THE Delta-8-THC FAQ: Is it legal? And what is it good for?
What is delta-8 THC? Is delta-8 THC legal? And what are the medicinal benefits of delta-8 THC? Is delta-8 THC legal? In this short story, we’ll discuss where D8 THC comes from, how it’s being used in medicine and its legal status in the U.S.
What is Delta-8-THC?
Delta-8-THC is one of a class of medicinally beneficial compounds known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are produced in abundance in the resinous flower clusters of the cannabis plant. The buds of the most medicinally potent modern strains of cannabis boast as much as 30 percent cannabinoid content.
However, the truth is that delta-8-THC accounts for only a very small fraction of the total cannabinoid content of cannabis flower. If that’s the case, then what’s the big deal about delta-8 THC?
There are two reasons that delta-8-THC is getting attention. The first is that delta-8 is very similar to highly intoxicating delta-9 THC found in marijuana. D8 has many of the same medicinal benefits but is far less intoxicating than D9. The second reason D8 is interesting is that it can be made from CBD. And CBD can be extracted from hemp. And, unlike marijuana, hemp is legal in the U.S.
Aside from being less intoxicating than D9 THC, what makes D8 THC so valuable as a medicine is the fact that D8 is highly stable with a long shelf. D9 THC, on the other hand, oxidizes over time converting into cannabinol (CBN) which is not as medicinally useful as D8 THC.
What are the medical benefits of delta-8 THC?
D9 THC only interacts with CB1 receptors which are found mainly in the brain. And CBD interacts mostly with CB2 receptors (and other types of receptors) found throughout the major organs and the immune system. D8 THC has similar benefits to both CBD and D9 THC because it interacts with both CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Like CBD, D8 has been shown to safely and effectively reduce pain, inflammation, and nausea, as well as tame anxiety, improve sleep patterns, and reduce seizures. However, D8 also offers some of the uplifting and neuroprotective effects of D9 without being highly intoxicating.
Effects attributed to Delta-8-THC
- Antiemetic (anti-nausea)
- Anxiolytic (anti-anxiety)
- Orexigenic (appetite stimulant)
- Analgesic (anti-pain)
- Neuroprotective (protects the brain)
Delta-8-THC pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects
A 2018 preclinical study published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research claimed that delta-8-THC was beneficial in reducing inflammation in mice with corneal injuries. When applied topically, delta-8 seemed to significantly reduce inflammation and pain.
Delta-8-THC for treatment of nausea
An earlier clinical study done in 1995 by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam of Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem explored delta-8 THC’s efficacy in reducing or preventing nausea in children undergoing chemotherapy. Children ranging in ages from 3 to 13 all suffering from cancer were involved in the study. The research suggested that not only does D8 help reduce the side effects of chemo, but also high doses of Delta-8-THC could be administered to the children without any ill effects.
So Is delta-8-THC legal?
The legality of D8 THC remains in a “grey area” of federal cannabis policy. This is mainly due to the fact that it can be produced using hemp rather than marijuana. As we mentioned, D8 isn’t produced in abundance in cannabis. But it can be converted from CBD. So the main legal question is whether or not the D8 THC produced in this conversion process is considered to be “synthesized.”
Under a recent DEA interim ruling from Aug. 20, 2020: “All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinol [THCs] remain Schedule I controlled substances.” However, the National Hemp Association, claims that D8 THC does not qualify as “synthetically derived” since it is made from natural CBD. One of the larger suppliers of D8 is now challenging the ruling and plans on suing the DEA.
So what happens if the federal government legalizes or decriminalizes marijuana? Will D8 also become legal? Will all synthetic cannabinoids be considered drugs and thus regulated by the FDA? Regardless, of federal law, if the current state of affairs with CBD is any indication, then D8 THC is expected to continue to be widely available in the U.S.