When people talk about THC, they are typically referring to delta-9 THC. This is the chemical responsible for the high associated with marijuana, but it’s not the only natural compound found in cannabis plants. Delta-8 THC is another “form” of the compound that has started to gain more and more popularity.
Although some states have legalized marijuana for recreational and medical use, on the federal level the plant remains a Schedule I drug. However, the legality of the individual compounds found in cannabis plants, including delta-8 THC fall into a major gray area. Thanks to a loophole of sorts in the 2018 Farm Bill, delta-8 THC is currently unregulated at the federal level. However, more and more regulations are starting to emerge from the state level, which could eventually lead to federal regulation too.
What Is Delta-8 THC?
Cannabis and hemp plants contain a multitude of naturally occurring compounds, including over 120 cannabinoids, like CBD and various forms of THC. Delta-8 THC is a minor cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp plants. Though research surrounding all cannabinoids is relatively new and still developing, there is less knowledge in the direction of minor cannabinoids compared to the primary ones like THC (delta-9) or CBD.
Delta-8 THC occurs in all cannabis and hemp plants in very small concentrations, with most of the Delta-8 THC available being produced from hemp plants. Delta-8 THC is a relative of Delta-9 THC, with a similar molecular structure, but with a few notable differences. From a chemical standpoint, delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC differ due to the location of a double bind in their molecular chain. Delta-8 THC contains the bond on the 8th carbon chain while delta-9 THC has it on the 9th carbon chain. Though this is a small difference in structure, there is a detectable difference in how each affects the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Delta-8 THC’s bond with the CB1 receptor is somewhat like that of Delta-9 THC, but due to its difference in molecular structure the interaction is different. The CB1 receptor within the ECS is largely responsible for moderating the psychoactive effects of THC, so the difference in bonding could be the reason for the reported reduction in psychoactive properties. Users of delta-8 THC have reported similar effects that like of traditional THC, but less intense. The reduced psychoactive effects of delta-8 THC could be a bridge to reaping the benefits of delta-9 THC without the intense “high” so well known to the cannabinoid. Delta-8 is thought to have potentially therapeutic properties similar to CBD and THC. To learn more about the benefits of delta-8, click here.
Delta-8 THC Legality
Most delta-8 products on the market today are sourced from hemp plants. While restrictions may vary state by state, like restrictions surrounding delta-9 THC, currently most delta-8 preparations are hemp-derived and fall under the legislation of 2018 Farm Bill. The 2018 Farm Bill has some vague positions surrounding traditional THC, stating all hemp and cannabis derived products must have less than 0.3% delta-9 THC threshold.
While delta-8 remains federally unregulated for now, more states are moving to implement regulations. Michigan is at the forefront of new legislation with delta-8 being reined in by Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency beginning in October. These new regulations remove some of the grey area surrounding delta-8 THC.
Businesses selling delta-8 without licensing, testing or other regulations will be barred and must follow the same permitting and guidelines in place for recreational marijuana. Hemp is not regulated under state marijuana laws in Michigan; however, all THC products will now be subject to appropriate licensing, testing, and tracking. Following the new legislation being signed in by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, more states are expected to follow suit with similar regulations.
While more states move to implement regulations on delta-8, there is still an abundance of product available. Delta-8 THC is available in a variety of forms and products. One of the most common is through inhalables, from hemp strains to vape products. Delta-8 THC oils, edibles and drinks are also becoming more and more popular. If you are familiar with cannabidiol products, you will find many that are crafted in similar ways, but with a focus on delta-8.
As with any cannabinoid-based product, finding a safe and reliable source is key to getting all the benefits of a delta-8 THC product. Relying on third party lab test results is the best way to ensure you are getting a quality product that is not only safe and effective, but also within the legal parameters of delta-8 and delta-9 THC.
If you are curious about trying out delta-8 THC, sometimes referred to as “diet weed” or “cannabis light,” turn to Real Tested CBD and our independent lab test results and product reviews. We test for purity, potency and overall quality, ensuring you are getting what you want out of your delta-8 purchase. To check out our Best Delta-8 Products Category, click here.