What is Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol?


A year ago, the hot topic was CBD, today it is D8. Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, or D8, contains THC so users experience a high. But because it comes from hemp, its potency is much less than that of delta-9, and the high effects with delta-8 are more manageable. Also, THC manufactured from hemp (under the farm bill), falls in a loophole of grey legality, meaning it is neither legal nor illegal. Find out how delta-8 is made, if it’s safe, how D8 is different than D9, and whether or not it is legal near you.

How is D8 Made?

Cannabis naturally produces delta-8 in trace amounts. However, because it only grows in trace amounts, it goes through multiple chemical processes before being manufactured into the D8 you have on the market. First, legal cannabis is grown in the United States. Once matured, the plant is sent for processing. CBD is then extracted from the plant through one of four processes, (Carbon dioxide extraction, Steam distillation, Solvent extraction, and/ or Lipid extraction). Click here for more on extraction. Once CBD is extracted from the plant, it then goes through chromatography to separate the cannabinoids, namely delta-8. 

Some people will take CBD isolate and convert it into delta-8 too. Again, because delta-8 is only in trace amounts, it takes a considerable amount of CBD to make delta-8 in the quantity marketable as only D8. Thus, it is expensive.


Steps to Convert CBD into D8

  1. CBD is Catalyzed with an acid
  2. Acid and solvent are removed
  3. The final product is purified
  4. Purification tested

Is Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol Safe?

Because the conversion process from CBD to delta-8 goes through so many chemicals, there are risks. Testing throughout the conversion process is critical to maintain purity and ensure all the chemicals (some of which are toxic acids) are completely removed. DO NOT consume any delta-8 without reading the product’s COAs first. Check for purity and quality. If you’re just looking for relief without the high, or you want to avoid the risk such as paranoia and increased anxiety, stick to CBD. Check out RVD’s CBD products here. If you want to try getting high, but don’t want the overwhelming delta-9 effects, try delta-8. RVD has D8 mints sold in select stores across the country where D8 is legal.

How to Read a COA, the basics

On a cannabis certificate of analysis (COA) you will find the following categories:

someone-testing-in-a-lab-wearing-blue-gloves-test-tube-and syringe
  • Cannabinoid Test results
  • Cannabinoid Summary
  • Full cannabinoid profile
  • Pesticide test result
  • Microbiological Test results
  • Terpene test results
  • Residual Solvent test results

Cannabis products containing contaminants will be passed on to the user. What you want to avoid are pesticides, molds, bacteria, metals, and solvents. To look for purity, first, review the pesticide section. Make sure nothing exceeds the reporting limit. Second, check the microbiological test results for any pathogens. You can skip over the terpenes unless you’re interested in learning about the specific benefits each terpene offers. Last, read through the residual solvent section. No amount of euphoria is worth consuming any toxins, especially if they will destroy your body.

What are the Effects of D8?

Delta-8 is a form of THC, so you’re going to feel high. But what does the high feel like? Delta-8 has been said to lift moods, relax your mind and body, and give relief to anxiety and pain. It also is known for its light buzz, and somewhat energizing dream-like thoughtfulness. As is with any psychoactive compound, there are risks. THC can cause anxiety and paranoia, but because delta-8 is much less potent than delta-9 THC, the risks are much lower and effects whether ill or desirable, they are more manageable.


Delta-8 vs Delta-9

First of all, because delta-9 is stronger than delta-8, it can cause negative effects for some people. D9 can cause anxiety and paranoia. Even though delta-8 is a form of THC, it is much milder and gives a smoother, less striking high.  On the other hand, delta-8 has many similarities to delta-9, more than CBD. First, their chemical structures are similar, and both make you high. Because of delta-8’s structure, it binds to the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) similarly to THC, or delta-9, that’s why D8 makes you feel high, and CBD doesn’t. CBD doesn’t bind as easily to the ECS. For more information on the ECS, click here

Is Delta-8 legal?

Currently, delta-8 resides in a grey area, which means it is neither legal nor illegal. How is this possible? Simply because delta-8 comes from hemp which is protected and legalized through the farm bill of 2018. The farm bill legalized hemp, and anything made from it such as tinctures, creams, literally anything as long as it has equal to or less than .3%THC (aka delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol). Delta-9 comes in any quantity larger than .3% is still illegal. However, not every state allows for the grey area legalization even though delta-8 comes from hemp. But only a few states legally dress delta-8’s high inducing effects. Click here for more info on the state-by-state laws.


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