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Everything You Need to Know About Delta 8

What are Delta 8 Oils?

In the world of hemp cannabinoids that expand each and every day, you would be forgiven for not being aware of one of the hottest cannabinoids on the market, known as Delta-8 THC. Though the name THC might conjure some worry in your mind, we’re here to set those worries at ease. Read on, and we’ll go through everything you need to know about Delta 8, including what it does, whether it’s legal, how it’s made, and what makes it so unique when compared to something like hemp-derived CBD. Lastly, we’ll clue you into the incredible variety of Delta 8 products that are currently available, including why you should be interested in Delta 8 oils and tinctures.

Even for individuals who have been part of the hemp world for years, Delta 8 has remained a bit of a conundrum. This cannabinoid is one that’s found naturally within the hemp plant, in relatively small concentrations when compared to Delta-9 THC and CBD. Although having some chemical similarities to Delta 9, Delta 8 is somewhat distinct from it, providing a similar-but-not-the-same experience as its infamous cousin. It is a psychoactive cannabinoid, but generally, the experience is considered less intense than one provided by Delta 9.

Delta-8 is a Low-Status Cannabinoid as compared to CBD & Delta 9

Broadly speaking, Delta-8 was a low-status cannabinoid when compared to CBD and Delta 9, until after the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill, among other provisions, not only clarified the legal status of hemp as separate from marijuana but also how much Delta-9 THC can be present in a hemp-derived product before it is federally considered a marijuana product – no more than 0.3% on a dry-weight basis. By specifically naming Delta-9 THC as the determining factor of whether a product was hemp or marijuana, Delta 8 came into prominence by fitting into the new loophole of being a THC cannabinoid that could “legally” be considered hemp.

Since then, Delta 8 has exploded into the hemp world with a near-unstoppable rise in popularity, rivaling Delta 9 and CBD in some markets. However, with this incredible new rise has also come challenges in regulatory and political spaces, as well as a greater need for understanding what Delta 8 is, as well as probably the biggest question most people have about Delta 8: what does it actually do?

What does Delta 8 do?

Delta 8 is an intoxicating and psychoactive cannabinoid. In simple terms, it gets you “high”, by how it chemically interacts with different receptors in your body’s endocannabinoid system. Our bodies naturally produce chemicals similar to cannabinoids, and these are part of regulating a variety of functions like body temperature, pain response, healing, mood, energy levels, and a lot more. This self-regulating process is called Homeostasis. 

Delta 8 generally interacts with receptors in the brain instead of the rest of your body – much in the same way that Delta 9 does, creating the effects that most people are familiar with. However, Delta 8 is distinct enough from Delta 9 that the “high” it creates is generally less intense and shorter-lasting.

Alongside the feeling of being “high”, Delta 8 also has been described as providing other desirable properties that Delta 9 does, including assisting with pain management, stress, and feelings of anxiety. While some individuals may only want to enjoy Delta 8 as a more ‘accessible’ form of Delta 9, other individuals see it as a way to enjoy a variety of hemp-derived benefits that other cannabinoids simply do not provide for them. The hope behind Delta 8 is that it can retain the benefits people see in Delta 9, without the same degree of downsides. 

However, Delta 8’s similarity in both chemical structure and effect on the body to Delta 9 has caused it to be the target of a great deal of legal ire. Many states have put in restrictions specifically targeting Delta 8, or cannabinoids bearing any kind of similarity to Delta-9 THC, which is why the following question of Delta 8’s legality requires a great deal of nuance to answer. 

Is Delta 8 Legal?

Before we get into this, we want to clarify that we are not legal experts, and the disagreements surrounding Delta 8’s legal status are only being talked about here in a general manner. Don’t treat the following as professional legal advice.

When it comes to the status of Delta 8 in the eyes of the law, things remain in a kind of limbo, with the cannabinoid currently subject to ongoing legal battles in numerous states. Broadly speaking, there are two major areas of legality as it concerns Delta 8 and hemp in the United States – Federal and State.

Federal & State Laws about Delta 8 and its Usage

With regards to any Federal legality, it’s been argued that the language that was used in the 2018 Farm Bill supports Delta 8 is legal. According to proponents of Delta 8, the cannabinoid ought to be federally legal within the United States where it is derived from low-Delta-9 THC hemp. The text of the 2018 Farm Bill was clear about the acceptable 0.3% limit, they say, and that means if Delta 8 products contain low amounts of delta-9 THC and weren’t derived from high-THC hemp (which is federally considered illegal cannabis), then they should generally be legal for purchase and transport. 

However, opponents of this argue that Delta 8 isn’t often derived from hemp directly, but made synthetically from CBD. Because Delta-9 THC and other ‘synthetic THC analogs’ are considered Controlled Substances, and because Delta 8 provides a similar effect to Delta 9, Delta 8 should fare no differently and be treated as a Controlled Substance. Since Delta 8 is also synthetically produced, the safety of such a product is also called into question.

Then there are the laws of various States. State laws can differ from Federal, and while some states have made explicit their approval of low-THC, hemp-derived Delta 8 in some manner, other regions have not. Some, like Michigan, treat Delta-8 in a way akin to their state-run marijuana program, while others have flat out forbidden any kind of legal hemp. Since each state has different laws, Delta 8 remains in a gray area and its legal status will change anywhere you go.

On a brief note, Delta 8’s legality abroad is even murkier, but it is considered similar to State laws in the US: it changes on a country-by-country basis. While individual laws may change, the current state of things is unlikely to swing one way or the other in the near future.

What's the Main Difference between Delta 8 and CBD?

For many people looking into Delta 8, one of the main areas of confusion is whether they should be trying Delta 8 or CBD. As they’re both hemp-derived cannabinoids with many touted benefits, it can be hard to determine which one can be a positive addition to your wellbeing. 

The main difference between Delta 8 and CBD is that CBD is non-intoxicating, while Delta 8 is. CBD simply does not get its user “high”, whereas Delta 8, as stated previously, can. CBD, much like Delta 8, also interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to help with Homeostasis, but while Delta 8 generally interacts with receptors in the brain, CBD mostly interacts with receptors in the body. CBD studies have shown that it has the ability to benefit individuals with maintaining functions like sleep wellness, energy levels, and stress, and has had more focus on its potential use than Delta 8 from researchers, such as in CBD’s approval for the prescription drug Epidiolex. In contrast, Delta 8 remains under scrutiny from the FDA and other regulatory bodies, and there are zero prescription drugs or supplements that have been approved by the FDA to contain active Delta 8.

Even if you already know which cannabinoid you’re interested in, it’s worth mentioning that both Delta 8 and CBD can be enjoyed in most of the same ways. Both cannabinoids are available in a large variety of products, with oils in the form of a tincture being probably the most versatile. Tinctures have distinct advantages over other forms: they can come in all sorts of sizes and concentrations, can be enjoyed directly or as an addition to other methods, and can include other cannabinoids like CBD and CBN as well. 

Since oils are also likely the least understood for how they can be used, we’ll go into more detail to understand how Delta 8 oil is typically made.

How is Delta 8 Oil made?

To answer this question, you first have to answer how Delta 8 is first extracted. Delta 8 isn’t naturally abundant in hemp, so attempting a direct extraction isn’t likely to reward the manufacturer with a lot of it. Instead, the most common method of producing Delta 8 is to first extract CBD from the hemp plant instead. In low-THC hemp, CBD oil is much more prevalent, as well as being the federally-legal source for hemp cannabinoids.

Why would you need CBD for Delta 8, you might ask? Delta 8 is what is known as a chemical isomer of CBD – which is to say that the building blocks for Delta 8’s chemical structure are also the same as those in CBD, just in a different order. In this situation, Delta 8 is produced from CBD in a way that provides much more of the cannabinoid than would normally be derived directly from the hemp plant.

Once you’ve got the Delta 8 extract from hemp-derived CBD, it’s usually then purified and ‘decarboxylated’ (activating the compounds of Delta 8 for easier absorption into the body). At this stage, it’s usually rendered as a semi-thick oil, ready for any further processing, packaging, and testing. 

Even at this stage, the Delta 8 extract is usually exceedingly concentrated and not truly ready for direct ingestion. Instead, this Delta 8 extract is suspended in a liquid solution, where it can be diluted enough for ingestion while still retaining plenty of cannabinoid goodness. This is what we call Delta 8 Tinctures.

What does Delta 8 Oil taste like?

Delta 8 Oil generally tastes slightly earthy, but the taste of it is usually determined by whichever carrier oil is used when Delta 8 oil is presented in the form of a tincture. Carrier oils come in a large variety, including hemp seed oil, MCT Oil, and even olive and avocado oil, and all have their pros and cons. MCT Oil is generally the most common, while hemp seed oil can add a healthy, nutrient-rich element to your favorite Delta 8 oil. Additionally, tinctures can also be flavored to help cover up the earthy taste with strong fruit flavors like mango or strawberry. If you’re not bothered by the taste of the carrier oil, unflavored tinctures can also likely be found.

Because of their versatility, Delta 8 oils can add a unique dimension to the taste of drinks like tea or coffee, or they can simply be enjoyed directly by adding drops from a tincture under the tongue. If you’re looking to enjoy Delta 8 oil without the earthy taste, then using it as part of an existing recipe can be an exciting way to spice things up!

Is Delta 8 safe?

Whether Delta 8 is safe or not comes down to a few key factors, as there isn’t really a simple “yes or no” answer to this question. The safety of any individual Delta 8 product largely comes down to the fine details of how it was manufactured, including the quality of the hemp plant and of any pesticides or agents used in its harvest, whether the facility doing the extraction is an accredited or GMP-certified one, whether any harmful chemicals were added during the process, and all the other steps involved in the making of a product. Since regulations regarding the hemp industry are still fairly new or nonexistent, it’s hard to find minimum standards of quality or accuracy.

When viewed only as a cannabinoid, Delta 8’s negative effects appear to be similar to those of Delta 9, such as the aforementioned euphoric feeling of the “high”. Unfortunately at this time, there isn’t too much in the way of research available to say one way or the other whether Delta 8 is likely to be beneficial or harmless in the long term.

Important Guidelines to Purchase Delta 8 Oil

The best way to ensure that the Delta 8 oil you’re purchasing is of good quality is to follow a few important guidelines:

  • Ensure that any product you purchase comes with a COA, or Certificate of Analysis, provided by a third-party accredited testing lab. It’s the only way to ensure that the product you hold in your hand has the stated amount of Delta 8, as well as whether it’s containing any other cannabinoids like CBD. If there’s no way to get a report, such as from a QR code on the label of the bottle, you have no way of knowing about the real contents of that oil.
  • Purchase from brands that use GMP-Certified facilities or similar high-quality manufacturing partners. This should offer greater peace of mind that the product you’re picking up is likely to have been made in a clean, respectable facility and not by amateurs.
  • If at all possible, check the brand’s website to see if they can provide information on the source of the hemp used in their products. The more transparency and traceability a company provides, the more you can be confident in the product they sell.
  • Although it can be harder to find, purchasing directly from the brand’s retail locations (if they have one) also ensures you’re receiving a genuine version of that specific product instead of something imitating it. Alternatively, purchase directly from the manufacturer’s website where you can find more information straight from the source.

If you follow these guidelines, you can be sure that any Delta 8 oil you purchase - or any product, really - will be as reliable as possible. It’s up to consumers to make smart choices and be aware of any shady practices when it comes to getting high-quality cannabinoids.

What other kinds of Delta 8 Products are there?

If you’re curious about other ways to enjoy Delta 8, don’t worry: Delta 8 can be enjoyed in practically any way you want! Oils are often found as tinctures as well as in the form of gummies, pre-rolls, topicals, vape products, and more. Vape products don’t just mean as a vape oil - diamond sauce, wax, moon rocks, all of these have been infused with hemp-derived Delta 8 and can be available from a variety of manufacturers. Other companies are experimenting with Delta 8-infused beverages or patches applied to the skin directly, and even vegan-friendly products.

Where can I purchase Delta 8 Oil?

Now that you’ve gotten a handle on what Delta 8 is, what makes it so unique when compared to other cannabinoids like CBD, and all the different ways that you can enjoy it, you should feel confident when looking to purchase Delta 8 oil. 

Visit Sun State Hemp for more information about Delta 8

Here at Sun State Hemp, we offer Delta 8 in products ranging from tempting Watermelon Gummies and succulent Lollipops to smooth Tinctures and no-stress Softgels and everything in between.