Enjoying marijuana in all of its glory is more relaxed now than ever, and it’s getting cannabis enthusiasts giddy and more “high.” Thanks to this, they could freely enjoy smoking THC or consume it in other ways, without suffering any legal issues. Delta 8, a new product taking over the cannabis community, is getting enthusiasts hyped up, making it even more sought after. At the moment, Delta 8 can be consumed via vapes, gummies, and tinctures.
However, health-conscious users may wonder: is delta 8 synthetic? Hold your bongs and chill as we tell you everything about delta 8 and answer this question in a while.
What is Delta 8 THC?
Delta-8 is a cannabis compound that has become popular because of its similarity to delta-9 THC, the main compound in cannabis that gets you high, causing euphoria, happiness, sedation, symptom relief, and so much more. Large amounts of THC are found in a majority of cannabis strains.
Delta-8 is short for its scientific name, delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, or simply just delta-8 THC. Some people just call it “D-8.” Delta-8 THC can cause effects similar to regular delta-9 THC, but they will be much less potent.
What Are Synthetic Cannabinoids?
In order to identify if Delta 8 is a synthetic cannabinoid, it is important to know what exactly is a synthetic cannabinoid.
Synthetic cannabinoids are already used by members of the cannabis community. You may be familiar with the slangs “K2” and “Spice” to refer to synthetic cannabinoids. These are the more colloquially used terms by cannabinoid enthusiasts when they talk about synthetic cannabinoids.
Spices are lab-produced cannabinoids or chemical compounds that can effectively mimic the properties of natural phytocannabinoids, the hemp or marijuana-derived cannabinoids for example. They give you nearly the same results upon consumption as real cannabinoids do.
Theoretically speaking, they work the same way in the human body. They bind to the same cannabinoid receptors as their real counterparts, thus simulating the effects to a large extent.
However, the legal status of these human-made drugs and their marketing under the term “marijuana” has raised eyebrows. They are not completely safe and have higher mood-altering properties than their natural alternatives.
Are Synthetic Cannabinoids Restricted?
Unsurprisingly, many synthetic cannabinoids are restricted. However, newer compounds or analogs of the older compounds are introduced in the market every so often. This helps manufacturers to get around the restrictions, at least until the new compound is barred as well.
One benefit of using synthetic cannabinoids is that these cannot be detected under the standard marijuana drug tests.
Their inexpensive nature is another common reason behind their popularity.
What are the effects of synthetic cannabinoids?
According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, there is strong evidence of the link between spice and psychosis. In the trial, the drug's ingestion led to illusions, auditory and visual hallucinations, perceptual alterations, dissociation, depersonalization, and catatonia.
The study goes on to say that even though drug-induced psychosis is temporary, it only lasts until the drug's effects wear off. The reactions can lead to individuals seeking emergency services.
Besides, such instances of psychosis-enabling drug consumption can lead to long-term psychological effects.
This is why the discussion on whether D-8 is a synthetic compound is so important for us. Knowing about it beforehand can help susceptible individuals stay away from the drug.
Synthetic Vs. Natural Marijuana
Synthetic cannabinoids may raise eyebrows, especially if someone is into the natural stuff. What’s the difference between the two? Well, it depends on who you ask.
Let’s ask, Lewis S. Nelson, MD. He is a professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and a medical toxicologist at NYU Langone Medical Center. He says that because synthetic marijuana is so different from natural marijuana, an overdose of the synthetic form is completely different from the natural. It produces the appearance of much harder drugs with much more grave effects on individuals.
In some ways, however, the two substances initially work similarly in the user. Both have substances that bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain after the user smokes the substance.
According to Nelson, that’s where the similarity ends: “It has different effects on that receptor, and it has other effects at other receptors as well. It’s incredibly potent, meaning it takes just a little to have an effect, and this can lead to problems with dose control.”
Feeling Synthetic Highs
While delta-8-THC will produce a weak marijuana-like experience, Spice can be much more intense and dangerous. While users of synthetic marijuana will feel some euphoria, there are many other effects that are significantly more dangerous than the risks associated with the use of normal cannabis. The use of Spice by teenagers is especially concerning because they are even more at risk for developing long term psychosis. The effects of synthetic marijuana like Spice and K2 include:
- Psychosis, agitation, irritability, and anxiety
- Seizures and tremors
- Memory disruption and confusion
- Heart problems (chest pain, tachycardia, tachyarrhythmia)
- Nausea, vomiting, and appetite changes
- Tolerance, withdrawal, and dependence
So, Is Delta 8 THC Synthetic?
The Answer is no. Delta 8 THC is a natural cannabis compound that occurs in both marijuana and hemp. However, its presence is usually so little that one needs a massive amount of plant material to procure any significant quantity of this compound.
This is the reason why some manufacturers choose to procure it via synthesis of CBD (not Delta-9 THC) instead of extracting it directly from hemp.
This procedure is quite expensive, but it is still a lot cheaper and more viable than the extraction of Delta 8 directly from hemp. It may sound synthetic, but this does not make it one.
Meanwhile, to make Delta-8 more convenient, viable, and legal for all parties concerned, hemp growers are breeding different strains of hemp to get a higher Delta-8 yield.
How is Delta 8 THC Different from Delta 9 THC?
Delta-8, like delta-9 (regular THC), binds to the body’s endocannabinoid system, which causes you to feel high. Chemically speaking, delta-8 and delta-9 are similar in that they both have a double bond in their structures. The double bond is thought to produce the intoxicating effects that make you feel high.
Both THCs are chemically different in the placement of the double bond. Both cannabinoids have a chain of carbon atoms, but delta-8 has the double bond on the eighth carbon, whereas delta-9 has it on the ninth.
Delta-8 binds to the endocannabinoid system in a slightly different manner because of the location of its double bond. This reason makes delta-8 much less potent than regular THC.
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