What is delta-8?

Linda Rider

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Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-8 THC, is a compound of the Cannabis sativa plant. Research shows that it may provide some benefits, such as promoting relaxation and reducing pain.

However, there has not been enough research to determine the effectiveness and safety of this compound. In addition, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies delta-8 as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

This article explores what delta-8 is, its risks and benefits, and how it compares with cannabidiol (CBD). Then, it provides a selection of full-spectrum CBD products that people may wish to try instead of delta-8.

Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3 percent THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

Delta-8 is one of the more than 100 compounds that naturally occur in the Cannabis sativa plant. Concentrated delta-8 commonly comes from hemp-derived CBD.

Learn more about CBD here.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that delta-8 has similar psychoactive and intoxicating properties to delta-9 THC, the compound that causes euphoria, or a “high,” that people may experience from consuming or smoking cannabis.

Delta-8 has a slightly different molecular structure to delta-9 THC, which some might call “regular THC.”

Learn more about the difference between THC and CBD here.

Due to this difference, delta-8 may not affect a person’s mind in the same way as regular THC. Research suggests that the effects of delta-8 are less intense than those of delta-9. The effects that people do feel last for about the same amount of time.

However, the research is observational and relies on the participants’ self-reporting. Overall, there have been too few studies to understand the psychoactive differences between delta-8 and delta-9.

Older research has found that delta-8 may reduce nausea in children receiving treatment for cancer. All eight participants reported no vomiting after their chemotherapy sessions.

Additionally, a 2022 study found that delta-8 THC may:

  • promote relaxation
  • reduce in pain
  • lead to less anxiety and paranoia than delta-9 THC

However, more research is needed.

The FDA has not evaluated or approved any delta-8 products for use. This means that it has not determined their safety. The agency has, however, noted these risks:

  • It is likely that delta-8 products are more concentrated than raw hemp or cannabis products. This makes establishing a safe dosage difficult.
  • The manufacturing process may use unsafe chemcials and take pace in unsanitary facilities
  • Delta-8 may cause adverse reactions in children, such as vomiting or hallucinations, and require hospitalization.
  • It may also cause adverse reactions in pets.

The legal status of delta-8 has changed in recent years and may change again.

Originally, the compound was not subject to federal law due to a loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill. This bill made it legal for farmers to grow industrial hemp that contained less than 0.3{fe463f59fb70c5c01486843be1d66c13e664ed3ae921464fa884afebcc0ffe6c} THC, but it did not specifically mention delta-8 or other cannabinoids.

In August 2020, the DEA released new regulations. These classify delta-8 and other forms of THC as Schedule 1 controlled substances.

While delta-8 has this classification at the federal level, however, its legality varies by state. It is important to check current local laws.

The following table compares the benefits, risks, and legality of delta-8, delta-9, and CBD.

Full-spectrum CBD contains a wide range of cannabis compounds, including up to 0.3{fe463f59fb70c5c01486843be1d66c13e664ed3ae921464fa884afebcc0ffe6c} THC.

Learn more about full-spectrum CBD here.

Below, find some full-spectrum products that a person might take instead of delta-8.

CBDMD Full-Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture Chocolate Mint

This tincture contains terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids from hemp plants that have not been genetically modified and grown in the United States. It is available in chocolate mint or “natural” flavors.

The company states that its CBD is third-party tested, and it recommends using this tincture in recipes and beverages or by placing it under the tongue.

This tincture is available in concentrations of 750, 1,500, or 3,000 milligrams (mg) of CBD per bottle.

Price: CBDMD Full-Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture Chocolate Mint starts at $59.99.

Charlotte’s Web Daily Wellness CBD Gummies

One serving of these gummies contains 25 mg of CBD from hemp grown in the U.S.

The company states that these gummies may help people fall asleep easier, and it recommends taking two a day.

Price: Charlotte’s Web Daily Wellness CBD Gummies cost $69.99.

CBDistillery Full-Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture

This tincture has 1,000 mg of CBD per bottle and 33 mg of CBD in every serving.

The company states that it uses only U.S.-grown hemp that has not been genetically modified. Additionally, it says that a third-party lab tests its products to ensure purity and safety.

The company recommends holding 1 serving under the tongue for 10–20 seconds before swallowing.

Price: CBDistillery Full-Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture has a list price of $70.

Papa & Barkley CBD Releaf Body Oil

This oil contains 400 mg of CBD per bottle, plus fractionated coconut oil, vitamin E, and essential oils.

The company recommends this product for people with muscle aches. A person can use it widely or only apply it to tight muscles. People should rub 3 or more pumps of this oil into the skin for 20–30 seconds.

Price: Papa & Barkley CBD Releaf Body Oil costs $40.

Below are answers to some common questions about delta-8.

Does delta-8 have THC in it?

Delta-8 is a form of THC.

However, its molecular structure differs slightly from that of delta-9, which a person might call “regular THC.” As a result, it may affect a person differently from delta-9.

Who should use delta-8?

Research suggests that delta-8 can provide pain relief and aid in relaxation. Its effects may be less intense than those of delta-9, but it is psychoactive.

Overall, there has not been enough research to gauge the safety or effectiveness of this compound.

Does delta-8 show up in drug tests?

Most drug tests screen for delta-9, or regular THC. However, research suggests that drug tests find it difficult to distinguish between delta-8 and delta-9.

So, if a person takes delta-8, they might test positive for a drug.

Learn more about how long cannabis stays in the body.

Is delta-8 safe?

There is not enough research to determine the safety and effectiveness of delta-8.

The FDA observes that delta-8 products have more of this compound than occurs naturally in raw hemp or cannabis products. As a result, it is difficult to identify a safe dosage.

Also, due to a lack of regulation, there is a risk that manufacturers make delta-8 products in unsafe and unsanitary conditions.

Is delta-8 legal?

The DEA classifies delta-8 as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. However, state laws may vary. Check local legislation carefully before buying a product containing this compound.

Does delta-8 produce a high?

Research suggests that delta-8 has similar effects to delta-9. People have reported a feeling of euphoria, or a high, alongside dry mouth, red eyes, dizziness, blurry vision, and a small increase in heart rate.

Delta-8 is one of the many compounds in cannabis. It has psychoactive properties similar to those of delta-9 THC.

Some research suggests that delta-8 may have some beneficial properties. However, there has not been enough research to determine its safety and effectiveness. The DEA classifies it as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, though its legality may vary from state to state.

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