Delta-8 THC is an ingredient in hemp that can get you high like THC but is currently federally legal due to a loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill.
It’s causing a lot of controversy because producers, generally outside of state-licensed and state-regulated cannabis industries, have been breeding and selling delta-8 THC rich strains to cash in, and in that unregulated space, anything could happen.
But is this just a combination of sour grapes and killjoy politics, or are their concerns valid?
An April 2021 survey backed by the U.S. Cannabis Council suggests the concerns are real.
In this survey, an assortment of unlicensed delta-8 THC products was purchased from unregulated retail stores in California, Florida, Nevada, Texas, Michigan, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Indiana.
The results found that many of these unlicensed delta-8 vape cartridges contained solvents at levels not safe for human consumption, and of the 16 products tested by ProVerde Laboratories in Massachusetts, none were compliant with the legal limit of 0.3% THC specified in the 2018 farm bill.
The report also found the metals chromium, copper, nickel, and lead in some products And, in a worrisome echo of the EVALI crisis of 2019, many of the samples contained residual traces of solvents, such as hexane, methanol, dichloromethane, ethyl acetate, heptane, acetone, and isopropanol, at levels not safe for human inhalation. (These solvents are used in the process that separates the delta-8 THC from the hemp).
It’s also nearly impossible to find clinical studies on the effects of delta-8 THC like it is on other popular cannabinoids THC and CBD. The only known study was published nearly 50 years ago, in 1973. That research found intravenous delta-8 THC doses ranging from 1mg to 6mg “produced a wide spectrum of cannabis-like effects,” which isn’t much to go on.
The take home point seems to be only to use licensed cannabis pharmacies if you want to dabble with delta-8 THC — and to be aware that even though many people claim it’s a gentler version of THC, it’s not as well researched.