Let’s face it: People love to get high. They love it so much, in fact, that hemp-derived “THC alternatives”—in the form of vapes, gummies, joints and other products—are popping up across the country, even in states where marijuana remains illegal for recreational use.
The most popular of these, and the focus of this article, is Delta 8 THC, but alternatives also include Delta 10 THC, THC-O, HHC and THC-P. The folks marketing these seemingly legal products boast a high that is reportedly much less potent than traditional cannabis-infused products, and therefore are sometimes referred to as “marijuana lite” or “diet weed.” Its users claim that Delta 8 can calm nausea, boost appetite, relieve pain and nausea and more.
But even as Delta 8’s popularity continues to skyrocket, experts are raising some serious concerns, with many states including Colorado implementing total bans. Here, we’ll explore what we know so far about how Delta 8 is produced and its effects on the human body.
Is Delta 8 safe?
Delta 8 is short for Delta 8 Tetrahydrocannabinol, and just like other cannabinoids, it exists naturally in the hemp or marijuana plant. It has a chemical structure similar to Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (the traditional weed most users are familiar with), in fact, the only difference between the two molecules is the location of a double bond between two carbons. That’s why it produces milder versions of some of the same side effects.
The major difference is in how Delta 8 is extracted, from hemp-derived CBD. There hasn’t been much lab testing or oversight for what goes into Delta 8 products, and after finding unidentified compounds in products labeled as Delta 8, scientists have raised concerns. There is also fear that these products may contain higher-than-legal levels of THC in addition to other impurities.
“My concern is that we have no idea what these products are,” said Christopher Hudalla, president and chief scientific officer of ProVerde Laboratories, in a recent article for Chemical & Engineering News. “Consumers are being used as guinea pigs. To me, that’s horrific.”
How is Delta 8 legal in states that ban THC?
Because it is extracted mostly from hemp-derived CBD, Delta 8 contains less than 0.3% THC, the legal limit as dictated by the 2018 Farm Bill. That piece of legislation declassified hemp and its byproducts controlled substances. Since the Farm Bill doesn’t mention Delta 8 specifically, it is legal to grow, produce and distribute Delta 8 in most U.S. states—at least for now.
One major issue that has legislators concerned is that the current laws allow Delta 8 products to be marketed and sold without age restrictions. For that reason and others, legislators in several states are moving to restrict if not ban the sale and marketing of Delta 8 products.
Scientists and legislators also want to understand the impact Delta 8 has on overall health. While some users claim these products help manage depression and even control substance abuse, experts caution against trusting evidence that is anecdotal at best. After all, just because something is legal and widely available doesn’t mean it’s safe for regular consumption.
The bottom line on alternative THC
As producers of high-quality, rigorously tested cannabis and THC-infused products, we at The Happy Camper are skeptical of these poorly regulated alternatives that are currently flooding the market.
When our customers express interest in Delta 8 or other alternatives, our best advice is to take all claims with a grain of salt. Most companies aren’t going to tell you about reported side effects of Delta 8, such as confusion, anxiety, drowsiness, slowed/quickened heart rate, numbness and low blood pressure. If you or a loved one experiences any of these reactions to a Delta-8 product, contact a medical professional, call 911 or head to your nearest hospital.
Got more questions about THC alternatives like Delta 8? Drop us a line, or give us a call and let our friendly budtenders answer all your questions.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.