The global legal cannabis market has grown significantly in the past decade, and it’s projected to be worth $134.4 billion in 2030.
During this time, the compound Delta-8 THC has gained popularity among cannabis enthusiasts and medical users, particularly in areas where traditional THC products remain illegal. Delta-8 THC is similar to Delta-9 THC, which is the psychoactive part of marijuana that makes you feel “high” when you use it.
Delta-8 THC makes people feel less high than its counterpart, and because it can interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, it may also have some therapeutic value.
Delta-8 vs. Delta-9 THC: What’s the Difference?
At the molecular level, Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC have similar structures. The primary difference is that Delta-8 has a double bond on the 8th carbon atom of the molecule, whereas Delta-9 has a double bond on the 9th (hence their respective names).
Because of this small change in structure, Delta-8 and Delta-9 interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system in different ways, causing different effects.
The most obvious difference between Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC is how much they make you feel high. Generally speaking, Delta-8 produces a milder “high.”
Is Delta-8 THC Legal?
To understand more about Delta-8 THC, it’s important to review what it is, how it works, and the legal implications of using this compound.
Under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived cannabinoids are legal as long as they contain no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC content on a dry-weight basis.
Since Delta 8 is similar to Delta 9, it is thought to be a cannabinoid that comes from hemp and is legal in many of the 50 US states.
However, it is highly restricted in many states and illegal in 14 others because of its psychoactive properties, so it’s important to check with the laws in your state before you purchase or consume Delta-8 THC products.
How Does Delta-8 Work?
Delta-8 has a similar molecular structure to Delta-9 but is different enough that it produces different effects. Delta-8 binds to the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 and CB2 receptors and makes you feel less high than Delta-9.
Simply put, Delta-8 binds to fewer receptors in the body, making it less potent. This is good for people who don’t want to get as high as they would with Delta-9.
If you’re wondering, “does Delta 8 show up on a drug test?” The answer is yes, as it’s still a THC product. Since it has many of the same chemical compounds, you will still test positive for cannabinoids after using Delta-8 products.
Delta-8 THC Controversy
Since Delta-8 THC only has a small amount of the traditional THC that gets people high, you might think it is safe.
However, there are still risks associated with the consumption of Delta-8 THC, including potential psychoactive effects and side effects.
- The availability of Delta-8 means more underage users. When smoke shops and similar stores are able to carry Delta-8 products, teens and young adults under the legal age for marijuana consumption are still able to get access to Delta-8 THC, which can produce intoxicating effects.
- Delta-8 products aren’t regulated by the FDA. Since they are derived from hemp, Delta-8 products are not regulated by the FDA and may contain impurities that could be harmful.
- The psychoactive effects of Delta-8 can still be significant. Delta-8 can still produce psychoactive effects, with many users reporting feeling “high” or intoxicated after using Delta-8. This essentially creates a loophole for those trying to get around the legal restrictions on marijuana.
Overall, it’s important to research and understand the risks associated with consuming Delta-8 THC before doing so. As long as you are aware of the potential side effects and follow all applicable laws in your state, Delta-8 can be a safe and enjoyable alternative to Delta-9 THC. Always remember to purchase your Delta-8 products from trusted, reputable vendors and to use them responsibly.