What is delta-8, and why have we been hearing so much about it? First a little background:
What is a cannabinoid?
A previous post outlines the basic terminology related to Cannabis, but briefly: Cannabis is the name of a genus of plant. This means many different species of related plant can be called Cannabis. Hemp is one of those species, technically named Cannabis sativa. Marijuana is another of those species.
All species of Cannabis contain compounds called cannabinoids. There are hundreds of these compounds, but the most well known are THC and CBD. To make it more confusing, THC is an umbrella name for multiple compounds. The naturally occurring compound in marijuana is delta-9 THC, and is what produces a ‘high’ in users.
What is delta-8?
Delta-8 THC is a synthetic cannabinoid, produced artificially from delta-9 THC. Its very similar and produces that characteristic ‘high’, but the structure is different enough to lessen the effects.
There is very little delta-8 THC is Cannabis plants naturally, so harsh chemical processes are used to deliver high concentration products. The FDA sends a clear warning to those considering its use:
Manufacturing of delta-8 THC products may occur in uncontrolled or unsanitary settings, which may lead to the presence of unsafe contaminants or other potentially harmful substances.U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 05/04/2022
Why is everyone talking about it?
There are a few reasons delta-8 has come up in conversations in the last year. For one, the legislation was not advanced enough to make provisions for the compound. Many viewed this as a ‘loop-hole’ in marijuana laws, and could therefore get ‘legal’ THC where they lived.
Even less is known about delta-8, and many have raised concerns about the chemical. It is synthetically produced and not well regulated, meaning it is hard to tell what you’re actually getting in the product. Additionally, the legality is questionable, so you are taking risks with its use. It shows up on drug tests as THC, and has the same side effects (ie red eyes, increased heart rate, anxiety, and more).
How does it relate to CBD?
Though both are cannabinoids, they are very different compounds. CBD is naturally occurring in hemp, has more developed legislation behind it, and does not produce psychoactive effects. Delta-8 is less researched, years behind CBD in terms of production, and does not work on the same physical systems.
Another source of confusion may come from the methods of delivery. Delta-8 is synthetically produced, so it does not come in bud form like typical marijuana. It is ingest in a similar way to CBD, most often with tinctures.
It is easy to get confused as many Cannabis related terms are thrown around everyday with little explanation. The important thing to remember is do your research on any product your purchase! We provide transparency at every step of our growing process for this reason.