In 2018, Congress passed the Agricultural Improvement Act (aka the Farm Bill), making hemp legal in all 50 states. For cannabis to be considered hemp, it must have no more than 0.3 percent Delta-9 THC, the primary psychoactive substance in the plant. However, there are several varieties of THC, with Delta-9 being the most potent. There are over 100 cannabinoids produced by the hemp plant, including CBD and Delta-8 THC.
Now that hemp is legal, many companies are hopping on the CBD and Delta-8 bandwagon. But, while CBD has a host of health benefits and positive side effects, Delta-8 products could have the possibility of causing more harm than good. That said, naturally-derived THC isn’t dangerous; only knockoff or synthesized versions are.
As a consumer, what can you do to stay safe? Let’s dive into the world of Delta-8 THC and what it means for you.
What is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 is another cannabinoid produced by the cannabis plant, from which we get both hemp and marijuana. In both cases, the amount of Delta-8 is negligible, which is why it’s considered a legal component of hemp plants. However, because it’s still THC, it can have similar psychoactive effects like Delta-9 THC, which gives users a “high” feeling.
For individuals who use standard CBD or hemp products, the trace amounts of Delta-8 won’t affect them the same way as marijuana. So, you can use CBD without getting high. The conflict, however, is that manufacturers can extract Delta-8, concentrate it, and make products that offer a mild psychoactive reaction. Essentially, these companies are offering a legal way to get high.
Is Delta-8 THC Dangerous?
The Delta-8 you find in hemp is not dangerous when taken with the rest of the plant. But, some companies’ extraction and concentration methods can make the results harmful to people. According to the FDA, there were over 100 incidents between Dec 2020 and Feb 2022 involving Delta-8 products, with side effects ranging from vomiting to dizziness, tremors, anxiety, and loss of consciousness.
While those numbers sound alarming, with so many Delta-8 products available, it represents a tiny fraction of everyone who’s used Delta-8 THC. Still, it’s crucial to be aware of dangerous brands that use unsafe extraction and delivery processes.
What are Knockoff Delta-8 Products?
There are a few ways that a product could be a “knockoff.” First, it may not contain as much Delta-8 as the label says, so you’re essentially paying for filler ingredients that won’t deliver the same results. Also, some items may have no Delta-8 at all, despite claims otherwise.
Currently, no Delta-8 products have been reviewed or evaluated by the FDA. So, all claims of THC concentration should not be taken at face value. Instead, it’s up to the consumers to determine which products are legitimate and which ones are knockoffs.
Why are Knockoff Products Dangerous?
If a knockoff product doesn’t contain any Delta-8 or very little of it, you shouldn’t have to worry about adverse side effects. The real danger comes from disreputable companies that try to synthesize their THC or extract it using unsafe methods. Because there’s no oversight, it’s hard to tell what’s inside the product or how it will interact with your body. In mild cases, you may simply feel nauseous or slightly dizzy. In severe cases, you may have to go to the emergency room.
How to Spot Knockoff Delta-8 Products
Since it’s on you to tell whether a product is legitimate or not, you need to know what to look for when verifying a brand or an item. While this list is a guideline, it should STILL give you an idea of how to check on these products:
- Research the Brand – A quick Google search should turn up any negative press about a company. You can also look for the brand name with the word “scam” to see what pops up. If a company barely has any data about it online, it’s likely sketchy.
- Look for Verified Extraction Methods – Reputable companies are transparent about how they extract and concentrate their Delta-8 products. If a brand doesn’t want to, don’t trust it.
- Pay Attention to Concentration Levels – The adage “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” holds up well here. For example, if a product claims to have 1000 mg of Delta-8, it wouldn’t be super cheap (like $5 per ounce). If it is, the level must be false or misleading.
Overall, there are safe Delta-8 products out there, but you have to be careful and diligent.