The cannabis industry is constantly evolving, seemingly at the speed of light. Emerging technologies are allowing us to discover new purposes and access new components of the plant. The latest isolated cannabinoid to explode into the market is Delta-8. It has grown so large and so quickly that it even recently outranked CBD Oil in the Google search trends.
Delta-8 is found in hemp plants, but only in very small quantities. The specific Delta-8 compound must be isolated before it can be extracted, and most plants contain so little that it would be cost prohibitive (or almost impossible) to extract it. That’s where isomerization comes into play – recreating the molecular makeup of Delta-8 by changing the PH and using heat to shift one of the double carbon bonds in CBD.
Like most phytocannabinoids, Delta-8 binds to multiple receptors in the body through the endocannabinoid system. The body’s endocannabinoid system is an internal cell-signaling system that plays a role in regulating a variety of the body’s functions and processes such as memory, appetite, mood, and sleep, among others. Delta-8 creates a unique effect ideal for pain management. The most common effects include more of a body high, a head high (it can certainly be psychoactive for some people) that is deeply relaxing, and an overall deep meditative state.
The cannabinoid’s psychoactive effects and THC levels have made it a controversial product to sell outside of dispensaries where marijuana is legally sold on a state by state basis (considering marijuana is not federally legal). However, due to the 2018 Farm Bill, Delta-8 is federally legal because it’s derived from industrial hemp. With the creation of Delta-8, CBD is essentially being altered to create a form of THC that is found in trace amounts of the plant organically (although to be within legal limits it must be under a certain amount of THC).
Legal battles are emerging in some states in an attempt to ban Delta-8 as an illegal substance, although many of those against Delta-8 are opposed to it for their own financial reasons, the contention is also driven by a lack of understanding of what the product is for and who it benefits. Those in the industry can speak to the profound effects Delta-8 has on alleviating everyday stress and managing physical discomfort, and some believe its ability to lessen physical discomfort is stronger than CBD and traditional Delta-9 THC. However, all of that is not to say the product doesn’t need regulation. Proper regulation ensures products are being produced at higher standards and within limits with the consumer’s health as the top priority instead of about making a dollar.
As the cannabis space continues to grow, we’re sure to start seeing more cannabinoids like Delta-8 emerge with differing effects on the endocannabinoid system. The hemp plant has much to offer with still so much that we’re in the dark about. Science allows us to gain a better understanding of all that the hemp plant has to offer, and we’re just getting started.
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