What is Delta-8 THC, & What Should You Know About it?

Cannabis LIMS for Accurate Delta-8 THC Testing

August 23, 2022

Delta-8 THC sales have peaked across various states, even though the legality of this Cannabis sativa-derived cannabinoid is controversial. That said, D8 products can be easily accessed online and have become quite popular among consumers who wish to enjoy some of the psychoactive effects of cannabis "legally".

What exactly is delta-8, how different is it from delta-9-THC, and is it even legal in the first place? We shall be answering these questions in this blog.

What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids naturally produced in cannabis. It appears in very small doses, which is why processors must extract and concentrate it into oils, tinctures, and distillates, which are then transformed into edibles and other products.

Whereas THC is found abundantly in several cannabis strains, Delta-8 THC usually appears in very small amounts.

Structure of Delta-8 THC

Delta-8 is an isomer of the popular cannabinoid delta-9-THC. This means that the two share a similar chemical structure (C21H30O2); however, the structure differs in how the atoms are arranged. In the case of delta-8 and delta-9, both have a double bond which is located at different positions; the 8th and 9th carbon chains respectively. The difference in structure gives the two compounds distinct properties.

Is Delta-8 THC Intoxicating?

Yes, delta-8 THC is intoxicating; however, to a milder extent as compared to delta-9 THC. Some sources cite that it is about 50%-66% less potent. However, since hemp-derived delta-8 THC is considered legal, then delta-8 provides a way for consumers to get "legally high".

Does Delta-8 THC Have Therapeutic Benefits?

Yes, delta-8 THC has therapeutic potential which is under investigation. So far, the usefulness of delta-8 THC in managing pain, nausea, and vomiting has emerged. A study in 1995 found that 100% of pediatric cancer patients treated with Delta-8 THC for relief of nausea during chemotherapy found relief.

Why is Delta-8 THC Popular?

Delta-8 THC binds to the endocannabinoid system in a similar fashion to THC and therefore induces many of the same effects. On a cognitive level, people who have consumed Delta-8 THC have reported a high that is similar to THC; however, one that is more clear-headed and energetic. This can be a great breakthrough for consumers who like the medicinal and psychoactive effects of THC but would also want to function with energy and clarity throughout the day.

Delta-8 THC is popular largely because of its psychoactive properties. Since it can be legally derived from hemp, it allows users to enjoy it recreationally without having to worry about breaking federal laws. However, most of the delta-8 products in the market are synthetically produced.

Is Delta-8 THC Legal in the US?

At the time of writing this blog, the legal status of Delta-8 THC is officially entering the gray zone with many states banning both its use and sale.

Delta-8 THC derived from hemp is legal as all hemp-derived products as per the 2018 Farm Bill are legal. Any Delta-8 THC derived from cannabis is considered a federally controlled substance. Another big problem with Delta-8 THC (apart from it being intoxicating) is that it is found in trace amounts in hemp, which prompts most of its production to be synthetic, i.e. gotten from chemically altering CBD to Delta-8 THC.

According to the DEA, “this squarely bundles Delta-8 THC into the illicit category.”

In the DEA interim final rule which was published on August 21, 2020, “All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinol remains schedule I controlled substances.”

Delta-8 THC is considered legal in most states other than Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Utah where it is illegal.

Why is it Important to Test Delta-8 THC?

The FDA has raised concerns about the safety of delta-8 THC products that are on the market. The concerns have been based largely on mislabeled D8 products and those that contain harmful chemicals. This makes it very important to test delta-8 products to ascertain potency and purity.

How a Cannabis LIMS Supports Delta-8 Testing

A Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) organizes and stores laboratory samples and associated data. It streamlines workflows in the lab and integrates instruments to ensure efficiency. Unlike traditional spreadsheets, a Cannabis LIMS can be configured to meet the data management, automation, and reporting needs of laboratories testing delta-8 THC. A cloud-based LIMS solution provides real-time access to lab data from anywhere, anytime, and provides numerous other benefits.

Conclusion

Delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid of interest to researchers looking to exploit the therapeutic potential as well as consumers looking to get "legally intoxicated". However, due to its controversial legal status, the sale of delta-8 THC is highly regulated. Unfortunately, concerns have been raised about the safety of delta-8 products that are on the market. Accurate testing of delta-8 products is therefore recommended and a cannabis LIMS is necessary to support this process.


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