Most of us have heard about delta-9 THC, a psychoactive compound found naturally in cannabis plants. It's legal to use recreationally and for medical purposes in some states but illegal on a federal scale. For years, the battle over delta-9 THC has raged, with both sides adamant about their positions.
However, a new hemp product has quietly made its way into gas stations and other retail stores across the country: delta 8 Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as "Delta 8." Delta-8 and delta-9 are quite similar, with the only difference being the double bond found on the 8th carbon of delta-8 THC versus the 9th carbon in Delta-9.
What is Delta 8 THC?
Delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol is a chemical found in cannabis plants that can induce a "high" without the paranoia or anxiety often associated with delta-9 THC. It's sometimes referred to as "diet marijuana" due to its milder effects, though it still interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the human body.
Delta 8 THC is present in small amounts in the hemp plant variety of cannabis sativa, alongside hundreds of other chemical substances. Many products are not directly derived from the cannabis sativa plant but are instead synthetically made from hemp and cannabidiol. Delta 8 THC products, produced in a lab, contain much higher THC levels than raw extracts.
Why Do People Use Delta 8 THC?
Similar to delta-9 THC, delta 8 THC can provide users with a euphoric feeling. It binds to the same receptors in the brain as delta-9 THC but produces less intoxication and more pronounced highs.
Many people use delta 8 THC for anxiety, stress, depression, and chronic pain. It's sought after for pain relief, reducing inflammation, improving sleep quality, and appetite enhancement. Some also appreciate its ability to calm overactive immune or nervous systems and prevent sensory overstimulation.
Is Delta 8 THC Legal?
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized CBD production and sale, as long as hemp products contained less than 0.3% delta-9 THC. Delta 8 THC, being derived from hemp, is legal at the federal level. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate or approve these products, raising concerns about their safety. Some states have restricted or banned delta 8 THC, while others are in the process of regulating the industry.
Is Delta 8 THC Safe?
The FDA does not regulate delta 8 products, and guidelines strongly warn against their consumption due to potential dangerous synthetics, including household chemicals. Safety concerns, risks, and side effects mirror those of delta-9 THC, and the lack of regulation increases the risk of ingesting unknown or higher levels of delta 8 THC.
FDA Reports on Public Health Risks
Between December 1, 2020, and February 28, 2022, the FDA received over 100 reports of adverse reactions to delta 8 THC, with cases involving children under 18 and requiring medical evaluation. Delta 8 THC may also be detected on a drug screen, adding another layer of uncertainty.
What Alternatives Exist to Delta 8 THC?
Considering the safety concerns and risks associated with delta 8 THC, consumers are advised to explore safer alternatives. CBD products, containing only trace amounts of THC, are legal at the federal level and recommended by experts. These products are available online and at health food stores, often at a more affordable price than delta 8 THC.
Selecting CBD products from reputable companies that provide proof of testing is crucial. Transparency about hemp sources, third-party lab testing, and adherence to legal THC limits are essential considerations.
Medical treatments targeting specific health conditions, despite potential side effects, are considered safer and more reliable alternatives to delta 8 THC.
Delta 8 THC Addiction: Can it Happen?
Research on delta 8 THC is limited, but drawing from knowledge about delta-9 THC, there's potential for addiction. Cannabis use disorders are known, especially among those under 18, with around 30% of marijuana users developing addictions, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
DRIP and Getting Sober in Florida
Considering the potential risks and lack of FDA regulation, DRIP advocates for leaving the chemistry of controlled substances to federal legislators and public health experts. The adverse effects of cannabis abuse are observed at DRIP, where clients may not be aware of state laws regarding synthetic conversions of cannabis.
DRIP emphasizes abstinence as the key to a sober and clean life. For those concerned about addiction, their team of doctors, clinicians, and counselors has been helping individuals change their lives since 1987.
While delta-8 THC is less potent than its delta-9 counterpart, it remains a psychoactive drug with addiction potential. Understanding the risks associated with delta 8 THC is crucial before consumption. DRIP is available to help those concerned about their health or substance abuse.
If you or someone close to you is worried about addiction, DRIP's team is dedicated to assisting individuals in living a life free of drugs and alcohol. They offer a proven track record and a large alumni network to support those seeking a sober and clean life.
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