Is Delta 8 Safe?

The delta-8 cannabinoid has risen from relative obscurity to a best-seller in the hemp industry as the legal answer to marijuana. But where has it come from and is delta 8 safe?

Short answer: yes. Fundamentally, delta-8 is a safe substance with few side effects. But that doesn’t necessarily mean every delta-8 product is safe. Some brands use low-quality manufacturing methods, and certain products are just more dangerous.

In this post, I will give you the lowdown on what makes safe delta-8, analyze different product types, and discuss how to avoid fake and low-quality stuff. Let’s start with an introduction to delta-8!

What is Delta-8?

What is Delta-8?

Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8) is a natural phyto-cannabinoid and THC isomer, often detectable in cannabis in small concentrations. Delta-8 is milder than THC (up to 50% less potent), but an exciting and federally legal alternative to Mary Jane.

Although delta-8 is understudied, experts have learned – through research and user anecdotes – that it is more uplifting than traditional cannabis.

While delta-8 is technically a naturally-occurring cannabinoid, this does not sufficiently describe the delta-8 found in vape pens, tincture oils, and other legal hemp-derived products.

Since hemp only produces delta-8 in trace levels, companies must use various chemical processes to obtain the cannabinoid in significant amounts. That lab-processing makes delta-8 products potentially riskier than 100% natural CBD.

How is delta 8 made?

The delta-8 distillate found in products is made by chemically altering CBD or delta-9 extract, via the isomerization process. Federally legal hemp-derived delta-8 products must be sourced from CBD as the Farm Bill caps delta-9-THC at 0.3%.

Isomerization is natural, but scientists can speed up and streamline the chemical conversion of CBD to delta-8 by setting up the perfect conditions in a laboratory.

Using acidic chemicals to reduce the pH level of CBD extract is enough to transform the cannabinoid into delta-8. But it’s not the sort of procedure that anyone can do in their basement – it can be dangerous and it’s tricky to create pure D8 distillate.

Experienced cannabis chemists start the process by dissolving CBD in a solvent to make it more viscous. Next, acetic acid is added to the mixture to reduce the pH level, after which the concoction is left alone at room temperature for up to 12 hours.

After the acid is neutralized and the solvent is removed, the delta-8 is isolated and concentrated using a distillation technique. If the distillate is contaminated with impurities (i.e., residual solvents), it should undergo further distillation.

That’s a far cry from the simplistic supercritical CO2 extraction method used to make CBD products. And it’s no wonder that the human interference and usage of weird acids makes some question the safety of delta-8. But do you really need to worry?

How Safe is Delta 8?

How Safe is Delta 8?

This question demands two answers: 1) how safe is the delta-8 cannabinoid itself? And 2) how safe is the delta-8 distillate found in delta-8 products? Let’s get into it.

The delta-8 cannabinoid

Delta-8 itself is no more dangerous – indeed, it’s often safer – than regular THC. The lower potency reduces the risk of side effects, although you will surrender this benefit if you consume more to make up for its less intense nature.

Possible delta-8 side effects include:

  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Altered sense of perception
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry eyes
  • Red-eye
  • Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (rare and only in daily long-term users)

Do not take delta-8 if you (or anybody in your family) has a history of severe mental disorders, such as psychosis and schizophrenia. Since THC is addictive for up to 9% of users, delta-8 may be addictive for a lower percentage of partakers.

Delta-8 distillate

The purity of delta-8 distillate determines how safe it is. Annoyingly, this can vary a little, even when buying from the same company. Slight purity inconsistencies are nothing to worry about, but avoid brands that cannot meet a 90% threshold.

Some delta-8 manufacturers boast of using distillate in the mid-90% range, but extracts seem to top out at around 96%. This may change in the future as chemists hone the isomerization process, but for now, we must accept some imperfections.

Unfortunately, laboratories have found products available in the U.S. with a mere 60% delta-8 distillate. These products likely contain high – and potentially dangerous – levels of residual chemicals and novel synthetic substances.

Harmful impurities and byproducts detected in delta-8 distillate include:

  • Cyclohexanones
  • Dimethyl benzenes
  • Olivetol
  • p-Cymene
  • Phthalates
  • Trimethyl benzenes

Since the delta-8 market is new and the wider hemp industry is unregulated, there are plenty of sketchy products both online and in physical stores.

The revelations about how much fake and low-quality delta-8 is on sale emphasize the importance of purchasing from reputable, third-party tested vendors.

Thankfully, delta-8 distillate is relatively safe if it has undergone extensive distillation and chromatography. Inevitably, it costs more to make pure distillate than cheap and nasty delta-8 extract, but you cannot put a price on your health! 

Is Delta 8 Safe to Smoke?

Is Delta 8 Safe to Smoke?

The delta-8 cannabinoid is no more or less risky to smoke than THC, CBD, or any other cannabinoid. Of course, products made with low-grade delta-8 distillate are more dangerous, and any form of smoking can cause serious harm.

Delta-8 hemp flower is the only product on the market designed for smoking. Brands make it by dipping or spraying standard, Farm Bill-compliant hemp buds with delta-8 distillate. Dipped or soaked flower smokes more consistently than sprayed flower.

Smoke delta-8 flower by grinding up the nugs and packing a joint, blunt, or bowl. You could mix in hemp-based concentrates – such as wax, crumble, or crystals – to intensify the effects, although this is expensive and inefficient.

Smoking any plant, be it hemp, marijuana, or tobacco, can have serious health consequences. However, delta-8 flower does not contain a substance as addictive as nicotine, greatly reducing the likelihood of you getting hooked.

Even so, smoking any substance increases the risk of cancer, lung disease, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stroke, and more. For that reason, many prefer other product types.

Is Vaping Delta 8 Safe?

Vaping delta-8 disposables, cartridges, and e-liquids is safer than smoking delta-8 flower, but none of these products are risk-free. 

There is broad agreement among tobacco researchers that vaping is less harmful than smoking, but experts disagree on the extent of the reduced harms. Optimistic estimates suggest vaping is 95% safer, while U.S. researchers are more cautious.

Admittedly, these are tobacco-related findings, but the principle extends to the hemp industry and delta-8. However, some vaping products are safer than others, and history provides a deadly warning on penny-pinching with dodgy carts and pens.

The 2019-20 e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury (EVALI) outbreak in the U.S. highlighted the risks of using unproven vaping products. In this case, illegal THC vape carts made with vitamin E acetate were linked to more than 60 deaths.

Many ingredients that are safe to consume could be deadly to vape. That is why I don’t recommend purchasing delta-8 vaping products from obscure and opaque brands. Stick with known retailers committed to safe vaping and transparency.

Device quality (cartridge or disposable) is another critical safety consideration to make when vaping delta-8.

Low-quality products may be manufactured with a plastic vape tank or heavy metals, such as nickel or chromium. Researchers have linked these metals to lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.

Safer vape cart and disposable pen materials include 304 Stainless Steel and ceramic. However, some scientists still have safety concerns with ceramic coils in vaping devices, and we need more research on the possible long-term risks.

Let’s assume that you purchase a legit delta-8 disposable device made with extra-pure distillate. With such a product, you could enjoy rapid, hard-hitting delta-8 effects comparable to smoking, without exposing yourself to smoke carcinogens.

Vaping delta-8 flower

You can heat delta-8 flower in a dry herb vaporizer – it’s less risky than smoking delta-8 buds! You may also find it more palatable than vaping cartridges and disposables if you have concerns about cutting agents, thinners, and dilutants.

Is Delta 8 Safe to Consume?

Is Delta 8 Safe to Consume?

With tincture oils, edibles, syrup, and capsules, you only need to worry about the safety of the delta-8 distillate. Sublingual absorption and oral consumption are harmless intake methods relative to vaping and smoking.

But inevitably, gummies made with clean and pure delta-8 distillate come with much less risk than edibles teeming with residual chemicals, solvents, and heavy metals. 

Staying safe with delta-8 edibles and capsules

While delta-8 is safe in edible and capsule form, it’s easy to screw up the dosage and have an extremely uncomfortable trip. Anybody with edible experience knows that these products take some time to kick in, but mistakes still happen!

Avoiding a hasty double-dose is crucial to staying safe with delta-8 capsules and edibles. If you aren’t feeling anything after 30 to 45 minutes, don’t swallow a second gummy or capsule out of impatience. Wait at least three hours between servings.

How Much Delta-8 is Safe?

Recommending precise delta-8 dosages is a fool’s errand since numerous factors affect how people respond to the cannabinoid. But we can make tentative suggestions based on what we know of delta-8 and dosing guidelines from brands.

If delta-8 is between 50 to 75% as potent as THC, a 10mg delta-8 serving produces effects equivalent to taking 5 to 7.5mg of THC. You might need up to twice the amount of delta-8 to recreate a typical THC experience.

Follow the product guidelines or take the same number of milligrams as you would with THC when first trying delta-8. It’s better to go low and later realize that you need more than go high and spend hours dealing with unpleasant side effects. 

How to Stay Safe When Buying Delta 8 Products

“Is delta 8 safe from this vendor or this brand?” is a question I get regularly. There’s no secret science – you can protect yourself when buying hemp-derived delta-8 online with the following three-point checklist.        

Check for third-party lab reports

Check for third-party lab reports

It might not be a legal requirement, but you should never buy delta-8 products that don’t come with a third-party lab report (aka certificate of analysis). The best analyses indicate whether a product is genuine, legal, and most of all, safe.

Sketchy brands may claim to have third-party tests, but don’t believe it without seeing the relevant papers. Lab reports should not be more than a few months old, and they should clearly be for the product advertised.

Buy from reputable brands

Generally, you are safer with products from well-known delta-8 brands than a company hardly anyone has ever heard of. Reputable businesses can only become reputable by manufacturing safe and high-quality products over time.

If considering a delta-8 product from an industry newcomer, give it extra scrutiny before buying. And if a product is suspiciously cheap, it is probably too good to be true. 

Read customer reviews

Scanning over customer reviews can shine a light on what a product is really like, away from the brand’s marketing spiel and the data-focused nature of a lab report. 

For instance, if reviews for a delta-8 vape cartridge suggest it has a harsh throat hit, the product may contain impure and unsafe delta-8 distillate. But you could only glean this sort of information by reading reviews from verified buyers.

Buy Safe Delta 8 Products at CBD Genesis! 

Buy Safe Delta 8 Products at CBD Genesis! 

Stay safe by purchasing your delta-8 products right here at CBD Genesis. We have an enormous collection of disposable vape pens, vape cartridges, tincture oils, concentrates, edibles, and flower products – all third-party lab-tested and approved.

Is delta 8 safe from physical stores, such as convenience stores and gas stations? Often not. They don’t enforce the same quality control measures and strict third-party testing requirements that we do at CBD Genesis.

As a hemp industry leader for many years, we know how to make premium products and how to find other brands that do. Every delta-8 product sold here meets our impeccably high standards – check out our selection today! 

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