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Delta-8 THC is popping up everywhere, here’s what to know

If you're wondering what the heck Delta-8 is or if it's even legit, this guide is for you.

 

John-Michael Bond

IRL

Published May 5, 2021   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 11:13 am CDT

Delta-8 THC is having a bit of a moment thanks to solving two problems for fans of cannabis. The first is legality. Since the federal government is still punting the ball on the legalization of cannabis with THC, patients have sought out other legal options. Secondly, Delta-8 THC isn’t as strong as traditional THC. So for those of you who love marijuana but have a tough time properly dosing it, well, consider Delta-8 to the rescue. Of course, that’s just the basics.

Before you start ordering online, make sure you understand what you’re getting into. From where it’s legal, to how it works, and if it gets you high, there’s a lot to learn. Here is everything you need to know about Delta-8 THC. 

What exactly is Delta-8 THC? 

Delta-8 THC is a minor cannabinoid that is found in both hemp and cannabis plants. When consumed, this compound can get you high, improve your mood, provide muscle relief, sedate you, and more. However, it is much milder than the traditional Delta-9 THC (the main psychoactive cannabinoid in weed).

To get more technical, Delta-8 THC is an isomer of Delta-9 THC. This means that structurally, these two types of THC are made out of the same atoms. It’s the arrangement of the atoms that differ. Which leads to changes in how we access, produce, consume, and react to Delta-8 products. In some cases, state and local governments group THC isomers (like Delta-8) with artificial cannabinoids due to how they’re derived for the market. This explains why Delta-8 and Delta-10 products have actually been barred from sale in recreational states like New York as cannabis regulation gains momentum.

Delta-8 Vs Delta-9: What’s the difference to the consumer? 

Delta-8 THC structure
Delta-8-THC and its acid precursor are considered as THC and THC acid artifacts, respectively. The 8,9 double-bond position is thermodynamically more stable than the 9,10 position.

When most people talk about THC, they’re actually talking about Delta-9 THC, which is found in cannabis plants. In fact, when we say THC in this article, we’re using that as shorthand for Delta-9 THC. While THC and Delta-8 THC are similar, there are important differences. 

The biggest difference to consumers is its strength and how you ingest it. Delta-8 THC is to Delta-9 THC what a cup of tea is to a cup of espresso. When consuming Delta-8 THC, your experience will be dramatically milder than you’d normally expect with a THC product.

This is good news for people who have been burned by nuclear strength edibles. You may also be surprised to find out that you can’t smoke Delta-8 (more on how you can consume it later).

Eating, vaping, or using Delta-8 THC as a topical has a lower risk of getting too high than when compared to the use of Delta-9 THC-based products. This is weed for people who aren’t looking to lose an afternoon or see God, but just want to relax. Consider this Diet Weed (trademark pending).

How does it compare to CBD? 

While THC and Delta-8 are chemically similar, CBD and Delta-8 have much less in common compositionally. And effects-wise, they’re radically different. Delta-8 THC is psychoactive, meaning it can get you zooted. 

On the other hand, CBD offers more calming effects, helping decrease anxiety and insomnia. However, when combined with Delta-8 THC, CBD can enhance the effects of your Delta-8 experience.

Beyond how Delta-8 impacts your body, there are also legal differences for users. Delta-8 THC, like traditional THC, is more likely to show up on a drug test than CBD. Keep in mind the legality of the substance in your area when consuming it. 

At the moment Delta-8 THC is mostly legal. Of course the important words there are “at the moment” and “mostly.”

Here’s why it’s legal right now, most places: Delta-8 is found in both cannabis and hemp plants. Most of the Delta-8 on the market is cultivated from hemp. Following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, it became legal to grow, use, and sell hemp-based products in much of the USA. That being said, much isn’t the same as all. That’s why you can buy a CBD joint in Chattanooga, TN, but you’d go to jail for the same joint in Iowa City, Iowa. 

These laws also impact Delta-8. This cannabinoid is legal in most places that CBD is legal. So, it is certainly more legal than traditional weed products. But, here’s where it starts to get complicated. States have started to attack Delta-8, making exceptions to the Farm Bill. Delta-8 is already banned in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, and Utah. Unbelievably, it’s also banned in the weed wonderland of Colorado. 

More states are on the way, with North Dakota, Alabama, and Oregon (where like Colorado, THC is legally available) looking to ban it next. Then you have states that are expanding access. Rather than ban Delta-8, Florida, for example, has simply regulated the substance. Every state is different, and it’s worth double-checking your local legislation before purchasing any Delta-8 products.

Can I have it delivered to my house? 

Provided it is legal in your state to buy Delta-8 THC products, you can have them shipped to your home. If you are buying from a reputable supplier they will let you know where they can ship to you or not. 

That said, some stores allow you to check for yourself. Our favorite spot for quick reference is over at the LiftedMade store.

Does Delta-8 THC get you high? What’s the proper dose?

Part of the joy of Delta-8 is figuring out your own dose without fear of accidentally going too far. Delta-8 is highly stackable, meaning you can slowly build to your proper dose without experiencing any unwanted side effects.

To better understand Delta-8 THC, we spoke to Dr. Lynn Parodneck, a medical marijuana consultant of TribeTokes. Dr. Parodneck is also a medical marijuana doctor working with cancer, HIV, ALS, Parkinson’s, MS, IBD, and chronic pain patients in Westchester, NY. For Dr. Parodneck’s patients, the stackability allows for more control in their lives. 

“Often my patients like Delta-8 for the afternoon,” Parodneck explained over the phone. “It gives them a little lift, but they can still do their day. The whole thing with micro-dosing and stacking is to get consistent medication throughout the day so you don’t slump down. And Delta-8 is absolutely stackable.” 

Measuring your dose will depend on how you’re taking the medicine. Edibles will have a suggested serving size. Start with that, and wait an hour. Then, if you decide you need to up your dose, you can take a little more. 

Vaping is where it’s easiest to go too far. Take one or two hits, but then put it down and step away. Particularly if you’re used to weed vapes, the high of Delta-8 may take a minute longer than normal to recognize. It’s all about pace. Ask yourself if you enjoy a milder experience before immediately jumping head first into some more.

And then there are topicals, which, in my opinion, are the easiest to dose since you don’t have to worry so much about intense psychoactive effects. Just use them as prescribed, and if you go a little far, don’t worry. The worst that can happen with too many bath bombs is being too chill.  

How to consume Delta-8 THC 

Given all its similarities to traditional CBD and THC, you might be surprised to learn you can’t smoke Delta-8. This is a minor cannabinoid, so you won’t see any effects from firing up. However, you can use Delta-8 in the different ways that we briefly touched upon earlier. Vapes, edibles, and topicals are all viable options.

I went ahead and tested each method for this article, with surprising results. You can read about my experience with every alternative (and even where to find these products) below.

Vaping

Our Delta-8 vaping test used a Tribe Tokes NYC Diesel Sativa cart and the company’s Birthday Cake hybrid, both of which were provided by the company for review. These carts feature a mixture of Delta 8 distillate, as well as fellow minor cannabinoids CBD, CBN, and CBG. Each of these other cannabinoids adds its own effect to the experience. 

CBD is an anti-inflammatory and boosts the effect of the Delta-8. CBN can be a useful sleep aid, bringing about a sense of relaxation. Finally, CBG is known as the mother cannabinoid and has shown potential as a treatment for glaucoma and IBC.

As for the Delta-8 THC, well, in vape form it gets you kind of high. Really nicely high, to be honest. Hitting a joint once in the park on a warm summer day and playing a little frisbee or watching a movie high. 

Whether you don’t want to get so high you can’t do anything or just deal with anxiety, vaping Delta-8 is a solution. This is a highly stackable experience. Hit it once, give it 10 minutes. Hit again if you want a little more. You can ease yourself into the experience rather than risking hitting a portable dab rig. 

Anything by Tribe Tokes

Tribe Tokes sees what the other guys have let go to market and decided that as a company, it wants to do better. That’s why all Tribe Tokes cartridges only contain two ingredients: full-spectrum CBD distillate and natural plant terpenes for a subtle, satisfying taste and the “entourage effect” benefits of Indica, Sativa, and hybrids (and never any MCT oil or other potentially harmful additives).

The NYC-based company offers multiple buy options including single cartridge purchases as well as money-saving bundles.

Price: $50-$380


Edibles

There’s a good chance Delta-8 edibles will change the face of the edible market in the future. To be frank, even as a daily cannabis consumer, the edibles strength arms race has left me shook. Every cannabis user has had the experience of an edible that contained a Monkey’s Paw level of THC in it. It sucks. 

Delta-8 THC edibles, on the other hand, are just nice. For our coverage we tested Kush Queen’s Gummy RX Fresh Lemon and Fresh Strawberry CBD + Delta 8 THC gummies. Each gummy contains 10mg of Delta-8 and 10mg of CBD, with a total of 100mb of each per 10 gummy pouch. 

Even as someone who smokes a bowl every day, the effect of just one of these gummies was noticeable. Subtle, but noticeable. Taking a single gummy brought about all of the euphoric, relaxed sensations of getting high without, well, the high. No cloudiness, no anxiety, just a nice body buzz. 

The Kush Queen gummies are also delicious. These taste like fancy fruit candy with an incredibly soft texture and no weed flavor. 

That might be they’re only minor problem. Delta-8 THC in edible form brought out the munchies, and when you have a bag of candy that can be a temptation. In the name of science, we took six gummies at once, for a 60mg Delta-8 dose. 

We learned that at higher doses Delta-8 will absolutely get you high. However, it’s not an unmanageable high. A 60mg dose of Delta-8 still felt weaker than a standard 10mg THC edible. 

Delta-8 is the perfect edible accompaniment to a hike, day at the park, or other place where you might was a little elevation but don’t want to be wrecked.

Kush Queen’s Delta-8 Chews

Each of Kush Queen’s edible Delta-8 products include 10 single-serving-sized gummy chews. They’re apart of Kush Queen’s extra strength ratio series. Each chew contains 10mg of CBD and 10mg of Delta-8 THC paired with fresh and tasty flavors and are perfect for when you need a serious mood boost. 

Price: $20


Bath Bombs 

Finally we tested Delta-8 topicals in the form of KushQueen’s line of bath bombs. Each bath bomb contains a mix of essential oils, CBD, epsom salts, natural aromatherapy scents, and, of course, Delta-8 THC. There’s 25mg of Delta-8 and 25mg of CBD in each bomb. 

Like all topicals, bath bombs absorb through your largest organ, your skin. While you soak, the oils in the Delta-8 bath bomb soak into your pores and make contact with the circulatory system underneath.

Although vaping and eating Delta-8 THC can give you a high sensation, you shouldn’t expect anything cerebral from bath bombs. Instead, these provide more of a body high. It can help muscles feel more relaxed while providing a calming effect over your body.

The residual body high that followed our tests of Kush Queen’s four bombs was remarkable. We tested Relieve, Sleep, Relax, and Shield. Of the four, the Sleep and Relieve bombs impressed us most.

As someone with nightmarish insomnia, the Sleep CBD & Delta-8 THC bath bomb was incredible. Its combination of CBD, Delta-8 THC body high, and lavender scent helped inspire a remarkably restful night’s sleep.

The Relieve CBD & Delta-8 THC bomb came in handy while nursing a workout injury. With 25mg of Delta-8 and 25mg of CBD, along with a healthy dose of Epsom salts, the Relieve bomb worked wonders. My muscles felt looser, and the cramps faded.

That isn’t to say the Relax or Shield bombs are bad. They were great bath bombs that left us relaxed, soft, and feeling a nice tingly body high. But their siblings are the stars. Having used CBD bath bombs in the past, the extra little boost provided by the Delta-8 was a nice surprise. 

Kush Queen’s Delta-8 THC Bath Bombs

All of Kush Queen’s Delta-8 THC bath bombs are also a part of the company’s Extra Strength Ratio Series. Each bath bomb is formulated with 25mg of CBD and 25mg of Delta-8 THC along with Kush Queen’s signature targeted essential oil blends that are destined to bring about comfort and tranquility you can really feel.

The botanical blends include frankincense, lavender, and orange essential oils in the Sleep bomb. Clove, birch, rosemary, coriander, black pepper, tea tree, eucalyptus, spearmint, and camphor can be found in the Relieve bath bomb. Lavender, chamomile, and frankincense create a deeply relaxing soak in the Relax bath bomb. And organic clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary provide some protection by supporting and strengthening the body and immune system in the Shield bath bomb.

Price: $20


Delta-8: The final verdict

While Delta-8 products may be a solid alternative for people who don’t fare well with traditional marijuana products, it’s worth discussing these products with your primary care physician. As with any new supplement, there can be drug interactions or unwanted side effects that only your physician will be able to discuss with you.

That said, our experience with Delta-8 was as pleasurable as could be. In all transparency, we went into this with a great deal of skepticism. It’s not unheard of for companies to just tell you what you want to hear, which is why you need to check that the products you’re interested in purchasing have been verified by a third-party lab and include a Certificate of Analysis (CoA). As for Tribe Tokes and Kush Queen, both of the companies’ Delta-8 products have CoAs lab reports available on site. Just another reason to love ’em!

Editor’s note: This article is updated regularly for relevancy.

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*First Published: May 5, 2021, 9:18 am CDT