What is Delta 8 THC?
What is Delta 8 THC?
Delta 8 THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in cannabis (hemp and marijuana) and is commonly abbreviated as Delta 8 THC, Δ8THC, Δ8, D8, D8 THC, and D8THC. It’s an isomer of both cannabidiol (“CBD”) and Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (“D9THC”), sharing a chemical formula of C21H30O2 and a molar mass of 314.464 g/mol.
It exists naturally and can also be produced by converting CBD or Delta 9 THC via a chemical reaction typically using heat, catalysts, altered pH environments, and/or solvents.
Legalities of D8 THC
Delta 8 THC was made legal by H.R. 2: The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, commonly referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill. It was specifically made legal when hemp allowed for all derivatives, isomers, and cannabinoids of hemp that were not Delta 9 THC.
Up to that point, D8 THC had been illegal and was specifically named in the Controlled Substances Act. However, in addition to making all hemp cannabinoids, isomers, and derivatives legal, H.R. 2 specifically includes text to remove all confusion between laws by amending the Controlled Substances Act to exclude Delta 8 THC from hemp.
Delta 8 THC is federally legal and legal in most states, but it is not legal in all states. D8 THC is legal in most states that have hemp laws mirroring H.R. 2, however not all states do this. Some states specifically exclude D8 THC or have laws that do not specifically make all cannabinoids, isomers, and derivatives of hemp legal, creating a grey area for the compound.
Onset of D8 THC Effects
Delta 8 THC effects vary depending on the method of consumption but typically are delayed slightly more than Delta 9 THC effects. Purity and the presence of other compounds seem to play a role as well.
Our observations have shown that a pure Delta 8 THC vape can be felt immediately or within a few minutes, whereas a D8 THC oil with a presence of 20% or more CBD can delay the noticed onset of effects by as much as 20 minutes.
When eating Delta 8 THC, a user may not see peak effects for anywhere between 1-4 hours, which is a little different than Delta 9 THC which may peak anywhere between 45 minutes and 2 hours.
Dosing Delta 8 THC
Due to the delayed onset of Delta 8 THC, a user may need a few uses or days to find their perfect dose. Doses are highly individualized and don’t completely seem tied to any specific physical feature (age, sex, weight, etc) so, regardless of size, it’s best to start with a lower dose and work your way up. You can always take more, but you can’t untake Delta 8 THC.
A typical oral dose for Delta 8 THC is between 10-40 mg. Those that need above 40mg tend to be heavy recreational users of Delta 9 THC. 10 mg can make a big difference in effects for some people so we generally recommend to not exceed 10 mg’s when stepping up in dosage.
A typical vape dosage is 1-3 three second puffs. It is typically not necessary to take more than this unless the user is a heavy user of Delta 9 THC.
If you’re a consistent user of Delta 9 THC, we typically recommend starting with it in a 1:1 manner. Many report Delta 8 THC being about 75% as potent as Delta 9 THC, but we aren’t ready to concede that figure as the different effects between the molecules aren’t directly comparable. We’ve found that potency varies per person and the expectation for, and ultimate lack of, a mental fog when using D8 THC is the main reason people find Delta 9 THC to be less potent, disregarding it’s increased potency in calming anxieties and body feel for many. We’ve had individuals report D8 THC being more potent than Delta 9 THC, especially with edibles. For this reason, we typically recommend taking a similar dose to what you would take with Delta 9 THC and work your dose up or down based on that initial response.
How Long Do D8 THC Effects Last?
The length of Delta 8 THC’s effects are very unique to the individual. As an average, we see high purity vapes lasting 1-5 hours and tinctures and edibles lasting 5-12 hours. Larger doses generally create longer lasting effects, especially with tinctures and edibles.
A difficulty of judging the length of effects is that Delta 8 THC has a fairly natural onset and come down, so that it is sometimes hard for an individual to truly grasp where their “baseline” is/was before and after taking D8 THC.
This is especially true for individuals who do not feel “high” from D8 THC but just get a boost in mood. This mood change is sometimes unnoticeable to the individual themselves because of the natural onset and the user will think D8 THC had no effect. We’ve seen this many times in sampling sessions where the individual says they feel nothing, but someone they are with will then inform them how much more pleasant they’ve become in the last few minutes.
Another difficulty in judging the length of effects is that many reports are given based on the “peak” and thus disregards a substantial amount of time spent above baseline after the peak effects are felt. D8 THC effects do not peak and then disappear. There is a gradual phase-out of effects.
In general, the effects of vaporized D8 THC will be shorter than D8 THC that is eaten.
Tolerance to Delta 8 THC
There are no human studies on the tolerance of Delta 8 THC. However, our observations have shown it to be similar to Delta 9 THC as tolerance will build gradually over time and can be accelerated from overuse.
There have been some reports that tolerance to D8 THC builds more quickly than with Delta 9 THC, but these are almost always accompanied by admissions of the individuals using D8 THC quicker and more often than they did with Delta 9 THC. The primary reason users cite for this is the delayed onset of D8 THC in comparison to Delta 9 THC.
Whereas a user familiar with Delta 9 THC may use D8 THC and expect to “feel” something within a certain timeframe based on their past Delta 9 THC usage, D8 THC may take slightly longer to give that similar feel. This oftentimes results in individuals dosing themselves 1 or more times more thinking they “didn’t take enough”, creating a situation where a user doses more than necessary. In turn, the user then becomes tolerant to D8 THC at an accelerated rate.
Will I Pass A Drug Test on Delta 8 THC?
No, as Delta 8 THC’s metabolites are either that same or too similar to Delta 9 THC’s and will trigger a positive test for Delta 9 THC.
We tested this by using at home drug testing kits on 3Chi employees who only used D8 THC and sending one employee to the same lab our local police go to for their drug testing. All tests were positive for THC.
While we’ve heard of others passing while using D8 THC, we have not personally verified these reports, and our firsthand data suggest that’s, at best, not common.
Shelf Life of Delta 8 THC
To date, the longest test we have done on shelf life on Delta 8 THC oil potency is 4 months, and the oil came back testing better than it did the first time around. It was 95% D8THC when it was originally tested and 98% D8THC when tested at month 4.
However, this is within normal testing variance ranges and should not be taken to mean that D8 THC extracts become more potent over time. While we won’t say anything is impossible, it’s unlikely the oil actually became more concentrated with D8 THC. The more likely conclusion is that everything remained unchanged after 4 months and the test had a minor variance.
The oil was stored in individual syringes in clamshell packaging, at room temperature (~72F), and out of direct light (sunlight or artificial light).