It was just a few years ago that CBD was the key buzzword popping up all over the media, while CBG had a short stint in the papers, however all the talk around cannabis has started to move towards Delta 8.
This mysterious substance found in the cannabis sativa plant is getting everyone’s attention, but what is it, is it safe to use and are people using it in the UK? I will try to answer all of these questions to the best of my ability.
What Is Delta 8?
Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol is a compound found in cannabis sativa, much like CBD or CBC.
You have most likely heard that THC is the part that ‘gets you high’ in marijuana, well the tetrahydrocannabinol aspect of the delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol title is the long name for THC. This is the psychoactive substance that defines whether cannabis is recognised as marijuana or hemp.
So Is Delta 8 Just THC?
What we commonly call THC is actually delta-9 THC. Delta-9-THC has very strong psychoactive effects, while the real difference to Delta-8-THC is the location of the double bond between two carbons.
Delta-8 is an isomer of Delta-9, meaning they actually have the same carbon formula, but a different arrangement.
So Will Delta-8 Get You ‘High’?
Yes, Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol can get you ‘high’ as it has psychoactive and intoxicating effects, very similar to Delta-9-THC.
Having said that, many people are stating that they have seen a more mild effect from Delta-8 compared to Delta-9, creating a ‘mild high’. This isn’t backed up by any studies at the time of writing, it is purely opinions expressed to date.
Discover Magazine states that it can make you more sleepy rather than euphoric. They also state that once heated, they’re basically the same, but with a more minor high.
Is Delta-8 Legal In The UK?
To answer this, first we need to step back a bit. Cannabis is illegal to possess, distribute, sell or grow in the UK according to Politics.co.uk. Having said that, hemp is a form of cannabis and as you can imagine, it is sold legally as a food supplement, while you won’t be arrested for having CBD oil in your house or in your possession.
The differentiator of whether it is legal or not is the quantity of THC. If the plant contains less than 0.2% THC then it is considered hemp, if it contains more then it is considered marijuana. This figure is 0.3% in the USA, while the EU is moving towards 0.3% in the near future.
In the UK, the CBD product must not contain more than 1mg per component part, or no more than 0.2%.
Delta-8 seems to fall into an odd grey area of the law however. If it is derived from the hemp plant, then technically I can’t see how it is illegal, as long as it is not derived from marijuana, but I wouldn’t take the risk.
From what I understand, there is no mention of delta-8-THC in the UK’s drug licensing factsheet, I’ve had a look through both of these sheets and seen plenty of mentions of THC but not of delta-8.
I have contacted the Home Office and have asked for more details and I hope to update this article over time, to keep you up to date on the legality around delta-8.
Why Should People Be Curious?
I’m not going to dive into the recreational use, I would rather focus on people who truly require cannabis.
If you need THC for whatever reason, you want the benefits that come with this cannabinoid, but you might not want to ‘get high’ or face any of the other negative factors that might come with THC.
This is why the concept of a less potent form than delta 9 would appeal to many. According to Discover Magazine, users felt a sense of calm and clarity without an impairment of ability, but they haven’t stated where this data has been pulled from or whether based on a study or simply personal experiences.
To date, I believe these are only available in countries that have a more relaxed rule on THC, while I have heard of a few brands in the USA with a delta-8 product.
So far, there are no brands in the UK that can create these products, as all products would need to go through the novel food regulation with the Food Standards Agency and the presence of Delta-8 would undoubtedly flag some issues and not be legally allowed to be sold.
Some CBD products sold in the UK do contain a small portion of THC and just the same, they may also contain a small amount of Delta-8.