In 1995, world-renowned Israeli researcher Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and associates published a paper titled ‘An efficient new cannabinoid antiemetic in pediatric oncology’ which specifically identified cannabis-derived Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-8-THC, as a potentially viable form of medication.
The study referenced eight children aged 3-13 years old, all of whom were suffering from hematologic cancer and undergoing brutally nauseating anti-tumor treatments. These kids were given a dose of D8 THC two hours before their cancer treatment and then every six hours afterward for 24 hours.
Post-treatment vomiting ceased in all cases and the worst side effects reported were euphoria and “slight irritability”.
It wraps up as follows, “In summary, the complete success in preventing vomiting due to antineoplastic treatment in children, and the essential lack of side effects, leads us to believe that delta-8-THC at a dose considerably higher than the doses of delta-9-THC usually administered to adults, can serve as a new, inexpensive antiemetic agent in pediatric cancer chemotherapy.”
If this paper came out in 1995, why is D8 THC just now seeing demand in the marketplace?
Of course, delta-8-THC – and the countless number of kids and adults that it could have helped – was subject to the strict prohibition of the cannabis plant and its entire spectrum of healing constituents by our own federal government for about a century.
When the feds passed the 2018 Farm Bill and tried to legalize hemp while keeping cannabis prohibited, they showed just how ignorant they truly are about the plant, leaving massive loopholes in the new law.
In their desperate attempt to vilify “THC”, they forgot to Google it.
Is Delta-8-THC the New CBD?
Easy answer: no.
It is not new at all, and it is nothing like CBD aside from the fact that Uncle Sam forgot to regulate both when the feds rammed through their shortsighted hemp legalization.
The best way to describe delta-8-THC is that it is just like all the THC you have ever consumed, just with a slightly lighter punch. For most folks, two tokes of D9 THC deliver the same effects as three or four puffs of D8.
Dr. Mechoulam’s ’95 paper says it best, then we will break it down:
“Delta-8-THC is an isomer of delta-9-THC, the major natural constituent of Cannabis from which it differs only in the position of the double bond. The stereochemistry of the two isomers is identical; their chemical behavior is in most cases very similar; their metabolism in vivo and in vitro follow the same pathways. The major chemical difference between them is that delta-9-THC is easily oxidized to the biologically inactive cannabinol; delta-8-THC is stable, does not oxidize to cannabinol and has a very long shelf life. Due to their close structural similarity, delta-9-THC and delta-8-THC present essentially identical pharmacological profiles. Quantitatively, however, delta-8-THC differs from delta-9-THC in being about twice less potent in most, but not all pharmacological tests.”
So, an isomer is a combination of two compounds that share the same formula but have a slightly different location of specific atoms within the molecule, causing each compound to deliver slightly different effects.
In the case of delta-8-THC and delta-9-THC, that difference is the location of a certain carbon/carbon double bond, which as you can see in the diagram below is not much of a variation at all.
It makes all the difference in the world when it comes to federal law, however, since lawmakers only chose to regulate delta-9-THC by creating the <0.3% cap on that one cannabinoid alone.
Their glaring ignorance about delta-8-THC is now being exploited by the market which, as with all things in a capitalistic society, will come with both benefit and detriment to consumers.
Delta-8-THC: The Good
As our friends in Israel have been telling us for decades, the therapeutic potential for delta-9-THC is monumental.
We already know that a full spectrum of cannabinoids is always ideal, but for those who have a hard time tolerating the psychoactive effects of delta-9-THC (like kids, old folks, those new to the plant, etc.), delta-8-THC can fill the role.
For those in the dwindling number of states still resisting cannabis reform and legalization, D8-dominant extracts can deliver the wellness benefits that actual cannabis offers as sort of a middle ground between CBD and dispensary weed.
Delta-8-THC: The Bad
Delta-8-THC is typically found in relatively trace amounts when compared to the much more dominant THC or CBD cannabinoids.
Of course, this can be manipulated with selective breeding, and then concentrated through extraction methods, but none of that makes enough dollars or sense these days in legal cannabis, so the delta-8THC game is being played in the hemp market.
One issue that consumers of delta-8-THC products could face is failing drug tests that are screening for cannabis. Those tests seek metabolites produced after the body processes THC, but those metabolites are identical for delta-8 and delta-9 THC. This could be used to compromise your employment or your right to operate a motor vehicle, so know your local laws and know your rights.
As we have written before, the main problem with the U.S. hemp market, from a consumer standpoint, is the lack of mandated and regulated lab testing on the plants and the products made from them.
We have walked some webby hemp fields, fam.
Much like the CBD rush of recent years, the same number of Chads, charlatans, snake oil, and used car salesmen are sure to storm this new opportunity, willing to sell you anything, whether it lives up to its fancy packaging or not.
Trusting your source will be crucial if you are planning to dabble in delta-8-THC.
Imagine if Beard Bros Pharms made a D8 product… hmmm…
We can almost certainly expect a knee-jerk reaction by the federal government when it comes to trying to rein in this runaway cannabinoid, especially if that attempt is made before the feds address cannabis reform as a whole.
Delta-8-THC: The Reality
The reality is that the simplest path for the federal government is to simply remove the cannabis plant from the Controlled Substances Act completely and immediately.
Do away with the ridiculous, fabricated delta-9-THC cap and do away with the term hemp when it comes to laws and regulations. It’s all cannabis, it always has been.
As Dr. Mechoulam and his colleagues noted in their 1995 paper, delta-8-THC has a longer shelf-life than delta-9-THC before it begins to degrade. This is just another checkmark in the benefits column when it comes to cannabis as medicine.
For too many years, the federal government has regurgitated the mobius loop of stupidity that we do not know enough about cannabis to legalize it, but we can’t study to learn more about it because it is illegal.
Enough people have suffered under that ignorance.
Our entire society has suffered.
Antiemetic, anxiolytic, analgesic, appetite-stimulating, neuroprotective delta-8-THC is one more way to relieve suffering and to deny a society that option… well, it’s just unnatural.