Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-8 THC, is a compound of the Cannabis sativa plant. Research shows that it may provide some benefits, such as promoting relaxation and reducing pain.
However, there has not been enough research to determine the effectiveness and safety of this compound. In addition, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies delta-8 as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.
This article explores what delta-8 is, its risks and benefits, and how it compares with cannabidiol (CBD). Then, it provides a selection of full-spectrum CBD products that people may wish to try instead of delta-8.
Is CBD legal?
The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3 percent THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.
What is delta-8?
Delta-8 is one of the more than 100Trusted Source compounds that naturally occur in the Cannabis sativa plant. Concentrated delta-8 commonly comes from hemp-derived CBD.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source states that delta-8 has similar psychoactive and intoxicating properties to delta-9 THC, the compound that causes euphoria, or a “high,” that people may experience from consuming or smoking cannabis.
How does delta-8 compare with regular THC?
Delta-8 has a slightly different molecular structure to delta-9 THC, which some might call “regular THC.”
Due to this difference, delta-8 may not affect a person’s mind in the same way as regular THC. ResearchTrusted Source suggests that the effects of delta-8 are less intense than those of delta-9. The effects that people do feel last for about the same amount of time.
However, the research is observational and relies on the participants’ self-reporting. Overall, there have been too few studies to understand the psychoactive differences between delta-8 and delta-9.
Potential benefits of delta-8
Older researchTrusted Source has found that delta-8 may reduce nausea in children receiving treatment for cancer. All eight participants reported no vomiting after their chemotherapy sessions.
Additionally, a 2022 studyTrusted Source found that delta-8 THC may:
- promote relaxation
- reduce in pain
- lead to less anxiety and paranoia than delta-9 THC
However, more research is needed.
Potential risks of delta-8
The FDATrusted Source has not evaluated or approved any delta-8 products for use. This means that it has not determined their safety. The agency has, however, noted these risks:
- It is likely that delta-8 products are more concentrated than raw hemp or cannabis products. This makes establishing a safe dosage difficult.
- The manufacturing process may use unsafe chemcials and take pace in unsanitary facilities
- Delta-8 may cause adverse reactions in children, such as vomiting or hallucinations, and require hospitalization.
- It may also cause adverse reactions in pets.
Legality of delta-8
The legal status of delta-8 has changed in recent years and may change again.
Originally, the compound was not subject to federal law due to a loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill. This bill made it legal for farmers to grow industrial hemp that contained less than 0.3% THC, but it did not specifically mention delta-8 or other cannabinoids.
In August 2020, the DEA released new regulations. These classify delta-8 and other forms of THC as Schedule 1 controlled substances.
While delta-8 has this classification at the federal level, however, its legality varies by state. It is important to check current local laws.