Substance Use

What Is Delta 8 THC? The Effects And Risks

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Delta-8 THC, a chemical compound found in cannabis, is a psychoactive substance similar to its more commonly known counterpart, Delta-9 THC. While Delta-8 THC may produce mild euphoria and relaxation, its effects are generally less potent than Delta-9 THC.

However, research on Delta-8 THC is limited, and its long-term effects and potential risks remain unclear. Users should exercise caution as products containing Delta-8 THC may vary in purity and quality, and its legality is subject to regional regulations and sometimes federal.

Adverse effects, including anxiety, paranoia, and impaired coordination, have been reported, emphasizing the need for informed consumption and further research into its safety and efficacy. Luckily, this article will get into more information about the risks and effects of delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol.

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Delta-8 THC: What Is It?

Delta-8 THC is one of the 100+ cannabinoids naturally produced by the cannabis plant. However, this compound is not found in significant amounts. (1)

Companies are synthetically producing delta-8 products to optimize the recent cannabis craze — many of which contain potentially harmful chemical additives or contaminants.

While delta-8 can yield some of the same potential benefits as delta-9 when taken as medically prescribed, such as relaxation and pain relief, the advantages of delta-8 products do not currently outweigh the risks. 

Researchers have not yet studied this cannabinoid enough to verify its safety — and manufacturers are not necessarily following FDA guidelines during the production of synthetic products. (2)

Please note: If you have been seeking a product that yields the benefits of cannabis without the high, CBD is something you can discuss with your healthcare professional. Regulated products may be prescribed for anxiety, insomnia, and pain. You must work with healthcare professionals to discuss FDA-approved CBD products. 

What Is The Difference Between CBD And Delta-8?

CBD (cannabidiol) and Delta-8 THC are two compounds derived from the cannabis plant, but they have notable differences. CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t make you feel “high.” (3) (4) Instead, it is often used for its potential calming effects without altering your state of mind.

On the other hand, Delta-8 THC does have psychoactive properties, although they are milder compared to the more well-known Delta-9 THC. Users might experience a subtle euphoria and relaxation with Delta-8, distinguishing it from CBD’s non-psychoactive nature.

In terms of legality, CBD is widely accepted and legal in many places, often derived from hemp plants with low THC content. Delta-8 THC, on the other hand, has a more complex legal status and may be subject to regional regulations, especially if sourced from marijuana.

While both CBD and delta-8 THC products come from the cannabis plant, their effects and legal status differ. (4) CBD is known for its non-psychoactive and calming properties, while Delta-8 THC has mild psychoactive effects, making it important for individuals to be aware of these distinctions based on their preferences and local laws. (4)

How Does Delta-8 THC Differ From Other Cannabinoids?

Delta-8 THC, a chemical compound found in cannabis, differs from other cannabinoids in several key ways:

  • Structural Variation:
    • Delta-9 THC Distinction: Delta-8 THC is an analog of Delta-9 THC, sharing a similar molecular structure but with variations in the placement of a double bond. This structural difference contributes to the variance in their psychoactive effects. (5)
  • Psychoactive Potency:
    • Milder Effects: While Delta-9 THC is renowned for its potent psychoactive effects, Delta-8 THC offers a less intense experience. Users commonly report a more subdued euphoria and relaxation, making it a distinct option for those seeking a milder impact.
  • Source of Origin:
    • Hemp-Derived vs. Marijuana-Derived: Delta-8 THC can be sourced from both hemp and marijuana. Its legality often hinges on this distinction, as hemp-derived Delta-8 THC might be subject to different regulations than its marijuana-derived counterpart. From these origins, edibles, brownies, supplements, or hemp candies will be made.
  • Binding Affinity to Receptors:
    • Cannabinoid Receptor Interaction: Delta-8 THC, like Delta-9 THC, interacts with the endocannabinoid system by binding to CB1 receptors in the brain. (6) However, Delta-8 THC exhibits a lower binding affinity to these receptors, influencing the overall intensity of its psychoactive effects.
  • Legal Considerations:
    • Regulatory Landscape: The legal status of Delta-8 THC is still evolving and varies by region. Its emergence has outpaced regulatory frameworks in some areas, leading to legal ambiguities. Understanding whether it is sourced from hemp or marijuana is crucial for navigating regional regulations.
  • Research Limitations:
    • Sparse Scientific Exploration: Delta-8 THC has not been as extensively researched as other cannabinoids, such as CBD or Delta-9 THC. Consequently, limited information is available regarding the potential long-term effects and risks of cannabis use.

Effects And Risks of Delta-8 THC

Delta-8 THC, or delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, is a psychoactive in the Cannabis sativa plant — in which marijuana and hemp are two varieties. (7) While similar to delta-9 THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (the compound that produces a high), delta-8 has a different chemical structure and is typically synthetically made. 

There are concerns about the legal and health risks of delta-8, as it is not as well researched as delta-9 or regulated at the federal level. Delta-8 products may not have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), increasing the potential complications. Several adverse events have already been reported due to intoxicating and psychoactive effects. 

The FDA is aware of the growing concern surrounding delta-8 products, which are now being sold online and by in-store retailers. (8) The greatest problem is that these products haven’t been evaluated or approved for use, yet they are being marketed as beneficial, claiming therapeutic benefits.

These products are sometimes marketed as “hemp products,” misleading those seeking a non-psychoactive alternative. 

These marketing claims from social media in the U.S. food system are federal law violations and are putting consumers at risk, especially those taking frequent doses higher than recommended. 

Some of the greatest concerns include:

  • Variability in formulations and product labeling 
  • The inclusion of other terpenes or cannabinoids that are not well-understood 
  • Differences in delta-8 THC concentrations 

Since the amount of delta-8 THC in hemp plants is quite low, manufacturers introduce several chemicals to convert other cannabinoids into delta-8. There are concerns that unsafe household chemicals are being used in this process, which occurs in unsanitary, uncontrolled environments. 

The Potential Benefits and Side Effects of Delta-8

Since 2020, the popularity and use of delta-8 products have exploded in the United States. These unregulated products can be purchased online, in smoke shops, and even in gas stations. (9)

When taking normal amounts of delta-8 products, users report feelings of:

  • Relaxation
  • Euphoria 
  • Intoxicating effects
  • Potential relief 

These effects overlap with delta-9 THC but are often milder. However, researchers still don’t know enough about delta-8 to confirm its benefits. Also, there are so many possible formula variations that one product will not be consistent compared to the next — which remains a major concern. 

Since delta-8 is so similar to delta-9, it produces similar side effects, including: (10)

  • Dry mouth
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Slow reaction times 
  • Anxiety 
  • Memory loss 
  • Slowed coordination 
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Red eyes
  • Chest pain 
  • Chronic pain
  • Drug abuse 
  • Toxicity to several agents 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reported that delta-8 THC intoxication can result in coma. Other effects, such as difficulty breathing and low blood pressure, can also significantly increase complications for those with pre-existing health conditions. 

The primary issue with delta-8 is that it’s synthetically produced and largely unregulated. It’s unclear whether by-products are safe to consume, especially in large doses.

In 2020, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) clarified the use of delta-8 THC regarding the Farm Bill, stating that “all synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) remain Schedule I controlled substances.” (11)

What To Know About Delta 8 vs. Delta-9 THC?

Delta-9 THC: Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis and is responsible for the plant’s euphoric effects. (12) It binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system, influencing mood, perception, and cognition. 

Delta-9 THC is commonly associated with the “high” experienced when using cannabis. Its legal status varies worldwide, with some regions allowing regulated use for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Delta-8 THC: Delta-8 THC is a structural analog of Delta-9 THC, sharing a similar molecular structure with a few key differences. While Delta-8 THC also binds to cannabinoid receptors, it does so with less affinity, resulting in milder psychoactive effects.

Users often report more subtle euphoria and relaxation compared to Delta-9 THC. Delta-8 THC is derived from hemp and may be extracted or synthesized, and its legal status depends on regional regulations.

Key Differences:

  1. Potency: Delta-9 THC is generally more potent than Delta-8 THC, leading to a stronger psychoactive experience.
  2. Source: Delta-9 THC is primarily derived from marijuana, while Delta-8 THC is commonly sourced from hemp, making it potentially more accessible in regions with strict cannabis regulations.
  3. Effects: Delta-9 THC is renowned for its robust psychotropic effects, whereas Delta-8 THC offers a milder experience, making it appealing to those seeking a less intense high.
  4. Legality: Legal status varies by region, and Delta-8 THC may be subject to fewer restrictions due to its hemp-derived nature. However, users should stay informed about local regulations.

Caution and Considerations: Despite its milder effects, Delta-8 THC is not without risks. Limited research exists on its long-term impact and potential health risks. Users should exercise caution, especially with unregulated products, and be aware of individual tolerance levels.

Speaking with healthcare professionals about cannabis products and staying informed about local laws is crucial for the responsible use of both Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC products.

Many individuals should exercise caution and remain informed about the legal status of Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC in their respective locations, knowing more about state laws. Purchasing and using these substances under local laws against poison control centers’ warnings is important to avoid legal consequences or safety concerns.

Delta-9 THC Legal Status: Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the more well-known psychoactive compound found in marijuana. The legal status of Delta-9 THC varies widely globally and within different jurisdictions. (13)

In some places, it is legalized for medicinal or recreational use, while others strictly regulate or prohibit its use. Users must be aware of and adhere to regional laws regarding Delta-9 THC to avoid legal consequences.

Delta-8 THC Legal Status: Delta-8 THC, being a structural analog of Delta-9 THC, raises unique legal considerations. Its legality is often intertwined with the source of extraction. If derived from marijuana, Delta-8 THC may be subject to the same regulations as Delta-9 THC in regions where marijuana is controlled or prohibited. 

However, if sourced from hemp, it may be subject to different regulations due to the legal distinction between hemp and marijuana. Some regions explicitly permit the sale and use of Delta-8 THC, while others may regulate or restrict its availability.

Substance Abuse and Addiction

Substance abuse and addiction are pressing issues that impact individuals and communities across the globe. Substance abuse involves the harmful or excessive use of substances like drugs and alcohol, leading to a range of physical, mental, and social problems.

Addiction, in particular, is a chronic disease characterized by the compulsive use of a substance, even when it results in adverse consequences. Even if the product was originally used for medical use, there can still be situations where addiction can occur.

One substance that has gained attention in recent years is Delta 8 THC, a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike its more well-known counterpart, Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 THC offers users a milder psychoactive experience, which has contributed to its popularity.

However, it’s crucial to recognize that Delta 8 THC, like other substances, can also carry the risk of misuse and addiction if not used responsibly and in moderation. Sometimes, drug tests can help to see if there is something still in the system.

Take the Next Step to Protect Your Health and Future

An ongoing addiction to delta-8 is problematic for your health, finances, and personal life. Since delta-8 products are unregulated, concerns remain surrounding their safety. 

The longer you abuse delta-8, the greater the risk of an adverse event — including unintentional consumption of the product, such as edibles or gummies, by others, including children. 

A marijuana abuse disorder is treatable, and Zinnia Health can help. We have helped thousands of people across the country recover from substance abuse and mental health disorders to heal for good. 

If you are considering taking the next step, Zinnia Health offers evidence-based, customizable programs. Learn more about the therapy programs offered, and discover all Zinnia Health locations nationwide to see which treatment facility is the best fit for you or your loved one. Contact our committed, professional team today at (855) 430-9439 and say yes to a safer, healthier future today.


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