What is Delta-8 THC?
We know it can be hard to wait for the relief you’ll enjoy when you can finally get an Alabama Marijuana Card, which is why we try to keep you posted on all of the developments in our nascent medical marijuana market.
Unfortunately, some people have been turning to more available, but less safe and natural, treatment options while enduring the frustrating wait for medical marijuana.
One of those options that’s getting a lot of attention lately is delta-THC, a synthetic cousin of the natural THC found in medical marijuana, delta-THC is less potent and potentially more dangerous than THC. Unfortunately, delta-THC is also legal in Alabama, leading some unsuspecting Yellowhammer State residents into thinking they’ve found an end run around the wait for medical marijuana, when in fact they could be endangering their health.
Delta-8 THC: Just Like Natural THC, but Less Effective and with Unnatural Chemicals
According to Popular Science, at the molecular level, the two forms of THC are almost identical. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is that natural THC, or delta-9 THC, occurs naturally in cannabis. Delta-8 THC, on the other hand, is a less effective synthetic that is derived from hemp using a variety of chemicals.
Hemp cannot legally contain THC, but it can contain CBD, or cannabidiol. Most of the commercially-available delta-8 THC is manufactured using chemicals to molecularly alter hemp-derived CBD.
Another Big Difference: Delta-9 THC is Federally Banned. Delta-8 … Who Really Knows?
Hemp was strictly regulated for a long time because it is derived from cannabis. But that changed not long ago, because 1) hemp has many industrial uses and 2) it does not contain the natural delta-9 THC that gives medical marijuana users a “high” and that has been so badly stigmatized for very long (delta-9 THC is also responsible for much of medical marijuana’s healing qualities).
For those reasons, Congress changed hemp’s controlled substance designation in 2018, which legalized all hemp products with less than .3% THC content.
The unintended consequence of that move was to legalize all products derived from hemp, including CBD, which resulted in a plethora of CBD “miracle” products hitting the market. And we’re now seeing a similar explosion of delta-8 products on store shelves, now that science has figured out how to sort-of-kind-of make THC from hemp.
But THC is still THC and it may still be Federally illegal. Just because law enforcement turns the other cheek on sales, this is a case-by-case scenario. Delta-8 may still get you in trouble depending on where you live, the officer’s mood, and how well you blend into your surroundings.
You might think that this proliferation of delta-8 products is nothing but good news, giving people access to something like medical marijuana well before the state will be able to provide it. However, there are some big flashing caution signs all along the road to delta-8.
Contents of Unregulated Delta-8 Less Certain than Contents of Medical Marijuana
We like to think we’re pretty knowledgeable about all things marijuana, but if you were to ask us how reliable the labels on the packaging of delta-8 products were, we’d have to say that we just can’t be sure. And we’re not just talking about dichloromethane and other solvents, either.
Lack of Regulation Means Lack of Certainty as to the Safety of Your Medicine
One reason to be cautious about delta-8 is the chemicals used in its production, chemicals that don’t have to be listed on product labels because of deregulation.
Daniele Piomelli, who heads up the Center for the Study of Cannabis at the University of California, Irvine, told NBC News, “Whenever you are looking at one of these derived compounds, you have to ask yourself how it was extracted from a plant.”
“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,” Piomelli said. “But if this operation is run in a lab somewhere else, you really don’t know what is happening.
Just consider one of the things we do know for sure about delta-8 production: The process uses solvents like dichloromethane, which when heated emits dangerous fumes. Without regulators looking over their backs and forcing them to protect you, delta-8 processors are more likely to leave these chemicals in the products they sell to you.
The part about deregulation everyone likes is it means you get to buy and do things you’d like to do. The flip side of that is that it’s easier for retailers and manufacturers to do whatever they like to what you’re buying.
Inaccurate Labeling of Delta-8 Products a Nationwide Problem
When the U.S. Cannabis Council, the nation’s largest trade group for medical and adult-use marijuana companies investigated products containing delta-8 in June of this year, their findings showed that delta-8 products were a “public health risk.”
Results provided by a private, independent lab that tested 16 delta-8 products that were legally purchased in several different states showed that all but one of the products actually contained illegal delta-9 THC. Some of the samples added another little bonus: heavy metal content (the unhealthy kind, not some Megadeth tracks).
And while you might write those findings off as anomalies, journalists have also found unlisted ingredients, including hazardous chemicals and illegal delta-9 when they investigated delta-8 products.
Delta-8 is Legal, but We Don’t Suggest You Use It
Delta-8 is legal in Alabama, but we don’t think that makes it safe.
The lack of regulation over delta-8 products means you can’t be sure exactly what you’re buying. You can, however, be certain that it was produced artificially, using hazardous chemicals, all to create a new form of THC that, as Popular Science, hasn’t been scientifically shown to be safe.
The magazine warns, “If you’re in a state that has legalized marijuana, you should buy delta-8 through a licensed store. (Or you could just buy marijuana. Your call.)”
You Live in Alabama. Why not Wait A While and Buy Natural THC?
Lucky you! You live in Alabama, where you will soon be able to buy medical marijuana, complete with safe, tested, natural THC.
Alabama’s medical marijuana law gives you the reassurance that your medicine has been produced and administered by trained professionals who must meet strict quality control standards. When you buy medical marijuana, you know exactly what you’re getting, and no gas station delta-9 product or street-level weed dealer can give you that peace of mind.
Reserve an evaluation today with one of our doctors, and we’ll make an appointment for you just as Alabama’s marijuana market is up and running. Not only that, but you’ll save $25 off the cost of the evaluation!
You and your compassionate, knowledgeable doctor will discuss your condition and treatment options virtually using your computer or smartphone for a telemedicine appointment. Without even leaving your home, you’ll learn how medical marijuana can help you. You'll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
Helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at 833-781-5633, or simply reserve a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
And don’t forget to check out Alabama Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information.