In this week’s Wake + Bake Podcast, we tackled Delta 8 THC to answer the question, “Is Delta 8 Safe?” This question was so complex that we also wrote a blog post to do more research and to share what we found about the safety of Delta 8.
Read on to learn more about Delta 8 THC, how Delta 8 is made, Delta 8 dosage, and more.
Is Delta 8 Safe?
The answer is complicated but undeniably fascinating. Once you peek behind the curtain of Delta 8 THC, you may never look at the hemp industry the same way again. And that’s a good thing.
What is Delta 8 THC?
Delta 8 THC is a cannabinoid found in small amounts in cannabis and hemp plants.
Delta 8 is psychoactive (it can get you high) but is reportedly less psychoactive than Delta 9 (but not as high as regular cannabis).
It is used to produce hemp products with milder psychoactive effects, such as edibles and vape cartridges.
Delta 8 THC – the cannabinoid – is generally considered safe.
Uncovering the safety of Delta 8 products – like vape pens, gummies, and flowers- will require a deep dive.
Before we get started, it’s important to note that most current information about Delta 8 THC is anecdotal.
In scientific studies, Delta 8 has only been tested on a handful of people, and we don’t know much about what it does in the human body.
In our online cannabis training program, we’re firm believers that anecdotal evidence is meaningful, animal studies are a start, and human studies are necessary.
P.S. You can take the NEW Free Class: How to Get Paid to Talk and Write About Cannabis and learn how to get paid to do things like put on workshops or write blog posts like this one 😉
But the question right now isn’t so much “Is delta 8 safe?” it’s really “Is the way Delta 8 is being made safe?” and “How much delta 8 is safe to take?”
Delta 8 Dosage
The real (read: plant-derived) Delta 8 shows up in tiny amounts on the cannabis plant. It’s one of the hundreds of molecules found in cannabis and is entirely natural.
Sure. We don’t have a ton of data on this molecule, but like most things that naturally occur in natural amounts on this natural plant medicine, it’s probably safe in small doses.
And by small, I mean almost non-existent.
Dr. Chris Hudella, Ph.D. founder of ProVerde Laboratories, tested over 18,000 cannabis samples to find the quantity of Delta 8 naturally occurring in the plant.
“ProVerde Labs learned 98.5% of them contained no measurable concentrations of delta-8 THC, Hudalla said. Of samples that contained delta-8 THC, the average concentration was .0018%, he shared.” (Natural Products Insider)
Unfortunately, we have not yet learned the long-term effects of the daily Delta 8 dosage people use. In researching this post, I saw a 1500mg bottle of Delta 8 gummies and a 900mg Delta 8 vape cartridge.
The first problem with Delta 8 THC is that we just don’t know how much Delta 8 is safe for humans.
Delta 8 dosage aside, we have even less of an idea of what chemically converted delta 8 products do to the human body.
Here’s the real issue: The Delta 8 THC you’re finding in vape pens and in gummies is not (I repeat… is NOT) the Delta 8 growing on the plant. The Delta 8 THC appearing on gas station shelves is made using a “chemical conversion process.”
How is Delta 8 Made?
The chemical conversion process to make Delta 8 starts with a CBD isolate bathed in acid. The chemical catalysts are then added to produce different cannabinoids – like Delta 8.
That’s a simplified explanation, but you don’t need to know more than that to understand that there are problems with how delta 8 is made.
While some producers say that their products are “naturally derived from hemp“, what they really mean is that these products are “derived from a CBD Isolate, bathed in hydrochloric or sulfuric acid, mixed with chemicals, and then purged to try to remove the unwanted cannabinoids and impurities“.
It’s a pretty nasty process, and if you’re the luckiest Delta 8 consumer, the processor will remove all of the heavy metals and impurities from your product before you vape it into your lungs or chew up your gummy.
What Chemicals are found in Delta 8 THC products?
The word “Impurities” seems to be a euphemism used in the hemp industry for “we have no idea what that this stuff is or what it does inside the body.”
“Impurities” sounds benign, but is used to describe chemicals and compounds left behind like:
- Novel synthetic compounds (i.e., synthetic compounds made by the conversion process that have no name, let alone safety data)
- Residual chemicals (including the acid the CBD Isolate takes a bath in)
Unfortunately, COAs don’t test for the kind of impurities that are showing up in Delta 8 vape pens and edibles.
“Nobody is removing the contaminants or studying them for toxicity,” Hudalla declared. (Natural Products Insider)
This means the Delta 8 consumer is potentially vaping a Delta 8 oil full of heavy metals and never-before-seen synthetic chemicals.
So don’t be deceived by the words hemp-derived when it comes to Delta 8.
Hudella noted that it would take 55000 kilos of CBD plant material to make 1 kilo of Delta 8, and it’s just not what’s happening here.
Will Delta 8 Show up on a Drug Test?
Yes. Not only is delta 8 a real bummer in terms of how it is made, but Delta 8 also isn’t safe for drug testing.
Delta 8 can trigger a drug test because it could create one of the THC metabolites that drug tests are looking for. More interestingly, many Delta 8 products are sold on shelves as CBD products contain Delta 9.
That’s because during that chemical conversion process, while bathed in acid, the CBD Isolate turns into a mixture of Delta 8, Delta 9, and Delta 10.
Typically, delta 8 products still have delta 9 in them because it’s notoriously difficult to separate these two similar molecules.
In consumer testing, researchers found many delta 8 products to be only 60% Delta 8 THC, with the remaining 40% consisting of impurities and isomers that typically included Delta 9 THC.
Delta 8 Benefits
It’s hard to even list Delta 8 benefits after researching how Delta 8 is made.
Because I don’t believe Delta 8 is safe until we know more about it, I would avoid it and seek out other cannabinoids, herbs, or medicine to get these benefits.
Delta 8 THC benefits typically include the same benefits of Delta 9 THC, such as pain relief and relaxation. It’s also used by some looking for an alternative to Delta 9 with less psychotropic effect.
Mostly Delta 8 is sold in prohibition states because you can get high from it, and many consider it a legal way to get the effects of delta 9.
Is Delta 8 Legal?
Delta 8 is legal on a federal level since it is derived from hemp. However, Delta 8 THC may not be legal in every state.
Delta 8 has recently exploded in popularity, and some states have begun to ban Delta 8 due to its similarity to Delta 9 THC. But that’s not the only reason some states are banning Delta 8.
Unlike plant-extracted hemp-derived Delta 9 THC – which is currently available everywhere except for Idaho, Delta 8 always uses a chemical conversion process that is difficult to get right.
Many states are banning Delta 8 because of consumer protection concerns (see above).
That’s why the question “is delta 8 legal?” could have a different answer tomorrow, depending on where you are. It’s always important to check your local laws before buying Delta 8 as they are subject to change.
And if you’re concerned about Delta 8 getting into the hands of people who are being misled and intentionally confused by big hemp, talk to your government officials about it.
Delta 8 THC Alternatives
Luckily, Delta 8 isn’t your only option when it comes to feeling better using hemp and cannabis. If you want to use hemp to get healthier, there are many Delta 8 alternatives.
Instead of Delta 8 Gummies, Buy Delta 9 THC Gummies
If you’re looking for a way to experience the benefits of Delta 8 THC but want a healthier option, check out hemp-derived Delta 9 THC gummies.
Not all Delta 9 THC is made the same. Some delta 9 you’ll find online is from the exact same conversion process that’s used to make Delta 8. But some hemp-derived delta 9 is extracted directly from hemp plants and formulated into 0.3% THC gummies.
If you’re trying to buy a hemp product because you live in a state that hasn’t yet legalized, these hemp-derived THC Gummies can be purchased online and can be shipped all over the US (except Idaho).
The Wake + Bake gummies do not undergo a chemical conversion process, and:
- have been extracted directly from the plant
- are full spectrum
- meet the farm bill requirement of 0.3% THC
- are made using organic ingredients
- every batch is third-party lab tested (scan the QR code on the back to see the results for your bottle)
You can find out more about Delta 9 in this post: Delta 9 THC vs. THC: Is Delta 9 Legal, Safe, and Healthy
If you’re looking for a Delta 8 alternative because you want something more mellow than Delta 9 THC, consider balancing ratios of CBD and THC.
A 10:1 ratio of CBD: THC gives many people the benefits of THC without the adverse side effects.
Make Your Own Edibles Recipes
The best way to control your ingredients and to make sure you know what’s healthy is to create your own edibles recipes. If you live in a prohibition state, you can use CBD flower and CBG flower to make your own edibles.
If you’re looking for a less psychoactive experience with cannabis, you can add CBD and CBG flower to your edibles that contain THC and experiment with custom cannabinoid blends.
Join your local grassroots organization to legalize cannabis in your area
You wouldn’t be here reading this post if cannabis would have been legalized on the federal level in the US a long time ago. Delta 8 THC probably would have been a flash in the pan, confined to some niche cannabis users.
Conclusions: Is Delta 8 Safe
I’ve never gotten so fired up while writing a blog post, so I’m going to give this one a big no. I’m calling bullish*t on Delta 8.
If someone you know and love is using delta 8 THC please share this information so they can make an informed decision.
I hope this episode of the Wake + Bake podcast and this blog post helped answer the question, “Is Delta-8 Safe?”. I’d love to hear from you. How do you feel about Delta 8?
Podcast Resource Links:
Use the code WAKEANDBAKE for 10% off your first order at Wake + Bake Hemp Co.: https://wakeandbakehemp.co
Visit Andrea at Reveal Cannabis: www.revealcannabis.com
Visit Corinne at Wake + Bake: www.wakeandbake.co
Email us with questions and requests at [email protected]
Ep 107 Is Delta 8 Safe? Podcast Transcript
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Andrea Meharg: In this episode of the wake and bake podcast, we discuss Delta 8. Maybe you’ve heard about this brand-new cannabinoid on the market and you’re wondering if you should give it a try. I don’t want to like, cause of a spoiler alert upfront, but we definitely don’t think that you should give it a try.
We dive deep into the world of Delta 8 in this episode, and what we share with you will probably scare you. So we apologize in advance.
I’m Andrea Meharg, certified cannabis coach and educator. And along with my cohost Corinne Tobias we are here to tell you about the stories and the science behind everything cannabis. Thanks for tuning in.
Corinne Tobias: I was actually ready to come in here and talk a whole bunch of shit about this one in particular, and this thing happened to me last night and it was one of those moments again where I was like, huh, I am getting a different perspective on this particular topic, and I’m interested to hear your thoughts about it.
Andrea Meharg: I can’t believe you just said you’re gonna have a different perspective about Delta 8.
Corinne Tobias: So we’re going to Mexico, and if you listen to our breakup podcast, um, one of the ways that I decided to deal with that breakup was to book my daughter and I a month in Mexico, just run away from it all.
it was a really impulsive decision and one of the things in all the planning that I had to think about was not having cannabis. Mexico recently legalized, and so I was like, well, maybe they’ll have something down there. But their system is nowhere close to being set up. There’s nothing down there.
And when I started Googling, I was like well, what do I have access to down there? What do people have access to in, in the legal Mexican market? And I instantly found this CBD shop, and it was like, buy your Delta 8. And I was like, oh shit, gross. You know, like this is gross. And then I was like, oh man, this is like all there is for people in a lot of the United States, you know, up until the hemp derived THC gummies and that kind of thing, which people still don’t know about delta 8 was their only way to experience some of the benefits of T H C. And so I wanna approach this, this episode with, should I just take a T break in Mexico and bite the bullet, or is Delta 8 something to explore?
Andrea Meharg: No, you should take a tolerance break .
Sorry. So let’s start with what is Delta 8 THC?
It is a molecule that is almost identical to Delta nine T H C, which is the molecule that we’ve been calling T H C forever. It’s only super recently, like in the past couple of years that we’ve had to start differentiating between the THC we all know and love, which is Delta nine. And this new cannabinoid on the market. Delta 8 does show up naturally in very small amounts in naturally growing cannabis.
In fact, it’s a degradation product of Delta nine. So if you have a really precise lab test on your cannabis, you might see little traces of Delta 8 in there. But the stuff that you are seeing on the market, no matter where you are, including Mexico is not from a plant. All of this Delta 8 THC is made in a lab around here at CCI, we call them Franken cannabinoids.
They’re also known as alternative cannabinoids or synthetic cannabinoids, and they’re all gross.
Corinne Tobias: So I’ve never taken Delta 8 before. I’ve had no need to, you know, I have access to THC here in Colorado and I am curious about what it would do. Would it do the same thing for me as T HC does, is it gonna help me sleep? Is it gonna help with my pain? Is it gonna help with inflammation?
Andrea Meharg: Yeah, so we don’t have a lot of human studies on it yet, but in general, people call it like T H C light. So people do report that they have effects on things like pain and sleep and depression, mood stress,
Corinne Tobias: I wanna know what it’s doing in the human body. I wanna know why people are taking it. What is it gonna do if I go and find a corner store and buy a a Delta 8 vape pen?
What’s gonna happen for me?
Andrea Meharg: Because the actual molecule is so similar to Delta 9 THC it has very similar effects. So Delta 8 THC is said to be about half to two thirds as psychoactive as Delta 9. I don’t know, like that’s like a hard thing to measure, but in general, when you take Delta 8, you’ll feel less high than you would with Delta 9. There have been studies done on Delta 8 itself. Again, it’s a natural product in cannabis, and cannabis researchers love to play around with these molecules that they make. So it’s been studied for things like cancer, glaucoma, pain, nausea, inflammation.
But all of the studies that have been done, with the exception of one, have been done in animal models, and we know with lots of certainty the studies that are done on rats and mice don’t necessarily translate well into humans, so we don’t really know.
But if you’re suffering from pain or depression, or you need some help with sleep, maybe a molecule really close to Delta 9, the Delta 8 molecule might be able to help. You would just experiment the same way that you would with regular cannabis if you’re gonna give it a try.
Corinne Tobias: All right, so what’s so nasty about it? What’s so nasty about how it’s made? Because we’ve talked about CBD isolates before and you’ve said, and I quote, I’ll take that in a pinch, right? So what’s the difference between a CBD isolate and taking a Delta 8 product?
Andrea Meharg: We have to start with why Delta 8 is here. The reason why Delta 8 is on the market, and this goes for other cannabinoids that you’re gonna be hearing about too. There’s Delta 10 THC, there’s Delta six T H C, there’s H H C, there’s T H C O acetate, all these new ones that you’re hearing about the only reason why they’re here is because the US has been in a state of prohibition for a hundred years due to lies, racism and greed. And when the farm bill passed in 2018 and legalized C B D very smart, enterprising entrepreneurs realize that pretty simply actually you can take c b d isolate and bathe it in cer certain chemicals and acids and have the structure of the molecule rearrange itself into Delta 8 THC or Delta 6 or Delta 10.
They are proposing it as a legal source of THC because it actually comes from C B D, which is totally legal, but it’s gross how they’re making it. They bathe it in all this stuff, and then you hope as a consumer that they have done the processes to make this product like come out just with Delta 8 in it.
But you have no idea. And because you’re purchasing Delta 8 only in illegal markets, it’s most likely with processors who are not keeping your best interests as a consumer focused on health in mind. So, sorry.
Corinne Tobias: No, it’s okay. I mean, I, it’s not that I haven’t heard this before. I’m just kind of like, is there, is there a way, is there a safe version?
Because what you said is like you hope that they pull all of it out. What we know about that in terms of the consumer re reporting, testing that’s been done already is that they’re not doing that. and that it are, it still has Delta nine in it, making it an illegal product in most of these marketplaces.
It still has heavy metals in it. It still has solvents in it. I would say most many of these Delta 8 products still have these contaminants inside of them. Is that, Is that a fair assumption?
Andrea Meharg: I don’t think we know because we’re not doing rigorous testing on these products. The problem for me isn’t even necessarily whether the processors has have done a great job of getting all the stuff out, but most of the Delta 8 that you were that you’re gonna find on the market is in vape pens. So this is, they’ve concentrated the Delta 8 and whatever else was in that mixture down into an oil that you vape into your lungs. I am super anti vape pens in general, but vape pens that have this cannabinoid that we have made and hoped for the best with.
That’s bonkers. The other way that they’re getting Delta 8 into the market, and this is my favorite cuz they’re like pretending it’s healthy, is they spray it onto C B D rich hemp flower. And then again, what are you gonna go do with that? You’re gonna go roll that into a joint or put it into your bowl and smoke it.
So, If you’re looking for Delta 8, if you’re like, my God, I really wanna try it, it’s the only thing that’s available to me, you do have some strategies to help make that a better choice. And that would be, first of all, find a product that you can eat so that you’re allowing your digestive system to, you know, take care of some of the nasties.
And two, do your research. See if you can find a place near you that is doing Delta 8, right. Like they have actual lab tests that you can trust. Um, but outside of taking those two precautions, I would avoid it like completely everywhere.
Corinne Tobias: When you said that thing about the farm, the FDA saying, well that’s not the point of the Farm Bill. I was like, yeah the point of the Farm Bill is to keep Prohibition alive and well and to keep your guys’ pockets lined to keep people in jail and all that .
So like, fuck your Farm Bill. And I’ve never been mad about the Farm Bill before but I was like stupid Farm Bill
Andrea Meharg: So many unforeseen consequences from that decision, because we’ve known forever that you could make all these other cannabinoids out of CBD. Like this wasn’t something new that was discovered in 2018.
We could have looked back in the scientific literature and seen that, you know, somebody’s gonna read this and know how to do it. The instructions were there.
Corinne Tobias: I didn’t know that. I, I thought that they were like, oh, we’ve got this thing. Let’s play with this stuff. Let’s see what, Hey, you got any, any Lewis acid for me? like, let’s just see what happens.
Another question I have is, okay, we don’t know what’s in it. If I eat it, I might be ingesting heavy metals and all sorts of other Narnia. If I smoke it, I’m definitely ingesting those kinds of things in the, in like a vape pen, right?
Or sprayed on a C B D flower. Can it make me acutely sick? Can this make me sick? Like, like what I know like, oh, I had Delta 8 and it was bad because I feel sick.
Andrea Meharg: I don’t think so. I, unless you’re super sensitive to THC and like a small dose of T H C in general triggers your nausea, for example.
But no, it would generally be something that we would be looking for long-term over studies that we do not have about what’s happening to the hundreds of thousands of people who are using oil-based vape pens into their lungs. And again, I’m not a hundred percent, it’s the Delta 8 itself that would be causing the problem. It’s the fact that we’re vaping oil into our lungs
Corinne Tobias: And whatever else you’re vaping, oil and whatever else is in there. Okay, so I guess my next question is, is this even really legal? So if I. If I were to get one of these bait pens in Mexico and get pulled over by the police, or if I were to go to a prohibition state and have one and be like,
it’s a hemp product. Is it really legal? Is there a defense for that?
Andrea Meharg: Two ways to think about this. One is that, again, because this is a product made from C B D, then it’s totally legal because C B D is legal. The the flip side of this is that even the F D A just came out recently and said anything that looks like Delta nine THC is also illegal.
And many states, about a dozen have already taken Delta 8 off their books. It came. And then it went.
Corinne Tobias: I mean, obviously the thing about this conversation is it’s bullshit. Because cannabis is legal in Mexico, but you have no access to it. Cannabis should be legal here in the United States. You know, you guys don’t have this problem up in Canada.
Andrea Meharg: No, that’s the really interesting thing is for so long I was on my high horse about how in our lovely regulated system, we don’t have Delta 8, cuz we don’t need it. We have Delta 9, which is the one that we all know and love, and we have so many studies and so much anecdotal evidence for thousands and thousands of years that it works.
But we are super influenced by your media, your culture. And so now we have Delta 8 products on our shelves, if you can believe it, because people hear about it and then they wanna freaking try it. Plus, if Canadian producers have a surplus of C B D or C B D isolate, how awesome is it to just bathe it in some acid and put it out as Delta eight and have it fly off the shelves?
Corinne Tobias: That’s insane that there’s a market for Delta eight in a legal marketplace. Why would someone choose a Delta 8 THC product over a Delta 9 product in a legal marketplace?
Andrea Meharg: Just because they’ve heard about Delta eight somewhere, you know, they’ve read or heard like, oh, this is T HC Light.
I hear it called T HC Light a lot. So maybe you wanna like give it to your friend who’s not that interested in cannabis. But most of our decisions our purchasing decisions here in Canada are made by what the producers and corporate cannabis think that we want. Not necessarily is it healthy, it’s will it sell?
And if Delta 8’s gonna sell, then they’re gonna put it on the market.
Corinne Tobias: So my choices are untested, black market, Mexican cannabis, Delta 8, or a tolerance break.
I’m gonna traveling with my daughter. I’ll take the T break. I don’t, you don’t mind. It’ll be interesting to see how my body does react to that and, um, and what happens, um, because I don’t take huge doses anyway, if there’s like a big noticeable difference for me.
Andrea Meharg: That’s what I was gonna say is that you’re in a lucky place personally, that you don’t need THC to be able to go to Mexico and enjoy yourself. Without t h c you can still go about your life, but for some people that wouldn’t be possible. You know, they couldn’t travel to Mexico.
Because cannabis is a medicine that they need to take on the daily. So the faster we can do this work of having all of North America and then sweep the world, um, to allow people access to a freaking plant the better.
Corinne Tobias: We’ll see. I don’t know if I’m gonna sleep for 28 days, , that’s, I’m scared, . That’s why I’m like, it’s, it’s Delta 8.
Please, please just lie to me, Andrea , whatever, so I can sleep. We’ll see how it goes. Yeah. Thanks so much, Andrea. I really appreciate you walking us through all that.
Andrea Meharg: Yeah, it’s been fun to talk about these Franken cannabinoids and I obviously have very strong opinions on them.
Corinne Tobias: good. Keep those strong opinions.
I’ll, I’ll be strong in Mexico.
Andrea Meharg: All right. Thank you so much for listening to another episode of the Wake and Bake Podcast. Please reach out and tell us your thoughts on Delta 8. Did we miss the mark? Are you in love with it? Does it scare the crap out of you too? Thanks for letting us know wherever you’re listening or watching.
And if this topic has you fired up and you want the whole world to know what’s going on out there, maybe it’s time for you to become a cannabis educator. Go check out our free class at www.Cannabiscoachinginstitute.com. You’ll see how you can get paid to talk and write about cannabis so that you can spread the word about Delta 8 and everything else in the cannabis space. See you next time.
Corinne Tobias: Sounded so bougie. When I say I’m going to Mexico for a month.
Andrea Meharg: It did sound bougie, but you’re a cannabis educator. This is what cannabis educators get to do.
Corinne Tobias: This is what we get to do. Yeah. I’m not going to vacation for a month. I’m going to work
I’m gonna learn a lot while I’m down there. That was the point of me going to Mexico last year, was to learn about it and be like, Be able to understand what’s happening when an entire country changes.
And it’s a very different country than Canada. Right? We can, I think we can all agree that Mexico’s just a very different place and I’m curious as to how that’s going.