Every time you think you know everything there is to know about the cannabis industry, a new trend comes along and changes the rules of the game. The sector is still young and continues to develop at a rapid pace, which makes it virtually impossible to predict what will happen next. That definitely helps keep things interesting and gives cannabis enthusiasts something to look out for. 

If you’ve been watching the cannabis narrative unfold over the years, you’ve probably noticed that another ingredient has been making headlines: delta-8. Public interest spiked tremendously, and that is proven by the massive number of searches for the term that Google has been flooded with – there’s been an 850 percent growth in searches in the United States between 2020 and 2021. This trend is particularly noticeable in states where the use of medical marijuana has been legalized. So, if you go and type delta 8 premium picks near me on Google, you’ll surely get a long list of results that are relevant to your location. 

But despite its quick rise to popularity, a lot of people still don’t know much about the driving forces behind the delta-8 hype, making them wonder whether this is just another marketing gimmick or if there are actually solid reasons supporting the buzz. So, here are some essential aspects that should shed some light on delta 8 and its newfound fame.     

What is delta-8 THC?  

Delta-8, by its full name delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, is not exactly a new discovery. The only thing that’s relatively new about it is the attention it has garnered recently. Scientists have identified and studied delta-8 since the ‘40s, although research directly on the compound remains rather scarce.  

What we do know is that delta-8 is a chemical naturally found in the cannabis plant, just like its other relatives, CBD and THC. However, since the amounts of delta-8 in hemp are relatively small, most delta-8 has to be synthetically produced from CBD or delta-9 THC. As you can probably guess, this means delta-8 is in many ways quite similar to THC, but there are also some key differences that one should not disregard. 

Delta 8-THC vs. delta-9 THC 

So, if delta-8 is an isomer of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, most commonly referred to as simply THC, how do the two compounds compare? We have to dive into the chemical makeup of these two cannabinoids to provide some clarifications, as a lot of people immediately assume they’re one and the same thing, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.  

Delta-8 and delta-9 share common ground due to their molecular structure which is almost identical. The difference is made by just one double bond in the atoms that make up the molecules, and although this sounds like a minor detail, it has a noticeable impact on the effects that delta-8 produces. To be more specific, THC‘s double bond is located on the ninth carbon bond, hence the name delta-9 THC, while delta-8 has a double bond on the eighth carbon bond. This happens in the aging process which transforms delta-9 THC into delta-8 THC.

Scientific research has revealed that THC binds strongly to the CB1 receptors found in the body’s endocannabinoid system. Since delta-8 has an almost similar chemical structure to THC, it also binds to the CB1 receptors, but the bond is not as strong. 

Effects 

The next big question is how do these differences influence the effects that delta-8 has on the body? We already know what THC does. Being the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, THC is mostly known for producing a euphoric sensation when consumed, and that’s what makes it both a very popular and a highly controversial chemical. 

As an isomer of THC, delta-8 also falls in the category of psychoactive ingredients, but given its slightly different chemical structure, it’s less potent than THC, so you won’t experience the same type of high. According to anecdotal evidence, delta-8’s effects are a lot milder, so you can enjoy all the benefits associated with THC while also experiencing a nice and mellow relaxing sensation. In other words, delta-8 offers the best of both worlds, or some sort of a middle ground for those who want to test out cannabis products, but are not really into intense experiences. 

Legality 

The legal status of delta-8 is a topic that causes a lot of confusion. Technically, delta-8 is considered legal, but we’d have to expand a bit on the subject to provide all the relevant details. The 2018 Farm Bill ruled the legalization of hemp, as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC, along with all the products derived from this cannabis variety. There’s no mention of delta-8 in the bill, so there’s a loophole that allows companies to manufacture and sell delta-8 products legally.

However, certain states have taken a stricter stance regarding cannabis in general, banning the commercialization of cannabis products on their territory. Therefore, despite being federally legal, state restrictions can impact the legal status of delta-8. This means you have to stay up to date with cannabis regulations in your area if you want to purchase delta-8 safely. 

Products

Since delta-8’s popularity seems to grow by the day, there’s a myriad of products containing this ingredient on the market, and there will be a lot more coming up in the near future. Looking at the wide range of options, it’s clear there’s no shortage of creativity when it comes to product types or clever marketing strategies

That’s another reason why delta-8 holds pride of place in the cannabis industry today. This also makes purchasing delta-8 products easier than ever. You can find them in shops, supermarkets, and dispensaries in states where marijuana is legal, but you can also order them online from reputable cannabis companies. 

As you can see, there are many variables at play in the delta-8 hype. So, it’s up to you to decide if they make delta-8 a worthy contender in the thriving cannabis industry or not.