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D8 — A Comprehensive Guide to Delta-8-THC

D8, also known as Delta-8-THC, is a derivative of the hemp plant that has similar effects to the active ingredient in marijuana — THC.

And yes, in case you were wondering, D8 will get you high if you take enough of it. A lot of D8 today is synthesized from CBD.

It didn’t take long for CBD to take off. It seemed as if almost overnight, CBD stores popped up in cities all over the country.

It is used for a myriad of things such as pain relief, and there are different methods for how it can be consumed.

I knew it was popular when even Mom knew what it was and was using it. I think a big thing about CBD that got the attention of so many is that it’s not supposed to get you high. Right?

However CBD, you may need to watch out! There’s a new sheriff in town, and it’s known as Delta-8-THC.

“Delta-8?! Isn’t that a….?”  No, it’s not a variant of covid-19, but that’s a valid question I suppose.

What Is D8?

Delta-8-THC (D8) comes in many different forms such as vape cartridges, tinctures, and of course gummies.

D8 is spreading like wildfire and can be found in convenience stores, gas stations, smoke shops, and cannabis dispensaries all over North America. The main concern is that in many places there are no age restrictions prohibiting youngsters from purchasing it.

So what’s the main difference between CBD and D8? Well, D8 produces feelings of euphoria in a similar but milder way than its big brother Delta-9-THC (D9) (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana). So in short, it gets you high.

How D8 Became Big — The Overproduction of CBD

So why is D8 suddenly all the rage? Well, recently there was an overabundance of CBD that came from hemp that was grown in the US. As a result, CBD prices went from the penthouse to the shithouse.

CBD producers needed to find a way to use this oversupply of CBD that would produce profits to cover any losses caused by this situation. Utilizing chemistry techniques from over 50 years ago, the experimentation began.

The goal? That’s right, you guessed it — turning CBD into D8. 

The target consumers for D8 would be those seeking relief from anxiety and everyday stress, mainly consumers who lived in places where cannabis products are hard to come by.

Laboratory testing coupled with no regulation had led to the haphazard production of “D8” which in many cases was not pure D8. Small amounts of cannabinoids, such as the big brother D9 and other by-products, can be found in the majority of D8 products.

The negative effects of such byproducts are unknown. 

States are attempting to crack down on places that sell D8 products, but it’s not that easy. This is because D8 comes from hemp and doesn’t contain enough D9 to be ruled an illegal product. 

Nonetheless, many are concerned about D8’s rise in popularity because of the number of mysterious compounds that can be found in “D8” products. 

Regardless of health concerns and the like, there is one thing more than any other that is driving the rising popularity of D8. People want hemp/cannabis products, and they want them in a way that can still get them high while not being illegal.        

So ladies and gentlemen (drum roll please), let’s jump into this comprehensive guide to Delta-8-THC also known as D8. 

How is Delta-8 THC Different From Delta-9-THC?

All human bodies contain an endocannabinoid system. Just like D9, D8 binds to this system. The structures of both D8 and D9 have what is chemically referred to as a double bond.

This is what makes users feel high. So yes, D8 gets you high. Just ask my cousin Pauly Shore (that’s what I refer to him as) — the last time I saw him, he was talking about it like it was the holy grail of hemp-based products.

The placement of these double bonds is what makes D8 different from D9. There is a chain of carbon atoms in both; For D8, the double bond is located on the eighth carbon. D9 has its double bond located on the ninth carbon.

So what is significant about where the double bonds are placed? Well, it’s believed that this placement is what makes D8 significantly less potent than D9. However, there is still more research that needs to be done on this matter.

If you want to get high but cannabis is illegal in your state, then D8 could be the next best thing. My cousin told me it gives him a little buzz that helps him focus and get work done. Even if you are in a state where cannabis is legal, D8 may be more appealing to you.

I used to smoke weed every single day from the ages of 15-25. Obviously, I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, anyone that’s read my crystal meth addiction story knows that I graduated to harder, more powerful drugs.

After my crystal meth phase, anytime I would smoke marijuana I would get completely paranoid and go on this uncomfortable existential trip that I never want to experience again.

There are plenty of people who have never tried meth that report that when they use marijuana in any form at all they become overly anxious and extremely paranoid. D8 is known to be more satisfying than marijuana to users who get paranoid from the D9 stuff.

The Effects Produced by Delta-8-THC

Even though it is less potent, you will get the same effects (including side effects) from D8 as you will from marijuana. 

These include: 

  • Euphoria
  • An overall sense of well being
  • Reduced stress (in some but not all cases)
  • Dry mouth
  • Red eyes
  • The “munchies”
  • Pain relief
  • Insomnia relief
  • Paranoia
  • Short-term memory loss

How Is D8 Made?

In order to make D8, cannabinoids must be extracted from hemp. Many brands are using a supercritical CO2 process. However, extracting D8 is no easy task. Natural occurring D8 is a rare substance, and very little can be extracted from a hemp plant. 

So brands heavily rely on synthesizing D8 from CBD. This is rather easy since even though they are not arranged the same way, CBD and D8 have the exact same atoms. So you arrange the atoms in CBD and BAM! You get a good amount of D8.

As I’ve said already, D8 is less potent than D9 THC. To get an idea of the potency of D8 products relative to the potency of THC products, we can take a look at gummies for each. 

Producers of THC gummies are usually 10 mg each while D8 gummies are usually 25 mg each. 

How is Delta-8-THC Different From CBD?

As mentioned above, D8 and D9 are very closely related chemically because of double bonding placement.

Although it does bind to the endocannabinoid system, CBD doesn’t bind to it like D8 and D9. 

Because of this difference, CBD doesn’t get you high like D8. However, CBD has many medicinal benefits associated with it.

Delta-8-THC Dosing

As I’ve said already, D8 is less potent than D9 THC. To get an idea of the potency of D8 products relative to the potency of THC products, we can take a look at gummies for each. 

Producers of THC gummies are usually 10 mg each while D8 gummies are usually 25 mg each. That would indicate that D8 gummies are actually less than half the potency of THC gummies.

It’s important to note that when it comes to Delta-8-THC, very little research has been done. If you are someone who doesn’t really use THC products but who is interested in them, you may want to start with some D8 stuff.

That way you can ease into the world of THC, but make sure you pack plenty of bags of Doritos for the journey!

The Legality of Delta-8-THC

Many people like D8 because of the fact that as far as its legality is… well, let’s just say it’s not black or white.

That’s because most states don’t even have any laws that pertain to it. As far as language goes for laws concerning THC, you will find words such as marijuana, cannabis, CBD, and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, but not Delta-8-THC.

D8 is only believed to be illegal in 11 states. 

For the most part, the THC in D8 comes from hemp, not cannabis. That makes it easy to sell in states where cannabis is illegal. The hemp that D8 comes from IS federally legal.

So it gets a little confusing because hemp is cannabis, but it’s cannabis that has a THC level of under .3%. What is referred to as actual cannabis has a THC level above .3%.

However, the DEA recently ruled that, “All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain Schedule I controlled substances.”

So as far this ruling is concerned, D8 is illegal. This ruling is open for review until October 2021, which is right now at the time of this writing.

Is D8 Addictive?

Many people would say that marijuana is not addictive. In rehab, if you came in saying your drug of choice was marijuana, you got made fun of.

However, marijuana IS addictive and has very uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms depending on how much and how often someone is using it.

Delta-8-THC is definitely addictive, but how harmfully addictive it is will usually depend on the person. People use drugs to escape from reality. They help people numb their feelings and stop their minds from racing (however, D8 may sometimes make people’s minds race.)

If you’re using it to escape reality or numb feelings, then you are using this drug to self-medicate. If you continue to use D8 on a daily basis to get emotional and mental relief, then you will build a tolerance.

This means you will use it more and more often. If you think you might be predisposed to being an addict or have struggled with chemical dependency in the past, then you will probably get addicted to D8.

Yes, you can go through withdrawal if you stop using D8 after you’ve been using it on a daily basis for some time. You may experience lethargy, insomnia, nausea, headaches, irritability, and even panic attacks.

If you want to quit and find that you can’t on your own, then you should seek professional help.  

More Will Be Revealed

It is my belief that in general, Delta-8-THC is not safe to use.

It’s not really regulated, and it’s hard to know if how it’s sourced is safe. More research needs to be done.

So, if you’re trying to get blazed, you should smoke a joint of some ACTUAL weed. Thank you, and good night.

Please let me know in the comments if you have experience with D8.

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Michael Palma

Michael Palma is a drug addict in recovery who is passionate about recovery and recently has taken to writing about his own experience, strength, and hope and hopes to share this with as many people in recovery as he can. He has been a professional jazz pianist for over 20 years. He has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Jimmy Cobb (drummer for Miles Davis), Daniel Platzman (drummer for Imagine Dragons), Robert “Sput” Seawright (drummer for Snoop Dogg and Snarky Puppy), Greg Osby, and Terri Lynn Carrington to name a few.