Many questions have come up about Delta-8 THC. You may have seen it in your local convenience store and been curious about it. You may wonder, ‘Is Delta-8 Legal in Louisiana?’, ‘Is Delta-8 safe?’, ‘What is Delta-8 anyway?’, ‘Is Delta-8 the same as dispensary cannabis?’ We’ll answer those questions and more in this article.
Delta-8 is a hemp product. Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as delta-8 THC, is a psychoactive substance found in the Cannabis sativa plant, of which marijuana and hemp are two varieties. To conform with federal laws, it can only contain .03 levels of THC by dry weight. While CBD (cannabidiol) is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, a cousin of marijuana, or manufactured in a laboratory.
Hemp products containing .03% levels of THC were made federally legal in the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized all hemp products with an acceptable level of THC. But, state laws may vary regarding Delta-8 and other hemp products.
Because hemp was made federally legal, it’s also legal under federal law in Louisiana and all states in the United States. Delta-8 is legal in Louisiana, provided it’s sourced from federally compliant hemp plants carrying no more than 0.3% THC.
The natural amount of delta-8 THC in hemp is very low, at .03 and additional chemicals are needed to synthetically convert other cannabinoids in hemp, like CBD, into delta-8 THC. Some manufacturers may use potentially unsafe household chemicals to make delta-8 THC through this chemical synthesis process. Additional chemicals may be used to change the color of the final product and manufacturing may happen in unsanitary or uncontrolled settings, which may lead to the presence of unsafe contaminants.
Because of the availability of Delta-8, the FDA has been tracking usage to provide consumers with information. The FDA reports that there has been an increase in adverse event reports related to Delta-8. The FDA also reports concerns regarding contaminants found in Delta-8 products due to methods of manufacturing. They also express concerns that packaging may be appealing and even misleading to children. The FDA is continuing to compile data related to the dangers of Delta-8 and possible adverse side effects. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is also warning consumers concerning Delta-8.
These hemp products are also federally legal in the United States provided they contain under .03% THC. Delta-9 is a strong variant and has had negative reports from consumers including increases in anxiety and paranoia. Because of its strength, it’s also been reported to interfere with daily functioning and has interfered with cognitive function in some users. Detal10 is milder than Delta-9 but can be difficult to find because of the complexity of how it’s extracted. Legal use may also fall in a grey area, depending on the state laws.
Since Delta-8, Delta-9, and Delta-10 are all hemp products, they have a low content of THC. And, because they are hemp products, there is no oversight on the quality or contents and no laboratory testing to ensure safety. Often, the products are not pure and unwanted side effects can occur. These products can also contain compounds that are not found naturally in cannabis or hemp, making them unpredictable and unsafe.
According to Christopher Hudalla, president and chief scientific officer of ProVerde Laboratories, an analytical testing firm with facilities in Massachusetts and Maine. “Consumers [using Delta-8, Delta-9, or Delta-10 products] are being used as guinea pigs,” he says. He further stated that, in laboratory testing of Delta-8, he did find trace amounts of Delta-8 but he found 30 additional compounds that he couldn’t identify. Hudalla explained that, in a pharmaceutical environment, Ph.D. chemists ensure that products don’t include harmful unconsumed reactants, he says. But nobody is measuring the pH of delta-8 products or testing for strong acids and residual metals that are left behind.
Medical marijuana products (as opposed to Delta-8, Delta-9, or Delta-10 products) in Louisiana have been laboratory tested for safety and must meet strict guidelines set by the state before they ever make it to your dispensary. The industry is also under constant scrutiny by the state to meet or exceed quality standards and is tested all along the way to ensure that.
If your intention is to have a product that is predictable in performance in treating a medical condition and safe to use, the only option is medical marijuana.
FDA and consumer updates on Delta-8 – https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/5-things-know-about-delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol-delta-8-thc
FDA’s Five things to know about Delta-8 – https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/5-things-know-about-delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol-delta-8-thc
CDC Warnings about the safety of Delta-8 products – https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/2021/han00451.asp