There’s an increasingly popular, possibly legal, solution for nervous Nellies who’d like to get high on THC but can’t handle the paranoia.
A hemp derivative known as Delta-8 is gaining steam among potheads. And thanks to an obscure loophole, it may be legal in many states.
According to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and products related to hemp, so long as they have less than .3 percent Delta-9-THC — marijuana’s primary psychoactive ingredient — is legal. Thirty-eight states are cool with this.
Proponents view Delta-8 as a slightly buzzy diamond in the rough that nobody thought to criminalize. That said, there are pot-positive lawyers who fear that it will not remain on the right side of the law for very long.
“While Delta-8-THC is legal if derived from hemp, the process most commonly used to produce Delta-8 — synthetically altering CBD into Delta-8-THC — probably isn’t legal,” Joseph Hoelscher, founding member of the Texas Association of Cannabis Lawyers and longstanding member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) Legal Committee, told Rolling Stone. “Few [jurisdictions] have the ability to correctly establish, scientifically, how a sample of Delta-8-THC was sourced. The DOJ is aware, and we can expect that they will figure out how to prosecute these cases.”
So, for as long as it’s legal, what is Delta-8? The component is only a shade different from Delta-9. It’s what some pros in the weed biz refer to as “marijuana lite.” They emphasize that it won’t get you blitzed or make you wonder if a phantom person is following you. It’s also cheaper, taxed less heavily than legal pot and available in unlicensed outlets that range from bodegas to truck stops to your corner newsstand.
However, you still won’t pass a drug test after using it, since it contains trace amounts of Delta-9-THC.
Delta-8 popped up in late 2019 and business is currently booming. According to Green Market Report, Delta-8 ranks as the fastest-growing offering in the hemp marketplace.
While the Delta-8 extraction contains a psychoactive cannabinoid – in plain English: the thing that gets you high — it will not do much for pot-loving Snoop Dogg-types of the world. But it may be the ticket for people who’ll steer clear even from the secondhand smoke of Seth Rogen’s newly announced and insanely powerful House Plant line of cannabis.
For comparison’s sake, Pineapple Express cannabis, named for the stoner movie that co-starred Rogen, is 18 percent THC (slightly more than half of what is in Houseplant). Delta-8 is much less potent than Pineapple Express.
But that is not stopping standard-weed dealers from joining the fray. Her Highness, a NY-based legal cannabis company with high-lifestyle offerings aimed at women, is branching out to bring on an iteration of Delta-8.
“It’s about one-third as psychoactive as regular weed,” Allison Krongard, co-founder of Her Highness and a proud pot-lover, told The Post. “For people who get paranoid from THC or are looking for an on-ramp [to getting high], Delta-8 is perfect. If you are a recreational user, wanting to get stoned out of your mind, it won’t get you there. But if you use weed to kill your anxiety or get to sleep, this is a great alternative.”
While serious smokers turn up their noses at Delta-8, one producer of the stuff explained that Delta-8 (which is extracted from hemp plants and concentrated before being sold in oil form, edibles or so-called flower with the active ingredient sprayed on) shouldn’t even be compared to Green Crack and OG Kush.
“We don’t like to use the word ‘high’ when referring to Delta-8,” Nick Warrender, CEO of Lifted Made, a producer of products containing Delta-8, told The Post. “I wouldn’t compare [it to cannabis].”
When indulging in Delta-8, he added, “You remain clearheaded and can feel the psychoactive quality. It’s relaxing and calming. I enjoy Delta-8 better [than cannabis].”
Warrender still said he wouldn’t drive on it, but it could be a good alternative for those who aren’t normally fans of the mind-numbing side effects of regular old THC.
“You can be productive and on top of your game without feeling out of the loop,” he said.