Is Delta-8 similar to CBD?
As a Cannabis farmer here in Western North Carolina, I get a lot of questions from CBD users who keep hearing about a new product that's been blowing up this year, Delta-8. The question I get more than any other is, "is Delta-8 similar to CBD?"
It's a good question, one worth explaining a bit more.
One of the major aspects about delta-8 THC that is making headlines is predominantly around the option of having a cannabis product containing THC that does not have such strong effects. The delta-8 THC is an isomer of CBD and is derived from the cannabis plant. This is a synthesis known as isomerization. Extraction, isolation, distillation are a few of the additional processes when collecting the D8 isomer. It is important to note that Delta-8 THC is still a form of THC. Where CBD is non-psychoactive and non-addictive, delta-8 THC is still inherently different.
Delta-8 and CBD do have some things in common
Delta-8 THC does have similarities to CBD in regards to the medicinal benefits users have experienced. Medicinal benefits of D8 are being discovered continuously. A past study held by Salk Institute for Biological Studies reveals that THC promotes removal of amyloid beta plaque in the brain. Amyloid beta plaque is known to be one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s-related dementia. This is one of many examples revealing medicinal benefits that can address real issues, while supporting the more subtle effects appreciated and enjoyed with D8.
As mentioned already, delta-8 THC contains under 0.3% THC and this may play a direct role in the more desirable effects that people receive, many of which are much less intense than those from products containing higher than 0.3%. Similar to CBD, D8 has been found by users to offer up sensations of general happiness, a calm and content mood, relief from pain, and sometimes an overall feeling of euphoria.
CBD and Delta-8: It All Starts with Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids are the natural compounds produced by the cannabis plant. There are some major cannabinoid acids that are commonly decarboxylated (activated by heat) in order to yield a corresponding cannabinoid effect, such as CBDA and CBGA.
Many variations of cannabinoids continue to be explored, including CBN. Delta-8 THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a naturally occurring cannabinoid derived from the cannabis sativa hemp plant. You may notice a variation of abbreviations, such as delta-8 THC, Δ8THC, Δ8, D8, D8 THC, and D8THC.
Learning about cannabinoids is an ever-growing field of discovery. Currently there are claimed to be at least 120 identified cannabinoid compounds found within the Cannabis plant genus, all of which interact with the bodies’ natural receptors. Any product that contains cannabis plant extracts with THC above 0.3% is federally considered an illegal substance.
Understanding Delta-8 Legality
The 2018 Farm Bill law specifically states that all derivatives, isomers, and cannabinoids in hemp are legal provided that the final products contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. A cannabis sativa hemp plant is thus defined if it contains 0.3% or less of the cannabinoid THC. To put it plainly, cannabis is a variety of hemp. The 0.3% difference is quite significant from the legal lens. Any higher and the cannabis plant automatically falls into the jurisdiction of the controlled substance act mentioned earlier, therefore falling under the federal ban. Rod Kight, an Asheville-based cannabis-focused attorney discusses the recent DEA interpretation of the 2018 USDA Farm Bill and the cannabis production process that could be viewed as stepping over the line of the acceptable 0.3% legal statute.
Currently delta-8 is unregulated at the federal level and the reality exists that anything mixed in poses a dangerous potential, explains Steven Hawkins, CEO of the U.S. Cannabis Council. “In order for a compound to be administered, it has to be mixed with other compounds to be taken via mouth or inhaled. If you are taking an FDA-approved drug, all those chemicals are approved,” says Daniele Piomelli, director of the University of California, Irvine, Center for the Study of Cannabis. “But if this operation is run in a lab somewhere else, you really don’t know what is happening.”
Delta-8 exploits Fed loopholes, but not for long
Thanks to a loophole in the 2018 farm bill legalizing hemp, it is federally legal to farm and grow cannabis hemp plants that contain 0.3% THC or less. Their reasoning is that these levels are too low to have a psychoactive effect on people, therefore farming and producing products from cannabis hemp plants are safe and non-addictive. However, the bill does not fully address delta-8 levels, an omission that has made it legal for vendors to sell delta-8 products, often as edibles, vape cartridges and tinctures, with no oversight.
To add to the complexity more than half of our 50 United States have passed laws allowing for the use of medical cannabis, defined as “cannabis and cannabinoids that are prescribed by physicians for their patients,” per Wikipedia. Eighteen states currently view recreational use of cannabis higher than the legal 0.3% of THC as acceptable practice for adults over the age of 21, with amended legislation relaxing on a continual basis. It is worth noting, however, that many states still face unclear details around implementation of cannabis legislation and D8 is currently banned (or has restricted sales) in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.
What’s the bottom line, is Delta-8 considered CBD?
There’s much less research on individual cannabinoids than there is on the cannabis plant as a whole. We must empower consumers by being clear and transparent in an ever-increasing world of mis-information, particularly when it comes to relaying information on medicinal plants and medicinal products.
What we know is that there is still very little known, scientifically, about delta-8 THC itself. Another point to understand is, currently, D8 products are moving around within an unregulated market. This can lend itself to an onslaught of products containing the essential D8 compound but possibly also cut with additional, unknown toxic materials. Staying vigilant and communicating with your supplier, as well as being an active participant in supporting companies and brands that maintain a consistent and reliable ethical high standard, can be a few ways to discover and retain reliable and trustworthy delta-8 product sourcing.
Farming organic full spectrum CBD is much safer than Delta-8
Here at Wildwood Herbal we produce a variety of full-spectrum organic CBD products. The farm’s mission is to provide people with a holistic, organic, and natural product that avoids the adverse effects of traditional farming methods. Our farm has been using organic farming methods to grow produce and herbs for the past 40 years and incorporating hemp in 2017, after foreseeing a growing demand and understanding the benefits associated with full-spectrum CBD. Our farm cultivates CBD products that are non-psychoactive, safe, effective, and healthy. Most of all, the emphasis is only on growing and manufacturing legal products that have 0.3% THC, legal in all 50 states.