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What is delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 THC is one of the many cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Like cannabidiol aka CBD oil, delta 8 THC binds to receptors in the endocannabinoid system to support various bodily processes in mammals.

Delta 8 THC has been gaining popularity in the wellness world for its potential natural benefits, and it’s now being offered in the form of various dietary supplements.

As this cannabinoid becomes more mainstream, more and more people are trying to get their heads around what delta 8 THC does and how it can affect the body, especially before they invest in supplements…

Legality in the US surrounding delta 8 THC is a changing landscape, and unlike CBD oil, delta 8 THC does induce psychoactivity, although markedly less than its famous delta 9 cousin (this claim is largely from anecdotal evidence, which we’ll get to later…)

We explore everything you need to know about delta 8 THC, so you can adopt a good understanding of what your options are.

Note that scientific research on delta 8 THC is still in its infancy; it doesn’t yet have the data to back up its safety or efficacy as a supplement. 

Remember this content is not to be taken as medical advice, and you should speak with your doctor before beginning any new health regimen.

Research: Possible Delta 8 THC benefits

While delta 8 THC shows promise as a therapeutic phytochemical, a scant amount of scientific study has been devoted to this cannabinoid alone. Usually, research that shows positive therapeutic potential for delta 8 THC has been conducted in tandem with other cannabinoids like CBG. Nevertheless, the available scientific literature points to delta 8 THC as potentially beneficial in the following ways:

Delta 8 THC Possibly Therapeutic for Cancer

In this study, delta 8 THC was given in conjunction with other cannabinoids to rats with cancerous tumors. Rats who were administered delta 8 THC had reduced cancerous growth and increased survival time. Much more research into delta 8 THC specifically for cancer needs to be done before undeniable conclusions can be made (not to mention human studies), but the current information is promising.

Delta 8 THC for Nausea and Vomiting

Delta 8 THC was administered to children aged 3-13 with cancer in this study. Researchers noticed that vomiting was eliminated entirely and that side effects in the children from delta 8 THC were ‘negligible’. And these clinical trials for delta 8 THC also showed it to be an effective anti-nausea treatment for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Because these particular studies examined the effects of treatment-induced vomiting, more research needs to be performed on delta 8 THC’s anti-nausea properties in individuals without cancer. Again, the current results are still promising.

Delta 8 THC for Brain Health

According to the NIH National Cancer Institute, delta 8 THC is recognized as having potential neuroprotective properties. Any compound that promotes neuroprotection works by preventing the death of neurons (brain cells) by intervening and inhibiting ‘the pathogenic cascade that results in cell dysfunction and eventual death’. Potential neuroprotection from delta 8 THC is one of the driving reasons the cannabinoid is so intriguing to cannabis researchers.

While delta 8 THC shows tremendous promise as a therapeutic cannabinoid, more research needs to be conducted (especially in humans) to fully understand its natural benefits.

Common questions about delta 8 THC

Will delta 8 THC show up on a drug test?

Potentially. Most drug tests will pick up on delta 8 THC in order to check for its molecular cousin, the sometimes-illegal delta 9 THC. Because the two cannabinoids are very similar, delta 8 THC has the potential to show up on a drug test. Also keep in mind that different people metabolize cannabinoids differently, meaning your experience with drug testing may be different from what you read online or hear from others…

Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC: What’s the difference?

Delta 9 THC, the famous cannabinoid that gives marijuana users psychoactive effects, is in the same molecular family as delta 8 THC. Their close relation means that both cannabinoids have similar effects. Both cause psychoactivity. But while the physiological effects of delta 9 THC have been heavily documented, the same cannot be said for delta 8 THC. Most information regarding its effects is anecdotal, and ranges from people saying delta 8 provides less paranoia to testimonials that claim delta 8 actually heightened anxiety. Delta 8 and delta 9 are different primarily because of their chemical structure, but here is a useful comparison:

Delta 8 THC- mildly psychoactive; limited studies; legal according to federal law; illegal in certain states

Delta 9 THC- very psychoactive; extensive studies; illegal according to federal law for quantities exceeding 0.3%; legal in certain states

Is delta 8 THC legal?

According to the 2018 Farm Bill, delta 8 THC is technically legal at the federal level in the US. However, delta 8 THC is currently illegal in the following states, who’ve noted a lack of sufficient research into psychoactive properties of the cannabinoid: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Utah. If you live in one of these listed states, you will not be able to order delta 8 THC online.

Does delta 8 THC make you high?

Like delta 9 THC, delta 8 THC has psychoactive properties. The extent of how psychoactive the cannabinoid actually is has yet to be properly studied. At this point, most evidence about how delta 8 THC makes people feel is anecdotal, with some reporting a downgraded delta-9 THC experience and others reporting increased levels of anxiety.

In short, yes, delta 8 THC has the potential to get you high. How this high will affect you cannot as of yet be quantified by any reliable source.

What’s safer, CBD or delta 8 THC?

Unlike delta 8 THC, CBD has been extensively studied by the scientific and medical community for therapeutic use. CBD has exponentially more studies to back up its safety, lack of negative side effects, lack of psychoactivity (CBD won’t get you high), and lack of addictive properties. Because of this large discrepancy between the scientific literature on both cannabinoids, CBD is unequivocally a safer option than delta 8 THC as a supplement.

Popular delta 8 THC supplements

Even though delta 8 THC hasn’t undergone a fraction of the scientific scrutiny of cannabinoids like CBD, delta 8 supplements are popping up everywhere among supplement companies. Here’s a description of the most popular delta 8 THC products on the market today:

Delta 8 THC Gummies

As a COR staffer once said, “Adults love gummies. They just do.” Indeed, CBD gummies have become insanely popular as a way to supplement your diet, along with vitamin gummies, probiotic gummies, and more. It was only a matter of time before delta 8 THC gummies hit online shelves. Users choose delta 8 THC gummies for their convenience, accurate dosing, and pleasant taste.

Delta 8 Flower

Delta 8 THC flower is another popular choice among delta 8 enthusiasts. Like delta 9 THC, delta 8 THC must be heated in a process called decarboxylation to unleash its psychoactive effects. Smoking hemp flower is a popular and often ritualistic choice for many cannabinoid users, making delta 8 flower an appealing option. Like the online market for CBD hemp flowers, you’ll find brands selling different strains with varying strengths and terpene content.

Delta 8 CBD Products

A big 2021 trend in the supplement space is combining delta 8 THC with one of the world’s most popular therapeutic cannabinoids: CBD. While full spectrum CBD oil products may contain trace amounts of delta 8, the delta 8 + CBD products out there are infused with pure delta 8 in higher concentrations. For example, a cannabinoid profile for a full spectrum CBD product will often show concentrations under 0.3% delta 8 THC. A delta 8 + CBD product like this one below has 5% by delta 8 thc concentration by volume.

Remember that CBD has been extensively studied to have minimal negative side effects, non-psychoactive properties, and no addictive qualities. The same cannot be said for delta 8 THC, so though it is a popular and promising supplement, prospective users should proceed with caution until more data can be gathered as to the safety and efficacy of delta 8.

Wrap-up: Is delta 8 THC safe to take as a supplement?

Not enough scientific research has been published to support the safety and efficacy of cannabinoid delta 8 THC as a nutritional supplement. Plus, there’s not yet a clear, quantifiable understanding of the extent of delta 8 THC’s psychoactive effects. That said, the research that does exist is somewhat promising. Delta 8 THC products are legal at the federal level and offered by various supplement companies. But delta 8 THC is not legal in all 50 states, so proceed with caution when buying delta 8 THC online.

+ 10 sources

Sources:

  1. Munson, A E et al. “Antineoplastic activity of cannabinoids.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute vol. 55,3 (1975): 597-602. doi:10.1093/jnci/55.3.597 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1159836/
  2. Abrahamov, A et al. “An efficient new cannabinoid antiemetic in pediatric oncology.” Life sciences vol. 56,23-24 (1995): 2097-102. doi:10.1016/0024-3205(95)00194-b https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7776837/
  3. Comparison of Delta-8-Thc to Ondansetron in the Prevention of ACUTE Nausea from Moderately Emetogenic Chemotherapy - Full Text View.” ClinicalTrials.gov https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00285051
  4. NCI Drug Dictionary.” National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-drug/def/delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol
  5. Anthony H.V. Schapira, Chapter 18 - Neuroprotection in Parkinson's Disease, Blue Books of Neurology, Butterworth-Heinemann, Volume 34, 2010, Pages 301-320 https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-1-4160-6641-5.00018-0
  6. Peter Grinspoon, MD. “Beyond Cbd: Here Come the Other Cannabinoids, but Where's the Evidence?” Harvard Health, 23 Mar. 2021 http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/beyond-cbd-here-come-the-other-cannabinoids-but-wheres-the-evidence-2021032322190
  7. Varanasi, Swathi. “Is Delta-8 Legal? What Does That Mean for Drug Tests? .” The GoodRx Prescription Savings Blog, 11 Aug. 2021 http://www.goodrx.com/blog/delta-8-legality-drug-tests/
  8. United States Department of Agriculture. Farm Bill https://www.usda.gov/farmbill
  9. Amir Englund, et al. The effect of five day dosing with THCV on THC-induced cognitive, psychological and physiological effects in healthy male human volunteers: A placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover pilot trial. Journal of Psychopharmacology sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/0269881115615104
  10. Sullivan, Kaitlin. “Delta-8 Thc Is Legal in Many States, but Some Want to Ban It.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 28 June 2021 http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/delta-8-thc-legal-many-states-some-want-ban-it-n1272270

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Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome

What is Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome?

Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD) is a condition where an individual produces a lower amount of cannabinoids than experts consider to ...
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What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that naturally occur in the resin of the Cannabis sativa plant, commonly called marijuana. These chemicals ...
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What is the CBD Entourage Effect?

A large part of alternative medicine revolves around using the entire plant for medicinal purposes rather than isolating or producing ...
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How Does CBD Affect the Endocannabinoid System?

Recent science has found that the endocannabinoid system does not just respond to the endocannabinoids produced in the body, but ...
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Endocannabinoid Production in the Human Body

Shortly after the first cannabinoid was isolated from the cannabis plant, scientists discovered that the human body produces similar substances ...
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Drugs that May Interact with CBD Oil

CBD Oil Drug Interactions - The CYP450 Pathway Research has begun to demonstrate that cannabidiol (CBD) has the potential to ...
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6 Smart Questions to Ask BEFORE You Buy CBD

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