What is Delta-8 THC?
The industry is experiencing a boom for a psychoactive substance extracted from hemp called Delta 8-Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as Delta-8 THC. However, due to many regulator challenges, its commercialization often sits in a gray area, even in states with more lax policies towards THC and other derivatives.
For business owners and entrepreneurs to understand and leverage the current playing field, it’s crucial to understand what makes this compound so popular, starting from its origins.
What is Delta-8 THC?
Unlike many other compounds in the cannabis plant, this cannabinoid is not directly extracted from it but is rather extracted in laboratories using CBD (a non-psychoactive cannabinoid), oil, and other chemicals.
Delta- 8 sat for some time in a gray regulatory area because when converted from CBD, it carries traces of another very popular, yet sometimes very regulated, cannabinoid, Delta-9. These two chemicals are the only components in the Cannabis plant that produce psychoactive effects. Delta-8 is less abundant than Delta-9 and can only be extracted by being synthesized because their molecular bond is at different points.
Delta-8 THC is often used in different products, and it is possible to obtain and legally buy it in the form of tinctures, vapes, edibles, etc. Although exact sales figures are not available, this cannabinoid is now part of the quickest-growing sector in hemp’s chemical market due to the lower wholesale prices of CBD and its supply excess.
The market saturation of CBD affected Delta-8’s commercialization in 2020, as the general perception for them to innovate was low. However, this position drastically changed after the worst of the pandemic subsided. Increased demand for Delta-8 THC ensured, providing an opportunity for farmers to increase their hemp production substantially. However, the increased popularity didn’t come alone, and the conversation around its legal status got reignited.
The growing market now makes it very attractive for businesses to invest in the production and selling of Delta-8 products. Today, the cannabis market size is about $20.47 billion, with a projected increase of $16 billion more by 2026.
As the popularity of this cannabinoid keeps increasing, new products will continue to populate the market. You can even find combinations of Delta-8 with various compounds, such as GNB, which reportedly help users manage insomnia.
Delta-8 is, for the most part, mainly produced as an alternative to the enjoyable effects of Delta-9 as it creates a softer, almost gentler, sensation. Some of its reported side effects include dry mouth, redness, and nausea. Much like its counterpart Delta-9, it can also increase one’s appetite.
Delta-8 stimulates both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, unlike its stronger counterpart, which only activates CB1 receptors. These different and unique effects also contributed to many customers choosing Delta-8 products over other derivatives.
Health benefits of Delta-8-THC
There are reasons beyond its effects why this compound has become popular. While there have not been any conclusive claims, studies about Delta-8 are carried out continuously. However, There’s still a lot to learn and understand about it. A few studies, for example, report that this cannabinoid could have various beneficial effects on different health alignments.
Some researchers have noted that Delta-8 might enhance our brain function. The compound can reportedly increase the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. Acetylcholine can impact people’s cognitive function, memory power, and ability to learn new things.
Among other reported benefits, a 1974 study suggests that Delta-8 could help people deal with nausea as an immune system activator. When combined with CBD, the psychoactive effects are further reduced, allowing consumers to get the advantages of both substances while experiencing minimal to no high.
There can not be a discussion of the legal state of Delta-8 without referencing 2018’s farm bill, in which the legal status of hemp changed across the US, allowing farmers to cultivate and extract it without worrying about legal issues. While Delta-8 can not economically be extracted from hemp, it can be converted from cannabidiol (CBD), increasing its production.
Delta-8 tends to be legal within the same states where cannabis enjoys fewer restrictions. However, it’s important to note that federal law 2018 sets a legal framework for delta-8, where the traces of Delta-9 have to be less than 0.3% to be considered legal.
The legal status of Delta-8 in various states
The legal status of Delta-8 tends to vary by location, but to get a glimpse of how it’s handled by different states, here are a few examples:
Producing and selling delta-8 is against state law.
Delta-8 is not allowed in dietary supplements, food, and cosmetics and also is not regarded as hemp.
Kentucky and Vermont
Growing delta-8 and selling risks criminal prosecution
The law suggests limiting the use of THC of any kind in products made for minors.
Today, a lack of consistent regulation is one of the industry’s biggest enemies. However, as popularity grows, clearer and more open legal frameworks are bound to make matters easier for business owners across the country.
Interestingly enough, one of the biggest challenges Delta-8 faces is how it’s synthesized. As this cannabinoid comes from CBD, many argue that it should fall under the same legal status, as CBD tends to have fewer restrictions. However, those small, almost unnoticeable levels of Delta-9 keep the conversation open.
On the other hand, Delta-9 advocates sometimes debate the same points, arguing that the similarity between the two should be grounds to clear some of the restrictions on them. This situation effectively leaves Delta-8 in the middle of two arguments. However, the popularity of the compound is not going anywhere, and it’s only a matter of time before things change.