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New Year, New Cannabinoid

What is THC Delta 8?

Every strain of cannabis is its own snowflake, the frostiness of each plant offering a unique combination of cannabinoids. The newly discovered THC-Delta-8, commonly abbreviated as D8, is on the rarer side when it comes to cannabinoids. It’s very similar to the classic type of THC most cannabis-aficionados are most familiar with, THC-Delta-9. However, there are some very noteworthy differences.

What is THC Delta 8?

THC-Delta-8 for the Social Stoner

Were you itching to smoke on Christmas Day but obligated to hold a conversation with your conspiracy-theory-loving grandfather? THC-Delta-8 users can expect far less psychoactive potency from their smoke, meaning stress and paranoia are not part of the high. In fact, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence showing this trendy new cannabis product is effective in actually decreasing anxiety. The CaliChronicle spoke to one cannabis industry veteran who described THC-Delta-8 as “the social version of THC-Delta-9,” making users feel “extroverted and light” as opposed to “introspective and heavy.” This new cannabinoid’s semi-sedative effects allow the D8 user to experience a relaxed state along with increased perceptibility and heightened senses. All of this without THC’s stereotypical overwhelming side effects. A perfect combination for socializing during your Christmas and New Year’s gatherings, or for hitting the ski slopes for some enhanced outdoor fun. For frequent cannabis users, THC-Delta-8 allows a chance to lift the introspective fog they may be accustomed to. And for the rookie marijuana user, a less intimidating and more social state-of-mind.

THC-Delta-8 in the Brain

No matter your cannabis usage, each one of us has an endocannabinoid system that serves a variety of functions. This includes allowing us to feel the cannabis “high.” Inside the endocannabinoid system there are receptors that absorb the cannabinoids that you smoke, eat, or apply to your skin. The two main receptors are CB1 (mostly found in the central nervous system) and CB2 (common in the peripheral nervous system). The classic and common THC-Delta-9 binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors while the popular CBD cannabinoid does not bind to either of these main receptors. THC-Delta-8 is unique in that it only bonds to the CB1 receptor, which plays an important role in pain regulation.

THC-Delta-8 for the Pain

Do you suffer from back pain while constantly crouching over your brand new bong from CaliConnected? Newly published studies on THC-Delta-8 found that the cannabinoid led to diminished pain and inflammation in users, similar to conclusions from studies on THC-Delta-9. This data is peaking the interest of researchers and patients alike because, while THC-Delta-9 has been shown to provide concrete analgesic effects, many patients are not able to tolerate its undesirable side effects.THC-Delta-8 has been shown to have far less of these side effects, making it a much more hopeful and promising candidate for medical use in the future. 

D8 for the Crummy Tummy

In addition to pain relief, THC-Delta-8 shows favorable use for gastrointestinal issues. The National Cancer Institute has identified the anti-nausea benefits of THC-Delta-8 as well as its positive effects for appetite stimulation. A study in 1995 showed that children treated for cancer saw marked improvement in nausea and vomiting when using D8, while experiencing negligible side effects. The study had a whopping 100% success rate in decreasing these stomach issues. It’s no wonder that the U.S. government has a patent on the antiemetic uses of THC-Delta-8. When it comes to appetite, researchers have found that rodents were even hungrier when given D8 than when given THC-Delta-9. These findings can be dangerous for those of us planning a New Year’s diet, but shows great potential for cancer patients who need some encouragement to eat.

What is THC Delta 8

Is THC-Delta-8 Legal? Where do I find D8? 

Although THC-Delta-8 does not typically trigger anxiety or confusion, it did cause a bit of legal confusion since the cannabinoid can be extracted from hemp (a plant that was legalized in the USA by the 2018 Farm Bill). With new guidance in August, the DEA made it clear that D8 is indeed federally illegal when they added the cannabinoid to its list of controlled substances. Now THC-Delta-8 products are typically found in states that have legalized recreational marijuana, where a lot of work is put into extracting D8 from both hemp and marijuana. Commonly, extractors perform lengthy and involved chemistry in order to obtain THC-Delta-8 from cannabis plants. Methods include obtaining full spectrum extracts from hemp, consisting of a variety of cannabinoids, or a much longer process of concentrating pure D8. Some extractors even convert the classic THC-Delta-9 cannabinoid from marijuana plants into THC-Delta-8. All that effort combined with its scarcity means that the current market price for D8 is a bit high. 

Nonetheless, THC-Delta-8 products are growing in prevalence and popularity. The powerful benefits shown in research as well as its exciting potential backed up by the many anecdotes that we heard from users are making D8 a bright spot on our cannabis radar. If the trend continues, D8 should follow the same path as CBD and become more affordable with time. Those who want to dip a toe into the pool of cannabis without diving into an ocean of intimidation should know they have a friendly option in THC-Delta-8.

Happy Dabbing and Happy New Year!

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