Exploring the hype around delta-8 THC

The hottest trend in the world of cannabis so far in 2021 is delta-8. Its murky legal status means that a lot of consumers have access to it, at least for now. I recently tried delta-8 and offer my experience below.

First, a quick overview. Most people are familiar with the term THC. Its scientific name is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, often referred to as delta-9 for short. Delta-8 is delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol. Both are forms of THC and bind to the body's endocannabinoid system, with delta-9 providing the high associated with marijuana, while delta-8 provides some intoxicating effects, but to a lesser degree. If you are interested in a deeper dive into the chemistry, Leafly has a good explainer.

Now to the murky legal situation. Most delta-8 products are being produced from hemp-derived CBD, which is legal in the U.S. thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. But at the time of the law's passage, delta-8 wasn't on the radar as it is now. So several states and the federal government are looking to address delta-8 separately. It is likely it will be classified similar to delta-9 THC products, making it illegal at the federal level and in many states. There are already several states in which you cannot have delta-8 products shipped to you. Do your research before attempting to purchase delta-8 products to make sure you are following local laws. It's also important to note that delta-8 products will cause you to fail drug tests like delta-9 products.

My experience as someone who is well-versed in using CBD but has never tried delta-9 THC is that delta-8 will indeed get you high. I did my research and purchased a bottle of Sympleaf Wellness delta-8 gummies from Georgia Hemp Company. Each gummy is 25 mg, so I took half a gummy as a starting dose. I had to wait almost 2 hours before the effects kicked in, which is pretty common for edibles. While the effects were mainly mild, there was an effect of lightness on both my body and mood. There was no "couch lock" symptoms and I was able to successfully complete mental tasks. The effects lasted an hour or two and I didn't experience any negative effects, like anxiety or paranoid that are more associated with delta-9 THC.

I also tried delta-8 honey from The Brothers Apothecary by mixing it into a batch of cereal bars. It's important to mix very well so that the delta-8 is distributed as evenly as possible. Also remember to bake at a low temperature or in the case of cereal bars, avoid heating ingredients to boiling temperature, as that can result in reduced effectiveness of any THC or CBD product. I'm pleased with the results and the effect I get from eating a single square. The good news is that freezing them hasn't damaged the expected delta-8 effects so far.

Because of its intoxicating properties, I cannot recommend delta-8 products to those who are actively caregiving. I would recommend sticking to CBD products in those situations. But for those on an extended break, delta-8 may offer an opportunity for herbal self-care.

Those with health issues or on medications should consult a medical professional before trying any cannabis products.