Delta 8 soared to popularity in 2021; unfortunately, strong opinions and misconceptions often cast a shadow on its reputation.
Because it’s highly politicized, reliable information can be hard to find. Stakes are high, and most information is bent to sway public opinion one way or the other.
You may think we’re biased — and of course, we are.
If we thought delta 8 was unimportant or dangerous, we wouldn’t be pouring our lives into it.
However, we also strongly believe in everyone making their own decisions responsibly. To form an opinion, you need the truth.
Here are ten misconceptions about delta 8, what’s really true, and why it matters.
WHAT IS DELTA 8?
Delta 8 THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It’s similar to delta 9 THC (known as THC), except for one aspect: the carbon chain position.
Delta 8 has a double-bond on the eighth carbon, while delta 9 has its on the ninth. Clever name, right?
Because of this, delta 8 is very similar to delta 9 and is used in much the same way; however, their slight differences have a noticeable impact on the effects of these compounds.
DEBUNKING 10 COMMON MYTHS ABOUT DELTA 8 THC
Maybe you know nothing about delta 8; perhaps you’re well-versed in every aspect, or maybe you only think you know a lot.
Whatever the case, check your knowledge against these common myths to see how you score.
1. DELTA 8 IS ILLEGAL
Delta 8 THC is a cannabis product, so of course, it’s illegal.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the farming, production, and use of hemp — cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC. Delta 8 is federally legal as long as it’s made from hemp.
There is some concern that the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) interim rule bumps delta 8 into the “illegal” category. The interim rule says all synthetic THC is illegal, and some say delta 8’s extraction process makes it synthetic, but we’ll get to that.
2. DELTA 8 IS LEGAL EVERYWHERE
On the flip side, you’ll hear delta 8 is legal everywhere. Wrong again. It’s federally legal, but some states have made it illegal or heavily regulate it. Whether you can buy and use it or not ultimately comes down to local state laws.
Why does its federal status matter if local states can do what they want? For one, it can be shipped or carried across state lines, as long as it’s legal in both states. That means you can order it online and travel with it, unlike weed, which is heavily restricted and illegal at the point of entry for any US border (including state lines).
Learn more: Where is Delta 8 THC legal?
3. DELTA 8 IS SYNTHETIC
Delta 8 THC is not considered synthetic because it occurs in nature. It’s often produced in labs, but the process only speeds up naturally occurring processes by creating the perfect environment for this reaction to occur.
The legality of delta 8 THC hinges on whether or not it’s considered “synthetic” or not.
According to the interim rule set by the DEA, any synthetic THC is illegal. If delta 8 is synthetic, it suddenly becomes unlawful as delta 9 — currently listed as a Schedule 1 Drug.
Many lawmakers want to throw it into the “synthetic” category because of the process needed to isolate it. However, delta 8 THC is a far cry from what this rule was meant to address — which is the copious number of non-classical synthetic THC analogs that have already been proven to be harmful to our health.
4. DELTA 8 THC IS DANGEROUS
Fear is in the unknown. Delta 8, so far, shows little sign of being dangerous. Side effects are minimal and include the typical cottonmouth, red eyes, and short-term memory impairment — hardly anything to fear.
It’s less potent than weed, so you have to take a lot before you feel anything overly intense, and you’re less likely to feel anxious and paranoid.
A study on the safety of cannabinoids stated, “…among the average adult user, the health risks associated with cannabis use are likely no more dangerous than many other indulgences, including alcohol, nicotine, acetaminophen, fried foods, and downhill skiing.”
5. DELTA 8 IS COMPLETELY SAFE
Yes, we just said it isn’t dangerous; however, anything can be unsafe when in the wrong hands or improperly used. Grapes aren’t inherently dangerous; in fact, they’re good for you until you choke on one because you’re messing around while eating them.
Impure delta 8 is the most significant danger. Some vendors use additives to make it more potent or leave dangerous chemicals from the manufacturing process.
This is the number one reason you should look for reputable brands that provide extensive testing on their products. Never buy from sketchy, untested, or unknown vendors.
Pure delta 8 is only dangerous when you do stupid things while on it, like driving. Grocery shopping can also be dangerous if you don’t want to buy and eat all the food.
Avoid using delta 8 if you’re pregnant or drinking alcohol. If you’re on prescription medications, get cleared by a doctor first to avoid drug interactions.
6. ALL THC IS THE SAME
Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol looks and sounds almost the same as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, which has a lot of people claiming both cannabinoids have the same effect.
It’s great how similar they are. We appreciate having a legal, toned-down version of weed. That said, delta 8 and delta 9’s differences are still notable.
They’re both cannabinoids — compounds that interact with our endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is a relatively discovery, and scientists are just beginning to understand its role as the primary regulator of most body functions. It’s a big deal and helps maintain homeostasis in our immune cells, brain, organs, connective tissue, and glands.
Cannabinoids interact with receptors in the ECS, the two main receptors being CB1 and CB2. Delta 8 and delta 9 bind to both, but delta 9 has an affinity for the CB1, causing its psychoactive effects.
Delta 8 also binds to both receptors but has a stronger affinity for CB2, making it less psychoactive and more relaxing.
CBD, another popular cannabinoid, doesn’t bind to receptors but influences them in a way scientists haven’t quite narrowed down yet. Because of this, it’s not psychoactive at all.
7. DELTA 8 THC IS ADDICTIVE
There’s a lot of talk about how addictive delta 8 THC is online. This is fundamentally untrue.
While any substance (or activity) can become habit-forming if used irresponsibly, there’s nothing inherently addictive about delta 8 THC itself.
Humans tend to seek some form of release or escape whenever something is bothering them. Whether it’s chronic pain, depression, or a lifestyle we aren’t happy with — we seek external stimulation or sources of release to escape our problems temporarily.
Some people use delta 8 as their source of release from a reality they deem uncomfortable — but this doesn’t make delta 8 any more addictive than something like shopping, sex, or gambling.
There’s no such thing as a good or bad chemical — they’re just compounds that exist in nature. It’s our relationship with them that’s good or bad.
Learn more: Is Delta 8 THC Addictive?
8. DELTA 8 IS THE SAME AS SPICE
Spice, or K2, is essentially synthetic weed. It’s made by spraying any number of synthetic THC analogs on plant material. There are dozens of chemicals used in these products, none of which are even remotely similar to delta 8 or delta 9 THC. They merely bind to the same receptors, but the chemical structures of these compounds are completely different.
This lab-made drug does not occur naturally in nature and can be dangerous. It’s addictive and can cause hallucinations, increased blood pressure, organ damage, convulsions, and death.
Though it requires a little help when you want large quantities, delta 8 comes from the cannabis plant and is a “classical cannabinoid.” This means it shares the same base chemical structure as all other cannabinoids.
9. DELTA 8 WON’T MAKE YOU FAIL A DRUG TEST
It would be nice to use a legal product and not worry about a failed drug test. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Drug tests can’t differentiate between delta 8 and delta 9, so you’ll probably fail one if you’ve used it recently (within 30 days, depending on the type of test).
Are there ways around this? Maybe. People say various tricks will work, and plenty of products on the market swear to clear your system but don’t bank on it. Tests can be quite thorough, and it’s easy for testers to bypass or spot common tricks when trying to pass a drug test.
Learn more: Does Delta 8 THC Show Up On a Drug Test?
10. DELTA 8 IS A NEW CANNABINOID
Delta 8 is new to the market, but Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, known as “The Father of Cannabis,” first discovered it way back in 1965. His lab also discovered CBD and delta 9 in 1964 and 1965, respectively.
Why the sudden popularity?
With hemp’s legalization in 2018, CBD became popular as the go-to product for those seeking alternative solutions for their health. This caused an oversupply (or so the theory goes), making suppliers seek other uses for their CBD. They dusted off Mechoulam’s isolation process, and delta 8 was born.
There are no specific numbers as far as sales, but vendors across the nation say delta 8 is their most popular product, with sales increasing exponentially over the last year.
THE TRUTH ABOUT DELTA 8 THC: WHY IT MATTERS
Why does any of this matter? Misinformation spreads faster than the truth, usually because it’s more exciting. Some of these points might seem trivial, but it’s impossible to make an educated decision without facts.
Delta 8’s future rests on lawmakers’ and public opinion. While you might appreciate the effects of delta 8 THC (or not), we can’t forget that many others need it because they either don’t have access to medical marijuana or have access but prefer the more chilled-out nature of delta 8.
Know the truth, then spread it. Let’s make sure these decisions are based on facts, not fear.
- Sachs, J., McGlade, E., & Yurgelun-Todd, D. (2015). Safety and toxicology of cannabinoids. Neurotherapeutics, 12(4), 735-746.