Is delta-8 THC safe? That’s a question on everyone’s minds since the innovative product first appeared. It didn’t take long for forums everywhere to explode over delta-8 THC. 

Imagine a THC type with milder intoxicating effects and no (at the time) bans or restrictions. In a country bursting at the seams to federally legalize cannabis, it’s no surprise consumers, and vendors alike still take advantage of this – now much smaller – a loophole. 

As consumers, we’re all guilty of letting excitement cloud our judgment when something so seemingly perfect hits store shelves. 

But if the “green rush” to buy or sell a new and popular cannabis product with little regard for regulations sounds familiar, that’s because it happened before. CBD went through the same growing pains, plagued by poor oversight, inaccurate labeling, and questionable quality control.

The difference is that CBD vendors learned to self-regulate. But even the safest delta-8 THC products may be more dangerous than the dirtiest CBD available – at least according to an alarming new FDA report.

Don’t try delta-8 THC until you learn the truth that advocates, vendors, and unsuspecting consumers don’t know – or simply refuse to acknowledge.  

A Quick Summary: What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC is reportedly a milder alternative to its more potent counterpart. Although muted, the beneficial effects are virtually identical to delta-9. 

We don’t know much about delta-8’s side effects, but these reportedly include:

  • Slow heartbeat
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Drowsiness
  • Numbness
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion

Chemistry and Production

Hemp-derived delta-8 THC is an isomer – a chemically similar derivative but with a different molecular structure – of CBD. However, it’s also possible to extract it from THC using a process called isomerization

Isomerization has many applications, including the creation of delta-8 THC. Unsurprisingly, cannabis research icon Raphael Mechoulam synthesized delta-8 from CBD, as explained by a 1970 paper in the journal Science.

Legality

Initially untouched by regulators, delta-8 THC is fighting (and arguably losing) an uphill battle against lawmakers and health experts.  According to Reuters, 18 states have banned or restricted delta-8 THC since August of 2021.

Is Delta-8 THC Safe?

Delta-8 THC isn’t safe – at least not at the moment. While hemp CBD consumers aren’t fans of the FDA’s grandstanding, the regulator may be right about delta-8. Let’s look at five reasons we should avoid this product. 

1) Delta-8 THC is Confirmed to be Harmful

According to the FDA, delta-8 THC caused 661 health complications between December 2020 and July 2021. However, the demographics are particularly disturbing.

Of the adverse events reported, 41% were accidental consumption. But out of those incidents, 77% happened in “pediatric patients” younger than 18. 

The total overview isn’t much better. A shocking 39% of all adverse event patients were also under the age of 18. Keep in mind that this takes voluntary and involuntary consumption into account, meaning minors also deliberately consume this product. 

If those facts aren’t scary enough, the FDA also says 18% of the 661 individuals were hospitalized, with some sent to the intensive care unit (ICU). Children were also among those patients. 

2) Delta-8 THC Extraction is Toxic

Unlike CBD, clean CO2 extraction – or any other conventional cannabis extraction technique – won’t allow us to rearrange CBD’s molecular structure. Unfortunately, the delta-8 THC process is exponentially worse. 

The FDA warns that the CBD isomerization process requires dangerous household chemicals. However, the easy accessibility to such substances naturally inspired a few people to make delta-8 at home – something nobody should do. 

Inhaling or ingesting such toxins creates a greater health risk than any conventional cannabinoid extraction method. 

Compounding the problem is that these products can be produced in “unsanitary conditions,” risking further contamination beyond solvent traces. 

3) Delta-8 THC is Not FDA Approved or Regulated

Delta-8 THC products owe much of their success to word-of-mouth and clever marketing. But the FDA warns that none of these products are regulated or approved. Without any oversight, vendors make exaggerated or unfounded claims about potential health benefits.

Similarly, delta-8 also appeals to conventional THC consumers to circumvent cannabis laws. 

Another consequence is that lack of regulation means a lack of consistency. The FDA explains that they have no way to guarantee the accuracy of delta-8 THC product labels, nor a way to ensure safety. 

4) Delta-8 THC Can Still Make You High

Delta-8 THC makes you high. The effects are milder, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t strong enough to impair you. Depending on the potency and various biological factors, delta-8 THC can still cause substantial intoxication. 

Keep in mind, any level of intoxication can be dangerous in certain situations, like driving or operating heavy machinery. 

5) Delta-8 THC Can Be Tempting to Kids and Pets

Delta-8 THC is available in the same array of products as CBD and delta-9 THC. These include edibles like gummies, candy, cookies, chocolate, and similar treats. All of them naturally catch a child’s attention and are undoubtedly responsible for many – if not most – of accidental poisonings. 

The product also poses a risk to pets. An increase in animal exposure to delta-8 proves that some dogs and cats have no issue consuming cannabis edibles. 

Sources

Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. (n.d.). Isomerization. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved October 1, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/science/isomerization.

FDA. (n.d.). 5 things to know about delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol – delta-8 THC. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved October 1, 2021, from https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/5-things-know-about-delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol-delta-8-thc.

The increasing popularity of Delta 8 raises concerns. Addiction Center. (2021, September 27). Retrieved October 1, 2021, from https://www.addictioncenter.com/news/2021/07/increasing-popularity-delta-8/.

Malyshev, A., & Ganley, S. (2021, September 22). Controlling cannabis and the classification of delta-8 THC. Reuters. Retrieved October 1, 2021, from https://www.reuters.com/legal/litigation/controlling-cannabis-classification-delta-8-thc-2021-09-22/.

Mechoulam, R. (1970). Marihuana chemistry. Science, 168(3936), 1159–1165. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.168.3936.1159