Every few years, a newly legal substance will become a topic of national conversation. Drugs billed as “herbal alternatives,” like K2, Spice, kratom and Salvia Divinorum, are all well known by the general public. However, just because these substances are legal (for now) does not mean they are safe. The latest substance to premier in shops across the country? Delta 8 THC.
Is It Legal?
Delta 8 THC is a form of tetrahydrocannabinol: the psychoactive portion of marijuana. Like delta 9, it can be found in the cannabis plant (along with over 100 cannabinoids, including CBD). While various states have legalized marijuana, delta 8 is available even in places that consider marijuana a Schedule I drug.
This is due to a loophole in a 2018 farm bill. Under this legislation, American farmers are permitted to cultivate hemp plants, provided that the delta 9 THC content of the plants is limited. However, there is no mention of delta 8 THC levels. This omission means that brick-and-mortar shops and online storefronts alike have begun to peddle delta 8 tinctures, vape cartridges and edibles.
However, this doesn’t mean that delta 8 is legal across the country. Utah, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Montana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Iowa, Idaho, Delaware, Colorado, Arkansas, Arizona and Alaska have all taken aim at this marijuana alternative.
Lawmakers cite concerns related to lack of evidence, unknown side effects and limited research into delta 8. They are probably right to be worried – as this substance gains popularity, horror stories are becoming more common.
Is It Safe?
The most concerning aspect of delta 8 is the lack of oversight surrounding this drug. Without proper regulation, there are no limitations on which substances can be included in the candies, tinctures and vape cartridges sold at shops throughout Tennessee.
A national cannabis council arranged for various delta 8 products to be tested by a private laboratory. They found that all but one included some amount of delta 9 (the illegal component in marijuana). Some samples even included heavy metals.
Researchers also expressed concern about individuals consuming pure delta 8 THC. Some scientists believe that it is the combination of compounds in the marijuana plant that protects individuals from dangerous side effects. When a person eats or vapes pure THC, it is not safe to assume that the toxicity level remains low.
Is Delta 8 Addictive?
Unfortunately, like delta 9 and all psychoactive drugs, addiction is a concern for delta 8 THC users. There are two aspects of this substance that predispose people to a dependency:
Developing a Tolerance
Tolerance occurs when an individual “trains” their body to expect certain substances. When someone uses delta 8 THC regularly, their body will begin to acclimate to a specific amount of this drug. As time goes on, they will probably begin taking more and more delta 8 to get the same effects.
Eventually, tolerance and casual use can evolve into compulsive use. A person may begin to feel that they need delta 8 THC to calm down, unwind after a shift or reduce their anxiety levels. You probably recognize “a psychological and physical dependency” as the definition of a more common word: “addiction.”
How to Tell If You’re Addicted to Delta 8 THC
If you’re concerned about your substance use, help is available. We invite you to take the below self-test to determine whether your delta 8 consumption requires professional attention.
- Do you use delta 8 alone?
- Do you struggle to picture a life without this substance?
- Do you pick friends based on delta 8 friendliness?
- Do you use delta 8 in order to cope with problems or emotions?
- Do you try and fail to control your delta 8 use?
- Do you feel anxious about making sure you have enough delta 8?
- Do you plan your days around delta 8 use?
- Do you find that using it is no longer fun?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, it may be time to consult a professional about your delta 8 use.
Help for Delta 8 Addiction
At Cumberland Heights, our clinicians are educated about all rising drug trends as they emerge. We are equipped to provide treatment and ongoing support on an inpatient or outpatient basis. We can also connect you with community resources that will assist you in maintaining your recovery in the long term. For more information, please contact the Cumberland Heights admissions team.