Delta-8-THC is a hemp byproduct that’s being exploited by an apparent loophole in federal law that allows its unfettered sale. And people are seeking it out because it can create some of the same feelings of euphoria as THC.
The similarities between the two cannabinoids are clear to see. THC’s scientific name is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or Delta-9 for short, while Delta-8 is delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol. Their similar chemical structures can cause comparable effects, though delta-8 is not as potent as THC.
The attraction of Delta-8 THC is that it’s available more widely than standard THC. The provisions of the 2018 farm bill meant hemp can be legally grown and used for extractions all over the United States — and though the new law explicitly excluded Delta-9, it made no mention of its close relative Delta-9, so entrepreneurs seized on this grey area, creating a raft of Delta-8 products. Sometimes they give the false impression that Delta-8 as innocuous as CBD.
But is it safe? In Chicago, where the Delta-8 scene is huge, there are concerns. “Delta-8 is creating a competitive market without being subject to the same standards and regulations and rules that the cannabis industry is,” former Illinois state senator Pam Althoff, told the Chicaho Sun Times,
And state Rep. Bob Morgan, a pro-pot Democrat from Deerfield, tweeted: “Many of these products are unsafe, untested, and it’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.”
The Cannabis Business Association of Illinois is pushing to completely prohibit its sale outside license dispensaries and, while this may out of an abudance of caution the deadly vaping and synthetic marijuana crises that have previously affected the nationwide cannabis industry probably make a cautious approach the right one.
Delta-8 will also show up on a drug screening so it’s important to bear this in mind and to be safe rather than sorry.