A version of this column appears in the May-June issue of Marijuana Business Magazine.
I was the last person to appreciate the hype around delta-8 THC.
I kept seeing operators in the hemp industry talking about converting CBD into intoxicating THC candies and smokable products, available for sale in states where the real stuff (delta-9 THC, or the marijuana compound that gets users high) isn’t legal for most consumers.
It all looked to me like a lame knockoff: cheap bulk candies sprayed with synthetic who-knows-what to get ahead of regulators and give local investigative news teams a fresh topic for alarm.
Surely, I thought, folks will stop using this stuff when they can buy traditional THC products legally.
Then I started talking to people who use delta-8 THC. And I realized I had fallen into the same trap that has kept the entire cannabis industry from reaching its full potential: not listening to the people who use cannabis to find relief.
What Users Say
One woman I talked with said she feels relaxed and euphoric using delta-8 THC, but she doesn’t get anxious like she does with traditional marijuana.
As this source put it, delta-8 products never make her want to sit on the couch, pull a hoodie over her head and yank the strings shut, the way she does when she feels too high.
I had to laugh. We’ve all been there.
Another person I interviewed said he can’t stand delta-9 THC but loves its milder cousin. He said he just doesn’t like getting very high these days.
The stories made me pause and reflect. I realized these people sounded like the earliest CBD users. That’s because they’re finding real value in products that were scoffed at by law enforcement and even some old-timers in the cannabis industry.
Just like most CBD, delta-8 generally comes from an extraction lab rather than a drying room or trimming table. But does that make it crap?
I realized I was guilty of the same narrow thinking that annoys me in critics who insist cannabis can’t have real therapeutic value.
I assumed that because some consumers might use delta-8 THC as a loophole to get high, that it was junk that no health-minded person would touch.
Delta-8 and Wellness
As we take a deeper look this month at the health and wellness aspects of cannabis, I’m happy to say my opinion on delta-8 THC has changed. The minor cannabinoid certainly has a place in the spectrum of cannabis wellness products.
Even better, my opinion doesn’t matter. Cannabis patients are empowered like never before. Folks have long been told by those who supposedly knew better that the plant is poison and they need to look to traditional medicine instead.
Cannabis users just shrug in response.
That’s what makes this industry so exciting. Patients are increasingly empowered to take control of their own health and wellness—sometimes ignoring conventional thinking in the process.
Let’s keep that in mind the next time a novel, new cannabinoid starts making headlines. Before we write off a newfangled cannabis compound, process or delivery method, let’s listen to the folks doing it to find out why. We all just might learn something.
Kristen Nichols is editor of Hemp Industry Daily. She can be reached at [email protected].