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What is Delta-8 THC & Where Does it Come From?

By Danyal Swan October 4, 2023

Delta-8 THC is a hot topic in the cannabis industry these days. This close cousin of delta-9 THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, is touted as producing mildly intoxicating effects while remaining federally legal. But what exactly is delta-8, and how does it differ from other cannabinoids like CBD and delta-9 THC? Keep reading to learn all about this trending compound.

What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly abbreviated as delta-8 THC, is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Like the more well-known delta-9 THC, delta-8 is considered a psychoactive cannabinoid, meaning it can produce intoxicating effects when consumed.

Chemically, delta-8 and delta-9 THC contain the same atoms but in a slightly different arrangement. Both contain double bonds in their molecular chain, but for delta-8 THC this bond is on the 8th carbon atom while delta-9's is on the 9th carbon. This small structural variance is why some claim delta-8 produces milder effects compared to delta-9, though research is still limited.

Delta-8 occurs naturally in tiny traces in most cannabis strains, often around 1% or less. So in order to produce commercial quantities, it must be synthetically converted from abundant cannabinoids like CBD and delta-9 THC.

Is Delta-8 Legal?

This is where things get hazy. Since delta-8 is synthesized from legal hemp-derived CBD, some argue it falls into a legal gray area thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. However, the DEA disputes this, claiming delta-8 is a controlled substance illegal under federal law.

So far, federal agencies have not taken action against delta-8 products, though some states have banned or restricted its sale. The legality of delta-8 products remains questionable and in flux. Consumers should look into their state's specific laws before purchasing.

Where Does Delta-8 THC Come From?

While tiny traces of delta-8 occur naturally, commercial quantities are synthetically produced in labs. The process starts with legal hemp-derived CBD isolate, which is dissolved and chemically converted into delta-8 distillate through the use of solvents, acids, and chemical reactions.

Some experts argue this semi-synthetic production process could result in delta-8 products containing unknown impurities, as the compounds used to make it may not be fully purged. There is also concern about improper manufacturing processes creating contaminants.

With no regulations or oversight, delta-8 products widely vary in quality, purity, and safety. This has raised alarm among some health professionals and cannabis industry experts.

Does Delta-8 Show Up on a Drug Test?

Most likely, yes. Though usually less sensitive, drug tests do not distinguish between delta-8 and delta-9 THC metabolites. So delta-8 could cause a positive drug test result, especially if you use it frequently or in high doses.

There is also the risk of delta-8 products containing some residual delta-9 THC, which would also trigger a positive. If you get drug tested, it's safest to avoid all THC and cannabis-derived products.

Delta-8 vs. Delta-9: What's The Difference?

As we've covered, delta-8 and delta-9 THC have a nearly identical molecular structure that differs only in the location of a double carbon bond. This small variance results in some distinct differences:

  • Delta-9 is much more abundant, making up the majority of THC in cannabis. Delta-8 occurs only in trace amounts naturally.
  • Delta-9 is considered more potent, with research indicating delta-8 has about two-thirds the psychoactive potency.
  • Effects of delta-8 are reported to be clearer and more functional compared to delta-9's more intoxicating "high."
  • Delta-9 has been researched extensively, while delta-8's effects in humans are still not well understood.

The bottom line is that delta-8 is similar to delta-9 THC, but likely milder in its effects. However, every person's endocannabinoid system responds uniquely, so experiences can vary widely.

Delta-8 THC Side Effects: Does Delta-8 Get You High?

Delta-8 is psychoactive and can produce a mild high, though less intense than delta-9 THC. Reported effects include:

  • Light euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Pain relief
  • Increased appetite
  • Shorter duration than delta-9

Possible side effects mirror delta-9 and include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in mood
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Slowed reaction time

Higher doses may increase anxiety or paranoia in some people. As with any substance, it's wise to start low and go slow until you understand how delta-8 affects you individually.

Shop THC You Can Trust at MÜV

Delta-8 is a cannabinoid that is growing in popularity thanks to its mildly intoxicating effects. However, this close relative of delta-9 THC has some key differences, including its questionable legal status and potential safety risks from unregulated production methods. While some people may enjoy delta-8 for its milder high, the lack of regulation raises concerns about its safety and legality. Delta-8 THC provides a mildly intoxicating high that some people may find enjoyable. However, with unregulated production methods, questionable legality, and potential safety risks, traditional delta-9 THC and CBD products from licensed dispensaries like MÜV remain the most reliable options.

At MÜV, we take a science-based approach to cannabis, providing our patients with reliable products and facts to make informed decisions. As one of Florida's first licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, we have extensive experience navigating cannabis regulations and safety protocols. We believe in leveraging the proven benefits of established cannabinoids like THC and CBD to bring patients relief. If you're interested in delta-8 but have concerns, our knowledgeable staff can provide guidance to determine if a regulated medical marijuana product may be better suited to your needs.

Your health, safety, and satisfaction come first at our dispensaries to ensure your well-being. To learn more about the reliable medical marijuana we offer, get in touch with us or stop by one of our welcoming dispensaries.

Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Contributor for Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.

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