You may have seen delta-8 HHC, or “delta 8,” in convenience stores and pharmacies, alongside CBD gummies and oils, over the past year.

Delta-8 THC, a hemp-derived compound, is closely related to Delta-9 THC. This is what’s known as THC or the psychoactive component in cannabis. It’s responsible for the high users experience.

Can delta-8 THC provide some of the benefits of pot – with less paranoia and anxiety?

Delta-8 THC, like the garden variety marijuana can be smoked or eaten. It is not recommended to be smoked. It’s rarely smoked. Anecdotally Many users swear by its benefits . They say it relaxes and relieves pain without experiencing intense highs. This can lead to anxiety and paranoia.

However, there has been very little research on this compound. We decided to conduct the very first survey of users of delta-8 THC as public health experts. This was to determine who was using it, what their reasons were, and what kind of effects.

The market is ablaze with the latest cannabinoid

The 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act, also known as the Farm Bill – legalized sale of hemp-derived substances. The widely accessible CBD is a cannabis-derived compound.

Another is Delta 8 gummies. It is an isomer or chemical analog of THC. It differs in the location of a double bond within the carbon ring. This makes delta-8 THC less attractive to the CB1 receptor in our brains. It may not be as potent as THC, and produce a more intense high.

The chemical structures of delta-9 THC, also known as THC, and delta-8 THC are very similar. Only the location of the double bond in carbon ring is different.

The natural concentration of delta-8 THC found in cannabis is too low to smoke in bud or flowers. It must be extracted from large quantities of plant material, converted from CBD or chemically synthesized. The Drug Enforcement Administration considers artificially synthesized THC-8 THC illegal.

However, the hemp industry has seen a rapid growth in delta-8 THC products. These products are especially popular in areas where THC Products are illegal or very difficult to access.

This component of cannabis is not well researched. A 1973 study found that delta-8 THC’s effects were similar to those of THC but not as strong. A second study published in 1995 suggested that delta-8 THC could potentially be used to treat the side effects of chemotherapy.

However, these studies only included a handful of people and policymakers are not aware of them. Although delta-8 THC is available in convenience stores and in hemp shops across many states, more than a dozen states in the United States have banned the sale of THC products because of a lack research and concerns about contamination with heavy metals.

Science: Clearing the smoke

We collected data via an online survey which was completed by over 500 people from 38 states.

Our participants consumed most of delta-8 THC via concentrates. These were either eaten in edibles or tinctures, or smoked by vaping. This is a safer way to consume than smoking. Half of the participants indicated that they use delta-8 THC for medical or health reasons. Nearly one-third said that they only used it to treat their health conditions. The most common conditions that were treated were anxiety, panic attacks, chronic pain or depression, as well as stress. These are all ailments that users also treat with delta-9THC.

Participants thought delta-8 THC was less powerful than THC, as we anticipated.

It is remarkable to see how their experiences are different.

Delta-8 THC seems to offer similar levels of relaxation as THC. It may produce slightly less euphoria than THC, but it does seem to cause fewer cognitive distortions, such as a altered sense of time, short term memory problems, and difficulty concentrating. Participants also reported a lower risk of experiencing distressing mental states like anxiety and paranoia. Participants often commented on how they could use delta-8 THC while still being productive. However, they preferred to use THC products recreationally due to its stronger, more mind-altering effects.

Participants who were using delta-8 THC for their condition reduced or quit using pharmaceutical drugs. Participants rated delta-8 THC as better than pharmaceutical drugs for withdrawal symptoms, side effects, addiction, effectiveness, safety and cost.

Participants weren’t certain that their primary doctor would be able to integrate medical cannabis into their treatment plan. Many participants didn’t disclose their use of delta-8, THC as a replacement for prescription drugs to their doctors.

These patterns show the need to do more research on cannabis and its derivatives and to educate health care professionals about it. There is still a gap between people who use cannabis for self-medicating and those who are part of the mainstream healthcare system.

There is more to do

These findings are only the beginning. These findings will hopefully spur further research such as double-blind randomised controlled trials to explore the potential treatment for specific conditions. We don’t yet know if any of the reported effects, both positive and negative, were due to expectations or contaminants – a placebo effect.

However, even though delta-8 THC products might provide some of the therapeutic and experiential benefits, there are less risks and more beneficial effects. Some states have banned sales of delta-8 THC. This seems paradoxical, considering that many of these states allow recreational sales of cannabis and other hemp products.

High-demand substances like delta-8 THC could be criminalized. This can lead to a black market that raises concerns about consumer safety and creates more concern for their safety. There is no mechanism for the regulation or protection of consumers.

The cannabis laws are still a complex mix of policies and regulations. We believe policymakers should advocate for more study on this promising alternative, as more Americans have access to cannabis for medical and recreational purposes.


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