The Unregulated Landscape of Delta-8 THC: What You Need to Know
In the ever-evolving world of cannabis and cannabinoids, a relatively new player has emerged onto the scene – delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, often abbreviated as delta-8 THC. While this compound may sound like a cousin to the more well-known delta-9 THC and cannabidiol (CBD), it possesses distinct characteristics and raises concerns about safety and regulation.
What is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is an active cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, although in minuscule quantities. Due to its scarcity, manufacturers typically produce delta-8 THC by converting hemp-derived CBD into delta-8 THC using strong acids. This process makes most delta-8 THC products semi-synthetic, despite their claims of being a “natural” compound.
Delta-8 vs. Delta-9 THC and CBD
Delta-8 THC is an isomer of delta-9 THC, sharing a nearly identical chemical structure with only a single chemical bond difference. Although research on delta-8 THC remains limited, preliminary findings suggest that it elicits effects similar to delta-9 THC, albeit with lower potency. This has led to delta-8 THC being colloquially referred to as “diet weed.”
In contrast, CBD, often used as a precursor to delta-8 THC, does not induce the euphoric “high” associated with both delta-8 and delta-9 THC. The coexistence of delta-8 THC and delta-8 CBD in the market can create confusion and misconceptions among consumers.
Is Delta-8 THC Safe?
The safety of delta-8 THC remains uncertain. In healthy adults, when produced and used responsibly, it is unlikely to pose severe risks. However, the delta-8 THC market, particularly over-the-counter (OTC) products, is inadequately regulated. This lack of oversight raises concerns about contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, and mold making their way into delta-8 THC products.
Additionally, the solvents used in the conversion of CBD to delta-8 THC can be toxic if not adequately removed from the final product, a concern known as residual solvents. The absence of stringent regulations for testing and controlling these contaminants means that consumers have no guarantee of product safety.
Alarming statistics underscore the potential dangers of delta-8 THC. Poison Control Centers received 661 calls related to delta-8 consumption between December 2020 and June 2021, with 39% of those calls involving children under 18. This led both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration to issue health warnings about the risks associated with delta-8 THC in October 2021.
Cannapresso’s Approach to Delta-8 THC
In the midst of these concerns, some companies like Cannapresso are focusing on providing an end-to-end delta-8 THC solution. Their products blend delta-8 THC with other compounds such as THC-P and THCA, allowing consumers to select what suits their preferences. Moreover, Cannapresso also emphasizes design for hardware and packaging, ensuring that their products meet safety and regulatory standards.
While companies like Cannapresso are taking steps towards a more responsible and transparent delta-8 THC market, it remains crucial for consumers to exercise caution and prioritize obtaining such products from licensed dispensaries where safety measures are more likely to be enforced. Until comprehensive oversight is established, the delta-8 THC landscape remains a complex and uncertain terrain.