Delta-8 THC, often referred to as “diet weed,” is a chemical compound in cannabis that can get you high, but without the same potency as regular weed. It’s gaining popularity because some users claim it does not have the same side effects that may happen with regular marijuana.
The THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, the active chemical in cannabis that causes the high feeling. Marijuana typically uses Delta-9 THC. However, consumers report that Delta-8 THC offers a smoother experience with less of a high but no feelings of anxiety or paranoia.
The experience fits somewhere between using Delta-9 THC and CBD, which contains no THC. While it grows in popularity, lawmakers are starting to grapple with the legal issues around Delta-8 THC.
Michigan Trying to Develop Diet Weed Laws
Because Delta-8 comes from hemp, retailers can sell it any place where hemp-derived CBD has been made legal, including states where cannabis is not yet legal. That’s because the U.S. Congress made hemp legal in the 2018 Farm Bill.
The situation has led some state lawmakers to write laws attempting to regulate diet weed. Michigan offers the latest example.
Michigan State Rep. Yousef Rabhi recently put forward a bill that places diet weed within the state’s definition of marijuana. That way, only dispensaries can sell Delta-8 THC products. Rabhi told the Detroit Free Press that he worked with people from both the cannabis and hemp industries on the bill. “We got much approval from those entities,” he said.
For the cannabis curious, diet weed provides another way to try cannabis. It also gives those new to weed the chance to try something a bit milder. For lawmakers, they want to make sure people know they are not buying something like CBD, which contains only trace amounts of THC.
Delta-8 THC Comes From Aged Delta-9 THC
Delta-8 THC occurs naturally from Delta-9 THC after it is stored for a time and starts to degrade. Most cannabis plants produce a small amount of Delta-8, meaning it takes more plants to get a usable amount of cannabidiol.
The National Cancer Institute reports that Delta-8 has many useful properties, including acting as an appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and a neuroprotective substance.
Discover magazine talked about diet weed with Peter Grinspoon, a primary care physician at Harvard Medical School and a Doctors For Cannabis Regulation board member. He said that people who use Delta-8 THC say it is “less anxiety-provoking, less sedating and a little more clear-headed” than using Delta-9 THC.
He said diet weed might prove especially popular for medical marijuana where people want the positive effects of cannabis without the high feeling.
The Free Press spoke with Delta-8 users on Reddit. One told the newspaper: “Compared to traditional Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 is more of a focused and euphoric high with fewer paranoid or anxious thoughts, if any at all in my experience. With this in mind, I use delta 8 to deal with generalized anxiety disorder and depression, as I find myself more carefree and creative on it.”