Are Delta-8 Products Safe to Consume?
Published 12th of August, 2022
Are Delta-8 Products Safe to Consume?
It's no secret that the cannabis industry has recently grown by leaps and bounds. With more and more states legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes, there's been a boom in the production of cannabis products. Delta-8 products are the latest trend in this ever-growing cannabis world. From dispensaries to online retailers, everyone on the market seems to be packing their shelves with delta-8 products like gummies and oils due to their increasingly high demand.
The reason for this high demand? Delta-8 users claim that these products are legally more accessible and offer a less intense high than traditional delta-9 THC products. However, there is still some debate surrounding the safety of delta-8 products, with many contradictory claims being made online.
So, what exactly is delta-8? How does it differ from CBD and delta-9 THC? And is it safe to consume? Here's everything you need to know about this new cannabis compound.
What Is Delta-8?
Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a cannabinoid that occurs naturally in cannabis plants in small concentrations. Cannabinoids are a family of more than 100 hemp-derived compounds that include delta-8 THC, cannabidiol (CBD), and delta-9 THC, the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of "regular" marijuana. Delta-8 and delta-9 THC are isomers, meaning they are compounds with the same formula but a different molecular arrangement. These subtle differences in their molecular structure result in delta-8 having slightly different effects than delta-9 THC when it interacts with our system. It's worth noting that CBD and THC compounds are isomers of each other, as the only difference is in how the molecules in each compound are arranged.
How Are Delta-8 Products Made?
Like all other cannabis-based products, delta-8 products are made by extracting the compound from hemp plants and infusing it into oils and edibles like gummies and chocolate bars. However, because delta-8 THC is found in such small concentrations, manufacturers must often take one additional step to produce a potent enough product in commercial quantities. This "extra step" involves converting CBD extracts into delta-8 THC using a process called isomerization.
Isomerization is a chemical reaction in which the molecules of a compound are rearranged to create a new, structurally distinct compound. In the case of delta-8, this process consists of placing CBD, which is typically found in much higher concentrations, under very specific conditions that allow manufacturers to convert it into delta-8 THC. While this process can happen in nature under the right circumstances, human intervention in manufacturing labs is needed to speed up the process and create delta-8 extracts that are consistent in quality and potency.
So Is Delta-8 Safe?
All evidence so far suggests that delta-8 is as safe as delta-9 THC, posing no serious risks to healthy adults. Side effects are comparable to delta-9 THC, with the most common being dry mouth, bloodshot eyes, and drowsiness if consumed in moderate to large amounts. However, delta-8 is considered significantly less potent than delta-9 THC, so these effects are typically much milder. Of course, you should still plan ahead before consuming delta-8, as it can impair your ability to drive or operate heavy machinery.
Despite its promising safety profile, there is still a lot of skepticism surrounding delta-8 THC. Unfortunately, this is often a result of misunderstanding how delta-8 isomerization works, with many labeling it a synthetic process. Of course, you can make the argument that any cannabinoid that has been altered from its natural state could be considered synthetic. But as we mentioned above, while the isomerization process may convert CBD into delta-8, it's not like this cannabinoid is artificially created in a lab.
As a side note, we should mention that the synthetical manufacturing of consumer products is not inherently harmful or unsafe. In fact, most of the medications we take daily are synthetically manufactured by pharmacists!
Okay, Delta-8 Is Safe. But Is It Legal?
Yes! Delta-8 gummies are legal in more places than other cannabis products, which is why they have become so popular. This is because delta-8 is commonly derived from hemp, which became lawful under federal law in 2018 due to the Agriculture Improvement Act. The act, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, defines hemp as cannabis plants with less than 0.03 percent delta-9 THC by dry weight and marijuana as cannabis plants with more than 0.03 percent delta-9 THC by dry weight, making this distinction crucial for the booming hemp industry.
In short, delta-8 derived from hemp is legal at the federal level, as opposed to marijuana and marijuana-based products. Individual jurisdictions, however, may place limitations and bans on hemp and delta-8, so double-check your local laws before buying any delta-8 or other hemp-derived items.
Delta-8 THC gummies are ideal for anyone who wants a less intense high, whether you're an experienced or new cannabis user. While all research and evidence indicate that delta-8 products are safe, it's always preferable to buy from a well-trusted retailer that uses American-grown hemp and has every product tested at third-party laboratories to ensure the highest quality standards.