You know about CBD and THC, but what about delta-8? There’s been a lot of talk about this cannabinoid recently, but what exactly is it, what are its benefits, and why is the controversy in so many states?
The Brothers Apothecary is here to break it all down!
What Is Delta-8?
Delta-8 is one of the more than 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, including industrial hemp.
But here is where it gets a little complicated: there are typically only extremely low amounts of delta-8 naturally found in hemp and cannabis plants. This cannabinoid is often synthetically formed by using acetic acid to alter extracted CBD molecules.
What Does Delta-8 Do?
The effects of delta-8 on the body are similar to the impact of Delta-9 THC, which is the well-known cannabinoid most associated with cannabis.
Like THC, delta-8 can help soothe discomfort, promote relaxation, and produce psychoactive effects. However, the high produced by delta-8 is considered milder than THC.
How Does Delta-8 Interact With the Endocannabinoid System?
As a phytocannabinoid, delta-8 can interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (the ECS).
The ECS is an internal networking system that relies on chemical messages called endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) and cannabinoid receptors (CB receptors) to help regulate various body functions and maintain balance within.
The ECS can help respond to pain signals, elevate the mood, regulate sleep, respond to stress, support digestion, and assist the immune system.
While endocannabinoids are naturally produced in the brain when needed and can bind with cannabinoid receptors throughout the body to trigger a biological response, plant-based cannabinoids such as delta-8 and CBD can partake in the ECS once absorbed into the bloodstream.
Delta-8 is thought to interact with the ECS similarly to THC. Both cannabinoids can bind directly with cb1 receptors in the brain. When those receptors are activated, they can stimulate serotonin neurotransmitters, ultimately affecting the mood and temporarily altering the mental state.
But, while delta-8 can bind with these receptors, its molecular structure causes it to bind slightly differently than THC, which is likely why delta-8 produces less intense psychoactive or intoxicating effects.
Are Delta-8 and CBD the Same Thing?
Delta-8 and CBD have several significant differences.
CBD is the most abundant cannabinoid within the hemp plant. Hemp is a federally legal variety of the Cannabis sativa species that contain low levels of both THC and delta-8.
CBD can benefit your wellbeing by working with the body’s endocannabinoids to help soothe discomfort, settle the mind, promote full-body relaxation, enhance the mood, and reduce tension.
Most notably, CBD does not bind directly with CB receptors and cannot produce psychoactive effects. Instead, CBD blocks enzymes from breaking down endocannabinoids as quickly, extending the life of our body’s own vital cannabinoids as they bind with CB receptors to provide relief as needed.
While delta-8 can also promote wellness by working within the ECS to ease discomfort and promote relaxation, it can produce psychoactive effects. Although the amount of delta-8 found naturally in hemp is not enough to cause a high, a concentrated amount of delta-8–including that which is made synthetically from CBD–can cause a mild high after the molecular structure has changed from CBD to delta-8.
Are Delta-8 and THC the Same?
Although delta-8 and THC are certainly very similar, they are not quite the same. The differences between these two stem from their molecular arrangement and the double bind on each one’s molecular chain.
In delta-8, the double bind exists on the cannabinoid’s eighth carbon chain, while delta-9 THC has the double bind on it’s ninth carbon chain.
While this shift may seem microscopic, it is enough to cause each one to interact slightly differently within the ECS. This difference is likely why delta-8 produces less potent effects.
Is Delta-8 Legal?
Alright, remember how we said that the synthetic production of delta-8 is a bit complicated? This is why.
Federally, delta-8 is legal. It is found naturally in industrial hemp, and the cultivation and sales of products derived from industrial hemp containing less than 0.3% delta-9 THC in its dry weight was legalized through the 2018 Farm Bill.
While the Farm Bill provides a specific regulation for THC content, no such statement is made abou delta-8.
But, the rules on delta-8 are a little less clear cut state by state. Because most delta-8 products are derived from chemically altered CBD and can cause some psychoactive effects, delta-8 is a bit of uncharted territory and many states are adjusting their laws around it quickly.
Currently, delta-8 is fully legal in 30 states, including Oregon, Massachusetts, and Texas.
In a few states, such as California and Arizona, the guidelines around delta-8 are a little murkier. In California, for instance, delta-8 was recently deemed a version of THC, and hemp products in the state cannot legally contain more than 0.3% of any THC product.
And 14 states have made delta-8 illegal, often in its synthetic form. For instance, both Colorado and New York recently passed legislation explicitly prohibiting synthetically modifying any of the cannabinoids in hemp.
Some states that have legalized recreational cannabis are also starting to regulate delta-8 in the same way, meaning that it can only be sold by licensed cannabis retailers. Currently only Connecticut and Michigan regulate delta-8 in this way, but we expect more states to start soon.
As with all legislation regarding cannabis and recreational drugs, the laws are changing quickly. Keep an eye on the regulations in your state to make sure you are up to date with the specific laws in your area.
Is Delta-8 Safe?
As a phytocannabinoid, delta-8 is considered safe to consume.
The main risk associated with delta-8 is that synthetically produced delta-8 products may not be created with quality standards in place, as delta-8 production is not regulated in most states. For instance, products that aren’t thoroughly tested for quality control may contain high levels of THC, synthetic byproducts, or heavy metals.
You should only use delta-8 products that are hemp-derived, rigorously tested, and have their test results made easily available. Third-party test results check for potentially harmful toxins or byproducts, and verify that the product’s label accurately represents the type of percentage of cannabinoids within the product–including THC.
Here at the Apothecary, all of our delta-8 products are derived from industrial hemp with under 0.3% THC content, and are sourced from Department of Agriculture licensed producers. We also ensure the safety of our delta-8 products by having them third-party tested by the supplier, then again before manufacturing and once more after the final product is completed.
What Are the Benefits of Delta-8?
Delta-8 is a wonderful middle ground between CBD and THC. It provides all of the soothing and calming benefits of CBD and provides mild psychoactive effects for anyone who wants to enjoy the euphoric feeling that often comes from THC, but without the intensity.
What Risks Are Associated With Delta-8?
The main risks associated with delta-8 are due to the possibility of poor production standards, as delta-8 is often unregulated. Only using third-party products from trusted manufacturers can lower these risks.
Delta-8 may also cause a positive drug test. While most drug tests look for delta-9 THC, there is a chance that delta-8 products would show up. If you know you have a drug test coming up, it may be safer to use third-party tested isolated CBD products rather than delta-8.
May cause a positive drug test, less researched and less regulated, so you should only use vigorously tested products that are transparent with their third-party lab test results.
Precautions and Side Effects
Similar to CBD, delta-8 may interact with certain medication, such as blood thinners or blood pressure medication.
While the psychoactive effects of delta-8 are often low-key and relaxing, side effects similar to those of THC are possible. This includes nervousness, increased heart rate, dry mouth, and drowsiness.
Side effects of delta-8 often go away on their own, and the risk of severe side effects is extremely rare when using the recommended dose of third-party tested products.
What Does Delta-8 Feel Like?
Delta-8 often feels like a low-key high, producing feelings of relaxation and mild euphoria, with less risk of nervousness or paranoia that sometimes stems from a THC-induced high.
How Long Does Delta-8 Stay in Your System?
Effects typically wear off within four to eight hours, depending on the method of intake and amount used. After the effects wear off, delta-8 may remain detectable in your system for a few days to two weeks, depending on how much you used and how regularly.
How Much Delta-8 Should I Use?
Because delta-8 can produce psychoactive effects, we recommend starting with a smaller amount to see how it makes you feel. 5-10 milligrams is a good starting point for most people, and you can increase it little by little each day until you feel the desired effects.
Always check the milligrams per serving for your specific product, and don’t exceed the recommended daily dose listed on the label.
What Happens If I Take Too Much Delta-8?
While delta-8 usually produces a mild and relaxing high, there is still a risk that it can lead to nervousness and increased heart rate, especially when taken in large amounts.
Taking CBD may help counter the undesirable effects of too much delta-8, as can drinking water, trying to distract yourself with something calming, or sleeping it off.
How Long Does It Take for Delta-8 To Kick In?
Delta-8 can take 20 to 90 minutes to kick in, depending on your method of consumption. Delta-8 smoking blends often kick in quickly as they are absorbed in the lungs, while consumables such as our Delta-8 Wildflower Honey will take longer to take effect as they move through the digestive tract before reaching the bloodstream. So if you don’t feel anything right away, it’s best to sit tight rather than try taking more!
The Bottom Line
Third-party tested and quality sourced delta-8 can serve as a less intense alternative to THC for anyone interested in its calming and psychoactive benefits.
You can find locally and ethically sourced delta-8 products at The Brothers Apothecary Shop, along with our entire collection of soothing CBD products!