Delta-8 THC has piqued our interest. The hemp-derived cannabinoid has quickly gained traction with the public for providing a federally legal psychoactive high while also encompassing potentially therapeutic health benefits.
Before diving in, experts are suggesting to take heed of its associated side effects in order to make an informed decision on whether or not delta-8 is right for you.
In this article, we take a closer look at delta-8 to discuss its benefits, adverse effects, and ways to ensure a more positive euphoric experience.
Delta-8 THC may cause a slowed reaction time
Delta-8 THC may reduce coordination
Delta-8 THC may cause drowsiness
Delta-8 THC may cause anxiety
Delta-8 THC may cause confusion
The side effects of delta-8 THC are expected to be temporary and may last up to 4-6 hours
The therapeutic and recreational benefits of delta-8 THC may outweigh the cons
Steps you can do to support a positive delta-8 THC experience include speaking with your doctor, researching for a trusted company, and choosing a safe environment
How Is Delta-8 Cultivated?
Within the trichomes present on the leaves and flowering buds of a cannabis plant exist small traces of delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-8 THC.
Whether developed indoors or outdoors, the raw plant material can undergo a supercritical carbon dioxide extraction process that delicately retrieves and converts the naturally occurring compound into liquid form.
However, because the typical cannabis plant contains less than 0.1% delta-8 in its dry weight, the aforementioned process is not considered a financially viable option for most manufacturers wanting to make delta-8 gummies, oils, vapes, and more.
The alternative and more popular method is cultivating a semi-synthetic version of delta-8 THC. This is achieved by using the same artisan extraction process but targeting a major cannabinoid like cannabidiol, CBD, or delta-9 THC, which can be significantly more present in cannabis plants. Afterward, the extraction is mixed with an acidic solvent and other varying chemicals to convert the selected cannabinoid into delta-8 THC.
What Does Delta-8 Feel Like?
Delta-8 THC may deliver a calming and psychoactive experience that is milder than delta-9 THC.
Recently published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in January 2022, Consumer Experiences with Delta-8-THC: Medical Use, Pharmaceutical Substitution, and Comparisons with Delta-9-THC examine the findings from research developed online survey that covers a broad range of effects associated with delta-8.
Included in the survey were qualitative and quantitative aspects, comparisons with delta-9 THC, and open-ended feedback to shape an understanding of how Delta-8 feels for the user. Conducted with 521 participants, its results show that the majority of users experienced "a lot or a great deal of":
Pain Relief (55%)
While the popularity of delta-8 products impressively took off in 2020, scientific research on the cannabinoid dates as far back as 1973. Delta-8 has been a fascinating form of experimental treatment conducted on cancer patients before their chemotherapy sessions. The conclusion was that delta-8 THC may provide benefits similar to delta-9 THC, such as nausea relief and healthy appetite stimulation, but with less severe adverse effects, thus making it potentially a more stable compound for therapeutic care .
Other Benefits May Include:
Healthy appetite stimulation
Wake-sleep cycle regulation
Delta-8 Side Effects:
Delta-8 is part of the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol family and may have temporary intoxicating risks that affect a person's perception, mood, and cognitive processes. Undesirable side effects range from mild-moderate to severe.
Mild Side Effects:
Moderate Side Effects:
Slowed reaction time
Severe Side Effects:
The FDA has released a statement that it has received approximately 104 reports of adverse events directly related to the consumption of delta-8 THC products from December 1, 2020- February 28, 2022. A documented summarization excerpt for these reports read:
"Adverse events included, but were not limited to: hallucinations, vomiting, tremor, anxiety, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness ."
Though, it may be worth recognizing that the number of severe adverse cases are few in comparison to the frequent and large amounts of delta-8 usage.
Referencing once again, Consumer Experiences with Delta-8-THC: Medical Use, Pharmaceutical Substitution, and Comparisons with Delta-9-THC, it is reported that:
"Most delta-8 users did not experience anxiety (74%) or paranoia (83%).
Additionally, cannabis-induced hallucinosis syndrome is documented as extremely rare and the least reported symptom related to cannabis. No scientific literature supports THC's action on the 5HT2 receptor or NMDA receptor, where hallucinogenic effects are mediated .
How Long Do The Effects of Delta-8 Last?
The effects of delta-8 THC may last 4-6 hours, depending on the dosage amount, administration method, and your own unique biological factors.
Is Delta-8 Legal?
When the United States Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, passed, it made hemp and its naturally occurring derivatives, such as delta-8 THC, federally legal; under the rule that it contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC in its total dry weight.
However, research on the safety and experiences associated with delta-8 is currently limited. This lack of knowledge surrounding the psychoactive compound has led numerous state governments to ban its use, possession, production, distribution, and sale.
How Regulated is Delta-8?
Delta-8 THC is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
This leaves the psychoactive compound without requirements for production regulation, mandatory testing, or labeling guidance.
What results is a market with a wide-open gate for delta-8 products that vary significantly in safety, quality, and efficacy to line the shelves.
Ways To Safely Approach Delta-8
If you have decided to move forward with taking delta-8 THC, there are a few things you can do to approach it more safely and set up a positive experience.
Consider asking your doctor to provide medical advice on a specific cannabis product you are interested in trying and discuss how it may interact with your specific health conditions.
Research A Trusted Company:
The next thing to do to safely approach delta-8 is to carefully research a company brand to learn about its manufacturing processes, credentials, values, and reputation. To do so, you may thoroughly investigate its website, the website of its accreditation organizations, and other 3rd party sources that provide unbiased insight into the company.
During your search, you may consider these checklist items to start:
Hemp used is 2018 Farm Bill compliant
Hemp used is from a registered grower
Hemp used is organic and certified
Facility follows currently good manufactured practices (cGMP) and is certified
Facility is registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Website contains authentic and highly rated reviews
Website contains free to download 3rd party laboratory results, or certificates of analyses (COAs) that prove it does not contain harmful levels of pesticides, chemicals, and residual solvents
Prepare For Safety and Comfort:
Prepare by nourishing your body and selecting an environment that will properly support you for a potentially mind-altering experience.
Ensure that your body is hydrated, adequately fueled with nutritious food, and well rested.
Additionally, set yourself up in an environment that is comfortable and safe. Remember that the effects of delta-8 THC may last upwards of 4-6 hours. It is recommended that you pick a time and place where you can fully relax into the euphoric experience, free from unnecessary external stressors. And remember, do not operate machinery or drive a vehicle under the influence of any intoxicating substance.
Start With a Low Dose:
It is advised to start low and go slow.
Select a low dose of delta-8 THC to consume and allow for a generous amount of time for your body to reveal its response to the supplement before administering more. Be sensitive to the fact that everybody is different, and the effects of delta-8 may vary from person to person.
The Takeaway: Delta-8 THC Has Side Effects To Be Aware Of
Hemp-derived delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid popular for providing a federally legal way to experience a euphoric high.
However, it is important to remember not to underestimate psychoactive compounds expected to temporarily alter your mental state. Reported side effects of delta-8 THC include drowsiness, slowed reaction time, reduced coordination, difficulties concentrating, and more.
If you are still interested in exploring the benefits and intoxicating effects of delta-8, due diligence can make all the difference.
You may consider asking your doctor to provide medical advice on cannabis products and how they may respond to your specific health conditions.
Additionally, taking the time to research a company you can trust, prepare for a safe and comfortable environment, and start with a low dosage of delta-8 THC can help to set you up for a successful experience.
What Are The Benefits Of Delta 8?
Delta-8 THC may have similar benefits to delta-9 THC, such as nausea alleviation and healthy appetite stimulation, anti-inflammatory properties, and wake-sleep cycle management, but with fewer severe side effects, making it possibly a more stable molecule for therapeutic care.
How Long Does Delta 8 Effects Last?
Delta-8 THC effects can last 4-6 hours, depending on dosage, administration technique, and your own unique biological parameters.
What Are The Side Effects Of Delta 8?
Delta-8 is a psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol that may have transient intoxication effects on perception, mood, and cognitive processes. The following undesirable side effects ranged from mild to moderate to severe: hallucinations, vomiting, tremor, anxiety, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness.
Is Delta 8 Legal?
When the United States Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, popularly known as the 2018 Farm Bill, was passed, it made hemp and its naturally occurring derivatives, such as delta-8 THC, federally legal, as long as they contained less than 0.3% delta-9 THC in their total dry weight.
Kruger, J.S., Kruger, D.J. Delta-8-THC: Delta-9-THC’s nicer younger sibling?. J Cannabis Res 4, 4 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42238-021-00115-8
U.S. Food & Drug Administration. 5 Things to Know about Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol – Delta-8 THC. Consumer Updates (2021). https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/5-things-know-about-delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol-delta-8-thc#:~:text=The%20final%20delta%2D8%20THC,of%20the%20starting%20raw%20material
Barrett FS, Schlienz NJ, Lembeck N, Waqas M, Vandrey R. “Hallucinations” following acute cannabis dosing: A case report and comparison to other hallucinogenic drugs. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2018;3:85–93.