Are you intrigued by the recreational and therapeutic uses of Delta-8 THC but confused whether it is natural or not?
This article will not only answer this question but also help you decide whether buying Delta-8 THC would be a good choice.
The new and the legitimate variant of THC, i.e., Delta-8 THC, was made available way back in 2018. Since then, it has been breaking the charts in the cannabis industry.
Many cannabis enthusiasts were eagerly waiting for the day when they could freely smoke up THC or consume it in other forms, without worrying about any legal repercussions.
Another reason why most hemp lovers are so excited about using this newly discovered compound is that it does not have as many complications as its chemical twin, Delta-9 THC. It is also not known to have any side effects if used for a short period.
It is the relaxed legal constraints and fewer complications that make D-8 so sought-after.
However, its long-term health consequences are yet to be discovered.
Coming to the question of whether D-8 THC is natural or lab-made, honestly, it is truly a complicated one.
Well, various sources would have you believe the synthetic origin of the compound. But are they true?
In this article, we shall delve deeper into that, but first, let’s glance through a brief overview of the Delta-8 compound.
What Is Delta-8 THC?
As stated above, the Delta-8 THC compound is a chemical analog, or what the scientific fraternity would like to call, an “isomer” of Delta-9 THC.
So, where do the differences lie?
Actually, the only difference can be found in the compounds’ molecular structure, particularly in their bonding properties.
To put it in simpler terms, D-9 has a slightly more distinctive chemical property than its twin brother, D-8, which enables its power to chemically react by just a whisker.
This results in the differences in the way both these chemical compounds interact with our endocannabinoid receptors, and thus the disparities they show in their effects. The newly discovered THC type has fewer and less intense potency, and thus, fewer complications than the veteran compound.
This add-on feature comes with its share of demerits too. The Delta-8 THC compound has milder psychotropic properties, with approximately 2/3rd of the more intense Delta-9 THC, which may disappoint you a bit (if you are into getting high!).
Nevertheless, it is concluded to have numerous benefits and therapeutic uses in a range of medical applications. It has proven its efficacy in trials against nausea, anxiety, loss of appetite, and pain, among others.
Although the trials have been too few to be decisive, the consistency in results on both human and non-human subjects can be regarded as promising regarding the compound’s therapeutic use. So, you have more reasons to smile than frown now.
What Are Synthetic Cannabinoids?
Well, to proceed with our discussion about whether Delta-8 THC is lab-grown or not, it is worth taking a look at what “synthetic cannabinoids” are.
“Synthetic cannabinoids” are especially used by members of the scientific community. Perhaps you are habituated to using slangs, such as “K2” and “Spice”. These are the more colloquially used terms by cannabinoid users when they talk about synthetic cannabinoids.
Spices are lab-produced cannabinoids or chemical compounds that can effectively mimic the properties of natural phytocannabinoids, i.e., hemp or marijuana-derived cannabinoids. They give you nearly the same results upon consumption as real cannabinoids do.
In theory, they work the same way in the human body. They bind to the same cannabinoid receptors as their real counterparts, thus simulating the effects to a large extent.
However, the legal status of these human-made drugs and their marketing under the term “marijuana” has raised eyebrows. They are not completely safe and have higher mood-altering properties than their natural alternatives.
Unsurprisingly, many synthetic cannabinoids are restricted. However, newer compounds or analogs of the older compounds are introduced in the market every so often. This helps manufacturers to get around the restrictions, at least until the new compound is barred as well.
One benefit of using synthetic cannabinoids is that these cannot be detected under the standard marijuana drug tests.
Their inexpensive nature is another common reason behind their popularity.
According to a study conducted in 2019, and published in the journal of Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, there is strong evidence of the link between spice and psychosis. In the trial, the drug’s ingestion led to illusions, auditory and visual hallucinations, perceptual alterations, dissociation, depersonalization, and catatonia.
The study goes on to say that even though drug-induced psychosis is temporary, i.e., it only lasts until the drug’s effects wear off, the reactions can lead to individuals seeking emergency services.
Besides, such instances of psychosis-enabling drug consumption can lead to long-term psychological effects.
This is why the discussion on whether D-8 is a synthetic compound is so important for us. Knowing about it beforehand can help susceptible individuals stay away from the drug.
Is Delta-8 THC A ‘Spice’?
Synthetic cannabinoids or spices initially took the cannabinoids community by storm. But, over time, the craze subsided, particularly because of spice’s possible health risks, as you might have guessed.
Although most people tried or even switched to spice from the natural, marijuana-based drug, they soon learned the reality of the tall tales. Producers are selling spice to evade the legal restrictions surrounding marijuana.
Delta-8 is a psychoactive drug, derived from cannabis. The extraction process usually yields very small amounts because of the near-undetectable levels of this compound’s presence in its natural form in the plant.
So, manufacturers often resort to the synthesis of this compound from other cannabinoids. Now you know where the myth originates—the synthesis of a drug from other natural compounds is not the same as chemically synthesizing a drug.
Thus, you can rest assured that D-8 THC is a naturally occurring chemical. The commercially available products are all but alterations of some chemically similar and naturally found compounds.
Also, we can say for sure that as long as you buy your D-8 dose from a legitimate supplier, you have no reason to worry about its authenticity and potency.
Most reliable suppliers also ensure their Delta-8 products are organic and compliant with the 2018 Farm Bill.
The Difference Between Delta-8 THC and K2
As we mentioned earlier, Delta-8 THC is obtained naturally and organically from hemp plants. It is harvested using appropriate manufacturing methods. It is not synthetic by any means.
K2 or spice, on the other hand, is a synthetically produced, lab-made compound. It is also cheap and mostly used by the poor and homeless, unfortunately.
While spice users will feel euphoric for a certain period after consumption, the side effects and the health hazards can’t be ignored.
Besides, their mind-altering and medicinal properties, too, greatly differ from each other. There is a great difference in their toxicity rates as well.
A 2016 report, published in Current Psychiatry Reports, states that the synthetic drug’s toxicity can be seen in chronic long-term use.
But the two drugs do share certain similarities.
One common thing between them is that they are not subjected to as many stringent regulations as Delta-9 THC is.
Another similarity is that they both bind to the same cannabinoid receptors in the body.
It was due to the restrictions on natural cannabinoids that posed difficulty in obtaining them for research, which led to the discovery of spice. Now, with the legalization of Delta-8 THC, we have more insightful information on the working of this compound.
While talking about the drugs’ uses for therapeutic purposes, both the compounds have been used for medical applications. Due to their similar working mechanisms, they are prescribed for treating antiemetic (nausea-mitigating) and orexigenic (appetite-stimulating) effects.
Delta-8 THC is one of the most talked-about compounds in the cannabis community. In fact, it is likely to be just as commonly sold as CBD in the coming years.
Its mild effects and therapeutic advantages are being discussed not only by cannabis users but also in the scientific community.
However, talks about this cannabinoid being obtained by chemical synthesis have surfaced many times and puzzled us. While Delta-8 THC will provide a mild marijuana-like effect, spice or K2 can be more intense and infinitely more dangerous.
Taking everything into account, we can safely conclude that Delta-8 THC is as natural as Delta-9 THC and CBD, except that it has loads of the combined natural goodness of the two compounds.