Substance Use

What Is Delta 8 THC? Effects And Risks

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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. While similar to delta-9 THC (the compound that produces a high), delta-8 has a different chemical structure and is typically synthetically made. 

There are concerns surrounding the legal and health risks surrounding 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. 

Zinnia Health offers comprehensive treatment for marijuana use disorder. Whether you or your loved one have lost control over your cannabis use and require professional support, Zinnia Health is here to help. Contact us at (855) 430-9439 to learn more about the next steps. 

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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. Companies are synthetically producing delta-8 products to optimize the recent cannabis craze — many containing potentially harmful chemical additives. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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

  • Relaxation
  • Euphoria 
  • 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:

  • Dry mouth
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Slow reaction times 
  • Anxiety 
  • Memory loss 
  • Slowed coordination 
  • Red eyes
  • Chest 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 tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) remain Schedule I controlled substances.” 

Need help with an addiction to marijuana and delta-8 THC products? If so, Zinnia Health offers a range of treatment options and substance abuse programs. Take the first step and contact our dedicated team today by calling (855) 430-9439.

Dive Deeper Into the Risks of Delta-8

The FDA is aware of the growing concern surrounding delta-8 products, which are now being sold online and by in-store retailers. 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 being marketed as “hemp products,” misleading those seeking a non-psychoactive alternative. 

These marketing claims are a federal law violation 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. 

Tracking Reports of Adverse Effects

Between December 1, 2020, and February 28, 2022, the FDA received 104 reports of adverse effects. Of these adverse event reports:

  • A total of 55% required intervention (typically an evaluation by emergency medical services) or were admitted to a hospital. 
  • Delta-8 THC-containing edibles, such as gummies or brownies, were reported in 66% of cases.
  • The most commonly reported effects were confusion, dizziness, anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. 

Between January 1, 2021, and February 28, 2022, national poison control centers across the United States received 2,362 exposure cases involving delta-8 products. Of these cases:

  • The majority (58%) involved adults. However, a concerning 41% involved pediatric patients around the age of 18 — and 1% didn’t report their age. 
  • A total of 40% involved unintentional exposure to delta-8 (82% of which affected pediatric children).
  • A medical evaluation was required for 70% of cases — 8% resulted in admission to a critical care unit.
  • One pediatric case was coded with the medical outcome of death. 

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 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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