Cannabinoid Alert: What's the Deal with Delta-8 THC?

Image via In the Weeds Apothecary

The latest hype in cannabis is Delta-8 THC.

It's a minor cannabinoid, somewhere between THC and CBD. 

"Many people claim that Delta-8 is a smoother, less anxious psychoactive experience than the more familiar Delta-9," Discover reported in September. "It also seems to have additional medicinal effects than regular THC, such as better pain relief, but these claims have yet to be weighed out in clinical trials."

Our resident cannabis specialist Dr. Mary Clifton is high on Delta-8:

"It's a nice introductory product for people who are afraid of cannabis and all the legalities and want to try it. Exploiting the grey areas may help expand the market and make regulation impossible."

Tetrahydrocannabinol, a.k.a. delta-9, Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical in cannabis that gets you high. It can also make some people anxious and paranoid. Hence, Delta-8 THC is being promoted as the mellow THC. 

3CHI offers a product line of minor cannabinoids including CBN, CBG, CBC and Delta-8 THC. Here's the promo copy for their Pink Floyd-inspired Comfortably Numb tincture:

"Experience next-level relaxation with Comfortably Numb, our new Delta 8 THC and CBN ratio tincture. This product will have you feeling exactly like its name with it’s potent ratios and added CBC and beta-caryophyllene dominate terpene blend for maximum effects."

They also have Delta-8 vapes, gummies and distillate.

As far as legality, Delta-8 THC occupies the same grey market that has allowed CBD, Spice and K2 and fake marijuana products to thrive in the past. But technically Delta-8 THC is illegal, unless it's derived from hemp. That's a big if, hence the grey area.

NORML board member Kevin Oliver responded to a Facebook post at the CelebStoner group about Delta-8 THC with this comment:

"The Delta-8 being marketed is a semi-synthetic cannabinoid being exploited through a loophole in the Farm Act under the auspices of a 'derivative,' though DEA expressly prohibits synthesized derivatives.

"While Delta-8 occurs in the cannabis sativa plant naturally in minuscule amounts, what you're seeing here is an unregulated byproduct of CBD which has been processed using a chemical reaction. It was not the intention of to allow this type of unregulated product on a legal market. This is currently a grey market exploiting a loophole that is likely soon to be closed, as it is also possible to create semi-synthetic Delta-9 using this process. I would view Delta-8 with healthy skepticism, much like Spice or K2."

Harvard  Medical School's Dr. Peter Grinspoon, son of Lester Grinspoon, is also skeptical: 

“Whenever there's another minor cannabinoid that people start puffing up, I always worry that the marketing claims and the desire to line people's pockets is going to outpace the actual science.”

Another commenter on Facebook, Loretta Nall, founder of the U.S. Marijuana Party, likes it: 

"It's fantastic. Can't tell difference between it and Delta-9 except I stay higher longer."

Dr. Michele Ross concurred:

"I love Delta-8 tablinguals. Works better for me during the day for pain and anxiety than Delta-9 does (always makes me sleepy). I use it for microdosing, haven’t tried bigger doses."

Melissa Gibson, who owns Hemp and Humanity in Woodstock, New York recommends Green Spectrum's FS-3000, which combines Delta-8 THC with 0.3% THC, CBG, CBN, CBC and CBDV:

"I definitely feel high when I take over 50 mg of the formula at once. It's perfect for night time or stay-at-home use. I advise my customers not to drive or work after they first take it, just to check how they do on it. I use smaller doses of it." 

If you'd like to weigh in on Delta-8 THC, leave a comment.


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.