Is Delta 8 Legal? The Current Status of The New Cannabinoid
Posted on April 2nd, 2021
Delta 8 is a compound that saw an increase in popularity recently because of its similarities to THC. THC itself is another very famous compound found in cannabis and hemp. It is responsible for the high effect, euphoria-causing, sedation-inducing effect of cannabis as well. The delta 8 legal status is also one topic of intese interest.
Both Delta 9 and delta 8 are forms of THC. Generally, whenever a person talks about THC, they are talking about delta-9. Despite their similar names, delta 8 has more to do with CBD due to its effects than with delta 9 THC. Most of the time, CBD, another very interesting cannabinoid, sees itself extracted from the hemp plant for refinement into a product. While CBD can go into a number of things, becoming CBD oil or CBD topical creams, it can also see refinement that turns it into delta 8. For this reason, delta 8 demands require more processing than regular CBD, which understandably makes it a bit more expensive. However, the high production cost might see itself balanced by the quality of the effect, which might surpass CBD. This information begs the question, is delta 8 legal?
How Is Delta 8 Different from Delta 9 THC?
Both delta 8 and delta 9 have similar reactions to a person’s body, exemplified in the ‘High’ effect each of them gives out. The chemical structure of both is also similar in that both have a double bond in their structure. The double bond structure seems to be responsible for the Intoxicating effects that make a person feel high.
However, they differ when it comes to the placement of the double bond. Both of these cannabinoids have a chain of carbon atoms. However, delta 8 has a double bond on the eighth carbon, and delta 9 has it on the ninth.
The delta 8 binds to the endocannabinoid system slightly differently, mainly because of the location of the double bond. According to researchers, this is the reason that makes delta 8 does create a less potent high compared to the regular THC. Nevertheless, more research into this topic is what would allow us to understand the extent of delta 8’s interaction with the body.
How Long Have Scientists Been Studying Delta 8?
For some time, researchers have been studying and testing to discover the effects and uses of delta 8. In the past, many of the experiments were with mice as subjects rather than using human beings. Also, for a long period of time, there were a lot of restrictions that limited the scope of said researches.
The first research on delta 8 began back in 1941 by researcher Roger Adams and his colleagues at the University of Illinois. In the year 1942, the researchers tested its psychoactive and physiological effects after oral consumption in human volunteers. The total syntheses of Delta 8 happened by 1965.
The study aimed to prove that it is harmful to the immune system. However, somewhere along the way, they discovered something completely different. In fact, they discovered that cannabinoids possess the ability to fight cancer cells. Although the research mainly focused on delta 9 THC, some tests did include delta 8 THC.
Back in the year 1975, more research happened using mice and rats again. After extensive studies, they discovered that delta 8 might also be able to shrink tumors. They also saw that Lewis lung Adenocarcinoma growth decreased through oral consumption of several specific cannabinoids. These included delta 8, delta 9, and CBD. However, CBD on its own was unable to slow the growth.
A joint effort study happened in 1995 by The Hebrew University, Bikur Holim Hospital, and Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem. Dr. Raphael Mechoulam was the head of the team. In the report, Delta 8 saw administration to kids with cancer. The aim was to simply cure nausea that comes as a result of chemotherapy.
The researchers discovered the many positive benefits of Delta 8 on pediatric cancer patients. The compound significantly helped with relieving cancer-related symptoms. The research involved as many as 480 administered treatments to cure nausea, and the results recorded were 100% effective. However, during that time, all this research still does not answer the question; is delta 8 legal?
Why Did Delta 9 THC Become Illegal in The First Place?
Initially, delta 8 and delta 9 THC became illegal mainly due to its effects and concerns about its addictiveness. Unfortunately, most of these claims remain somewhat unverifiable even today. Many lawmakers or legislators assumed that because delta 8 has almost the same name as delta 9 THC, they were the same.
Is Delta 8 Legal Today?
The short answer would be: Yes! In every state, CBD is legal; delta 8 is also legal. However, the legality of delta 8 is, in actual reality, a bit more complicated than that. First, it is important to note that because of the 2018 farm bill, we can now grow hemp legally and extract delta 8 from it as well. This makes delta 8 legal in the U.S. Almost all delta 8 THC produced comes from hemp due to CBD coming from it as well. Theoretically, that makes it lawful under the federal legal chain.
Anyone living in a state where THC is illegal but CBD is not can consider delta 8 even though it is less potent compared to regular THC. This is one of the main reasons why manufacturers are increasing the production of delta 8.
It is important to note that only a few states have addressed the delta 8 issue directly. These are states with laws regarding cannabis or marijuana. Currently, there are only 11 states where delta 8 seems to be illegal based solely on those aforementioned cannabis laws.
However, according to the DEA, they indirectly categorized delta 8 THC as a scheduled controlled substance in a proposed rule. This single action makes it federally illegal. Nonetheless, this rule is not yet final by any means whatsoever.
Remember, the delta 8 normally comes from hemp and not mainly from marijuana, which is the reason you are able to buy it in many states. Even those states/territories where marijuana remains banned, but CBD is legal. In a nutshell, almost all delta 8 THC on the market is an isolated derivative of CBD, which itself saw extraction from the federally legal hemp plant.
So, Is Delta 8 Legal Just Because CBD Is Legal
To many people, this may be a bit mystifying since hemp is theoretically a cannabis variety just like marijuana is. Yet, hemp comprises less than 0.3% THC content. Because the farm bill passed back in 2018, it made hemp federally legal in America. Said bill covers everything related to this plant, including all extracts and isolates, which delta 8 absolutely is.
Furthermore, back in 2020, the DEA released an IFR (Interim Final Rule). This IFR is a document meant to update and confirm the difference between cannabis and hemp. The DEA’s interim final rule document is open for review until October 2021. Therefore, until then, delta 8 will remain federally legal. So, regarding the question, is delta 8 legal? The answer is quite obviously yes, for now at least.
What Are the Specific Effects of Delta 8?
Just like THC, the delta 8 seemingly contains the same effects by consumers. A few examples include euphoria, pain-relief, decreased inflammation, and it also gets you high. However, the good news is that delta 8 is slightly less potent compared to regular THC in that last regard. What does this mean? Well, it simply means that you may still get high but to a much lower degree.
Just like everything else, it has few side effects that include:
- Dry mouth.
- Increase heart rate.
- Red eyes.
- Getting the munchies.
- Increase body awareness.
Luckily, the potency of the high is not the only thing that’s weaker in delta 8 compared to delta 9 THC; the side effects are as well.
Will I Get High From Delta 8?
The short and plain answer is yes. However, the good news is that it is less potent compared to delta 9 THC’ high. In fact, the high is approximately 2/3 less potent compared to the regular delta 9 THC. Therefore, if you are living in a state where cannabis is illegal, and CBD is not, then you may consider delta 8.
On the other hand, some consumers may not prefer strong THC like that found in cannabis, even if they can legally access it. In such a situation, using delta 8 THC is a good option for you.
The Delta 8 CBD Debate – The Comparison
Although delta 8 is related to CBD and both connect with the same receptors in the brain, they are differently potentiated. What does this mean? Well, for example, the CBD has a lot of behind the scene benefits, which many people do not know about, simply because they might not feel them.
On the other hand, when it comes to delta 8, you will get similar effects, but it comes with immediate feedback to the brain. That is because the delta 8 retains that high effects akin to a weaker delta 9 and that CBD lack. CBD also does not bind strongly with the endocannabinoid system, whereas delta 8 does.
In a nutshell, if you are looking for effects similar to a regular THC but at a reduced potency, then you should consider delta 8. Think of delta 8 as a midpoint between CBD and delta 9 THC with an emphasis on reduced psychoactive potency, and you are set!