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Delta 8: Why Are States Banning it now?

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Delta 8: Why Are States Banning it now?

If you’re interested in the latest developments in the cannabis industry you’ve probably heard of delta-8 THC.

Products are available for purchase at head shops, online, and even at gas stations delta-8 is marketed in the form of “weed light” a way to “get high without the fear” and even “legal marijuana.” But is this really accurate? What is the exact meaning of the actual substance?

Here, expert’s breakdown the most commonly asked questions as well as details about the substance.

What is delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol -also known as delta-8 THC, is a psychoactive substance found inside the Cannabis plant. This isomer is essentially a minor chemical variant of delta-9 THC and is often called simply THC.

“Delta-9 is very present in the marijuana flower whereas delta-8 is found in very low amount in marijuana plants.” Dr. Rahi Abouk, associate professor and director of the Cannabis Research Institute at William Paterson University, explained.

The general rule is that cannabis plants typically have more delta-9 THC than delta-8 THC; therefore, we’re usually talking about the former when we speak of THC. However, both are psychoactive, and they in giving the drug its mental alterations or “high”-producing effects.

Delta-8 is what it’s commonly known, and it can be found through brick-and-mortar stores and online as products such as vape pens, gummies, and edibles and tinctures.

How does it compare to THC we know of?

In isomers as well, delta-8 and delta-9 have identical chemical formulas. However, the molecules are placed differently.

“Notably that the term “delta” is merely a chemical term that refers to the location of a double bond that is formed between two carbons that are found in a cyclic ring inside the molecule.” explained the researcher Dr. Gregory L. Gerdeman, an educator and neuroscientist whose research has been concentrated on cannabis and the endocannabinoid system. “That double bond can be found anywhere within that rings, and the name will simply be such as delta-8, delta-10, and Delta-6 — all these are chemically achievable and could be created in a laboratory.”

Delta-8 is a molecule that interacts with the same receptors of cannabinoids that are found within our nervous system, also known as CB1 and CB2, in the same manner, that delta-9. However, their interactions are less effective. The effects are comparable, but it is generally thought to be less potent.

“Delta-8 is believed to possess numerous of the positive effects of delta-9 – positive mood, relaxed high, and a relaxed state — but without the negative ones such as anxiety and paranoia It’s also supposed to be the one that won’t cause anxiety,” said Dr. Peter Grinspoon, an expert in cannabis and professor in the department of cannabis at Harvard Medical School. “Whether this is true or not is difficult to determine. It’s just anecdotal.”

Gerdeman stressed that delta-8 isn’t some magical THC that can only produce positive effects.

“I am not a fan of the marketing that claims it “elevates the user’s experience, but without fear of being a victim,” he said. “At this moment, I’ve seen and heard many instances of people, even veteran weed smokers, consuming delta-8 and falling into a very tense emotional state, similar to taking a step too far in traditional Cannabis edibles.”

What is the process by which delta-8 THC products are developed?

A significant distinction between delta-8 and Delta-9 is the creation of commercially accessible products.

As mentioned earlier, delta-8 is a natural component of cannabis plants, but in tiny quantities (so tiny, in fact in fact, that Gerdeman claimed that the scientists might just be watching delta-8 as it is produced by the process of oxidative breakdown, which could occur as part of their procedure for chemical analysis). Due to the small amounts of delta-8, it can’t be created naturally like those that contain delta-9.

“Delta-9 products are likely taken directly from cannabis plants,” About noted. “However, Delta-8 is most likely produced and concentrated by the Chemical process.”

Delta-8 commercially produced is mainly derived from hemp, a plant belonging to the cannabis family, and is very low in THC. Hemp also has cannabidiol, also known as CBD, which is a different isomer of THC, making it simple for laboratories to convert CBD into delta-8 THC.

Therefore, the delta-8 items that you can find online or in retail stores are most likely made using CBD rather than being extracted from hemp plants since CBD is more readily available in more significant quantities.

Is delta-8 THC legal?

This is where things get a bit complicated. More people are noticing delta-8 lately, which originates from a piece of federal law that placed it in grey space.

“Congress approved this seemingly innocent farm bill in 2018, which was the first time Congress established the line between hemp and marijuana,” said Robert Mikos, Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University, whose research has been focused on the marijuana policies. “Prior to this, all of the marijuana products were considered to be marijuana and therefore prohibited, and this bill was a step towards narrowing to the meaning of cannabis within federal law. This set the stage for a series of developments.”

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as”the 2018 Farm Bill, allowed hemp to be legalized by eliminating it from the Controlled Substances Act. In turn, hemp — described as any plant with less than 0.3 percent delta-9 THCis no longer a Schedule I substance. This is also true for hemp derivatives such as CBD that, as we’ve seen, can be used in the production of delta-8.

“People consider this to be an opportunity to circumvent prohibition on marijuana in the United States since the legal definition is based upon the existence of delta-9 THC, but not delta-8 THC.” Mikos noted. “It does not apply to other naturally occurring or synthetic chemicals such as delta-8.”

In essence, entrepreneurs with a vision have used this law as meaning that goods with higher amounts of THC delta-8 are considered legal provided they are derived directly from CBD from hemp, not marijuana. With the increase in the quantity of CBD oils edibles, edibles, and other products in the wake of the farm bill, the demand outstripped supply, and prices dropped, and many entrepreneurs chose to concentrate on delta-8 instead.

“The aim was to create delta-8 and then claim that it is legally legal on a federal scale, since it has never been explicitly declared an Schedule I chemical in the DEA,” Gerdeman said. “This is not without controversy. Delta-8 and other isomers that one can make by combining CBD with CBD can be prohibited under the Federal Analogue Act of 1986. The proponents interpretation is that, as this year’s farm bill allows “isomers and derivatives” of hemp, it supersedes and overrules any use of legislation like the Analogue Act to criminalize hemp-derived molecules, regardless of whether they’re psychoactive analogs of delta-9 THC , or not.”

How does the government view delta-8 THC in the present?

As a response to the rising popularity of delta-8 THC, the FDA has issued warning letters to those who sell products that contain delta-8. The letters are focused on “the illegal promotion of non-approved delta-8 THC items by businesses as unapproved treatment options for various medical conditions, or different therapeutic purposes,” as well as “drug false branding” in the usage of delta-8 as a food additive.

Gerdeman pointed out that Drug Enforcement Administration does not seem to be taking a firm stand. However, local and state law enforcement agencies have reportedly raided delta-8 facilities in several states.

“Cannabis products fall into this confounding area that they are legally regulated by different rules and regulations, however, chemists can remain a step ahead of Congress and implement changes that fall in the legal gray area,” Mikos said. “The issue is that lawmakers have decided to define drugs that is derived from a plant and then regulate the plant instead of the chemicals created by plants.”

At present, 20 states have prohibited and/or restricted delta-8 THC, and the legality of delta-8 THC is currently under review in four additional. The age restrictions vary by state or seller (though most states require buyers to be at least 21 years old).

“Now that this is being picked up the attention of many, states are rushing to close the loophole,” Mikos said. “A number of states are looking to alter the definition of hemp, and not have the definition based solely on delta-9, but instead include the other naturally occurring or synthetic chemicals, such as delta-8.”

The federal courts finally dug into the murky waters of delta-8’s legality. On May 19, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled in the case of a trademark that vapes with delta-8-derived THC were “lawful” according to the agricultural legislation. The decision noted that “it is the responsibility of Congress to rectify its error” in the event of an unintentional consequence of the law.

“I think certain lawmakers can make an argument that U.S. Congress was not in any way aiming to allow the legalization of an intoxicant drug when they voted in the farm bill of 2018, which is a huge legislative piece, to contain hemp language,” Gerdeman said. “I can attest to the fact that many hemp farmers haven’t realized that the hemp they were cultivating was going to eventually become an illegal drug that makes people high and could be distributed to kids.”

In the meantime, the cannabis industry’s entrepreneurs continue to profit from the loophole and offer delta-8 THC-based products that can get users high in retail shops in states where it is legal and online to consumers in other countries where it’s not. Compare that with the fact that estimates suggest that over 4000 Americans are currently in prison for marijuana-related infractions. You’ll have clear evidence of the dangerous inconsistency of American drug laws.

Is delta-8 THC safe?

“As regarding Delta-8’s safety, my optimistic side is thinking, ‘Well, since it’s so close to delta-9 that I won’t have to worry about it,” said Dr. Daniele Piomelli, director of the center for studying Cannabis located at the University of California, Irvine. “But that more skeptical portion of me believes that it is like delta-9, but what do you think if the tiny difference in delta-8 could cause effects that delta-9 doesn’t ? It could be a combination of a different receptor that we don’t know about.”

While numerous studies have examined the efficacy and effect of delta-9 THC, this isn’t the case regarding delta-8 THC. It’s tempting to declare that Delta-8 can be considered “natural,” which is safe. Still, the scientific community hasn’t thoroughly studied the effects of this cannabinoid in more significant quantities than those naturally present in cannabis plants.

“The health risks aren’t known,” About said. “The FDA has reported more than 100 adverse reactions for patients who consumed delta-8 THC-based products.”

Another area of concern is the regulation of production or the absence of.

“There’s not any quality assurance on the procedure, so if you purchase a gummy or vape that claims to contain delta-8, you don’t know whether it contains delta-8, delta-9 or harmful products,” Grinspoon noted. “It’s synthesized and unregulated and could be risky. Anyone can make anything that is delta-8 and then sell it. This is a shame since we could discover a myriad of health benefits and many other beneficial aspects of delta-8 itself when we regulate it and study it the same way as you would with regular medicines.”

While he believes there is value in delta-8 THC as a non-toxic treatment, Gerdeman expressed concerns about contamination in commercial labs not regulated that produce delta-8 THC.

“The primary reaction is simple to perform, however it’s not straightforward to carry out in a clean manner,” he said. “These processes typically produce many known and undiscovered byproducts that do not appear in Cannabis that is natural. Some of them could be toxic in some way as the industry’s typical “lab testing” doesn’t even know how to search for these items.”

He also said that it’s common for labs to overstate the quantity of delta-9 THC produced during the process. Therefore, delta-8 products could be more potent than they appear to be.

“I am concerned about the high-potency cannabinoids being more widely used due to the income stream many labs are becoming used to, and the trend to be competitive for the next top-selling “legal high,” Gerdeman said. “Legalize and regulate cannabis that is natural as well as the need for chemicals manufactured substitutes will fall drastically, in my opinion.”

Highlighted: The potential implications of delta-8 THC are still being studied, but it is clear that more research is needed in order to understand the full scope of its effects. What do you think? Should marijuana be legalized if delta-8 has different (and potentially harmful) effects than delta-9? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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