Have you tried Delta 8?
It’s found in Louisville hemp shops. Your fave Instagram influencer is pushing it on their profile. Your friend offered you a hit off his vape last time you saw him.
It’s a “legal weed.” You don’t really understand what it is or how you’re able to use it in a state as anti-pot as Kentucky. But sure, you’ll try it.
The answers behind what it is and its legality are more complicated than it may seem based on Delta 8’s ubiquitousness.
But, let’s start with the basic facts.
Delta 8 is a kind of THC. It’s a naturally-occurring compound that is found in small amounts in the cannabis plant. Usually, when people refer to THC, they’re talking about Delta 9, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. But, Delta 8 has psychoactive effects, too. The two types of THC are molecularly similar, but Delta 8 has a double bond on its eighth carbon instead of its ninth. Delta 8 has not been researched much, but a small study in Israel in the ‘90s found that it helped child cancer patients beat nausea.
Now, to the aspects of Delta 8 that aren’t officially proven, but which many users and sellers report: It purportedly doesn’t get you as high as Delta 9 does. The way Delta 8 works within the endocannabinoid system suggests that this is the case, although it hasn’t been stringently studied. It’s also said to not make you as anxious or paranoid as Delta 9 can.
Depending on who you talk to, Delta 8 is either a clever workaround to help would-be medical marijuana patients legally ease symptoms, or it’s a way for the hemp industry to make money after a tough couple years starting in 2019.
“To me, it was the bridge between medical marijuana and CBD that people needed,” said Dee Dee Taylor, the founder and CEO of 502 Hemp, a shop in the Louisville area that sells Delta 8 products through its online store registered in Indiana.
Adriane Polyniak, the owner of Bluegrass Hemp Oil, wants the hemp industry to keep its focus on CBD — a hemp derivative without psychoactive side effects — which has helped her 16-year-old son overcome his seizures.
“While businesses like us are still pushing to legitimize it, and to encourage people to find an all-natural option for their health concerns like our son has found, the industry is just moving from one thing to another, just to make a dollar,” she said.
The argument for why Delta 8 is legal goes back to the 2018 Hemp Farming Bill. This federal legislation OK’d hemp-derived substances as long as they contained less than 0.3% of Delta 9 THC. But, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, or KDA, claims that Delta 8 is, in fact, still illegal because it is listed as a controlled substance by the DEA. Kentucky is one of 16 states that have made moves to restrict Delta 8. Michigan is working on plans to regulate it.
This has led to the Kentucky State Police raiding some stores selling Delta 8 products in the state. The Kentucky Hemp Association has responded by filing an injunction against the KDA and the KSP in an attempt to stop the raids and to clarify the legality of Delta 8.
Delta 8 products, similarly to all consumable hemack regulations by the federal and state government. Even proponents, like Jana Groda, the vice president of the Kentucky Hemp Association, warn that cop-derived products, also lnsumers…