The cannabis smoked today hasn’t changed much from what the free souls of Woodstock rolled up a generation ago (or many years before that). From the 70s to 2020, the potency has increased dramatically — but otherwise little has changed in the way users interact with the plant they love. But that all changed late last year with the introduction of Delta-8 THC. Most people are aware that THC is the active ingredient in cannabis. It’s the little chemical that gives the buzzed, high feeling. More specifically, it’s actually Delta-9 THC that does this. And it’s Delta-9 THC that’s been so tightly federally regulated for decades.
The Marijuana Stereotype
Since it’s been around so long, cannabis also comes with a pretty well-established list of drawbacks. Excluding the stereotypes of the lazy stoner, there are two very real factors holding the industry back: The widely-known side effects, and the fact that it’s illegal in most states here in the US. Both of these present their own set of challenges for the communities who actively interact with cannabis. The main two being recreational users, and medical professionals who want to capitalize on the numerous medical benefits for their patients. Side effects of cannabis, including the infamous drowsy comedown, the fogginess and feelings of paranoia, are only getting more pronounced as the concentration of Delta-9 THC increases. These are difficult to address, and can be a big turn off for many users. Potential first-time medical users are especially wary about the stronger psychoactive effects. The second problem, legality, has been a point of contention among states for decades now. And while marijuana is often too polarizing, many don’t yet understand how science is opening up tremendous new potential from the hemp or cannabis plant.
What about the rest of the cannabis plant?
This is where science needs to lead. Two years ago, the US government passed the 2018 Farm Bill. It was a long and complicated bill. But crucially, the language of this bill removed certain THC strains from the controlled substance list. A list that included pretty much every THC that wasn’t Delta-9. This immediately took the cannabis community by storm and opened the door for legal THC alternatives to be developed and sold. In late 2019 companies began offering a new THC distillate – Delta-8 THC, which is a close cousin of Delta-9, and considered by some to be superior to Delta-9 in some ways. What makes this Delta 8 so incredible is that it has many similarities to Delta-9, minus the overwhelming psychoactive effects.
“I’m like you, but better” – Delta-8 THC vs. Delta-9 THC
The two chemicals provide similar effects. Both reportedly support a robust interest in food and provide a calming sensation — but Delta 8 is far less potent than Delta 9 in its psychoactive effects. This means users experience fewer of the unpleasant symptoms like paranoia. It also means milder crashes on the other end. Delta 8 THC is known for having a more moderate and relaxing effect. In fact, it is has been described by users as being clearer and more energetic than Delta 9 cannabis. This makes it ideal for both active users and first-time users who don’t want to experience the confusion and distortion that a concentrated doses of Delta-9 can cause.
The Future Of Hemp-Derived Compounds
Delta-8 has given countless users who weren’t otherwise able to access medical cannabis the chance to benefit from this amazing set of therapeutic effects, Medical research may yet suggest that Delta-8 is a better option over medical marijuana. Community feedback will help determine if Delta-8 stays where it is now. At this point it is impossible to say what will happen. But the community continues to rally around Delta-8, and the response is promising.
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