Can You Smoke Too Much Delta-8 THC?
Published on 8/3/21
There are dozens of cannabinoids in cannabis. They are what gives the plant its unique and attractive properties. Without a doubt, Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabinol (CBN) are the best known of the cannabinoids that have been isolated in hemp and cannabis. The fascinating compounds interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors across the central nervous system to combat a variety of unwanted symptoms of ailments, and, in the case of THC, provide a psychoactive experience. Delta-9-THC is the primary psychoactive compound that has been isolated in weed.
What is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 is one of the hundreds of compounds that exist in cannabis, is found in very small amounts, and is rapidly becoming very popular for two key reasons. The first is because of its legality. Thanks to 2018's Farm Bill, it is considered legal at the federal level. Section 297A of the bill defines the term hemp as the plant cannabis Sativa L, including any parts like seeds, derivatives, acids, cannabinoids, isomers, salts, extracts, salts of isomers - whether growing or not with less than 0.3% Delta-9 concentration on a dry weight basis. Since Delta-8 is an isomer CBD obtained from legal industrial hemp it is legal.
Upon realizing the loophole that allows for its legality, in August of 2020 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released an addendum to the Bill stating that it is illegal to produce tetrahydrocannabinol in any form synthetically. This has not stopped producers and retailers who operate as if it is legal under the Farm Bill by claiming - honestly or not - that their Delta 8 is not produced synthetically. The DEA is beginning to issue cease and desist notices to businesses, but the ambiguity of the law and its enforcement remains. Consider it another confusing aspect of the absurd and futile War on Drugs.
Delta 8 is only slightly different chemically from Delta 9 (the "8" in Delta-8 stands for the placement of a chemical bond) and is usually produced by extracting CBD from industrial hemp and using acetic acid to turn the CBD into THC. This is a cumbersome process that means that products like Delta-8 gummies or a Delta-8 tincture will cost more than its CBD cousins. The fact that Delta 8 does not bind as well to the receptors in the brain and nervous system is thought to produce the difference between the effects of the two types of THC.
Where Can I Buy Delta 8?
Although its popularity is surging, the options that might pop up with a "Delta-8 THC near me" search are dwindling, although it remains legal in most states. Sales of hemp-derived Delta-8 THC have now been banned in Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Oregon, Rhode Island and Utah. Ironically, it is legal in major markets like Texas and other states that have incredibly restrictive cannabis laws concerning Delta-9 THC and is also readily available to order online.
Delta-8 THC Effects
The second key reason for the surge in the popularity of Delta-8 THC is that users of Delta-8 describe its effects as similar to a mild version of Delta 9. It is certainly psychoactive, but the high from normal consumption tends to be far more relaxed and focused because Delta 8 is simply not as strong as Delta 9. For regular marijuana users, it does not inhibit their daily activity or result in any of the "couch-lock" that can often occur from traditional cannabis use, but it will provide a euphoric boost and stimulate appetite. Anecdotal evidence suggests that when used normally it does not lead to any of the paranoia or anxiety that some users can experience with Delta-9 products. Like Delta-9, Delta-8 can relieve chronic pain and inflammation, help with depression, and provide relief for those suffering from Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.
According to Peter Grinspoon at Harvard Medical School, Delta-8 THC is approximate "two-thirds" as potent as Delta-9 THC. This estimate can be used as a starting point for consumption amounts that would be necessary for regular cannabis users to achieve a satisfactory experience with Delta-8. If one joint of your favorite strain is your normal consumption level, a joint and a half of hemp sprayed with Delta-8 oil might be just right. Likewise with edibles and concentrates, by augmenting your intake to account for the lower strength of Delta-8, a high that presents similarly to what your "regular" cannabis provides should be attainable.
Just as it is can be done with Delta-9 THC, it is possible to smoke too much Delta-8. The outcomes are the same. Anxiety and paranoia can develop, extreme sleepiness and lethargy are not uncommon, and the munchies will manifest themselves. If you eat an edible, expect the effects to be stronger and last longer because of the way the Delta-8 THC is introduced to the body. When experimenting with Delta-8, do so in the same manner as you would with Delta-9. Start slow and wait to see how your body handles the compound to avoid the unpleasantness that can result from overindulging.
Have you tried Delta-8 THC? What was your experience? Were you using it to get high or just to relax? Let us know in the comment section below!