Researchers from two universities have joined together to explore the potential uses of Delta-8 THC. People who use the cannabinoid, which has quickly grown in popularity, say it delivers the benefits of cannabis but with a milder psychoactive component.
Researchers at the University of Buffalo and University of Michigan started their study into Delta-8 THC with a survey of 500 people who use Delta-8 THC. They reported that Delta-8 THC is milder than Delta-9 THC, which is the active ingredient in “traditional” cannabis that causes the high.
In a release about the survey, researchers wrote: “The words of one user best describe the overarching views shared by survey participants: that Delta-8 THC is like Delta-9’s “nicer younger sibling” because it provides all the benefits with fewer adverse reactions.”
What Is Delta-8 THC?
Derived from hemp, Delta-8 THC occurs naturally when Delta-9 THC degrades over time. Delta-8 can still provide a high, but when it does, it is considered much milder than what people experience with Delta-9 THC. Delta-8 also has been connected with many health benefits.
Many report experiencing fewer side effects with Delta-8, including lesser chances of paranoia or a too-intense high. The university researchers note that Delta-8 is about half as potent as Delta-9 THC.
Plants naturally produce small amounts of Delta-8. It typically is processed from a concentrate, which is why most people use Delta-8 THC by eating gummies, brownies and other edibles, or by vaping.
Researchers Believe Some Lawmakers Misunderstand Delta-8 THC
The university researchers said laws prohibiting the use of Delta-8 seem to ignore the fact it is less potent than traditional, Delta-9. Fears about Delta-8 seem misplaced, they said.
Daniel J. Kruger, PhD, a research investigator in the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan, said in the release that more states have legalized recreational and medical cannabis while prohibiting Delta-8 THC.’
“It’s paradoxical that different states and municipalities are opening up to Delta-9, it’s becoming more available and increasingly legalized, and yet they’re putting the brakes on Delta-8, even though it seems to have a better profile in terms of its effects,” he said. “It’s almost like the opposite of what you would do if you were informed of the evidence.”
Kruger is doing the research with Dr. Jessica Kruger, a clinical assistant professor of community health and health behavior in the University of Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions. They have partnered with Buffalo-based Bison Botanics, who used social media to survey Delta-8 THC users.
In addition to comments on the mildness of Delta-8 THC, the survey found the following.
- About two-thirds use Delta-8-THC in edibles.
- Those who use Delta-8 THC experience relaxation, pain relief and euphoria. They experienced fewer side effects such as paranoia, anxiety or the munchies
- A little over half said they use Delta-8 THC to treat health and medical conditions, primarily anxiety, panic attacks, stress, depression or bipolar disorder and chronic pain.
Most had not told their doctors about using Delta-8 THC and decided on doses based on their own experience and information gathered from the internet.