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What is Delta-8 THC and is it Safe? Leave a comment

You may have heard of THC, but did you know the difference between delta-9 THC and delta-8 THC? With more products containing delta-8, here we take a look at the difference between both of these cannabis compounds and the effects of delta-8, and some of the relevant safety concerns.

Delta-9 vs Delta-8 THC

Delta-8 is a cannabis compound which is closely related or similar to delta-9 THC, as they both share similar chemical structures. When you hear people talking about THC, they typically are referring to the delta-9 compound, which gives you that well-known ‘high’ and feelings of euphoria, happiness, and creativity. Delta-9 is short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and delta-8 is short for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol. Both have similar characteristics although the most common delta-9 has slightly stronger effects.

Both delta-8 and delta-9 have a double bond in their chemical structures, which is what gives users the typical high when consuming cannabis. The difference is where these bonds are placed. In the chain of carbon atoms, the delta-8 variants double bond is located on the on the eighth carbon, and the delta-9 variants double bond is placed on the ninth carbon- hence the names.

Whilst further research still needs to be completed on delta-8, it is thought that as it is located in a different part of the carbon atom, this is what gives it a lower potency to delta-9.

Whilst delta-8 can still get you high, it is likely to feel much lighter and certainly not as strong than the ‘usual’ delta-9 THC (which to some users may like the less strong, milder effects). The delta-8 variant can also cause some of the negative effects that delta-9 has, such as dry mouth, paranoia ad anxiety. A lot more research needs to be done on delta-8 to really know the full effects it has on the body.

Is delta-8 safe?

There are some safety concerns regarding how regulated delta-8 THC products are, as many have not been approved by government medical standards. This could lead to incorrect labelling or dosages, for example the manufacturer may be able to simply put that it is a ‘hemp product’ on the label, with users not realising they are consuming a form of THC. Selling unregulated products can put consumers at risk by using an unsafe or ineffective product.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received reports, from December 2020 to July 2021, of adverse effects of using products containing delta-8 THC, many of which ended up in hospital due to the symptoms. Other effects included hallucinating, being sick and losing consciousness.

Delta-8 THC products often involve using harmful chemicals to convert the cannabinoids found in cannabis into delta-8 THC, which can turn into synthetic cannabis. As it is not regulated, any number of chemicals can be added in order to do this, which could result in harmful results. The US FDA is releasing information on delta-8 to inform people of buying unregulated products, particularly those with poor marketing that is targeting younger users.

So, whist it not necessarily delta-8 itself that is the problem, it is what it is being mixed with or the safety measures of how its being made is which is concerning. Whilst delta-8 THC is naturally found in cannabis, there has been no research into the highly concentrated, synthetic form of the substance. If you do plan to buy a product containing delta-8 then ensure you are buying from a reputable company and that they clearly state how they make their products, and that they have been tested correctly.

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Dosing delta-8 edibles

If you are going to consume a cannabis edible containing delta-8 THC then it is worth taking note of how to dose correctly. If you are a regular cannabis user and are used to the standard delta-9 THC, then trying delta-8 for the first time will likely produce a weaker effect. For those who are new to cannabis then even a delta-8 edible may cause a strong effect, so as always, start small and wait long enough for it to kick in before consuming more.

Remember that many companies selling THC gummies and other edibles will add in a higher dose for delta-8 edibles, to make up for this less potent effect. Normal delta-9 gummies usually contain around 10mg of THC per edible (many users will take one or half an edible per dose). Delta-8 gummies will often contain around 25mg of THC, so over half that of the delta-9 variant.

Keep this in mind when you are trying delta-8 gummies and other edibles and build up your tolerance slowly. When consuming edibles, effects take a while to kick in, so wait at least an hour or up to two, before taking another dose, if necessary.

Is delta-8 legal in Australia?

No. Delta-8 is still specified as illegal in Australia unless there is a medical approval by a professional. According to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), all forms of THC are considered a Schedule 8 drug, which carry an elevated level of risk, although may contain come medicinal benefit in certain patients.

THC is illegal in all states, other than the ACT (Australia Capitol Territory) which decriminalised cannabis in 2019.

Is Delta 8 THC Legal in The United Kingdom?

No. Delta 8 THC is classed as a Class B drug in the United Kingdom, the same as amphetamines and ketamine. Even though medicinal cannabis is legal in the UK, cannabis was changed back to a Class B drug, after being downgraded briefly to a Class C drug, from 2004 to 2009.

Is delta-8 legal in the United States?

Delta-8 THC is illegal in Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Montana, Pennsylvania, Alaska Vermont, and Utah Iowa. In the rest of the states it is either legal for medical purposes only, or fully legal for both personal use and medically.

Is Delta 8 THC Legal in Canada?

Delta-8 THC is legal across Canada, after the country legalised cannabis in all forms, back in 2018. The market is highly regulated so delta-8 can sometimes be difficult to find, as well as not being as popular as delta-9 varient.

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