All over Indiana, CBD dispensaries sell a legal form of THC that produces a legitimate high. As government regulators reiterate their concerns, here’s what to know.
INDIANAPOLIS – The laws regarding the possession of marijuana are hardly lax in the state of Indiana. If you are caught with a little in your pocket today, it can mean a fine of $ 5,000 depending on how much you have. Possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison, while the penalties for concentrates are even more severe.
Yet in those same streets where getting pulled over with mere milligrams of weed can result in up to 180 days in jail, one type of THC is available for purchase.
It’s called delta-8-THC, a newcomer to the cannabis world and an increasingly popular alternative for consumers looking for a legal way to consume weed.
Jim DeCamp owns Owlsee CBD in Fountain Square, and didn’t see much local interest in the Delta-8 until a Reddit post warned people of its existence.
“People didn’t know that. Then it became a thing on Reddit where everyone was talking about it. So it probably wasn’t until March of this year to see an increase in sales of the 8,” DeCamp said. “I would say that with the Delta-8 the demographics are younger. I think that’s true just because of internet research and their familiarity with Reddit.”
At this point, it was so popular that companies began to market the Delta-8 to attract new potential customers.
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“It’s a traffic generator for your other products, ”DeCamp said.
But last week the FDA and CDC both issued warnings regarding delta-8, specifically advising consumers that just because the product is hemp doesn’t mean it is non-psychoactive.
“The FDA is also concerned that products containing delta-8 THC likely expose consumers to much higher levels of the substance than those naturally present in raw hemp cannabis extracts,” the organization said in a report.
In short, despite its availability, delta-8 is a potent compound that can get you high.
As the conversation around the regulation, legality and health efficiency of the delta-8 intensifies, here are some quick facts to know.
What is Delta-8?
Delta-8 is a cannabinoid extracted from cannabis plants. Delta-8 products are often offered to consumers as tinctures, gummies, inhalables, or sprays.
Delta-8-THC products are often sold with CBD products.
What is the difference between Delta-8, CBD, and regular weed?
When we talk about THC, we are normally talking about delta-9. It’s one of hundreds of cannabinoid molecules, but it’s known as the main ingredient that makes people feel high.
Scientifically, delta-8 and delta-9 are similar. Delta-9 has one double bond on the ninth carbon atom, while delta-8 has one of these double bonds on its eighth carbon atom. This is how we get the names, and also what makes delta-9 more powerful than delta-8.
Where Delta-9 delivers an intense high, Delta-8 is generally considered mildly euphoric.
A 1973 clinical and therapeutic pharmacology study actually found that delta-8 is half as potent as delta-9-THC, but, as studies of delta-8 remain sparse, scientists do not yet know. Why.
Delta-8 is also commonly sold alongside CBD products, leading some people to confuse or equate delta-8 products with CBD products, which have no psychoactive effects.
This is because CBD binds to our brain differently from THC, which binds to cannabinoid 1 receptors in our brain. These receptors produce the feeling of euphoria.
CBD doesn’t bind to these receptors at all, or loosely in the most extreme cases, so they don’t get us high.
This, the FDA warns, could be dangerous for people seeking the therapeutic effects of CBD, and then be struck by an unforeseen effect.
Will Delta-8 get me as high as regular grass?
Delta-8 contains THC, so it can actually produce a slight high. What constitutes a “mild high”, however, depends on the person.
If you are sensitive to THC, the psychoactive effects found in delta-8 may be more pronounced.
If you consume the weed on a more regular basis, you may experience moderate or minimal effects from delta-8.
What are some health risks or benefits?
Some advocates for delta-8 say it can relieve pain, anxiety, and improve sleep. While DeCamp sells it like its stores and has seen customers who have reported receiving benefits, it is not yet ready to tout delta-8 as the end, being all medical remedies.
He is simply there for his clients if they need him.
“There is no incidence of overdose on this with side effects, long term side effects, but it is still in its early stages. The government will likely change the Farm Bill, which it It’s delta-8, delta-10, delta-9 or, you know … they have all kinds of different THC derivatives from the hemp plant, ”he said.
The FDA and CDC aren’t the only entities concerned about delta-8 products.
In a report released earlier this summer, the US Cannabis Council said that “the fact that it is sold outside the regulated market without monitoring or testing and that it is readily available to children is alarming and poses a health risk. potentially wider public. impact than the vaping crisis. ”
Between December 2020 and January 2021 alone, the FDA received reports of 22 people who had consumed delta-8 products, including 14 people who ended up in hospital or emergency room.
Nationally, poison control centers have received more than 600 calls involving exposure to delta-8 since January this year. Of these calls, 39% concerned children under the age of 18.
So how is Delta-8 legal?
In 2018, President Donald Trump passed the Farm Bill, a law that legalized compounds derived from hemp.
This legislation legalized hemp, which is defined as a cannabis plant containing 0.3 percent delta-9 THC or less – levels considered too low to have a psychoactive effect.
The 2018 Farm Bill set the stage for a wider cultivation of hemp across the country, but there were gaps.
The bill did not address delta-8 THC levels, which allowed vendors to sell it as edibles, vape cartridges, and tinctures, without any oversight.
At least fifteen states have decided to regulate Delta-8, but the Indiana state legislature has taken no action to ban the sale or use of Delta-8.
However, according to Indiana law firm Banks & Browney LLC, some allegedly delta-8 black market products could exceed this 0.3% THC threshold, making it a Schedule 1 drug in Indiana.
At this time, it is still legal to buy in Indiana.
Buyer, beware though, delta-8 can still trigger positive results for a marijuana field test. And it is still illegal to drive a vehicle under the influence, a definition that extends to alcohol and drugs.
Taking delta-8 in any form and then driving a vehicle could result in a charge of driving a vehicle while intoxicated.
If you think you are experiencing a serious side effect that poses an immediate danger to your health, call 911 or go to the emergency room in your area. You can also:
For more information on Delta-8 THC: CDC HEALTH ALERT NETWORK (HAN)