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Put simply Delta 8 is Delta 8 Tetrahydrocannabinol, aka Delta 8 THC.

And Delta 8 THC is Delta 9 THC, except the double bond starts at 8 instead of 9. That’s all there is to it.

Delta 9 THC gets you high, so will Delta 8 THC . They both work on the CB1 Receptor we talked about earlier as well as the CB2 receptor.

Figure 9.1 Delta 8 vs Delta 9 Structure

In general, Delta 8 THC works slower, won’t get you quite as high, and lasts longer. But otherwise, it works much the same as Delta 9. And Delta 8 THC will also make you fail a drug test. Probably because Delta 8 THC routinely also has some Delta 9 in it and probably because the test will also pick up Delta 8 THC as a positive.

I read about one Delta 8 THC supplier who had all of their employees try their Delta 8 THC product and then tested them all for THC.

They ALL Failed. Multiple times. (it takes longer to clear, remember.)

So why is it legal?

Short answer – it’s only partly legal. As of July of this year, 20 states have banned or restricted it’s use and 30 have allowed its use (as of July 1, 2022, Oregon has banned Delta 8 THC; and the Texas Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal of a lower Court’s blocking that State’s Legislature from listing of Delta 8 THC as a Schedule 1 Drug – so the ban of the Legislature stays in effect and Delta 8 THC is legal for now (Texas is never simple.)) But this is subject to change with little to no notice. So you have to be careful and look at your own state’s laws regarding Delta 8 THC.

The longer answer is, it is legal because it’s made from hemp CBD via a synthetic reaction using solvents and acids. And hemp, by definition is an agricultural product and is NOT marijuana. So anything made from an agricultural product is legal, unless it is dangerous or it is outlawed. And Delta 8 THC from hemp is neither as far as we know, at least not Federally. So far. But for those 20 States, however, it’s a different matter.

Delta 8 THC derived from Marijuana, however, would be illegal. ( i.e. Hemp with more than 0.3% THC would be reclassified as marijuana and any Delta 8 THC made from that CBD would be illegal since ALL DERIVATIVES of any marijuana cannabinoid is illegal, per 21 USC 801 Schedule 1. A strange Orwellian puzzler where some cannabinoids are more legal than others.)

However, the FDA reserves the right to ban any product that proves itself dangerous, as it did with khat and ephedra after they reached enough adverse event reports to spur them into action (there is no set number.) To date, the FDA has received over 100 Adverse Event reports (AEs ) for Delta 8 THC and the National Poison Control Center has received over 2,000 reports of Delta 8 THC poisoning. And as these AEs increase, the FDA will look closer and closer at the Delta 8 THC risks. (Ephedra was banned after some 18,000 AEs were filed (but there is no magic number that will trigger FDA action.))

And it doesn’t have to be Delta 8 THC itself that triggers a ban. It can be the delivery system. Like with kratom and vaping systems. The FDA is looking at banning some kratom suppliers because of the heavy metals contaminating their products, not the kratom itself. Similarly, the vape pens and cartridges used with Delta 8 THC have been found to typically release a wide range of heavy metals, including Lead, Arsenic, Chromium, Nickel, Cobalt, and more, into the vapor and therefore into your lungs. Which is of concern to the FDA. That and potential contaminants due to its synthesis from CBD.

So, while the Delta 8 THC, the molecule itself, may be safe, its delivery system and the contaminants resulting from its synthesis may end up getting it banned.

Caveat Emptor

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