In This Post:
- Is Delta-8 THC legal? (Aug 20: DEA Update)
- What is Delta-8-THC
- How is Delta-8-THC Chemically different from THC
- What are the reported benefits of Delta-8-THC
- Can Delta-8-THC get you high like Delta-9-THC?
- Does Delta-8-THC act the same way in the body as THC?
- Are there high Delta-8-THC strains?
- Is it easy to extract Delta-8-THC from cannabis?
- How is Delta-8-THC measured and tested?
- What type of Delta-8-THC products are available?
- Why should I care about Delta-8-THC
What is Delta-8-THC and Why do I need to Know About it?
Cannabis contains hundreds of therapeutic compounds, but none quite as unique and popular as Delta-9-THC, also known as just THC. Renowned for its ability to relieve nausea, pain and sleeplessness, THC is also the only compound we know that delivers an intense euphoric feeling. But Delta-9 isn’t the only THC on the chemical chain block.
Coming up just one acid chain ahead, Delta-8-THC is also a psychoactive compound that delivers healing qualities–but with a few key distinctions that could make Delta-8 even more popular in the future. The only problem is it’s quite elusive.
So why should you care. Let’s explore.
What is Delta-8-THC?
Delta-8 THC is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids naturally produced in cannabis. It appears in very small doses, which is why processors must extract and concentrate it into oils, edibles, tinctures, and other concentrates.
Similar to other cannabinoids, Delta-8 THC interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Like Delta-9 THC, Delta-8 has an affinity towards CB1 receptors in the brain and nervous system, which it binds with to produce psychotropic effects. Despite some chemical differences between the two, Delta-8 interacts with the body in almost the same way as Delta-9 when concentrated.
How is Delta-8-THC chemically different from THC?
Let’s get nerdy for a moment: In chemistry, “Delta” refers to the double bond in the compound’s molecular structure. Delta compounds have more electrons and will interact with the body differently than single bond cannabinoids. The only difference between Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC is where that double bond is located on the chain of carbon atoms.
Delta-8 has a double bond on the 8th carbon chain, and Delta-9 has a double bond on the 9th carbon chain. This seems like a small distinction, but it’s significant enough to produce slightly different cognitive and physical effects.
What are the reported benefits of Delta-8-THC?
Famed cannabis researcher, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam discovered Delta-8 in 1965. Scientists have been experimenting with the compound ever since. In 1975, researchers found that Delta-8 could shrink cancerous tumors in rats. In 1995, Israeli scientists discovered Delta-8 could profoundly affect pediatric cancer treatment. After administering over 480 treatments of high-dose Delta-8 THC, 100% of patients reported feeling relief from chemotherapy-induced nausea.
On a cognitive level, consumers have reported feeling a high similar to Delta-9 THC but with a few key differences: Unlike Delta-9, which can produce a sedative effect, Delta-8 is more associated with clear-headed and energized feelings. This has huge implications for patients and consumers who like the psychoactive and healing benefits of THC, but also want to function with more energy and clarity during the day.
Studies also suggest that Delta-8 could help the body produce a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for cognition, memory, arousal, and neuroplasticity.
Although research has been limited due to the prohibition of cannabis, what we know about Delta-8 is exciting for processors, manufacturers, patients and recreational users. As more people report a positive experience with Delta-8, we may see more products flood the market along with a marked shift in consumer behavior.
Can Delta-8-THC get you high like Delta-9 THC?
Delta-8 will certainly get you high, but not necessarily like Delta-9 THC. According to the National Cancer Institute, Delta-8 THC exhibits “lower psychotropic potency” than Delta-9 and might bind with brain’s receptors differently than Delta-9, thereby explaining the variation of effects.
As such, consumers have reported feeling less intense psychoactive effects with Delta-8 THC. But still noticeable. Delta-8 users experience appetite stimulation, and euphoria–just not as intensely as they do from THC.
Is Delta-8-THC legal? (DEA Update)
As of this article, the legal status of delta-8 THC has officially entered the gray zone. Here’s what we know:
Δ8THC derived from marijuana is federally illegal due to the fact that marijuana is still a banned controlled substance. Hemp-derived Δ8THC, is technically legal if it’s naturally extracted. The problem is hemp contains only trace amounts of the compound. So most delta-8 products are synthetically created by converting CBD into delta-8.
According the DEA, this puts delta-8 in the illicit category. In its interim final rule published on August 21, 2020, the DEA said “All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain schedule I controlled substances.”
Luckily, this rule is not final yet. You can submit comments until October 20th for consideration.
Does Delta-8-THC act the same way in the body as THC?
Similar to CBD and other cannabis compounds, Delta-8-THC communicates with receptors in the body, which make up the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS is the homeostatic regulator that affects nearly every system of the body.
The ECS’ main receptors are CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors primarily reside in the brain and nervous system while CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system.
Delta-8-THC communicates with CB1 and CB2 receptors to help balance several functions including pain, appetite, mood, hormones, inflammation, and blood pressure. This process is what marks Delta-8-THC’s therapeutic and psychotropic abilities.
Are there high Delta-8-THC strains?
No. You won’t find Delta-8 THC flower on the market today. Delta-8 grows in negligible amounts in cannabis. In fact, most dried cannabis contains less than 1% of the substance. So, in order to consume this elusive cannabinoid, processors must carefully extract it from the plant through a variety of scientific methods.
Is it easy to extract Delta-8-THC from cannabis?
Extracting Delta-8 from cannabis to create a product potent enough to produce noticeable effects isn’t easy. But it’s certainly possible. Commercial processors are using methods such as selective breeding, distillation, and molecular isolation to create concentrates that are rich in Delta-8.
In 2004 Dr. Mechoulam filed a patent for a recipe to convert the common cannabinoid CBD into Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC. (Mind blown). This method is called isomerization.
Other companies are employing “thin film distillation” of cultivated flower and trim. Through this process, manufacturers utilize vacuums, temperature manipulation and scientific equipment to convert Delta-9 THC to Delta-8.
Isn’t science fascinating?
How is Delta-8-THC measured and tested?
Delta-8-THC is measured through potency tests in the same way that CBD, THC and other cannabinoids are measured. ACS Laboratory’s protocol uses Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) machinery to measure Delta-8-THC potency in flower, edibles and extracts. HPLC is the preferred instrument for these products due to its ability to test samples at room temperature without requiring heat. Heat breaks down cannabinoids into different forms and skews the potency information. HPLC accurately tests both Delta-8-THCA and Delta-8-THC for precise results.
What type of Delta-8-THC products are available?
- Distillate cartridges
- Distillate syringes
- Oil vapes
- Vape cartridge
Why Should I Care About Delta-8-THC?
At ACS Laboratory, we are so excited about Delta-8-THC because of its remarkable healing and recreational qualities. Additionally, the similarities and more importantly, the key differences between Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC have the potential to cause a huge shift in consumer cannabis preferences.
We’re excited that the market is starting to recognize Delta-8 in a big way and that companies are creating more high Delta-8-THC extracts.
Contact ACS today to test your Delta-8 THC products. We’ll deliver accurate results in 3-5 days.