As CBD becomes more accepted and moves out of the legal gray area it seemed to be stuck in until recently, delta-8 THC has become the latest product in the quest to find loopholes that allow consumers to legally use cannabis. Sometimes referred to as “weed’s gentler, kinder sibling,” delta-8 THC is a hemp-derived substance that can show you a euphoric good time that won’t get you in trouble with the law (in most states).
Knowing that delta-8 THC is a vaguely legal way to enjoy a cannabis-adjacent buzz makes it pretty tempting to give it a try. But while it has the potential to produce some satisfying effects, there are a few things you should know before you make your first purchase.
1. Delta-8 THC Can Make You Fail a Drug Test
If you are subjected to random drug screening or looking for a new job, you may want to hold off on picking up that delta-8 vape until after you’ve talked to your employer. Even though delta-8 is technically legal in all but 14 states, it’s still THC. Some types of drug tests are not able to distinguish between delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC.
Most people who smoke cannabis take a “detox” period if they know they have a screening coming up, where they refrain from using products containing THC long enough for the test to come up clean.
Delta-8 stays in your system for about the same length of time as delta-9 THC, so plan accordingly. Or simply talk to your employer (or potential employer) and let them know there is a chance you will turn up with a false positive result. With recent sweeping cannabis legalization and destigmatization, there is a chance they will understand and let it pass.
2. Delta-8 THC Products Are Not Regulated Like Legal Supplements
Because of the legal gray area delta-8 THC is in, it is not regulated for safety and purity the same way other legal supplements are. This means you need to do a little of your own investigative work in order to ensure you are getting a product that is not contaminated with harmful ingredients.
You might be able to pick up a delta-8 vape from your local smoke shop or corner convenience store, but that doesn’t mean you should. Keep in mind the following as you shop:
Look for Delta-8 Products Made From Organically-Grown Hemp
Legal delta-8 is extracted from hemp plants that contain less than 0.3% THC. We will get into how that works later in this article, but keep in mind that hemp is a bioaccumulator, which means that it absorbs the toxins found in the surrounding soil and water.
While this is great for the environment, it’s not so great for consumers using products grown in contaminated soil or cultivated with chemical pesticides.
Keep an eye out for delta-8 that is derived from organically-grown hemp in order to avoid having a finished product that could be harmful.
Look for Delta-8 THC Vapes That are Free of Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerine
It’s not just delta-8 vapes that contain these cutting agents. As a matter of fact, many vapes are made with propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine (PG/VG) in order to make the smoking experience smoother. While this may create a more appealing draw on the vape, these agents are impure and their effects are unknown when heated and inhaled.
Insist on Third-Party Lab Results
The only way to be truly sure your delta-8 THC vape is pure is to see the third-party lab results that every reputable brand submits. When a cannabis brand has third-party labs testing its products, this is a way to ensure there are no heavy metals, mycotoxins, pesticide, or solvent residuals present in your vape.
If you don’t see results from a lab that is not connected with the cultivator or brand, then you can’t be sure you’ve got a pure product that is free of harmful toxins.
3. Delta-8 THC Will Get You High (Kind Of)
Your experience with how delta-8 THC makes you feel is entirely subjective, but many report a sense of euphoria without some of the anxiety and brain fog that marijuana or delta-9 THC products often cause.
This is one of the more appealing aspects of using delta-8, but do keep in mind that you should not drive or use heavy machinery until you know how it will make you feel. It’s best to start low and go slow with your first dose, and clear your calendar for several hours so you have time to experiment and enjoy.
4. Delta-8 THC is Derived from CBD
Delta-8 THC is technically Federally legal because of how it’s typically made. Industrial hemp—hemp containing 0.3% THC or less—was made Federally legal in the 2018 Farm Bill, and delta-8 THC is usually made from these plants.
But how do you get THC from a plant that has no THC??? We know. It’s kind of mind boggling. Delta-8 THC is not abundantly present in nature. However, CBD can be converted into delta-8 THC through a process called isomerization. This can be done safely, and the result is a mellow buzz that feels almost like smoking marijuana without the negative side effects.
Enjoy Experimenting With Delta-8 THC, But Remember: Safety First!
Delta-8 THC is a great new alternative for people who live in states where marijuana is still illegal, or when you want to avoid some of the paranoia and anxiety that sometimes comes with delta-9 THC. Just keep in mind a few general safety guidelines and you should be able to thoroughly enjoy yourself:
- Delta-8 is legally restricted in some states.
- Look for delta-8 made with organically-grown hemp.
- Insist on seeing third-party lab results.
- Don’t vape and drive until you know how delta-8 THC will affect you.