Delta Wave: How Delta-8 THC Is Changing the Cannabis Landscape

The word “Delta” is a hot topic, creating lots of buzz across the world.  We know the “Delta variant” of the coronavirus is more transmissible and likely to cause more serious illness.  Meanwhile, Delta-8 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is like a step-sibling to its better known relative, Delta-9 THC, with a similar molecular structure.  

Delta-8 versus Delta-9

Previous to the new generation of cannabis laws, Delta-8 THC was a rare, low-level cannabinoid found in hemp plants, most of which were not grown for euphoric properties.  While hemp is a cannabis plant, people can grow it legally if it has less than .3 percent THC by weight.  Because Delta-8 was found in such small quantities, it would only be commercially viable is you grew tons of hemp.  Turns out, now there are thousands of hemp growers producing tons of hemp, so Delta-8 is making its way into shops everywhere, legally.  Why?  Because while the Controlled Substances Act makes Delta-9 a Schedule I Drug, the same law is silent on Delta-8.  

So far, reports are that Delta-8 is one of the most sedating of all known cannabinoids, with appropriate use by people treating anxiety and sleep disturbances.  And because it is not prohibited from production or sale under Federal law, it can be produced by hemp growers, and then even sold online or through the mail.  

Delta-8 THC has become a runaway hit, and for good reason.  Delta-8 THC is made from hemp cannabis, not from cannabis plants with higher THC levels. Delta-8 THC is a less-potent cousin of the more robust Delta-9-THC. Delta-8, also known as “marijuana lite,” may provide a sense of euphoria that impacts the body more than the head.  

Delta-8 has been picking up momentum nationwide and is easily found on the shelves at many local shops and gas stations.  It can be smoked, vaped or ingested and can come in many forms, like tinctures, joints, gummies, flowers, creams, moon rocks/nuggets or vape cartridges and vape pens. 

One important caution:  It’s best to find an appropriate retailer to buy your Delta-8.  Sales of Delta-8, because they are unregulated, expose purchasers to poorly produced methods, lacking any standards for purity or adulteration.  If you are buying it, find a retailer who describes the actual percentage of Delta-8 and how it was recovered.  Otherwise, you may be buying flowers or concentrates with only trace amounts of it. Always follow dosing instructions, purchase your Delta-8 from a reliable and reputable source, and know your limits with how much you can take.  Cannabis products do not present a one-size-fits-all experience. 

Delta-8 is Legal … for Now

The states that currently ban Delta-8 THC entirely include Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, and Utah.  Additionally, a coalition of cannabis producers is now pushing regulators to block sales of unregulated Delta-8. More than a dozen states have already moved to restrict the products.  New York and Massachusetts recently said that Delta-8 products may not be sold or manufactured in those states.