Delta 8 THC is a relatively new addition to the cannabis market.
As with any new product, the risks associated with it can be unclear as further scientific research is needed to uncover its qualities.
Because these two cannabinoids are similar, and delta 9 THC is used prevalently in healthcare today, delta 8 THC seems to carry little risk when used responsibly.
There are things to watch out for though, such as impure products and side effects.
In this article, we'll look closely at delta 8 THC, its potential risks, and how you can stay safe when buying/using it.
BOTTOM LINE: IS DELTA 8 THC SAFE?
Although research into delta 8 THC is limited, there’s little indication that it carries any substantial health risk.
However, further research into its long and short-term effects on the body is needed to draw any significant conclusions.
As with any substance, there are risks involved with taking it; use it responsibly and stop if you notice adverse effects.
We know delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC react similarly to receptors in our endocannabinoid system (ECS) . It’s this system that keeps our bodies in balance, influencing the function of virtually every organ in the human body.
Cannabis contains cannabinoids — like delta 8 THC, delta 9 THC, and CBD — that interact with these receptors. This influence has medical experts considering the therapeutic effects of cannabis on various health disorders .
Because both cannabinoids interact with the CB1 receptor in similar ways, delta 8 THC likely carries similar risks to delta 9 THC — which are few.
Although comparable, delta 8 THC is about half as potent as its federally illicit cousin. It interacts with the CB1 receptor and has an affinity for the CB2 receptor, making it less psychoactive and more calming.
Users report significantly reduced feelings of anxiety, hyperactivity, and paranoia — effects commonly associated with delta 9 THC.
TIPS FOR MINIMIZING RISK
- Understand the dosage — delta 8 THC is active at a dose of around 5–10 mg
- Learn to recognize the signs of tolerance & take tolerance breaks if necessary
- Speak with your doctor before using delta 8 if you’re taking any medications or have an underlying health condition
- Always source delta 8 from reputable suppliers that provide third-party test results for all products
- Avoid counterfeit delta 8 products — especially vape carts
- Never use delta 8 THC if you intend to drive
- Avoid delta 8 THC if you’re below the age of 21
WHAT ARE THE SHORT-TERM RISKS OF DELTA 8 THC?
There are few short-term risks associated with delta 8 THC, but they’re similar to the short-term risks of delta 9 THC. Everyone reacts differently to certain cannabinoids, and delta 8 THC can pose a higher risk to some people.
The main short term risks associated with delta 8 THC are:
- Dry mouth
- Visual distortion
Not everyone experiences these short-term side effects, but most will experience at least one or two. These effects are relatively minimal and more of an inconvenience than a health risk.
That said, if these symptoms continue or worsen, you should refrain from using delta 8 THC until the symptoms reside.
WHAT ARE THE LONG TERM RISKS OF DELTA 8 THC?
There are few long-term risks associated with delta 8 THC; however, research is minimal. We can assume that delta 8 THC possesses similar long-term risks to delta 9 THC as both cannabinoids belong to the same group — tetrahydrocannabinol.
If this is the case, young people could be at a higher risk when using delta 8 THC. Because they’re still developing, youth using delta 9 THC are at risk for learning difficulties, deficits in behavioral processes, and problems with focus .
Those under the age of 21 should use no form of THC.
The main long-term risks associated with delta 9 THC — and possibly delta 8 THC— include:
- Dependency & addiction (rare)
- Reduced attention span
- Reduced memory function
- Reduced cognitive function
- Acute psychosis (in susceptible individuals)
Although these potential long-term risks sound scary, it’s important to note that there’s limited research to back up these claims, and most are theoretical only.
Some people report experiencing these long-term side effects from the delta 9 THC present in cannabis . However, the same may not be accurate for delta 8 THC.
Once again, we should mention that everyone reacts differently to certain cannabinoids and other substances. Some people may experience long-term side effects, whereas others will not. In many cases, these effects wore off after a prolonged period of disuse.
Overall, although there is limited research, the long-term risks associated with delta 8 THC are relatively slim.
It’s unlikely you’ll experience any severe side effects long-term, and if you do, the symptoms will likely subside once you stop using the substance.
IS DELTA 8 THC DANGEROUS?
As we outlined previously, there are some risks associated with delta 8 THC. You may experience some adverse short-term side effects and some temporary long-term side effects. However, these vary from person to person, and most don’t pose a major risk to overall health and wellness.
There are risks involved with any substance, whether it’s a synthetic compound, natural extract, or unaltered plant. It’s important to take care when trying any new substance to ensure your body doesn’t react negatively to it before trying a larger dose.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO OVERDOSE ON DELTA 8 THC?
There are no medically reported overdoses from delta 8 THC.
As with other discovered cannabis and hemp-derived cannabinoids, it’s (almost) impossible to overdose on delta 8 THC.
Although delta 8 and delta 9 THC can be potent in high doses, the amount needed to cause serious harm is unreasonably high. There have been no reported deaths related directly to using cannabis, hemp, or its derivatives.
However, it’s certainly possible to have a bad experience on delta 8 THC as you can with delta 9 THC. The user can experience severe nausea, paranoia, anxiety, and confusion when using too much of either cannabinoid.
It does take a lot of delta 8 THC to have these feelings of unease, though. You’ll need significantly more delta 8 THC than delta 9 THC to have a bad experience since delta 8 is less potent and less stimulating.
THE DANGERS OF IMPURE DELTA 8 THC PRODUCTS
The highest degree of risk associated with delta 8 THC products comes from issues with contamination.
Rather than the delta 8 THC itself putting you at risk, you may be at risk from some of the additional compounds and chemicals present in the extract. Synthetic chemicals, heavy metals, and solvent residues can be extremely harmful to the body.
This is why it’s essential to purchase any delta 8 THC products from a reputable vendor.
It’s also imperative to view third-party lab results for any product you wish to buy and consume. Any reputable company will openly display these results on its website.
You can find examples of these tests linked directly on our product pages.
WHAT IS THIRD-PARTY TESTING?
When a company develops a cannabinoid extract, they should send it to an off-site laboratory for in-depth testing. In these tests, the lab uncovers cannabinoid percentages and any residual chemicals present in the extract.
Delta 8 THC vendors should then display these results for potential customers to view. If a vendor has nothing to hide, you’ll be able to find these results easily. Please don’t trust any company that hasn’t sent its products off for testing or doesn’t clearly display the results.
READING THE RESULTS
When you’re viewing third-party lab results for a delta 8 THC product, first make sure the data matches the product. At the top of the report, a product name or code should be visible.
Once you’re sure the results are legit, check that the delta 8 THC percentage is true to the product description. Next, check to see if any heavy metals, solvents, bacteria, or chemical byproducts are present in the extract.
It’s common to see small traces of solvent in an extract (this is normal through extraction). A meager percentage is safe. However, if there are alarming percentages of any potentially harmful compounds, you should avoid purchasing the product.
An in-depth look at lab results before you buy will mitigate your risk and help keep you safe using delta 8 THC.
CANNABINOID HYPEREMESIS SYNDROME — DOES DELTA 8 THC PUT YOU AT RISK?
Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) is a rare condition that affects a small percentage of cannabis users . This condition can cause bouts of nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. These are not the effects you’re looking for when grabbing a vape full of delta 8 THC.
So, how rare is CHS, and can delta 8 THC put you at risk from it?
Luckily, cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is relatively rare. Although there are no exact figures through scientific study, very few people report experiencing the symptoms of CHS, and it’s not a prevalent issue in the ER, according to one study.
CHS primarily affects people that use cannabis regularly. Although the cause of the syndrome is unknown, it rarely affects casual users. This syndrome appears to affect people at random, with no apparent indicators that bring on the symptoms.
Although it’s still unclear whether delta 8 THC can cause CHS, it’s certainly possible.
There’s no way to tell whether this syndrome will affect you or not. Unfortunately, the only way to find out is by consuming the cannabinoid. Although it’s unlikely you’ll suffer from CHS. If you do, the symptoms should reside within 48 hours after you stop using it.
IS DELTA 8 THC ADDICTIVE?
Delta 8 THC (as with any other cannabis or hemp-derived cannabinoid) isn’t addictive in the way we usually think of addiction. Delta 8 THC isn’t physically addictive, and your body won’t become dependent on it.
Although research into delta 8 THC and addiction is lacking, one study suggests that cannabis as a whole can become habit-forming and “addictive” after prolonged use.
You’re unlikely to face withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it, and you shouldn’t experience any unbearable cravings. However, any substance can become addictive on a mental level, especially if you have a particularly addictive nature.
The effects of delta 8 THC are pleasant, and therefore, can become addictive even if used responsibly. Substances that provide an escape from reality and alleviate stress can become habit-forming and, therefore, addictive.
Delta 8 THC is no different from any other substance that alleviates discomfort and stress. Therefore, it’s essential to use this cannabinoid responsibly and monitor your intake. If you feel you’re starting to develop a dependency on delta 8 THC, you should take a tolerance break.
This leads us to the next point — delta 8 THC tolerance.
DELTA 8 THC TOLERANCE
As with delta 9 THC, delta 8 THC does form tolerance; you’ll need to steadily increase your dose as the effects become less apparent with regular use. This alone can cause you to go overboard with your usage as you chase the “high” you’re looking for.
Controlling your tolerance to D8 THC will ensure you get the most out of it. Keeping a low tolerance can reduce your risk of addiction and save you money in the long run, as you’ll use a lot less.
HOW TO PREVENT DELTA 8 THC TOLERANCE
Preventing a delta 8 THC tolerance is simple and uses the same process as controlling a delta 9 THC tolerance: by taking “tolerance breaks.”
It’s in the name; they’re periodic times of rest away from the substance. During a tolerance break, you don’t consume any of the cannabinoids in question, so your body has time to replenish its CB1 receptors.
THC interacts with the CB1 receptors in the brain, giving you an impaired feeling. Over periods of extended usage, these receptors can become depleted.
Giving the receptors a break allows them time to recover so they can receive the cannabinoid more efficiently.
How you take periodic tolerance breaks is entirely up to you. Everybody works differently, and some people may need more time for their CB1 receptors to replenish. A bit of experimentation may be necessary on your end if you start to develop a tolerance toward delta 8 THC.
Some people prefer to take a one or two-week break every few weeks. Others find that a couple of days off every week is enough to keep their tolerance levels from rising.
A FINAL WORD: IS DELTA 8 THC SAFE?
Yes, delta 8 THC seems safe to use. However, as with any substance, there are some inherent risks involved.
Further scientific research is needed to outline the potential long-term side effects and risks associated with delta 8 THC. That aside, as with most cannabinoids, delta 8 THC seems to pose no immediate health concerns.
If you’re thinking about trying delta 8 THC, do so with caution. Although reports of adverse reactions are rare, everyone reacts differently to the cannabinoid. Start with a low dose and work your way up slowly to ensure your body accepts the substance.
It would be best if you also did plenty of research before purchasing delta 8 THC. Ensure to look into the company and its products, potency options, and third-party lab results to find the right product for you.
This article should give you an insight into the potential risks associated with this cannabinoid. The research on your part shouldn’t end here, though. Be sure to check out some of our other informational articles on delta 8 THC to inform yourself as much as possible.