When it comes to delta 8 THC, there is a lot of confusion.
Where did it come from? Is it synthetic? Is it safe?
There are a lot of cannabinoids being discovered these days, delta-8 being arguably the most popular.
Because delta-8 has risen to such great heights, it has also gained a good amount of controversy and misunderstandings.
Although this cannabinoid is found naturally within the cannabis plant, there are a lot of people concerned that it may be synthetic.
We all know the dangers of synthetic THC (read Spice and K2). Synthetic cannabinoids have wreaked havoc on communities across the country. So, it is understandable that people are confused and hesitant to embrace a cannabinoid like delta-8 THC.
This article will tell you where delta-8 THC comes from, why it’s considered naturally derived and not synthetic, as well as, what this all means from a legal perspective.
Delta-8 THC – What is it Anyway?
Delta 8 THC can be described as an analog of delta 9 THC (more commonly called “THC”).
Delta 9 is the main psychoactive substance that occurs naturally in the cannabis plant. D8 THC has a chemical composition similar to that of delta 9 THC but has a double bond at the eighth carbon bond instead of the ninth.
This subtle distinction means that D8 THC provides a milder and less anxious psychoactive effect. It produces a more relaxing effect than ultra cerebral D9 THC.
Additionally, for more information on delta-8, check out the article “What is Delta-8?”
Is It Natural?
D8 naturally occurs in the cannabis plant. However, it occurs in very minimal amounts.
In the past, extracting delta-8 was an expensive process that was not profitable for manufacturers. It required using massive quantities of cannabis to get even the slightest extraction.
Times have changed.
Recent research has led scientists to discover new and effective methods for extracting large quantities of D8 from legal industrial hemp. It’s legal in most states according to the 2018 Farm Bill, and costs less than most delta-9 THC products.
Furthermore,, Delta-8 THC is a natural compound present in the hemp plant, this makes it a naturally occurring cannabinoid and not synthetic. It even goes through a natural isomerization process.
Synthetic cannabinoids are compounds that are not found in nature.
These compounds are completely different in chemical structure, potency, and effect profiles. Some of these compounds have been shown to have significant adverse effects on the human body.
What Are Synthetic Cannabinoids?
Unfortunately, both synthetic and naturally produced cannabinoids stimulate the endocannabinoid system, in particular, the CB1 or CB2 receptors.
In nature, synthetic cannabinoids don’t exist. They must be manufactured in a lab.
The most well-known synthetic cannabinoids, as we mentioned earlier, are JWH-018 and HU-210. These are the synthetic compounds used to make Spice and K2.
Years ago, these chemicals were legal and sold in smoke shops all over the country. They were sold as “legal weed” alternatives and caused a lot of harm across the board.
Many people were hospitalized, and there were several deaths associated with K2 in the 2010s. Thankfully, the US and several other countries decided to ban these synthetic compounds entirely.
Non-classical cannabinoids are the most problematic members when it came to synthetic compounds. These are synthetic cannabinoids that have no similarities to the cannabinoids found in plants yet still interact with the endocannabinoid system.
Delta-8 is not considered a synthetic marijuana compound because it is a classical cannabinoid that can be organically found in nature. There are currently over 100 classical cannabinoids. A few examples include the delta 9 THC, delta 8 THC, CBD, CBG, CBN, CBDV, CBC, and THCV.
All of the above-listed cannabinoids interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our endocannabinoid system.
However, keep in mind that delta 8 and delta 9 are both THC isomers and psychoactive compounds. The CB1 receptor is responsible for psychoactive effects. Both D9 and D8 bind to this receptor and produce an intoxicating effect.
Delta 8 is about half as potent as Delta 9, so it is a more mild experience overall.
Is It Legal?
D8 THC is legal in most states, even states where recreational marijuana is prohibited. This is because delta 8 is usually hemp-derived, which makes it a federally legal cannabinoid under the 2018 farm bill.
As we mentioned earlier, the Farm Bill took hemp off of the list of scheduled and controlled substances, legalizing its production as well as all of its derivatives as long as they contain less than 0.3% D9 THC by weight.
Moreover, delta 8 is mainly derived from hemp, so as of now, it remains legal at the federal level.
However, all states have different laws regarding hemp. There are quite a few states that have banned all THC products and even full-spectrum CBD products.
D8-THC is a THC product at the end of the day, hemp-derived or not. So it is important to check in with your local state laws if you are looking to get some Delta 8.
If you are in Florida, see this article about the Sunshine State’s policies around delta-8 THC.
Delta-8 and K2/Spice – Key Differences
Although people speculate that Delta 8 is synthetic like K2 or Spice, it is not. In fact, there are significant differences between the two.
Spice, also known as K2, or fake weed, is a very dangerous substance and has thankfully been outlawed in recent years.
It is made by applying synthetic cannabinoids to plant/leaf material. One of the most dangerous aspects of K2 is that it is completely unpredictable. Either it produces virtually no effects or is completely lethal. This depends on what chemical is being used and since it was unregulated, anyone could make it using whatever they pleased.
In addition, there are hundreds and maybe even thousands of synthetic cannabinoids, most are dangerous and generally unpredictable.
To increase their potency and addictiveness, K2 producers mix synthetic cannabinoids with other chemicals.
When it comes to synthetic cannabinoids or anything synthetic for that matter, it’s best to steer clear. As humans, we have evolved with external and endogenous natural cannabinoids. Introducing synthetic cannabinoids to the mix is a dangerous game.
Again, synthetic cannabinoids are very dangerous and should be avoided.
Below are some potential side effects of K2/Spice
- Heart Attack
- Kidney failure
- Violent behavior
- Breathing problems
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
On the other hand, D8 THC is a natural and classical cannabinoid that is basically identical to THC, THCV, CBD, as well as other cannabinoids.
Delta 8, when produced properly and safely, is not even remotely similar to K2 and Spice. In fact, the two are almost opposite. Instead of being a threat to your health (and life) like K2, delta-8 THC has possible therapeutic benefits.
D8 has some of the same side effects that come with delta-9 THC, just on a smaller scale.
You can expect:
- Dry mouth
- Red eyes
- Increased appetite
Furthermore, these side effects are barely a drop in the bucket compared to the side effects associated with Spice/K2.
It is also legal in most states so it is easily accessible. Especially for those who live in a state where delta 9 THC is still illegal.
Therefore, on a federal level delta, 8 is technically legal.
That being said, make sure you are purchasing it from a reputable source. Since delta 8 is largely not under any regulation. This is because it is a newer cannabinoid and an isomer of THC.
Additionally, there are a lot of shady vendors cutting corners out there who are producing it in an unsafe way.
Although it is not a synthetic cannabinoid, some unqualified manufacturers are extracting it using toxic solvents and unsafe chemicals for human consumption.
Make sure that you are asking for a third-party lab test or a Certificate of Analysis (COA)
In Conclusion: Delta 8 Is A Natural & Safe Cannabinoid
Delta 8 is a natural and safe cannabinoid that shares almost the same classic chemical makeup as delta 9 THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. Because it is a naturally occurring cannabinoid and it was not made in a lab, it is not even comparable to synthetic weed like K2 and Spice.
Again, since many manufacturers don’t practice good practices when it comes to manufacturing D8, it is important to source from a credible and reputable source that is transparent about their lab test results.
It is a natural cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, but during the manufacturing process, some vendors render it unsafe by using toxic solvents instead of a natural extraction process.
At Chronic Guru, we naturally extract all of our delta 8 from our organic hemp plants grown on our farm here in Apopka, Florida. We extract the D8 from the flower ourselves so we are involved in every process from seed to shelf.
Click here to shop pure and natural Delta 8!
- National Center for Environmental Health – About synthetic cannabinoids. March 23, 2021. Health Studies – Understanding Chemical and Radiation Exposures. 
- Breivogel, C. S., Wells, J. R., Jonas, A., Mistry, A. H., Gravley, M. L., Patel, R. M., … & Brenseke, B. M. (2020). Comparison of the Neurotoxic and Seizure-Inducing Effects of Synthetic and Endogenous Cannabinoids with Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 5(1), 32-41. 
- Scocard, A., Benyamina, A., Coscas, S., & Karila, L. (2017). Synthetic cannabinoids: A new addiction matrix. Presse medicale (Paris, France: 1983), 46(1), 11-22.
- Lapoint, J., James, L. P., Moran, C. L., Nelson, L. S., Hoffman, R. S., & Moran, J. H. (2011). Severe toxicity following synthetic cannabinoid ingestion. Clinical Toxicology, 49(8), 760-764.