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This popular cannabis product claims to be milder than regular marijuana. But is it legal? And is it safe? Tinctures are some of the most popular types of CBD products. But have you ever tried a CBD + delta 8 THC tincture combo? Delta-8 Information Delta-8 is a cannabis compound that has become popular because of its similarity to delta-9. Both delta-8 and delta-9 are cannabinoids and are similar in both their names and

How Delta-8 THC Works, and Why Experts Are Worried About It

This popular cannabis product claims to be milder than regular marijuana. But is it legal? And is it safe?

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By Dana G. Smith

Over the past few years, you may have seen headlines about a drug called delta-8. Google searches for the term grew by more than 850 percent in the United States between 2020 and 2021, particularly in states where recreational marijuana is illegal. According to one recent study, 16 percent of regular marijuana users also use delta-8.

Some claim it’s the next big thing in cannabis: a gentler and, perhaps more crucially, legal high that offers relaxation and pain relief without the anxiety or fuzzy-headedness of regular weed.

But recent warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration say delta-8 is a potentially dangerous drug that’s resulted in thousands of accidental poisonings.

Is this a case of regulators being too cautious or of cannabis advocates getting too hyped? The answer depends on what’s actually in a product labeled delta-8.

Some early research supports the claim that delta-8 could cause a milder high than traditional marijuana. But because the drug is unregulated, the vast majority of delta-8 products on the market don’t resemble what’s tested in a lab and can be contaminated with other cannabinoids and heavy metals. As a result, many experts advise against its use.

What is delta-8?

Technically, delta-8 means delta-8-THC, as in the THC that’s the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

The most common form of THC in cannabis plants is delta-9-THC, which is almost identical to delta-8-THC in its chemical structure. The molecules’ similarity means that delta-8 and delta-9 act very similarly in the body. Most crucially, they both bind to the same receptors in the brain, particularly one called the cannabinoid type 1 (or CB1) receptor, which produces the high you experience when you smoke a joint or eat a weed gummy.

However, research suggests delta-8 has a slightly weaker attachment to the CB1 receptor than delta-9, which tempers its effect.

“Delta-8-THC is less potent than delta-9-THC,” said Linda Klumpers, co-founder of Verdient Science, a pharmacology consulting company that specializes in cannabis-based medicines. “If you want to achieve the same effect as delta-9-THC, you need to give a higher dose of delta-8.”

Why are people using it?

A survey of delta-8 users backs this up, with respondents reporting feeling less paranoid, less anxious and having a “nicer” high compared with delta-9-THC. The most common experiences when using delta-8 were relaxation, euphoria and pain relief. People did report having some difficulty concentrating, problems with short-term memory and an altered sense of time, although not to the same extent as with regular marijuana.

“When we asked participants to compare delta-8 to delta-9, they felt that it was less intense,” said Jessica Kruger, a clinical assistant professor of health behavior at the University at Buffalo, who led the survey. “They remarked how they could use delta-8 and still be productive, whereas when they use delta-9 they would say that they had things like ‘couch lock’ or didn’t feel like getting up and doing anything.”

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Dr. Kruger and Dr. Klumpers said it’s unlikely that delta-8 has different effects than delta-9. Instead, experts said, the explanation is probably that there’s less of the drug in the CB1 receptors, so people are less likely to experience the more distressing symptoms that can occur when they get too high.

Is it legal?

The purportedly milder high is one of delta-8’s main attractions for users. The other is its legal status.

Delta-8’s rise started with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, which made hemp legal. Hemp and marijuana are both types of cannabis plants, but marijuana produces delta-9-THC and hemp doesn’t. Think of hemp and marijuana like two varieties of tomato plants, if one type of tomato could get you high.

The Farm Bill stated that hemp could be grown legally as long as it contained less than 0.3 percent THC. But, said Kent Vrana, a professor of pharmacology at Penn State, the authors of the bill made an oversight: They defined THC specifically as delta-9-THC, which is still illegal federally. With that definition, a market for delta-8 was born.

Delta-8-THC is detectable only in trace amounts in both hemp and marijuana plants, but manufacturers have figured out a way to produce it from a third notable chemical in cannabis plants, CBD. CBD is present in large quantities in hemp plants, and because CBD is legal, they assert, so is delta-8.

“What these manufacturers are arguing is that since you can extract CBD from hemp, and CBD is not THC, that it’s still considered hemp,” said Eric Leas, an assistant professor of public health at the University of California, San Diego. In other words, delta-8 is chemically THC, but legally hemp.

The manufactured delta-8-THC is typically added to gummies and vape cartridges and sold legally over the internet and in stores. But because the products are unregulated, what’s on the label can differ from what’s inside the package, both in terms of the potency of delta-8 and other unanticipated ingredients, like delta-9.

Is it dangerous?

The lack of regulation in the United States around delta-8 is the biggest concern for many public health experts. Several studies, including one by the US Cannabis Council, have found contaminants in delta-8 products. In another paper published in December by scientists at the University of Rochester, none of the 27 delta-8 products tested contained the amount of delta-8 they claimed. What’s more, all 27 had potentially harmful byproducts, presumably from the manufacturing process, including other cannabinoids, like delta-9-THC, and heavy metals, including lead and mercury.

“I don’t think delta-8 by itself is more dangerous than delta-9, but the way it’s made and who is selling it just scares the heck out of me,” Dr. Vrana said. “It’s unregulated, and because it’s synthetic there are plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong.”

Because of these concerns, the C.D.C. issued a health advisory about delta-8 in September. The F.D.A. put out a similar warning in May after receiving 104 reports of adverse events from delta-8 use, including hallucinations, vomiting, tremor, anxiety, dizziness, confusion and loss of consciousness.

Similarly, national poison control centers handled over 2,000 calls about delta-8 between January 2021 and February 2022, 41 percent of which involved children accidentally ingesting products with delta-8 in them. One of those cases resulted in death.

These poisonings could be caused by contaminants, or consuming large quantities of delta-8 or unlabeled delta-9. THC can cause chronic vomiting, psychosis and addiction when used at high concentrations.

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Facing a lack of federal regulation, 14 states have banned either delta-8 or all unregulated forms of THC (there’s a delta-10, too). Surprisingly, this includes several states where recreational marijuana is legal, including Colorado and New York. According to Dr. Leas, the regulatory system for recreational marijuana makes it a safer product than delta-8. He points to manufacturing quality checks as important public health standards. In theory, the licensing of distributors, existing age limits and labeling rules about potency and recommended dose of a product — plus confirmation requirements for those labels — should protect consumers. None of those protections exist for delta-8-THC.

All the experts interviewed for this article, including those supportive of legalizing marijuana, recommended against using delta-8, because there is no way to ensure its safety. However, they also said the best solution is not to ban delta-8 but to regulate it.

“Regulation, for me as a pharmacologist and toxicologist, is: ‘What’s in it?’” said Dr. Vrana. “You have every right to know precisely what you’re taking.”

Dana Smith is an award-winning health and science writer based in Durham, N.C.

Full-Spectrum CBD+Delta 8 Oil

Tinctures are one of the most popular product types in the CBD world. When we introduce delta 8 to the equation, our users fell in love. A powerful cousin to the delta 9 THC in weed, delta 8 is a legal alternative that we extract from hemp.

Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and all its derivatives are legal as long as the strain contains 0.3% delta 9 THC or less on a dry-weight basis. Our products always follow these guidelines, so you’re in the clear. Our CBD+delta 8 THC tincture is the perfect combination for a variety of your needs and is about 50 to 75% less potent than delta 9 in weed.

Why Choose a CBD+Delta 8 Tincture?

As CBD and delta 8 continue to grow in popularity, demand for research on the topics are at an all-time high. Finally, researchers are able to get valuable data on the subjects. They’re able to evaluate more human participants instead of just relying on animal studies. Likewise, they’re also able to start getting broader clinical trials rolled out to a wider number of participants.

What we’ve seen so far is the potential both CBD and delta 8 have. With research only in its beginning phases for most of what delta 8 has to offer, we can’t wait to find out more. In the meantime, be sure to try out this powerful combination of a tincture. Meant to be applied under the tongue or swallowed directly, we’re excited to see what you think.

Warning: This product could cause you to fail a drug test.

The updated legal definition of hemp, set by Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill, is:
“the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

This product is legal according to federal law and most state laws. Our distillate is derived from federally legal hemp materials and does not contain more than the legal limit of 0.3% ∆9THC. Local laws and regulations may deem this product illegal in your state or territory and it is your sole responsibility to verify your compliance before purchase. We are not responsible for knowing whether this product is legal in your area and you assume full responsibility for all parts pertaining to your purchase.

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Delta-8 Information

Delta-8 is a cannabis compound that has become popular because of its similarity to delta-9. Both delta-8 and delta-9 are cannabinoids and are similar in both their names and their chemical structures. THC is the part of the marijuana plant that produces the “high” associated with marijuana; the scientific name for THC is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-9 THC, or just delta-9. Delta-8 is short for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-8 THC. Delta-8 causes effects for users similar to regular delta-9.

Delta-8 occurs naturally in small quantities in cannabis, however most of the commercially available delta-8 has been synthesized through a conversion process that uses a variety of chemicals to convert hemp-derived CBD into delta-8.

Delta-8 – like delta-9 (regular THC) – binds to the body’s endocannabinoid system, which causes a user to feel high. Chemically, delta-8 and delta-9 are similar in that they both have a double bond in their structures. Both cannabinoids have a chain of carbon atoms, but delta-8 has the double bond on the eighth carbon, whereas delta-9 has it on the ninth carbon. This double bond is thought to produce the intoxicating effects that make the user feel high. Delta-8 binds to the endocannabinoid system in a slightly different fashion because of the location of its double bond. This is what is thought to make delta-8 much less potent than regular THC. However, more research needs to be done on delta-8 and how it interacts with the body.

It is important to note that delta-9 is naturally occurring in relatively high concentrations in marijuana flower while delta-8 is naturally occurring in marijuana flower but in very low concentrations. When you see a delta-9 concentrate product, the cannabinoids in that product were likely extracted directly from the cannabis plant (marijuana) and concentrated. However, when you see a delta-8 concentrate product, the cannabinoids in that product were likely synthetized and concentrated through a chemical process. Nearly all delta-8 THC is derived from CBD which has been extracted from federally legal hemp, not cannabis, which is why it is currently sold in many states where cannabis is illegal.

Delta-9 marijuana products are produced from cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant and are strictly regulated and subject to stringent testing standards. Conversely, delta-8 products are created using unregulated, chemically synthesized cannabinoids that are, often, entirely untested. Because of this clandestine synthesis process, delta-8 products can contain harmful additives and byproducts.

Side effects of delta-8 may be similar to those of delta-9, including dry mouth, red eyes, getting the munchies, short-term memory, paranoia, or anxiety. Delta-8 hasn’t been studied extensively and more research is needed on the effects it has on the mind and body.

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has – in a proposed rule that is not yet final – indirectly classified delta-8 as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, which would make it federally illegal. The state of Michigan recently passed legislation that classified delta-8 as marijuana and therefore the production, distribution, and sale of delta-8 will now be regulated by the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA).

Effective October 11, 2021, it is illegal for businesses to sell delta-8 without proper licensing from the MRA. Members of the public can report unlicensed commercial production or sale of delta-8 to the MRA by emailing [email protected]

The MRA has created a one-page document with information about delta-8 and has made it available on the website here.

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