Cannabis plants contain numerous naturally-occurring compounds, which give the plants their therapeutic value. These compounds are biologically known as phytocannabinoids or simply cannabinoids. Researchers have since identified at least 130 phytocannabinoids in the cannabis plant.
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the most widely-studied phytocannabinoids. However, there are scores of other minor cannabinoids in marijuana,including cannabichromene (CBC), cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), etc.
Now, both CBD and THC boast incredible healing benefits. But the two compounds differ fundamentally in how they affect the mind. Cannabidiol is neither psychoactive nor intoxicating. On the other hand, tetrahydrocannabinol can produce psychoactive effects and therapeutic benefits.
THC also occurs in various isomers. Isomers refer to compounds that share the same molecular formula but differ considerably in their chemical structure.
Delta-9 THC is the most common and widely studied THC isomer. Others include delta-10 THC and delta 8 THC.
This post focuses the spotlight on delta-8 THC and uncovers some interesting facts about this lesser-known cannabinoid.
What Is Delta 8?
Delta 8 THC is a phytocannabinoid that occurs naturally in cannabis. As already mentioned, this compound is an isomer of tetrahydrocannabinol.
Although delta 8 is a primary constituent of the mind-altering THC, the compound stands out for its mild psychoactive effects. That’s especially if compared to its more potent cousin – delta 9 THC. Most users describe the effects of delta-8 THC as midway between delta-9’s hard-hitting potency and cannabidiol’s relaxing properties.
Delta-8 may not enjoy the same popularity levels as delta-9 THC. But this psychoactive compound has garnered tremendous recognition among cannabis users in the recent past. Again, that has a lot to do with its mild psychoactive effects than regular THC.
In addition to its psychotropic properties, delta 8 THC also boasts several health benefits. Examples include relief from pain, anxiety, insomnia, inflammation, and other medical conditions.
Common Facts About Delta 8
1. Delta-8 Is Extracted From Hemp Plants
You must have come across numerous publications (including this one) that use the words “cannabis” and “marijuana” interchangeably. Indeed, the two terms generally imply the same thing.
However, marijuana may also denote a specific variant of the cannabis plant that’s incredibly high in tetrahydrocannabinol but lower in cannabidiol. When viewed in this respect, “marijuana” is often contrasted with hemp. Hemp plants produce more significant amounts of CBD than THC.
Now, it’s intuitive to imagine that delta 8 THC comes from marijuana, considering that this cultivar of the cannabis Sativa plant is significantly high in THC. But that’s not quite the case. Unlike the more popular delta 9 THC, delta 8 mainly comes from hemp plants.
2. Delta-8 Is Formed By Distillation
Distillation is a standard method used to extract cannabis compounds, and delta 8 THC is no exception.
The distillation process involves heating raw cannabis extracts to a specific temperature. This is usually the temperature at which the desired phytocannabinoid evaporates from the rest of the materials without further degradation.
Once the compound has evaporated, the steam or vapor is subjected to lower temperature conditions to induce condensation. This allows manufacturers to obtain the cannabinoid in its constituent liquid form.
Experts recommend distillation because it yields cannabinoids that are free from impurities. That’s especially if the temperature is efficiently monitored.
3. The Strain Is Extracted In a Chain of Reactions
There are multiple ways to extract delta 8 THC from hemp plants. We’ve just given a brief overview of the distillation method and how it works. But perhaps the most important thing to know about the extraction of delta 8 THC is that the compound undergoes a chain of reactions before it’s available in the markets for sale.
The first step in the extraction of delta 8 THC involves the conversion of a raw hemp flower into cannabidiol oil. Various methods can be used here. But the most preferred methods are those that utilize carbon dioxide (CO2) as a reagent.
After extracting CBD oil, manufacturers add suitable organic solvents and acids to the resultant mixture. Common solvents used include heptane and toluene, whereas common acids include p-toluenesulfonic acid, alumina acid-washed, and hydrochloric acid.
After about three hours, much of the CBD will convert to delta 9 THC. Manufacturers then allow the solution to sit for another 24 – 36 hours. More than 90% of the delta 9 THC will have converted to delta 8 THC by this time. At this point, the resultant compound may undergo further distillation to separate delta 8 from the other cannabinoids in the mixture.
4. Delta-8 Comes In Numerous Products
One great thing to love about delta 8 THC is that the compound comes in various product formulations.
Edibles are another common delta 8 products you can experiment with. Popular options include delta 8-infused chocolate products, baked goods, gummies, and beverage drinks.
Other common categories of delta 8 THC products include oral tinctures, smokable blends, and topicals.
5. Delta-8 THC Is Federally Legal
In 2018, President Donald Trump signed into law the historic 2018 Farm Bill, which decriminalized the cultivation, distribution, and use of hemp-derived products. According to the new law, all hemp products, including CBD extracted from hemp, became legal, provided they contain a maximum potency of 0.3% of the psychoactive compound – delta 9 THC.
The fact that delta 8 THC comes from industrial hemp makes it legal at the federal level. And that consequently makes the compound legal in all fifty states.
Marijuana-derived delta 8 THC may also be legal in states that have decriminalized recreational marijuana, such as California, Colorado, New York, etc.
If you’re a frequent delta 8 user, one best practice is to keep tabs on your local state laws constantly. That’s because the cannabis legal landscape is always shifting. You might wake up one morning to the sad realization that diet weed has been decriminalized in your jurisdiction, rendering you unable to legally access delta 8 THC and other cannabis goods.
Diet weed is a colloquial name for delta 8 THC
Also, if you’re based outside the United States, it’s recommended to check your local cannabis laws before using delta 8 products. Be sure to establish what your local regulations say on medical and recreational cannabis.
6. Delta-8 THC Is Very Similar To Delta-9 THC
As we already pointed out, delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC are both isomers of tetrahydrocannabinol. Therefore, these compounds are closely related.
Although they do not have a similar chemical structure, delta 8 and 9 share an identical chemical formula. These compounds only differ in the position of the double bond in their respective chains of carbon atoms.
Delta 8 THC has its double bond on the eighth carbon atom, whereas the double bond in delta 9 THC occurs in the ninth carbon atom. Interestingly, this seemingly negligible difference determines how potent each cannabinoid is.
7. Delta-8 Is Less Potent Than Delta-9
Delta 9 is the most potent tetrahydrocannabinol isomer. Delta 8 THC and delta 10 THC follow in that order.
Delta 8’s milder effects are one of the main reasons behind its sustained popularity. Users can consume the compound without worrying about experiencing severe psychedelic reactions. The compound delivers a smooth balance between mild euphoria and mental relaxation.
Besides, it’s difficult to overdose on delta 8 THC compared to other common phytocannabinoids. That’s another plus, especially for new users who might still struggle to establish their delta 8 sweet spot.
8. Delta-8 Has Medicinal Properties
Delta 8 THC may be famous for its psychoactive properties. But like all other compounds that exist naturally in cannabis plants, delta 8 also boasts numerous therapeutic benefits.
Pain is the most common medical condition that delta 8 THC may treat. Delta 8 relieves pain by impacting the pain-signaling receptors spread throughout the endocannabinoid system.
Delta 8 THC may also relieve anxiety. Like CBD oil and other phytocannabinoids in weed, delta 8 fights anxiety by improving the body’s access to feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
The following are other medical conditions that delta 8 THC might help to mediate;
Inflammatory diseases like arthritis, cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Physical and mental fatigue
Nausea and appetite loss
Sleep disorders like insomnia
9. Delta-8 THC is Biphasic
Most phytocannabinoids are biphasic. That includes delta 9 THC, CBD products, and even delta 8 THC. A compound is deemed biphasic if it produces different effects depending on the doses consumed.
Delta 8 THC typically delivers a mild psychoactive effect similar to other psychotropic cannabis extracts. But at larger doses, the compound acts as a sedative, offering full-body relaxation.
Therefore, the overall effects of delta 8 THC depend on the doses consumed. As a new user, it’s best to keep your doses low to avoid some of the compound’s adverse events. Common adverse events of delta 8 THC include dry mouth, nervousness, drowsiness, hallucinations, reduced hand-eye coordination, and elevated heart rate.
10. Delta-8 THC is Not Considered to Be Artificial
The past few years have witnessed a surge in demand for synthetic phytocannabinoids. Synthetic cannabinoids are developed in the laboratory under controlled environments that yield compounds that produce effects similar to natural phytocannabinoids.
However, delta 8 THC is not considered synthetic. Although the compound exists in trace amounts in hemp plants, its demand hasn’t surged so high that manufacturers would resort to synthetically produced delta 8.
11. Delta-8 Is Available In Multiple Places
Like all hemp products, there are numerous places to buy delta 8 THC. Common ones include;
Medical marijuana shops
Poison control centers
However, it doesn’t matter where you choose to buy delta 8 THC. Neither does it matter whether you’re planning to use the compound recreationally or for medicinal purposes. It’s essential to research the suppliers carefully.
Insist on delta 8 retailers that have been around much longer and those who enjoy positive reviews from their previous clients.
12. Delta-8 THC Is Not Regulated
We mentioned earlier that delta 8 THC is federally legal provided that it contains no more than 0.3% concentration of the more popular delta 9 THC.
However, not only is delta 8 THC legal. It’s also reassuring to know that delta 8 is not a controlled substance. The compound is mainly unregulated, which reflects favorably on its accessibility.
Delta 8 THC is a hemp-derived compound famous for its milder psychoactive effect than delta 9 THC.
Delta 8 is also federally legal and safer than most psychoactive cannabinoids in marijuana. What makes delta 8 safe is that it delivers mild and tolerable effects.
However, unlike CBD used exclusively for its health benefits, delta 8 is more of a recreational drug. That means it can be highly addictive if overdosed. And that’s probably the only concern surrounding delta 8 THC usage.