While the cannabis plant naturally produces over 100 cannabinoids, delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC are minor components of the plant, but that does not mean that delta-8 THC does not exist. Despite their similarities, Delta 8 vs delta 9 THC also have important differences that need to be understood before you consume either substance. Both THC can produce intoxicatingly psychoactive effects depending on quality, quantity, and other factors.
Due to the small delta-8 THC in cannabis Sativa, it is typically manufactured in concentrated amounts using hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD). Even though Delta 8 vs delta 9 is generally less potent than delta-9, it has similar psychoactive properties to CBD. Products containing Delta-8 THC can be found in a variety of forms. These include chocolates, gummies, cookies, tinctures, cartridges for vaping, infused drinks and even breakfast cereals.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t evaluated or approved delta-8 THC products for treating or curing medical conditions, although some manufacturers market them as treatments or cures. Five manufacturers of delta-8 THC products were issued warning letters in May 2022 for violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
Warning letters address misbranding, such as unsuccessful marketing, improper packaging, and packaging that contains delta-8 THC. These warning letters also address food additives, such as gummies, chocolate, and other consumables containing delta-8 THC.
As a double board-certified integrative and functional medicine physician with expertise in cannabis therapeutics and advisory board member for Leaf411, an online resource for safely and effectively using cannabis, Dave Gordon, M.D., says general statements about whether cannabis is good or bad do not paint an accurate picture of delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC.
Cannabis plants naturally contain delta-9 THC, an intoxicating psychoactive component when consumed or smoked. In some cases, delta-9 THC products are marketed as treatments or mitigations of medical conditions. The FDA has approved only two synthetic THC formulations – dronabinol and nabilone – for treating nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Nabilone is also used as an appetite stimulant for patients with HIV.
Delta-8 THC consumption may also cause additional health risks due to the manufacturers. In addition to household chemicals used during the chemical synthesis process that produces delta-8 THC, delta-8 THC products may contain potentially harmful chemicals or contaminants.
Considering that no delta-8 THC products have been evaluated or approved for safe consumption by the FDA is important when weighing the potential risks of consuming delta-8 THC. As well as marketing their products with unproven claims of health benefits, delta-8 THC manufacturers may also pose a risk to public health.