against Delta-8 and are excited to see research-based evidence on its therapeutic benefits, Delta-8 should be regulated under the cannabis market, not hemp.

What do you think?

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