What is Delta 8 THC?

Delta 8

I have been getting a lot of questions about Delta 8 Tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 8 THC), what is it and how is it different from the good old THC?

The Science

The THC that we are all familiar with is Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is very similar to Delta 8 in that the molecular structures of the two cannabinoids are almost identical with one small difference, which carbon has a double bond. In Delta 8, the bond is on the 8th carbon or at 2 o’clock. In THC, the double bond occurs on the 9th carbon. or 11 o’clock. Delta 8 gives you a “functional high” whereas THC gives you a “psychotropic” or more “heady” high. Because of that, Delta 8 has been described as marijuana lite.

The Legality

In 2018, The Farm Bill legalized hemp production for all purposes. To qualify for hemp, the THC (specified as Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabinol) level needs to be below 0.3% dry leaf weight. This bill gave authority for state agriculture departments to form programs to approve and oversee manufacturers of hemp products.

So Delta 8 from hemp should be legal, right? Not so simple… Delta 8 exist in very small amounts (less than 1%) in hemp. It is cost prohibitive to extract Delta 8 from hemp. Therefore labs have figured out a way to synthesize Delta 8 from THC and CBD, essentially “pushing” the bond from 2 o’clock to 11 o’clock. You end up with a highly processed compound that is 99% in Delta 8 concentration.

But The Farm Bill says all products from hemp are legal, no? Again, not so simple… the DEA proposed a rule back in August 2020 which states that synthesized Delta 8 is a scheduled I drug. So is pushing the carbon bond from 2 o’clock to 11 o’clock considered “synthesizing”? That is left up the state agency overseeing the program, as well as local law enforcement to decide. To further complicate the issue, the state agency can propose a rule that says one thing while the law enforcement agency says the other. This leaves consumers and manufactures utterly confused.

We’ve been here before though. Before the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, it was in this legal gray area. Is it marijuana? Or is it hemp? I think we will eventually get the clarification on Delta 8 from various agencies. So now Delta 8 hangs out in this legal gray area. This hasn’t stopped some manufactures from taking advantage of the legal loophole, creating and selling products that give you a “high” without a license to process or dispense cannabis.

If I want to try delta 8, what products do you recommend?

At Maeve Organic Hemp and CBD, our number one priority is to provide you with healing products created with intention and love. The ingredients we choose only serve the purposes of that intention – to heal. And I believe the closer an ingredient to its roots (organic, whole plant based, not synthesized or created in a lab), the more healing properties it has.

Delta 8 at its current state is high synthesized. In addition, most products I’ve seen on the market with Delta 8 are designed to get you high.

If I were to formulate with Delta 8 for healing, I would consider adding broad spectrum CBD to get the entourage effect. Some research have shown a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC helps certain ailments more than 100% CBD. But in those cases, I would almost recommend a cannabis product that is as close to its origin as possible. Perhaps there is population that requires a product that calls for THC/CBD entourage effect but don’t want the psychotropic high. In that case, I would still have to demand a source for Delta 8 that isn’t highly synthesized. That is a tall order right now as most labs are pushing cheap products out to formulators. But just like the hemp CBD market is ever changing based on consumer demand, the Delta 8 market may evolve as well.


Love and light,

Mimi May


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