Is Delta 8 Safe? Know the facts before you buy

Delta 8 exploded into US markets in early 2021. Producers discovered how to extract Delta 8 from legal hemp flower, and they’ve been selling it as an incredibly popular alternative to Delta 9 THC ever since. For the last few years, Delta 8 sales have been growing steadily—especially in states where traditional cannabis isn’t legally available.

Today you can probably find Delta 8 in the stores where you already shop. Not to mention the literally thousands of companies selling Delta 8 online. It’s everywhere.

But does this mean that Delta 8 is safe?

Is Delta 8 Safe?

There is no evidence that Delta 8 is, itself, harmful to humans. The question, however, is a bit more complicated in a practical sense. Whether or not a Delta 8 product is safe has everything to do with the manufacturing processes used to create this interesting cannabinoid.

Simply put, good laboratories using good science make safe Delta 8. Reputable labs use the right tools and techniques that are needed to arrive at a product that is safe for consumers. If the lab is certified GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices,) then you can be sure they are using pure chemicals and proven methods of purifying the product. Furthermore, a certified lab will always test their Delta 8 for residual solvents as an additional safety measure.

Be warned that not every Delta 8 manufacturer is using certified safe techniques. Black market labs are notorious for taking shortcuts, using impure chemicals, and just using bad science. Just because you have a basic understanding of organic chemistry doesn’t mean you should be making Delta 8! Residual solvents in the end product can be harmful when consumed.

Is Delta 8 synthetic?

Delta 8 is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in hemp plants, but it exists in very small quantities. As such, Delta 8 must be synthesized from other, more readily available, cannabinoids like CBD.

CBD is a precursor cannabinoid to Delta 8; given enough time, CBD will naturally break down and become Delta 8. This happens very slowly and, again, results in very small quantities of Delta 8. To make the process cost-effective at a large scale, laboratories convert CBD concentrate into Delta 8 using heat and chemical catalysts.

Delta 8 is an isomer of CBD, which means that these cannabinoids share a molecular structure. The difference between D8 and CBD is that they have carbon bonds in different locations. Using a process known as isomerization, labs can rearrange those carbon bonds and actually transform CBD into Delta 8.

“At Lucky Elk, we care deeply about the health of our customers and the health of our planet. That’s why we only work with labs that are certified GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices.)” — Pyne, company founder

Are Delta 8 vape carts safe?

Unlike traditional cannabis vape cartridge manufacturers, Delta 8 cartridge manufacturers are not legally required to follow strict safety standards and expensive quality control measures. There are, however, some responsible companies choosing to follow similar industry standards for production of Delta 8 carts.

Delta 8 carts are not sold in a regulated market. It’s important to remember that just because you can find it online or in your local store, it’s not necessarily safe. Before buying a Delta 8 cart, do your own research into the company that sells it. Are they sourcing their Delta 8 from a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) lab? What kind of fillers are they using in their carts?

In 2019, a black-market THC vape cartridge was sold to consumers with chilling consequences. Over 2500 users became very sick after inhaling Vitamin E oil, which was used as a thickening agent in this unregulated product. Over 60 people died from contracting a deadly lung condition known to be caused by smoking vaporized Vitamin E oil. Such a dangerous product would never have been created in a certified lab, but unfortunately there are too many unethical producers out there who will do just about anything to make a quick buck.

Is Delta 8 bad for you?

Whether or not a Delta 8 product is safe or harmful depends entirely on how it was made and what else might be in the product. If Delta 8 isn’t manufactured correctly, it may be potentially harmful. Be careful where you source your D8 products. Only shop with reputable companies using certified labs. There are illicit labs manufacturing unsafe and/or adulterated Delta 8, and the FDA recently warned the public about this.

In September 2021, the FDA issued a warning to consumers that Delta 8 could have health risks. The warning was based on adverse event reports from 22 individual cases over a six month period. In addition to that, national poison control centers received over 600 calls regarding exposure to Delta 8 products. Almost half of the cases involved accidental ingestion. Perhaps even worse, almost half of the cases involved ingestion by minors under 18 years old. The FDA website states: “Adverse events included vomiting, hallucinations, trouble standing, and loss of consciousness.”

How to Choose (and use) Delta 8 Products Safely

Before you buy another Delta 8 product, make sure you do some research into the company that you’re shopping with. Not all Delta 8 is created equally! When shopping online, choose a vendor that works with a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certified lab. Pick up the phone or send an email directly to the store and ask them questions about their practices and policies. If they don’t know the answer (or they don’t reply,) then move on to another company.

When ingesting Delta 8, it’s important that you start with small quantities in order to understand how this cannabinoid reacts with your individual body and mind. Work your way up to larger doses gradually.

Delta 8 Certificate of Analysis (COA)

Always look for a Certificate of Analysis (COA) when choosing Delta 8 products. Most companies will offer some kind of COA for the finished product, which is usually a potency test. In other words, it will tell you how much D8 is actually in there. It will also tell you the levels of other cannabinoids, like CBD and Delta 9.

Example of Delta 8 flower COA (potency test only)

A potency test is a great place to start, but it isn’t enough to guarantee safety. First of all, not all hemp is created equally! You want to be sure that neither pesticides nor heavy metals were leached into the plants. The storage and handling of the finished crop is important too; poor practices can result in fungus and other mycotoxins. Finally, you’ll want to be sure that any solvents used in the laboratory have been completely removed from the final product.

Example of Delta 8 distillate COA (full panel)

  • potency
  • pesticides
  • metals
  • mycotoxins
  • residual solvents

Will Delta-8 THC get you high?

Delta 8 THC has mildly intoxicating effects. As such, it should be consumed with caution, just like any other mood-altering substance. The safe way to ingest Delta 8 is ‘start low and go slow.’ Try a little, wait a couple hours, and see how you feel.

When you ingest a clean Delta 8 product in moderation, you should feel a pleasantly relaxed “body high” and a calmer mind.

Delta 8 side effects

Side effects of Delta 8 are generally milder than traditional cannabis. Many consumers prefer Delta 8 THC over Delta 9 THC, in fact, because the difference in adverse effects. When you use Delta 8, you are much less likely to feel paranoid, anxious, or experience cycles of depressive thoughts. Users of Delta 8 tend to report uplifted mood and energy and rarely feel the “couch lock” effect that is so common with traditional cannabis.

The potentially negative side effects of Delta 8 include dry eyes, increased appetite, tiredness, and difficulty concentrating on complex tasks. It’s important to remember that every person responds a little differently to Delta 8. Your experience will be your own, so go slowly until you are familiar with all of its effects.

Delta 8 side effects … the next day

The day after using Delta 8, you will likely feel refreshed and energized—especially because Delta 8 can help users get a full night’s rest. There is anecdotal evidence that consuming too much Delta 8 could result in grogginess, headache, even upset stomach the next day.

Choose a company that cares about your health … and the health of our planet!

After reading this article, we hope you understand the bigger picture about Delta 8 and its related health and safety concerns. The truth is that some Delta 8 products may, in fact, be harmful. But this isn’t because of any inherent dangers with the the mildly psychoactive molecule itself. Quite simply, it’s because of unsafe manufacturing practices and unethical producers.

Make sure you do your own research into any company selling Delta 8—whether its D8 gummies/edibles, D8 vape carts, or D8 flower. There are plenty of options out there. When consumed safely, Delta 8 should be a relaxing and enjoyable therapeutic experience.

When shopping for Delta 8, make sure you choose a company that aligns with your values! Prioritize your individual health, but remember that building a sustainable future means thinking about the health of our planet as well! Shop with companies that use organic and sustainable practices.

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