One of the most anticipated developments in the cannabis industry is Delta 8 THC. It has been the liberation of strains containing delta-8-THC instead of delta-9.
DELTA 8 IS THE NEXT BIG THING IN CANNABIS
This compound is already used in pharmaceutical research and, with legalization taking hold across North America, there’s a lot of excitement surrounding its potential.
WHAT IS DELTA 8 THC
Delta 8 THC is a specific kind of THC that is non-psychoactive. Delta 8 THC is a potent anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-cancer agent. Sourced from hemp, it is far less psychoactive than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Because it is so potent, delta eight was used in Russia during the Soviet era for night vision (it remains one of the longest granted medical uses of any plant).
It was later outlawed as part of the failed Soviet-era drug policy but is now being generously rehabilitated for medical purposes. Delta-9-THC is the tetrahydrocannabinol variant found in marijuana.
It was bred as a psychoactive for recreational use by Mexican whackers and is often tweaked to flavor the non-psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol version. THC and delta 8 undoubtedly have many similarities, but delta 8 has already proven itself as being more potent, active, and effective in clinical trials than its psychoactive counterpart.
Delta-8 THC isn’t the only potential cannabis delta with scientists on edge. Like delta-9 THC, another new tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-split) has proven to be surprisingly effective at treating certain types of cancer and crippling autoimmune diseases but has yet to be licensed for widespread medical use.
While early therapeutic trials for THC-split have shown promising results, many scientists remain cautious. They think our primary risk of inhaling anything beyond low levels will come from consuming too much marijuana — not its THC metabolized form.
WHY IS DELTA 8 SO PROMISING
Just as delta 9-THC and delta 8 have different effects on the body, they have other purposes. Delta 9 is an immune stimulant, meaning its presence signals the body is fighting off an infection (or trying to escape one). Most benefits reported of delta 9 are similar to those of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and include pain relief, coughing, nausea, skin irritation, and itching. It can also blunt emotional reactions and anxiety.
WHAT IS DELTA 9 THC
Delta 9 THC is the most common type of THC in marijuana plants and hash. Delta 9 THC is a potent psychoactive ingredient responsible for the high you get when smoking weed. Delta 9 THC is also known as tetrahydrocannabinol.
THE BENEFITS OF DELTA
While Delta 9 THC is an interesting new strain, many things need to fall into place to revolutionize how we consume cannabis. First, it’s much easier to mass-produce THC (see the CBD Juicery brand as an example) than it is delta-8, especially when mass-producing hemp.
Second, Delta 9 THC is technically Schedule I, a category reserved for drugs deemed to have medicinal uses in the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) guidelines.
If approved by Health Canada, delta-9 THC would be the first cannabis ingredient to be included in Schedule I of the Cannabis Act. Last, there’s the fact cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning the Federal government has deemed it to have no medicinal value and instructs the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to restrict research on it.
Last, there’s the problem that while there’s much interest in delta-9 THC on the investor and growth community, not enough information exists around the products to justify their potential truly. It’s being studied for multiple therapeutic indications, from pain management and anxiety to appetite stimulation, and there’s more evidence already coming in.
Any improvement that is found would likely be modest at best, and the available evidence is minimal. What’s more, plenty of cannabis products already contains THC and Delta 9 THC (Cannabidiol and CBD)—including butter, lotions, drinks, cosmetics, baked goods, and supplements.
So, with a burgeoning industry and Drive already giving scientists access to labs, what’s to say delta-9 THC will offer anything different from what’s already out there? As is the case with many “breakthrough” or novel drugs, there’s a lot of unknowns at play.
HOW DO THEY DIFFER
Many people compare these two companies and think of them as very similar. But they’re not. Tesla is a company that makes electric cars, while SpaceX designs, manufactures, and launches rockets. The same person, Elon Musk, runs the two companies, but they’re different enough to be considered separate entities.
Delta-8-THC isn’t going to send you to the lovely green hills of green upon your death, and it’s more of a process, not an actual plant. As such, it’s a more ambiguous product that is poorly regulated and not FDA-approved. Should you be worried about Delta-8-THC?
The short answer is: “No,” but be aware of how it’s marketed. You may have the opportunity to purchase it legally, but it can be not easy to access for anyone who isn’t a very wealthy (or a super-connected) person.
Suppose you’re on a more financially privileged level. In that case, there are always other preparations you can make, such as contacting your local hemp/cannabis advocacy group and requesting they help you research and find suppliers in your area.
But ultimately, you have to be the one who decides to start purchasing the product (you can order seeds online), and many healthcare professionals are still nervous about how and why it’s being used.
Previously referred to as Orange Grass, now referred to as Blue Dream, Delta-8-THC was isolated (hence the S-word) by scientists in Canada in the early 1900s.
The substance was isolated in the U.S. by a cannabis researcher named Dr. William Houston and was initially developed to treat seizures and reduce nausea caused by various drugs. But its effects weren’t confined to its intended uses.
Because it’s so psychoactive, it was later used to treat multiple types of pain and diseases that affect the nervous system, like multiple sclerosis. Currently, research shows it can also treat anxiety and depression.
But before CBD became popular, Delta-8-THC was primarily reserved for people undergoing cancer therapy. Researchers began using it in cancer patients once its efficacy in these ailments became clear; researchers began using it in cancer patients.
WHY THE EXCITEMENT OVER DELTA 8 THC
The excitement over delta 8 THC stems from the fact that it is much more psychoactive than delta 9 THC. Delta 8 THC is also non-psychoactive, which means it doesn’t get you high. Delta 8 THC is legal in all 50 states and can be used in topical products, edibles, and vape juices.
THC is more psychoactive than Delta 9 THC. For those interested in exploring the spectrum, delta-8-THC is pre-made with THC already in it, and it has less of an effect than delta-9 THC. Sounds great, right? Now, think about how the process would be altered if released in a mainstream cannabis strain.
Although delta 9 THC has been used for decades, the benefits of consuming it have been largely overlooked. THC may be tasty, but it doesn’t get you high. It doesn’t even get you much of anything. Getting high is the primary goal of consuming cannabis, after all. We exist to get high. To get high, we first need to go to sleep.
But the ultimate goal of cannabis consumption—both before and after you fall asleep—is sleep. Enter delta-8 THC.Delta-8 THC (aka Delta 9-THC) might be too potent for many consumers. (Despite my love of delicious brownies and teas, I will not smoke delta 9 THC.) There have also been reports of people experiencing gastrointestinal distress, which is why the compound may be too potent for some.
While further research is needed, preliminary data seems promising. A recent study published in the Journal of the International Society of Cannabis (Sambhala Journal) found that CBD and THC — the active ingredients in CBD- and THC-infused products — synergistically reduced muscle tremors and improved sleep quality in mice by lowering gastrointestinal disturbances.
There is an ethical element to conducting human research on cannabis use, which is iffy at best. Still, if reports are accurate, delta-8 THC could very well provide a more relaxing and sleep-inducing experience than CBD. Not to mention, delta-8 doesn’t get you high.
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