Delta-8 THC is possibly the most happening thing in the world of cannabis today. It is a relatively new entrant even though the compound was discovered way back in the 70s. Scientific research on the compound is still limited. Hence, half-truths and misconceptions flood the market just as deeply as do cannabinoid products.
One of the prevalent notions about Delta-8 is that it’s a synthetic compound and not obtained from a natural source. You may have also heard about it from a pal or read it online.
But how far is it true? Is it merely a myth or is there some truth to it? Let’s find out.
What Is A Synthetic Cannabinoid?
Synthetic cannabinoids are also called “Spice” or “K2”. These are usually man-made (lab-made would be more like it), have uncontrollably mind-altering effects, and could even cause serious repercussions, including death by overdose.
Since these mostly act like marijuana, these artificial cannabinoids are often called “synthetic marijuana” or “fake weed”. These synthetic alternatives are largely unsafe and can affect the brain more powerfully than even natural marijuana. The effects of synthetic cannabinoids are usually unpredictable. They can be quite dangerous at times and even be life-threatening.
Incidentally, Spice was created in a lab to help scientists run simulations and experiments. It was never intended for human consumption. Unfortunately, the recipe accidentally became public and went straight to the illicit drug market to be used by unscrupulous sellers trying to make a quick buck!
The chemicals that were used to create Spice are mostly synthetic. To adhere to the laws dictating the ban on marijuana, pharma companies keep altering the chemical structure of these synthetic compounds for their lab tests.
In a 2019 study, published in the journal Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, scientists found an evidentiary link between “spice” and psychosis. They found strong indications that consumption of the drug could lead to hallucinations – both auditory and visual, altered sense of time and space, loss of judgment and motor skills, and even catatonia.
Such situations naturally make people wary of any new cannabinoid in the market. That begs the question: Is Delta-8 Spice?
Is Delta-8 ‘Spice’? What Is All The Confusion About?
When they were introduced in the market, “Spice”, which is what such synthetic, lab-made cannabinoids are called, had taken the cannabis community by storm. But with time, the craze somewhat subsided, as people realized the extent of its hazardous effects.
The recent entry of Delta-8 into the market and its sudden popularity have led a lot of people to assume that it is just another form of Spice devised to dodge the legalities.
But that is far from the truth. Delta-8 is NOT Spice.
It is a natural compound found in all kinds of cannabis extracted from cannabis plants. However, it is legal only if it is extracted from hemp, i.e., the Delta-9 THC content should remain below the legal threshold of 0.3% by dry weight.
Then, why is there so much confusion surrounding this compound?
Yes. We need to clarify the reason behind such wrongful distrust regarding Delta-8 THC.
D-8, short for Delta-8 THC, CAN be chemically converted from Delta-9 THC and CBD. Often manufacturers resort to the synthesis of this compound from other cannabinoids owing to its low levels in its natural form. The synthesis of a compound from another natural compound doesn’t necessarily lead to the production of a synthetic compound.
In other words, although this process requires a laboratory and that such a transformation does not occur naturally, this compound can’t still be called Spice or Synthetic Cannabinoid.
In any case, if you consume Delta-8 sold by a reputable brand, you can rest assured that the products are federally legal and safe for human consumption.
However, bear in mind that Delta-8 does cause euphoria to a certain extent. But the buzz doesn’t include paranoia, hallucinations, or other side effects commonly associated with natural marijuana or spice.
How Does Delta 8 Differ From Spice?
Delta-8 THC is a natural compound that is naturally produced by all cannabis plants, including hemp and marijuana. Legal Delta-8 THC is harvested from hemp plants. On the other hand, the chemicals found in Spice or K2 are completely man-made/synthetic and are prepared in the laboratory.
Since synthetic cannabinoids differ widely in their composition, they could have very strong side effects compared to natural cannabis. Experts don’t recommend the consumption of such products. And why should you if you have the option of buying lab-tested, safe, and natural cannabinoids?
Studies reveal that such synthetic drugs could prove to have toxic effects on the body if used over a long period.
Besides, you could also buy natural Delta-8 THC legally – both offline and online and even get it shipped right to your doorstep. But Delta-8, being a minor cannabinoid in hemp plants, its extraction, and product manufacturing are both quite expensive.
On the other hand, Spice is cheap because it is lab-produced.
Again, Spice is far more toxic than Delta-8 can ever be. Delta-8 does not even cause the same side effects as marijuana (which are caused by the high levels of Delta-9 in the latter).
Delta-8 merely gives you an uplifting and energizing buzz, even while relaxing your nerves. So much so, even an overdose likely won’t kill you. K2, however, could if you OD on it.
Despite all these differences, we can’t say that these two compounds – one artificial and the other natural – do not have anything in common. They do!
They are both psychotropic and they both are federally legal – unfortunately.
Spice is so harmful that it should not be allowed into the general public – at all! Spice is, in fact, far more hazardous than natural Delta-9 THC.
Another key similarity is that both compounds bind with the same set of cannabinoid receptors in the body to evoke those typical euphoric sensations.
Lastly, both these compounds could be used to mitigate nausea and stimulate appetite – if utilized in the right dose.
So, Is Delta-8 THC Synthetic?
No. Delta-8 THC is a natural cannabis compound that occurs in both marijuana and hemp. But its presence is usually so minuscule that one needs a massive amount of plant material to procure any significant quantity of this compound.
This is why some manufacturers choose to procure it via synthesis of CBD (not Delta-9 THC) instead of extracting it directly from hemp.
Although this procedure is also quite expensive, it is still cheaper and more viable than the extraction of Delta-8 from hemp. However, that DOES NOT make it synthetic.
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.
Conclusion: Is Delta-8 A Synthetic Compound?
Delta-8 THC is one of the most talked-about compounds in the cannabis community. It is expected to outshine CBD in the coming years. Delta-8’s therapeutic effects and mild psychotropic potency have made it the subject of a lot of discussions, both among the general public and the scientific fraternity.
There is a huge market for Delta-8 products. That is why a lot of companies have jumped onto the new trending bandwagon to ride their way to popularity and revenue.
However, as consumers, the onus to protect ourselves and stay safe lies on us. While the federal government has not prohibited its sale or use as long as it is derived naturally from hemp, the FDA still does not approve of its use for addressing any kind of health issue.
Nevertheless, it is legal. And, it is not synthetic, as many have been led to believe.
To wrap it up, we would leave you with this final word of advice: Don’t forget to consult a doctor before consuming Delta-8 if you’re a first-time user, and, more so, if you’re suffering from any medical condition.